March is get down to business month. With the summer festival season on the horizon,
this is a great time to contact and line up your summer events calendar. Many of the major festivals
already have their talent lined up and contracted. There are still some filler slots open at most of
the major festivals. But why rely on the major festivals to fill up your calendar? There are so many
town, city, county and state-wide events that will take place throughout the spring, summer and fall
that book local and regional talent along with some of the big name acts. Now is the time for a bit of
research on your city’s website, your county government website, your state’s tourist department website
and the US Chamber of Commerce website.
In my article, How To Get Tour Support for Your Musical Act, I discussed alternative
methods of funding touring expenses if you are an independent artist. This article focuses on how to
work with your record label and what expenses might be likely for the label to fund. Most of you who
have been signed to a label are probably working with a smaller independent label unlikely to have the
financial resources at their disposal that most of the major labels have. All is not lost. This is a
process of working with the label, whether an Indie or a major label. Creativity is one of the greatest
resources we have and it will be greatly appreciated here.
You have reached that point in your career development when adding an agent to your
team would be a logical next step. Before you pick up the phone and start calling around, I suggest you
do the following three steps.
Folks are gearing up for the big holiday hoopla as this Fourth of July begins
to get noisy. Thinking about this holiday reminded me of the challenges of booking tours around
holidays. I thought I would offer some tips about holiday bookings, which ones to go after and
which ones to avoid. Some holidays can be a gold mine, others a big bust. Some days aren't even
holidays, but should be treated as such when it comes to booking gigs. Holiday awareness can net
you additional gigs and also help you plan ahead for travel challenges like traffic and
July 16th is the anniversary of the death of Harry Chapin, one of the world's great
humanitarians and one of music's finest story-song writers. I remember the exact moment I heard the news
on the radio that Harry Chapin had been killed in a car accident on the Long Island Expressway. He was
heading to New York City to meet with his manager to discuss cutting back on his performance dates. His
detailed songs, filled with life's reality touched me, like many during Chapin's heyday. He wrote about
subjects most other writers dared not touch. His legacy is his profound devotion to the performing arts
and helping to solve one of the world's most unnecessary problems, hunger. The organization, World Hunger
Year, is a testament to Chapin's charitable efforts during his lifetime and it remains one of the leading
organizations fighting hunger today.
As emerging artists, it's often hard to find promoters or venues that will take a chance on an
untested artist. When a promoter finally catches on to your act and gives you a chance, it is important that you
recognize that promoter's efforts. If success finds you, make sure you return the favor to those who have
invested their time, belief and money on you back when first started.
So many performers shy away from doing benefits, most often because they think "benefit"
means they don't get paid. I would like to offer a different perspective on performing benefits. In fact,
I suggest that you strategically incorporate benefits into your tour plans every year.
Touring is expensive, especially when you tour with more than two people. There are so
many costs associated with launching a tour and many of those costs are incurred before playing the first
date. As an independent artist managing your own career and possibly running your own record label, you
are responsible for fronting all the money for marketing, recording and eventually touring. There are ways,
however, to get some financial support for some of the touring costs. It takes a little work, some research
and some creative thinking and can result in having someone else pay for some of the touring expenses.
Have you ever felt frantic about getting more dates on the calendar? So often, I
find that many artists are fixated with filling up their calendars with any gig that comes their
way. Depending on your goals, that may be exactly the thing to do. For those of you attempting to
create a long lasting career, that has some momentum and progresses from one level up to the next,
I would like to help you examine the types of gigs you are booking.
There is nothing more satisfying for a touring musician, than to arrive at the venue and
everything is in order. All of the requested equipment is set up and ready for sound check, the publicity
has been done, posters are hanging in the window and there is someone to meet you as you load in. Was it
an accident that this occurred? Not likely, probably all can be attributed to good planning and someone
spending some time advancing the date. The term means to call ahead to the venue and all other associated
contacts prior to the play date and confirm all the necessary arrangements with the appropriate personnel.