How to Put On a Successful Acappella Tour

Having just returned from Philidelphia on tour with Stuck in the Middle, I think I am getting a sense of what it takes to put on a college acappella tour.

  • Appoint a tour manager to be the contact person and go-to for everything tour related.
  • Be Cheap. Stay at the houses of those in your group (and pay parents back by singing for them). Eat cheaply. Travel cheaply. The more you save as a group, the more profit you’re making from the tour.
  • Smartly schedule your gigs. Take into account travel time to and from your destinations. Balance between getting a lot of stuff done in a day but also not tiring out your voices. Schedule in flex time so that if you are running late or early, you’re okay.
  • Do an itinerary with dates, times, addresses, phone numbers, etc. More information=better. Be specific and detailed.
  • Get good driving directions. It saves time and hassle. Mapquest doesn’t always do the job.
  • Have fun. Touring is fun. Schedule in some play time and rest, rest, rest.
  • Bring water. Singers need water. Just buy a case and stick it in the car.
  • Have set lists prepared (but be ready to change them). Half the battle in a concert is arranging the songs in the right order to keep the audience engaged.
  • Make Money. Pay for your trip and then some. It doesn’t make sense to tour with a college group unless you are making money. You can have all the fun you want at home too.
  • Lock in the payment amounts and get things in writing. Don’t let gigs fall through. If you have a contract (even verbal), the other party is obligated by law to fulfill it.
  • Sell merchandise. If you have a CD or t-shirt, don’t be afraid to sell it. Always ask if you can promote and sell things, though. It’s not okay everywhere.
  • Promote Yourself. Website, business cards, bumber stickers, etc. Sell the brand. You’d be surprised that people will buy stuff and come looking for more ways to hear your music.
  • Network. Get information from people and use it. Use MySpace. Use Facebook. Find ways to reach out to individuals so that in the long-term you will have a fan-base.

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