Going on tour is a huge deal, and planning it is a major undertaking. It's also incredibly exciting and could be just the thing you need to jump your career to the next level. There are a lot of things to consider when you're booking your own tour. This post is dedicated to helping you when you are researching & booking concert venues. Start by getting organized using a spreadsheet or other organizational tool to keep track of all the places you have contacted and the people you have spoken with. In addition, here are the key things you need to consider when you are booking venues:
Broaden your options
Don't be afraid to think outside the box when you're booking a space. For instance, if your music is acoustic or otherwise mellow you might be able to book at non-traditional concert spaces including art museums, cultural centers, listening rooms, or galleries.
If you're more of a rocker, then some places to consider (aside from traditional concert venues) include basement venues, large parties, block parties and outdoor festivals.
Now that you have an idea of where to look, you need to know what tech specs you require and get to work narrowing down your list of options accordingly. You might be able to find this information on websites for larger venues, or you might have to call or email someone affiliated with the venue to find out specs.
Keep your music style in mind when you're booking to seek out places that will cater to your targeted audience. If your music is more appropriate for the 21 and over crowd, then obviously some venues, such as public festivals, just won't work for you. On the flip side, if you prefer performing for an all ages audience then performing at frat parties isn't going to get you the audience you want.
When you're booking a particular venue such as a concert hall or club, check on their age restrictions. Even if you aren't concerned with age restrictions when booking, understanding the venue's policy will help you later with marketing.
You need to get paid for your tour, and knowing how much you need to make could make all the difference when you're setting your tour. If you're relatively unknown, you might not have a lot of say in how much clubs and other venues pay you, and you might need to accept a minimal to free performance in some areas.
Clubs will generally give you a cut of the amount paid at the door, and you may or may not get to set your own price. Colleges tend to pay surprisingly well, setting a base price instead of giving you a cut of the total amount received, so it's definitely worth your while to book at least a few colleges on your tour.
Most venues have insurance (or at least they should), but what that insurance covers will vary. Find out what is and is not covered by a venue's insurance. You may have to adjust your set and your style accordingly. For instance, most festivals that want to be family friendly will have insurance that insists that band members keep their shirts on and refrain from using adult language. Ask a lot of questions, particularly if your music style is less than family friendly, to make sure the venue doesn't shut you down.
Know in advance what the venue's policy is on selling merchandise. You may need to give your venue a cut of the profits, and you want to know what this amount is in advance so you can plan accordingly. Don't just assume you can sell merchandise at every venue--double check with the venue before setting up your table.
Researching and booking concert venues is an involved process, and it's one that should not be taken lightly. Booking at the right venues will help you reach a wider audience and take your career to the next level. Use these tips to book at the right venues on your next tour.
Don't forget to visit MyMusicTaste to bring your favorite artist to you!