Advice for US and Canadian bands touring in Europe

Are you a US or Canadian band? Do you manage or book such an act? Have you or are you about to play shows in the UK or mainland Europe?

You should consider the following information if you are considering touring in Europe.

Musical acts at all success levels are now able to tour extensively outside of their own country, thanks to the rise of the Internet, the expanding global music market and cheaper air travel.

Specifically, bands and artistes from North America and Canada have always found great success touring in Europe and the UK.
The Killers, White Stripes, Kings of Leon, The Strokes and Scissor Sisters are all examples of bands that honed their craft away from their own country and now have considerable success in both territories.

Although the process is the same, touring in Europe has certain unique distinctions from concert touring in the USA.

There are obvious language, currency and voltage differences. There are also legal and financial factors to take into account as well as obvious logistical concerns. You may have encountered some of these differences already.

As well as being frustrating, these differences can cost you money.

I have over 20 years experience of concert touring both in North America and in Europe. I have worked with numerous acts from USA and Canada and know what makes a successful European tour for North American acts.

 

Touring Europe – points to consider

The following guide is intended to give the North American touring musician a very general introduction to the obvious differences in touring the US and touring mainland Europe. Specific information can be obtained by clicking on the associated links or by contacting me directly.

Throughout Europe (and obviously in the UK) you will find that most people you meet who are involved with your concert will speak English as well as their native language. This all includes all the local sound and light crew, the promoter, your record company personnel and, to a certain extent, your fans.
Nearly all contracts, legal forms and communications will be in English.

Region and generation largely influence the understanding and use of English outside the ‘rock ‘n’ roll bubble.

France and Italy, for example, have a low use of English in the general population. Italian promoters will usually provide a translator to assist at shows.
Scandinavians, Germans and the Dutch have a high standard of English and are keen to use it. ‘Younger’ people understand more English thanks to the internet, YouTube, MTV and imported US TV shows.

Money and Currency

The use of the Euro throughout mainland Europe has certainly made concert touring easier, especially as the Euro and the US dollar are of similar value.
Not all countries use the Euro though and these cases you will probably be paid in US dollars.

You should be aware that all countries are now implementing strict rules about leaving or arriving with vast amounts of currency. You should bear this in mind if your tour is very successful, especially if you generate lots of cash from merchandise sales.

I can help to advise on any specific concerns you may have, specifically how to deal with large amounts of foreign currency cash (from merchandise sales for instance).

Electricity and Voltages

The standard voltage of US domestic equipment is 110v at 60Hz. European voltages range from 180v to 240v at varying Hz. There are also physical differences in the design of the plugs and sockets.

It is vital that you arrange the rental of good quality, touring step-down transformers for your US voltage equipment.

Most US cell phones and laptop computers have dual-voltage sensing, meaning they can accept voltages from 110-240 volts automatically. You will simply need to transform the physical plug to fit the sockets. For more information on European voltages see this very useful Worldwide Voltage Guide.

Communications

Internet & email

It is safe to say that traveling with a laptop is as easy as in the States.

Most modern laptops have voltage- sensing power supplies so will not be damaged by the 220V found in Europe. However you will almost certainly need an adapter to make the US style pug fit into European sockets.

Wireless broadband internet is common in all parts of the European mainland. Most venues, hotels, cafes, airports and fast food restaurants will have wireless coverage.

Mobile (cellular phones)

Europe has embraced the mobile (cellular) phone, making communication while on the road extremely easy. We have one standard, GSM, which works seamlessly throughout mainland Europe, the UK, South America, Australia, New Zealand and certain parts of North America and Canada.

Check with your phone network about roaming coverage overseas, especially if you own an iPhone. The roaming charges can be hideously expensive for a US-based cellular phone owner touring in Europe.

As a US resident you can buy an international GSM cell phone for only $49 from Mobal. You purchase the phone and pay only for calls – there is no monthly fee.

Another solution is to buy ‘pay as you go’ SIM cards for each country you are in. The advantage is cheap calls AND you can budget for your phone expenditure. The disadvantage is changing your number every time you are in a new country.

Taxation

All countries have some sort of ‘foreign artist tax’ to claim a percentage of your revenue while performing in that particular country. Some charge higher levels than others.

For instance Germany, which is a big market for US acts, currently levies a whopping 24.9% on fees of 1001.00 Euros ($1000.00) or more!
As the promoter will deduct these taxes at source (i.e. when you get paid) it is vitally important that you budget properly for these expenses. Good practice is to specify all fees are ‘net and free of all local taxes’ and that you get paid in your currency.

A good reference is ‘Tax and Social Security – a basic guide for artists and cultural operators in Europe’ by Judith Staines which is a very informative guide to the varying taxation rates for foreign entertainers performing in Europe.

Transport types

Distances between major cities in mainland Europe are comparable with that of the US; daily travel of 6 to 8 hours is the norm. you will either be using splitter vans of sleeper buses, depending on your budget.

Splitter vans

Europe is home to the ‘splitter van’ – an economical but safe way to transport people and equipment in the same vehicle. A splitter van is basically a large cargo van with a large passenger compartment (usually seating six to eight people) separated by a fixed bulkhead from a rear equipment compartment.

Splitter vans are comfortable with aircraft style seats, full audio visual entertainment systems (DVD, games consoles etc) for the passengers, tinted windows and air con. They are fast (usually based on Mercedes ‘Sprinter’ type vans), safe and very reliable. They are able to transport a full set of standard band back line equipment i.e. drums, bass and guitar cabs and heads, stands etc.

Costs vary between £120 – £180 a day, excluding fuel (diesel). This makes them a perfect way for small budget acts to travel, along with their equipment.

Splitter vans are usually self-drive. I can help you source good, experienced drivers who may also double up as back line technicians or merchandise sellers.

Sleeper bus

if the travelling band and crew numbers 8 or more I would recommend a sleeper bus. European sleeper buses are very similar to US style sleeper coaches with the exception of often being double deck. Lounge areas are often down stairs in the middle and rear with bunk areas being up stairs. Sleeper buses come complete with the usual audio-visual systems.

Sleeper bus prices start at £480.00 a day but include the driver as well as fuel and oil costs.

There are extremely strict regulations in Europe concerning driver working hours, driving times and rest periods. These will greatly affect your touring schedule, making some planned routings impossible.

Equipment

One major logistical and financial problem that you as a North American touring act face is transporting your musical equipment. You cannot easily or cheaply fly with your equipment on the plane unless your instruments are small, light and well cased.

Standard hold baggage limits of most US airlines is 20KG per person; a standard sized suitcase containing clothes for a 2-week trip can weigh 20KG!
DJ’s and laptop-based acts are obviously OK in this respect but what about everyone else?

For ‘standard’ rock/pop bands, classical musicians and others you will have to investigate either shipping your equipment over with a freighting company or renting/ buying similar items in your destination territory.

I have had a great deal of experience with both these scenarios and can advise you on which one will save you the most time and money.
I work closely with a number of music-industry friendly freighting companies. I also have excellent relationships with the top back-line rental companies in the UK and on the mainland.

In any case I always advise that you have a ‘pre-production/rehearsal’ period the day before the first show day. This is a good chance for you to assemble the rental and/or shipped gear and make sure everything is working satisfactorily.

Consumables

I thoroughly recommends that you purchase ALL tour consumables (strings, sticks, heads batteries, gaffer/duct tape etc) in the US/Canada and bring them with you. Prices for all these items are on average 20-25% more expensive in UK and mainland Europe.

Cigarette smokers – buy cartons of cigarettes at the ‘Duty & Tax Free’ shops at your US departure airport, especially if you are going to be touring in the UK. A pack of 20 cigarettes in the UK is presently £5.50

 

 

74 thoughts on “Advice for US and Canadian bands touring in Europe

  1. The Malko Tour Service is part of The Architect’s Van Malko Group. We are experienced professionals who have operated in Europe for many years. We provide numerous tour services such as driving, vans (with luxury custom splitters), back line support, crew, management and tour planning (booking accommodations, routing, etc.). All types of music are welcome on board. Find us on fb and www.

  2. We have bands coming to Europe to perform this summer. Any suggestions on how to handle the physical CDs? Are they taxed every time you enter a new country? Should we ship to the venues or carry on the plane? Thanks !

  3. Folks,
    If any of you need information or indeed services I can help you here on mainland Europe.
    I run a backline & tour service from Switzerland.
    I’m British and learnt the trade with JHE in London in the 90’s.
    You will find me Stage managing Rock am RIng Germany or David Gilmour world wide.

    I also have a music service called “Sonic Circus”
    We have toured Swiss independent Bands in the UK.
    I have a run of local Venues and contacts for bands.

    So questions anyone?

    Kind regards

    Simon Perks

  4. Greetings,

    Looking to tour Europe this spring/summer. All I’m really interested in ascertaining is information pertaining to venues. Please advise if you’d be so kind.

    Thank you kindly.

  5. hi my name is Victor i am part of band i play several instruments and sing my band is planning to tour the states and some of europe we have a big fan base in the states europe japan and a growing fan base in korea but hears the problem we are in hawaii they want us to tour really band but as you know $ is a problem, so i came up with an idea one word Kickstarter, so now im working on figuring out the cost of traveling so i know how much to ask for. if you have anything that can help please let me know. thx in advance

  6. We are a punk band traveling seperately from one other, flying into Holland and touring all over w Europe. we are not bringing instruments or equipment since we are borrowing but should we be paranoid about bringing merch with us (shirts and vinyl records) without work visas? Will customs harrass us or not let us through if it looks like we plan to sell things overseas?

  7. Hi Andy,

    I am writing to you regarding my company United Subbies Ltd. We are a courier company based in Sussex with a fleet of Mercedes sprinter vans and trailers with expert drivers. We have vast knowledge of the United Kingdom and Europe and have worked for Global Motion and Sound Moves. We pride ourselves on our work ethic and believe in going that extra mile for complete customer satisfaction. We can assist any band with their requirements for touring the UK and Europe

    Thank you for the opportunity,
    Richard Johnson, Director.
    http://www.unitedsubbies.co.uk
    subbiesinfo@yahoo.co.uk
    07879625993

  8. Ourselves included, here are some experienced and reliable people who’d be happy to help US/Canada bands planning to tour UK & Europe with transport (splitter van, or recommend decent tour bus providers), logistics/budgets/accomodation planning, tour managers, merch, backline, FOH, crew… to suit budget:
    AAA Touring : http://www.aaatouring.com Tel: 011 44-141 538 7853
    A Plus Tours : http://www.aplustours.co.uk
    Kenny @ Red Block (FOH, studio and TM) e: studio[at]redblockmastering[dot]com
    Graeme Beattie (TM) : graemikal[at]gmail[dot]com
    Douglas Laing (FOH & Splitter) : twitter @douglaslaing

  9. Good day.
    I am from the USA, but lived the past 27 years in Europe.
    earlier in 2012, I moved back to the USA and re-formed my band.
    We’re looking to arrange a European tour in 2013 and I found your site while browsing to find a tour manager to help arrange the tour.
    Transportation is no problem.
    Email/Cell phones, (communications) is no problem.
    Currency exchange, etc, is no problem.
    Finding Concert Venues and Booking the shows, is what I am seeking help with.
    Can you assist with booking concerts/shows for us in the UK? and also in mainland Europe?
    Thank you to reply.
    Sincerely,
    Hank Smith

  10. I would like to introduce you to a truly great Music act, Ernie Givens and The White Lies Band.

    We were told that you are searching for a great band in 2013. We have great References and we are the REAL DEAL. I have attached some song “shorts” for your review. There are more Full Version songs and videos, by the band, on our website. They are even better LIVE.

    If you are seeking a truly great group to represent you and your organization, I hope you will give us a look. Our website is http://www.whiteliesband.com come take a look and listen to some great video and audio of the band.

    Featuring great music, a fantastic stage show and great vocals, the band has performed throughout the US and Europe. We are a very professional group of musicians and entertainers, who would like to seek new opportunities in 2013 and beyond.

    We have references that can be provided, and I have included one of those at the end of this message. I hope we can discuss any opportunities you might have. I can guarantee that you will be glad you checked us out. We are simply a class act, dependable and everywhere we go, audiences want to know when we will be back. Call me and let’s discuss pricing.

    Sincerely, Wes England
    269-635-1231
    269-845-3258
    wesre@att.net

    ACTUAL RESPONSES to PERFORMANCES:

    Oh my Gosh Wes…I have heard so many positive comments from people about the band that night. I received 3 phone calls during the party telling me how wonderful everything was. So many nice compliments ! Jules also told me that you agreed to play at our picnic at the end of June. I was so happy to hear that. You have no idea how much I wanted to be at the party. Thanks for all your efforts in working with us at the club. I’m sure that the word of how fun it was that night is being passed around. Word gets spread to other clubs very fast. Thanks for everything Wes

    If you are searching for a multi talented country band that will add entertainment and fun to your party, then look no further!
    Ernie Givens and The White Lies Band will meet and surpass any expectations you could possibly have for a country band.
    If fact, if these country boys can’t set your toes a tapping then your foot must be asleep. We have had all kinds of bands play at our club but this band performs on a much higher level. The perfect mix of fun and professionalism. Ernie Givens and The White Lies Band are the definition of country gentlemen

    Craig F. Bonifas
    Phoenix Club President
    Aurora, Ill.

    Hi Wes –

    Just wanted to get in touch with you (and all the guys) to extend our most humble thanks to all of you for the fantastic evening we had when you were here recently. Everyone down here at the campground absolutely raved about the band. And around here, word spreads fast and I know everyone will remember “Ernie Givens and the White Lies Band” for a long, long time!

    You’re definitely the best entertainment this campground has ever had! We’re all looking forward to seeing you here again next year. In fact, we’re trying to organize an outing for many of us to come out to see you when you play in Ottawa in September.

    Again, from Sandy, Mongo, Jill and the whole gang here at Hide Away Lakes – MANY THANKS – YOU GUYS ROCK!

    Hide Away Lakes
    Yorkville, Illinois

    Hey Wes, I can’t say enough about the positive feedback I got from everyone about your band performance on 9/22. You guys did an amazing job! Everyone thought I was some kind of hero for finding you guys! Please feel free to forward this along to your band mates. I loved how enthused everyone was in wanting yuz to do an encore song or two.
    Thanks for the great entertainment!

    Don Flynn
    Sons of the American Legion (S.A.L.)

  11. Dear Madam/Sir,

    My name are chukwuma highceny udeh from calle guash 91 4-1 badalona, barcelona spain 08913.i m a singer i m seeking for an invitation letter to visit your college as soon as possible.i want to visit your open house october 25 and 26th.or for visit
    Regards
    chukwuma udeh

  12. This is all quite informative, thank you very much!

    My band, LORE, is coming to Europe this summer, from Bon Iver’s own, Eau Claire, Wisconsin and our team is well acclimated with this line of sight!

  13. Hi,

    Informative article.
    I run many, many tours in the UK & EU for overseas acts coming over on small budget tours. We have multiple splitter vans, quality backline, tour manager / drivers and front of house guys (or even someone who can do all three roles) plus merch. We like to think we are the most affordable outfit in the UK (based in London). At the prices you have quoted for a van alone, we provide a fully tour managed van (with TM / driver to take care of you).

    Oh, and I come from 9 years as a ‘nice’ music promoter and actually promoted one of the Scissor Sisters’ first UK shows in 2004 to 150 people!

    Drop me an email for a tour quote or more advice:
    info@blacklighttours.co.uk
    http://www.blacklighttours.co.uk

    PS: a pack of Marlboro cigarettes is more like £7 now!

  14. Hey Andy,
    Love this forum for info concerning European touring. Very informative, and helpful.
    I recently moved to Spain, and loving it here. I had planned on putting Music to rest, but with all the Local enthusiasm for me to play, I started a new band here in Spain, and can´t wait to hit the road again. Thanks for all your words.
    Wallace
    Tiny Little Indians

  15. Hello,
    I am working with a young progressive rock band from the US (Nashville, TN) area. They currently play locally and regionally in the states but they are currently working on booking a first time trip the UK in May for 2 weeks to gig in London and some surrounding cities (Leeds, Bath, Stratford possibly). The booking agent is still working on exact dates and places at this time.

    I work with them more logistically and I have never worked with a band to play outside of the U.S.. I assume I need to rent most of gear needed vs trying to ship it there and avoid the costs, associated risk of loss or damage. Once there, where to store it and how to get the gear to the designated venues on time and back to where it will be stored for the next show. I think they are shooting for 5-7 shows over a 2 week time frame.

    The band consists of a 5 players.
    • Lead guitar (lead vocal too)
    o Will bring guitars/pedals but need an amp
    • Back up/rhythm guitar
    o Will bring guitars/pedals but need an amp
    • Bass Guitar (and background vocal)
    o Will bring guitars/pedals but need an amp
    • Keyboard player (and background vocal)
    • Drummer
    o Will bring his own kick drum pedal, cymbals, and snare drum.

    Any suggestions and help in this is welcome.

    Cheers,

    Chris Brock

  16. Hello,
    Our label has a very successful artist in Russia, and needs a tour manager to assist set up and attending to festival dates in EU and individual club dates during mid 2012.

  17. Hi Andy,

    I manage a Rock N’ Roll band from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada called “The Zili’s”. As the band “Dean Lickyer” they’ve been touring extensively across Canada within recent years playing for the likes of Bon Jovi, KISS, and many more. Since the singer left, we are starting over with the same style of music, but would like to reach across to the UK in hopes to build or fan base over there first opposed to tackling the horribly small market in Canada; similar to how Kings Of Leon did it. I am however, well aware that KOL had signed to a major with copious amounts of funding and marketing power. My question is how should be approach heading to the UK to play? Should we contact indie labels hoping that they’ll work with us or are there ways to do it ourselves?

    We do not plan to head overseas until 2013 though, which gives us plenty of time to record our new album, music videos, merch, etc.

    I’d appreciate any advise that you have for an experienced new band looking to fund themselves overseas!

    btw, you can check out their music video here when they played as “Dean Lickyer”
    http://www.q107.com/VideoChannels/YourBandForBonJovi/View.aspx?PostID=36044

    Thanks for your time!

    Drew Maillet

  18. hey Andy, WOW great site for the up and strumming as well all levels of professional success i really appreciate how your willing to share your experience strength and Hope with those of us caught in the web and love of the musical path just wanted to drop you this line for now. im currently working on my own central and west coast US tour this should incluede a Live weekly music based late night broadcast for branding and a making of the tourshow as well the Live Tour footage all this in part to benefit MDA with and when a few more of the ducks line up in my row i will most definately be in touch with you and yours until then THANK YOU for the inspiration and insite Temple Monte

  19. HI EVERYONE,

    I’m julien from ROAD TO YELL TOURVANS, and I definitly agree on what was exposed in the article here.
    I’d like to present what we do, as almost said explicitly in the title, we provide splitter vans and also all the services a band/artist will need on tour :
    tech teams (soundman, tourman…)
    gear (basic rock ‘n roll sets with guitar amps, bass amps, drumkits)
    and most important, the best prices in FRANCE for european tours.

    feel free to contact us for any details, been touring with different american bands in europe so far.

    website : http://www.roadtoyell.com

    take care,
    julien / R.T.Y

  20. hey, im in a band called Skepsis from montreal, canada. we’ve done two cross canada tours in the past year and would like to eventually tour the states. if anyone has any information on documents/steps to take in order to cross the border, and also any american promoters, it would be greatly appreciated!! if anyone wants to check out our stuff check us out on http://www.myspace.com/skepsismtl and there’s a link to our facebook if that’s easier! thanks a lot!, -sash

  21. Hey there,

    I’m an American living in Holland where I play locally with my Dutch Post-Hardcore band. I’m looking to tour in the U.S. with these guys. Does anyone know how to go about doing that? The scene isn’t as big in Europe as it is in the U.S.

  22. Erin,
    Visas vary country by country depending on where you are from and where you are travelling. (I know as an Australian you will need visas for France). Unfortunately there is no centralised information for this. I suggest that as you get shows booked in each country you ask the local promoter to look into the situation for you.

  23. Hi everyone!

    I am looking for information on Australian bands wishing to set up a small tour in Europe and the UK. I am having trouble finding information on the type of VISAs we would need for Europe. I see that we will need an Entertainer UK Visa though I can’t find anything about European visas. We are not a signed professional band, we do quite well in Melbourne and just want to branch out and play a couple of shows overseas.

    Any information would be wonderful.

    Thanks!

  24. Hi Carrie,
    Do you know of any venues in Scotland who would be interested in booking a touring musician (singer/songwriter) from Portland, ORegon, US?
    THank you!
    Sara

  25. Hi
    What a great article & resource this is!
    I’m part of an Electronic Duo currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. We’re looking to play some gigs across Europe this August (2011) to promote our current album, and I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for booking gigs?
    I’ve done a fair bit of research and contacted a whole bunch of different venues and Festivals but so far there has been little response in the way of offers. I even got some friends to translate my introduction e-mails into the appropriate languages, thinking this might generate a better response, but alas nothing. We don’t have any problems getting gigs in Scotland, so I’m sure there is an audience out there for our music, and album sales are not too bad either.

    Any links or suggestions would be great!
    Or if there are other bands looking to put something together and you know where to look for them….I’m just at a bit of a dead end.

    Many Thanks
    Carrie

    http://www.youtube.com/sacrenoirmusic
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sacre-Noir/153022478082870
    http://www.myspace.com/sacrenoir

  26. Hello Andy,

    I am doing a small tour in front of the Primavera Festival in Barcelona Spain.

    We are flying into:

    Barcelona – this is where we need to pick up the van, because the
    festival bought the tickets this way.
    Lyon, France
    London, England
    Kortrijk, Belgium
    Hamberg, Germany
    Paris, France
    Barcelona – for the Festival

    So you see, any car rental place in Spain I’ve called will not allow us to cross over to the UK.
    I’ve only called major rental places as I don’t speak or read Spanish.
    Does anyone know of a rental place in Barcelona that will allow us to cross into the UK and back?
    Please help! We are due to leave lucky Friday the 13th!
    Thank you,
    Letha

  27. Hi Andy:

    I am the leader and md for the band Shortt Dogg. We are a 8-piece show and dance band, from the southwest US. Our principle genre is R&B with emphasis on high energy funk, soulful ballads with tight three and four part harmony and smooth jazz. I am very interested in European tour opportunities, both festivals and clubs. Can you provide me any information on booking opportunities or how I might go about securing booking for a tour of this type. Thanks for anyh information you can provide.

  28. Hi Nick!
    What festival are you organizing? I don’t know of a master site of bands touring Europe, but I’ll be touring with 2 bands this summer. BugGiRL from Australia (www.BugGIRL.net) and Adrian and the Sickness from the US (www.adrianandthesickness.com). We’re playing several shows in Belgium and Germany in April, and planning to go again in August.
    🙂
    Heathet

  29. Dear all,

    As an organisator of a small festival in Belgium, I’m wondering if there is somewhere an overview of groups touring in Europe this summer. Hope someone can direct me in the right direction.

    Regards,

    Nick

  30. Hi there

    Excellent article and very insightful! I’m trying to reverse engineer all the details you’ve posted though and switch it the other way round because I’m coming from the opposite direction and sorting out a few weeks in Canada for two UK bands I’m currently working with. If you know of any resources that would be helpful then that would be great!

    Many thanks and all the best
    Daniel

  31. Hi Andy,

    I have a Hollywood based hard rock/metal band with great material but only a local following! We would like to get an opening slot for a more established band to tour Europe. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or hear of a band looking for an opening act.

    Cheers.
    Marcus

  32. I am an American currently living in Germany. I have a professional Urban gospel group of American professionals and I want to start touring in Europe. Does anyone have any connections to Promoters, Event organizers, and tour organizers? I’d be grateful for any assistance I can get!

    Thanks a lot!
    http://www.facebook.com/son.of.levi

  33. I am an American currently living in Germany. I have a professional Urban gospel group of American professionals and I want to start touring in Europe. Does anyone have any connections to Promoters, Event organizers, and tour organizers? I’d be grateful for any assistance I can get!

    Thanks a lot!
    www,facebook.com/son.of.levi

  34. Hi Andy, Just came across your website and I am really impressed with your coverage and insight into Touring abroad etc … I own a PA & Backline company here in Dublin Ireland and would love to put my contact details out there for any musicians or bands planning a trip to our shores. We pride ourselves on having a really good working relationship with our touring clients coming over to gig here and like to help them out with any planning that needs to be done prior to their trip. Our rates are very reasonable and we can customize a backline & pa rig that suits their budget. Our contact details are as follows;
    Session Music Dublin, (E) info@smdrental.com (W) http://www.smdrental.com (t) +353 86 2650590
    Best Regards
    Collie

  35. Hi Andy!

    There is a bit of a typo error in the “Electricity and Voltages” section:
    The US and Canada are at 60Hz….not 50Hz!
    In Europe (including the UK) it is 50Hz, or should be. The voltage in my experience is running around the 220-240V mark. Some areas such as remote parts of Russia or remote areas of ex-Eastern Bloc countries can run down to your lower figure of 180V which can make gear like Midas consoles behave a little strangely.
    A lot of electrical equipment can cope with cycle instability but for those using stuff with synchronous motors (ie. vintage Hammond organs) you need to be spot on to keep the beast in tune, 49Hz instead of 50 is going to give you a pile of trouble. Check that any hired Hammonds have the appropriate voltage convertor and cycle stabiliser for countries that you will be playing in. Also if you play at a venue or festival which uses external generators always check the cycles it is set to…..if it’s out, find the genny operator to tweak it!
    It actually became such a PITA for the band I work for who have a Hammond that we switched to using a Nord C1….lol!

  36. Andy,

    No worries about the late reply! Thank you very much for your response, and for the link to T&S. That’s very helpful!

  37. Lauren,

    A band touring in a foreign country is ‘working’ in that country and will probably need a working visa. Your fictional band would most definitely need visas and each country within the EU has its own visa requirements – the ones for the UK are particularly complex.

    T & S Immigration http://www.tandsimmigration.co.uk/ can answer most of your questions regarding entertainment visas for the UK.

    Hope this helps?

  38. Hi there! I’m a fiction writer doing research for a story that involves a band touring in Europe. This is a fantastic resource, so I wanted to start by saying thank you for writing it up! I just had a question about travel documents that might be needed for the band in my story. Assuming the band (all US citizens) is traveling only within EU countries, would there be visas required, or not? And, if so, do you know what kind? I know that US citizens who are just traveling in the EU can stay for six months without a visa, and that work permits are required to work for a company based in the EU, but unfortunately none of the resources I’ve been able to turn up have been able to tell me what requirements a touring band might have to fill!

    Any information you can provide, no matter how basic, would be extremely helpful! And thank you again for putting together this lovely article!

  39. Hi Andy,
    I have successful planned a tour to Italy and the UK for my US band, but just had a panic attack thinking that I might have some trouble at Italian immigration with a suitcase full of merch (cds, tshirts). I have a Certificate of Sponsorship all set up for my UK portion of the tour but do not currently have any documentation for Italian immigration. We are giving most of merch away for free so I assumed I wouldn’t have any problems, but just wanted to make sure. Do you have any idea where I could find out the exact documentation I would need to have a smooth entrance into Italy?
    Thanks, Denise

    • Denise,

      I am not sure what documaentation you need in advance, it will probably be done on entry.

      All countries will impose some kind of tax on any items you sell in their country, usually by taxing you as you enter. You then claim back tax on unsold items as you leave that country.

      As you can imagine its a lengthy and costly affair.

      Ideally you should be able to prove these items are ‘commercial samples’ and not for sale.

      Speak to your Italian promoters and/or Italian embassy website for advice or translation.

      What is your band?

  40. Hi guys as i have seen a few of you ask.

    You will not get paid if you are an unknown band in this area (UK) generally speaking. Unless you make exceptional efforts to get a bit of diesel covered or randomly the place is packed out (for the local headliners) you may get a small bit of cash thrown your way.

    *obviously this is for original bands, a covers band you can demand money, but still not a massive amount*

  41. If you are touring Europe and Canada and looking for free places to crash at be sure to also check out Better Than The Van, we help to connect touring bands with hosts across the US, Canada and Europe.

  42. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for your response to my previous question.

    Unfortunately I was unsuccessful with the opportunity I spoke of above but not for the concerns I raised but because I only speak English.

    This was a concern for the Production Company as the cast consisted of many nationals from Asia, Europe, Latin America & The Caribbean and if I am to manage them, then I need to be able to communicate with them.

    In your vast experience, which languages would be beneficial at least touring within Europe? I know Swiss can understand & speak German even though its not the same for the Germans in return but whatever you can share, I would be very grateful.

    It would seem (as you have hinted before) that the modern Tour Manager should not only be experienced in Business, Finance, Taxes, Immigration, Customs, Customer Services, “the art of negotiation” & Logistics but it would seem that a knowledge or experience of other languages is also expected.

    Thank You.

    http://fingazz.co.uk

    info@fingazz.co.uk

    • English is the primary language of the music industry throughout Europe In my experience. You will have very little problems conversing within the industry and, in most of Europe, English is used for any interfacing businesses such as hotels, car rental, immigration and consular services.

  43. Hi all,

    Some really useful stuff here.
    I am writing from London, UK to ask your advice on the possible sources of funding available to Canadian bands looking to tour and promote themselves abroad, particularly the UK.
    I’m aware of the work of CAAMA and Canadian Music Week in promoting Canadian talent and I can see there are many organisations and programs which provide support and funding like the SOCAN foundation, for example, but this seems geared towards classical music.
    I would greatly appreciate any advice on what a Canadian Band would do to try to get this kind of funding as we would like to help a Canadian act promote themselves over here in England.

    Many thanks to all

    Will
    http://www.believedigital.com
    will.headlam-wells@believedigital.com

  44. Hello all, we just found this site and are laying the ground work for a couple weeks stint in Europe in November/December 2010. We have financial backing and will have CD’s/merch ready. Who do I talk to for info on booking agents, the knowledgeable etc… We are quite green when it comes to Europe and any info would help greatly. The music is good and we’ve all been in bands and toured before. We are trying more or less to get to Europe directly. I’m a bit at a loss for direction so anything from someone experienced in these fields? Much obliged.

  45. Contact each of the local promoters or regional agents and ask for their advice on foreign workers in their country. They should be able to point you in the right direction and advise you on visa application procedures if necessary.

    Carnet – again ask the local promoters or regional agents or contact one of the big transport companies such as Stardes or Stage Trucks. I am pretty sure its only really needed to go in and out of Switzerland these days.

  46. Hi Andy,

    I’m an upcoming Tour Manager, successfully delivering carnival related shows consisting of singers, masqueraders and steel bands within the UK.

    I now have the unique opportunity to takes these artists on tour throughout the EU. The trouble is my experience on Carnets & VISA’s is weak. I have contacts regarding transport, venues etc in various countries of the EU and your information above (and the entire site for that matter) is very useful but; where/how do I start on getting a tour consisting of 50 artists and 20 crew from EU & NON EU countries sorted so there’s no Immigration & Customs issues?

    You’re guidance in the matter would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thank You.

  47. Hello I am in a Canadian band that is looking to do a tour in either Brazil, or Italy. We would appreciate any advice you could give us as to the documents required to tour, logistical costs, the likely pay from shows, etc. Basically information on which country would be better and why. Also, if available, links to sites where we can compare the two countries more in depth.

    We would be playing 6-10 shows in roughly the same amount of days.

    Thanks!

    • Shane,

      It really depends on where you are selling the most music and have the most fans.

      No such links to compare two countries – unless you are looking to go on vacation!

      Go where your fans are, thats the only advice i can give.

  48. Anyone who wants to get paid should NOT respond to Patrick Creedon, at JKMP ENT LLC-he owes several booking agents money as well as other companies that he has worked with. Beware!

  49. I was wondering if anyone can can give me a ball park figure of what average pay would be for a generally unknown U.S band playing Clubs in UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Etc. for budgeting purposes. The band would be rock/ blues/ alternative style. Playing 5-7 nights a week.

    Thank you,

    Patrick Creedon
    JKMP ENT LLC

  50. Hi Andy,my name is Spencer,I’m also roadcrew & I was wondering if you could use my skills in the future,

    CURRICULUM VITAE

    Personalia:
    Name

    Frank Hoogewoud
    Date of Birth

    06-08-64
    Sex

    Male
    Adress

    Tolhuisstr.178
    Postalcode & City

    3072LV Rotterdam
    Country

    Netherlands
    E-mailadres

    spencer@zeelandnet.nl
    Phonenumber

    0031640774618

    Education
    Periode
    Education

    1976-1980
    MAVO-3 Goes Netherlands
    Highschool
    1980-1984
    Free Acadamie Den Hague Netherlands
    Audiovisual Dept.

    Workexperience:
    Periode Function Company/Band
    2006-2010 Soundengineer Arcturus No.
    2001-2010 Soundengineer CT-AV Rotterdam NL
    2009 Soundengineer/stage manager/drumtech/backliner Vain Productions NL
    1997-2009Soundengineer/Tour-stage manager Mayhem NO
    2004-2006 ChiefSoundengineer Now & Wow Rotterdam
    2001-2004 Soundengineer Waterfront Rotterdam
    2001 Soundengineer/Tour-stage manager DeeDee Ramone USA
    1997 Soundengineer/Tour-stage manager Voivod Can
    1996 Soundengineer Incantation Euro-tour1996,US-tour1996 Incantation USA
    1993 Soundengineer Fear Factory Euro-tour1993/1995,English Fear Factory USA
    1995 tour1993,US-tour1995.Dynamo1995 Metalysee Agency Be.
    1991-2006 Soundengineer/Tour-stage manager Metalysee Agency Be.
    1986-1991 Soundengineer/Tour-stage manager Gorefest NL
    1984 – 1990 Soundengineer Delta PA Zierikzee

    Other bands I worked with;Cannibal Corpse.Immolation,Dark Funeral,Sinister,Suffocation,Mucky Pup,Biohazard,Gorefest,Carcass,The Accused,Dark Angel,Fear Factory, Emperor,Red Harvest,Mastodon,Fugazi,No Means No & many more

    Drivers licence:
    BE, D

    Languages:Dutch,English,German,

  51. Hey How you are?
    My name is Alex and Im in a band called Outspoken. Were from Canada. I wanted to know if you could help us book or if you know someone who can help us book festivals in the U.K and as well in Europe for 2010.

    Please let me know

    Thank You

    • Its going to be difficult for you to get UK & Euro festivals if you have never toured there before and have no audience.

      European & UK promoters can be found in the Showcase Direcory (www.showcase-music.com). Live Nation are the main playesr (as in N.America & Canada) and you should also see Festival Republic, DF Concerts, SJM, MCD and Metropolis (UK) and FKP Scorpio, Target and Luger in Europe.

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