How to survive touring on-the-road

Advice for on-the-road tour survival is very popular at the moment. Dr.Wendy Fonarow (aka ‘the indie professor’) posted this recently. I’m glad to see my advice on letting the sleeper bus driver know you have left the bus is mentioned. There is also some information about surviving touring from a musician ,giving some pretty stern advice for dealing with touring in a van and playing smaller shows.

I’d like to add my own advice for dealing with strange gigs and long tours:

  • Make sure you learn how to nap—sleep anytime you possibly can.
  • Buy earplugs and eyeshades to enable you to sleep anywhere, especially on the sleeper bus.
  • Make sure your cell phone has the loudest alarm known to (wo)man.
  • Get a backup alarm as well.
  • Never rely on hotel wakeup calls.
  • Drink plenty of water all day.
  • Make the tour manager strike meats and cheeses from the rider deli tray. Meats and cheeses go off pretty quickly in a warm dressing room. This can cause food poisoning.
  • Don’t store any food in the bus fridge. Food left in a tour bus fridge tends to stay in there for a long time because no-one is responsible enough to tidy up the fridge. Eventually this old food will go mouldy. Mould can contaminate other food, again causing food poisoning.

Finally, touring is murder on relationships. Friends, family, and significant others get resentful of the amount of time that you are away. The worst part is when you promise to call, and some disaster takes place on the tour, and you end up being super busy when you should be calling home. This does not go over well.

Work hard at keeping your communications current—an e-mail or text message twice a day will keep you in people’s heart and minds.

3 thoughts on “How to survive touring on-the-road

  1. I drink as much water as my belly can take before I go to bed, this helps in waking up early or soon after sleeping(if there is only a couple of hrs to rest). It works every time even if my alarm fails! Sometimes I even wake up before my alarm!

    Read it in an article on native Americans who used this strategy, the night before hunting buffalo, so they could wake up before the sunrise. Really works for me 🙂

    Happy touring!

  2. I’m looking to get into Wardrobe touring. I’ve got a strong background in wardrobe, garment construction and alterations. What I don’t have is touring experience and while my current game plan is sending my resume and portfolio to any producers that I locate or anyone posting that they need help on job boards all I’ve gotten is nibbles and the comment that I don’t have any touring experience.

    My question is how do I overcome the lack of touring experience if no one will hire me? What would you change and are shows not actively taking along wardrobe personnel?

    Thank you.

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