Featured image shows a group of people pointing up at the title How to Plan a Music Tour in 2024

Planning a tour is an exciting, yet challenging and often stressful activity. Furthermore, it doesn’t always run to plan. Therefore, I have put this guide together to explain how to plan a music tour, succeed and have fun on your tour without the stress of everything running to plan because it won’t. There will be times that you worry, times when things don’t work as planned and there are many areas in which things won’t run to plan. I just hope this post can suffice as a brief plan is a big help.

Key Takeaways on How to Plan a Music Tour

After this post you will…

  • …learn how to define your goals
  • …be able to organise your team
  • …learn how to plan your itinerary
  • …be confident in booking your venues
  • …understand how to arrange transportation and accommodation
  • …know how to promote the tour
  • …be able to prepare the show
  • …learn how to make the final preparations
  • …feel better about being on the road
  • …be able to carry out the post-tour activities

1. How to Plan a Music Tour: Define Gaols

Tour Purpose

What is the main purpose of your tour? Do you want to promote a new album? Are you simply touring to impress your loyal fans who have already purchased your album? Are you reaching out to new fans or just making generating revenue so that you can afford new gear, facilities, etc. Is it that you just love the excitement and stress of being on the road?

Manage Your Budget Budget

When you define your goals, you also have to establish a budget for the entire tour. Therefore, it is important to make a list. Include elements such as costs for travel, accommodation, food, promotion, and other expenses. There will also be times when you incur unforeseen costs and eventualities that you may have been unaware of until it is time for you to act.

How to Plan a Music Tour in 2024 Share on X

2. How to Plan a Music Tour and Organize Your Team

You will need to hire the following staff…

Manager

You will need a Tour Manager to handle logistics and scheduling.

Booking Agent

You will also need a Booking Agent whose job it is to book venues and negotiate contracts.

Publicist

Your publicists will be a team of people who will handle promotion and media relations. This includes everything from the creation of your electronic press kit, to blog reviews, radio and social media advertising video creation and much more.

Crew

Any good post on how to plan a music tour must include the appointment of your crew. These include your Sound engineers, roadies, and other technical staff. Again, this is another team of people who have technical expertise, the ability to act accurately and set up the heavy and expensive gear that you will have to take on the road with you – whether you are touring locally, nationally and especially internationally.

3. How to Plan a Music Tour: Plan Your Itinerary

Select Locations

The best way to impress a potential fan is to play in their living room. If you can’t do that, the next best way is to play in a local venue. Unfortunately, it is impossible to play in every fan’s living room. Therefore, it’s essential that you play your gigs in localities where there are a lot of fans. If you have a lot of fans in New York, play your gigs at Central Park. If your fans are in London, you should look at playing at Wembley and if they are in Birmingham or the Midlands, the NEC Arena is your golden grail.

Do you even know where your fans are based? Probably the best place to find this information is on Spotify for Artists. The terrific analytics program will tell you where people are listening to your music, how many times each person is streaming your music and also how many people there are in specific locations who play your music. Therefore, you will know if you are big enough to play at somewhere like Wembley or the NEC Arena, or whether you are better to opt for a smaller venue. Maybe you are better to go for a town hall location, a Church, cathedral or theatre.

Route Planning

Once you have your venues planned, the next consideration should be the route that you follow on your plan. It is no good playing in London one day, Athens the next day and Manchester the day after your Athens gig. This is a complete waste of your time and money. You are much better to play in Manchester the day before the London gig. After your UK gigs are finished, you should look at performing in France, Germany and Italy before your Athens gig. This is a logical route. Therefore, it makes much more sense than going back on yourself and spending more time and money in getting from one venue to another.

If you are playing locally and only in the UK, you should play in London the first day, Birmingham the day after that and Manchester the following day. This is a logical route. It doesn’t take up your time and makes more sense.

Dates

Most artists will perform daily and each day in a new city. This is why touring is not the easiest life. There is no time to rest and recuperate. It’s all about go, go, go. That is why live-streaming is becoming more popular. After Lockdown, everyone did a lot more remotely. In fact it was a remote living revolution. You will find a lot more remote jobs and a lot more remote opportunities after the remote revolution.

Music Software Bundles from Pluginboutique.com

4. How to Plan a Music Tour: Book Venues

Researching The Different Venues

The next step is to research and select venues that match your genre and the size of your audience. As I have already said, it would be no good booking a venue like the NEC Arena if you only have 100 fans who may come. In that case, you would be better to opt for a venue that is much smaller. Play at a pub, smaller festival, town hall, Church or Cathedral. You need to make sure that you don’t lose money and can easily generate enough revenue to comfortably cover the outlay and leave a healthy profit too.

If you are an electronic dance music DJ, you are going to want to reach out to clubs across your region. Approaching a venue that is dedicated to metal music would be no good to an EDM DJ. There used to be an underground club (I mean under the street) venue in the middle of Birmingham, where they would play metal music. It was dark in atmosphere and dark spiritually too. It’s the kind of place where you would imagine a horror film to take place. Such a place would be unsuitable for a euphoria-centred trance music DJ. It’s like playing Heaven in the middle of Hell.

Contact Venues

Once you have researched the venues, it’s time to reach out to each venue that you feel is suitable for your time and genre.

Contracts

Review and sign contracts, ensuring you understand all terms and conditions. It is so easy to cut to the chase and sign the documents without even taking time to read the small print. After all, who reads the small print? I know. Most people don’t bother to read the small print. However, this is a big mistake. You may be signing something that either you can’t fulfil or where you can’t generate much profit. You have to think about everyone concerned. Can you make enough money to pay the wages of your entire team? It’s so easy to brush over it without taking the time to consider all the points in the document, but you must.

5. How to Plan a Music Tour: Arrange Transportation and Accommodation

Travel

Decide on the mode of transport. Are you hiring out a coach, an RV or a bus? Are you travelling from venue to venue by air? What is your main mode of transport? If you’re just touring locally, a transit van might suffice for everything you need.

Accommodation

Now you’ve got your venues and your travel booked, it’s time to book your accommodation. Are you staying at hotels? Maybe you’re just sleeping in an RV or campervan? Whatever mode of transport you choose, it’s time to book your board. Also, how are you planning to eat? Are you just getting bed and breakfast and taking a supply of food with you for other times? You also need to consider the rest of your crew.

6. How to Plan a Music Tour: Promote the Tour

Marketing Strategy

This is where your publicist come in. They need to create a marketing plan that includes social media, email newsletters, posters, and flyers. You also need to do a photoshoot. Filming a vlog is another great idea because it builds rapport with your fans. One example of someone who filmed a vlog on the road was Armin Van Buuren. I remember seeing a video vlog that he shot of landing in the far east and the reception that he got at the airport. Each musician needs to be involved in the social media as they are the faces of the band. If you’re on your own and you are the sole face of the band (like Armin) then you have to be even more active on social media. It’s a great reason to build a following.

Press Releases

Send press releases to local media in each city. Such media could include local publications. This may also include blogs that are in a specific language and aimed at a specific city. For instance, I have written many reviews for music releases. These artists were just targeting English-speaking blogs, but if a blog is dedicated to the music scene within a specific geographic location, they would be an ideal outlet for your press release. You should be making the most of local media whether you plan on gigging locally, nationally or internationally.

Engage Fans

Create buzz and excitement with your fans. Host a countdown to the tour on your website. You could even use a different countdown for each event. That would be ideal because different fans will be going to different events. You may even find that some fans will follow you from one venue to another – if they’re barmy enough about your music.

You can also keep a video blog just like Armin did.

7. How to Plan a Music Tour: Prepare the Show

Setlist

What songs are you going to include in your setlist. Whatever the genre or instrument you play, you will have to practice, practice, practice before and during the tour. Even your road crew need to practice because they need to be sure that they can get your gear up and working well in advance of the event.

Stage Design

I recently wrote a blog post about stage set-up. It included a few different genres and you can refer to that for further information on how to set up a stage design. Needless to say, it is different from genre to genre. Some genres make heavy use of instruments that aren’t used in other genres. For instance, a classical orchestra doesn’t use the same set up as a DJ. There are many more instruments in an orchestra.

Merchandise

Prepare and stock up on tour merchandise like t-shirts, posters, and CDs. If you’ve read my blog before, you may know that I love merch. Fans will pay you to advertise your music. How good is that? You need to make sure that you have the right amount of merch. A little too much is perfect. If everyone buys a t-shirt, you’re going to have to have enough in stock so that everyone in the building can purchase one. Similarly, you don’t want too little. You don’t want to run out of stock in the first half hour of a show or earlier on in your tour with no replenishment plans in place. There’s something else. You are going to have to make sure that you can replenish your stock if it sells out. Can you order more stock to be there when you get to the venue?

8. How to Plan a Music Tour: Final Preparations

Tour Essentials

It is a good idea to make a list of all of your instruments, accessories, gear and other essentials so that you can make sure that you don’t forget anything. Also, if you’re taking a crew on the road, you should ask them to do the same thing with their personal belongings. However, you will want to travel light and only take the bare essentials. However, make sure you have everything that is essential. For instance, you need to remember any medication that you require for headaches, hay fever etc.

Health and Safety

As I just mentioned, you need to make sure that you take your medication. However, you also need to ensure you have first aid kits and know the local emergency services in each city. Investigate to see what the local services are like, where they are located with reference to your venue. If a roadie breaks his leg, you need to make sure that you can take care of the situation without it negatively effecting the tour.

Insurance

Get insurance for your equipment and health insurance for the band and crew. Some countries will require you to have health insurance if you need to use their healthcare services. In Europe, there is the European Healthcare Exemption card. I believe that is still the case. However, if you travel to America, you will need to pay for healthcare insurance. You never know what could go wrong and you need to be prepared for every eventuality.

Save on Loopmasters Sample Bundles

9. How to Plan a Music Tour: On the Road

Stay Organized

Keep a detailed itinerary and contact list for venues, hotels, and emergency contacts. You never know when you are going to need this information. Just as with the healthcare insurance, it is also better to be organised in preparation for every eventuality.

You will also need to keep a list of the next of kin for each member of your team. This is an essential point because loved-ones should always be informed early on of any casualties, illnesses, accidents, etc.

Communication

Maintain regular communication with your team and venue contacts. If you need to replenish stocks of merchandise, you can do so without any issues. Simply get new deliveries to the next venue so that it is waiting for you when you get there.

Adaptability

Be prepared to adapt to changes and solve problems on the fly. There will always be issues and nothing will go to plan 100% of the time. Therefore, you need to be ready to overcome any issues and carry on with the shows. Just as Freddie Mercury sang, his “make-up may be fading, but his smile stays on”. It’s so true about every performer. They all need to keep on making people smile. That is why there are so many performers taking their lives. Basically, screw how you feel and make the audience smile. You may be feeling terrible, but you have to give your fans the time of their lives. It’s why the likes of Avicii took their lives.

How to Plan a Music Tour in 2024#tourlife #tour #livemusicVia @KrannakenMusic Share on X

10. How to Plan a Music Tour: Post-Tour Activities

Review

Analyze the tour’s success in terms of attendance, revenue, and fan engagement. How much of a profit did you make? Did you make any profit? Was it just a learning experience? Were there a good number of fans in the audience?

How to Plan a Music Tour: Feedback

Gather feedback from fans and venues to improve future tours. What did the fans think of the event? How could you improve things next time? What could you have done differently?

Your opportunity for exchanging feedback with the venue will be before you leave the location. You will be able to let them know where they could improve and they could also tell you where you can improve. This is a terrific opportunity for you to learn how to put on an amazing show and it is advice that you can take with you to the next venue. Perhaps you can implement advice into your future gigs at any venue.

Don’t Forget to Rest

Ensure everyone gets adequate rest before planning the next steps. You will want to take some significant time off after your tour to rest and recuperate. Everyone tends to have a different way to relax. You need to relax in a way that benefits you and do it. Your health is more important than any number of shows. Shows might pay your bills, but your health is more important than money.

Conclusion on How to Plan a Music Tour

By following these steps and staying organized, you can effectively plan and execute a successful music tour. However, if you do want to learn more about gigging from home and cut out the stress, you can find out more here.

  • What is the Best Place to Live as a Musician in 2024?

    What is the Best Place to Live as a Musician in 2024?

    What do you believe is the best place to live as a musician? Today, I give you the ten best cities in the world to live in as a musician? The fact that there are more cities here from the United States than any other country should come as no surprise. However, there are a…

  • How Do Music Producers Get Paid in 2024

    How Do Music Producers Get Paid in 2024

    Only a small minority of producers are paid. For most, it’s a labour of love. It is something they can be proud of. That’s not all bad. There are many reasons to love music production as an intereest. There is no pressure. Nobody is telling these people they must make the best music or face…

  • How to Take a Good Band Photo

    How to Take a Good Band Photo

    Although this post is aimed at bands, it is also significantly useful for lone music artists. Therefore, the only criteria is that you make music in some way, shape, or form. A good band photo can go a mile. Also, remember that a smile goes a mile too. It is best that fans get the…