Young Gun Tour Manager’s Lessons from the Road: The Flawless Smile Tour #4

Tour Itinerary and Daily Routine

Tour managers move the touring party according to a tour itinerary, a detailed plan for each day of the tour. Depending on the size of the tour, the itinerary usually includes at least the tour routing, daily scheduling (incl. press obligations), accommodation info, venue and show details, and contact information. Usually, the itinerary is brief enough to be shared with the band and crew to keep them up-to-date.

I kept the itinerary and all additional information related to each show in a master file on Google Docs. I love using Google Docs because I’m able to update the files on the go on both my laptop and phone and share the files with other people. Because so much information was changing all the time and I wanted to make sure the band paid attention to the information, instead of sharing the itinerary I decided to brief them face-to-face about the details they needed to know in the van on our way to the next venue. Additionally, I shared some information on our Facebook Messenger group if needed.

One of my first lessons on the tour in terms of scheduling was to check in at the venue on time but not too early. We had four bands on tour (Flaw, Smile Empty Soul, Code Red Riot, and Worldwide Panic) plus occasional local acts, which made timing important. You don’t want to be on the headliners’ way but to let them do their thing before it’s your band’s turn to load in. I agreed on our check in/load in time with the other TM the day before each show and worked with him at the venue on possible scheduling changes. 

The order for the bands to check in, load in, have sound (or line) check, and load out was determined by the set times. Worldwide Panic played first of the touring package, after the local acts. This meant we loaded in and had soundcheck as last of the touring bands so that the headliners were able to get their setup ready on stage before we started bringing in our gear. At times, this meant some waiting and a lot of communication with the venue and the other TM. Furthermore, the size of the venue and how much time we had before doors determined how we worked at the venue.

Cooperation with the venue personnel – usually the venue manager, promoter, house tech, and any other house crew – and the other bands was essential. In addition to the overall scheduling and set times (incl. any updates), I made sure:

  • We knew where to load in our gear and set up our merch table
  • The house tech got our tech rider
  • The band (and me) had wristbands/laminates
  • Our contacts were on the guest list
  • The band had water for the show, etc.

I was also responsible for any interviews and photo shoots with the press as well as communicating with them and the band publicist prior to the show dates and on the day of the interviews.

With as many as six bands a night, there’s not much time for set changes. Thus, everything – the band and the gear – has to be ready when it’s time to change. And they have to keep their time so not to mess up with the other bands’ set times. I’m no tech and fortunately, the band was very independent with their gear and even helped the other bands with their set changes. However, I did help with stage management and made sure the band was on schedule and ready for set changes, started their show on time, kept their set time, communicated with the other TM about delays, and generally just stood by in case they needed something during the show. And of course, I was there to cheer during their set!

Once the band had finished their load out after each show, they always had a meet & greet at the merch table to connect with the fans. Taking pictures with the fans, signing promotional pictures, and hanging out with them was a great way to engage with the fans. The guys absolutely nailed it with their warm and open attitude!

Merch and meet & greets were also my responsibilities even though they are not part of the tour manager’s job description per se. However, as the tour manager of a smaller band and the only crew member, I had to roll up my sleeves and go beyond the traditional TM tasks to ensure a successful tour. I didn’t mind though as I have ample experience in merch management and artist meet & greets. 

To make the most out of each show, we stayed at the venue hustling until the end of the night. After curfew, I settled with the venue and packed the merch. I made sure we dummy checked the stage, the greenroom (if any), and the merch area before taking off. I gathered the band together, thanked the venue personnel, and agreed on next day’s details with the other TM. To let the band reflect the show together, I usually drove to the hotel after the show. 

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Load out

The tour manager is the first and the last one at the venue. It’s what it takes to keep everything organized and in order during the tour. This fits my personality very well as I like to keep control of big entities and I’m very organized. It sounds very hard and cold but believe me there is a softer side to it too. Touring is its own world and all the bands and crews are in it together, which forms a strong bond between people. I got so many hugs each day that I could live off of them for a year. I can’t but love the Flawless Smile Tour family!

There are many moving parts when working at venues in cooperation with the venue staff and other bands and crew. What do you think is the most important aspect to be able to deliver successful shows at venues?


❤ right now: Arch Enemy: The World Is Yours

3 thoughts on “Young Gun Tour Manager’s Lessons from the Road: The Flawless Smile Tour #4

Add yours

  1. Wow Erika, this sounds amazing!
    It sounds like a though work but so interesting. I bet no work day is the same.

    I’m gonna keep an eye on this blog, very interesting to follow your life & how It works behind the scenes.

    Like

    1. Hi Tilda!

      Thanks for your feedback, I’m so glad to hear that you find my posts interesting. Tour management is definitely hard work but also super rewarding! Not one day is the same, you’re right about that for sure.

      Feel free to follow my blog and you’ll get an email reminder every time I post a new story. You can find the follow section in the footer. Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend! 🙂

      Like

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