How to Book a DIY Music Tour
Brodie Conley's recipe
Make music — any music — by yourself or with your friends. Great! You are now a band. Decide on which dates you would like to tour. Open Google Maps and plot out the cities where you’d like to perform. Do some research. Search the internet, but also rely on your musician friends. Remember that building community networks is essential to booking a great DIY tour! - What are the best small venues and/or community spaces to play in the cities on your planned tour route? - What local bands in these cities might fit the bill to also perform at your shows? Send many — soooo many! — emails to the venue and community space contacts that you uncovered in your research, inquiring about booking a show. At the same time, reach out to the local bands you believe would be a good fit to share a bill with, and ask if they’d like to play with you (and, importantly, if you can sleep on their floor after the show). Lock in dates, venues and other bands. Make sure to discuss details with these partners up-front: Expectations around money? Run-of-show? Sound and gear sharing? Promotion? Are merchandise sales allowed? Parking? etc. Promote your shows. Be creative. Invite your friends. Design and print physical posters and have your show partners hang them in each city. Reach out to community radio stations for coverage. Add your shows to local event listings. Make fun social media posts. Remember to be a good show partner. Think about safe spaces, diversity, and accessibility. Don’t double-book dates or cities. Show up on time / sound-check promptly. Offer to share gear. Deal with money professionally, and as soon as possible after shows are finished. Treat other artists / promoters / fans how you would want to be treated. Pack your bags, check your gear, PRACTICE YOUR SET!!, buy snacks, hop in the van, and hit the road!