The job of band tour managers is to get people and equipment to the same place at the same time in order to make a rock show happen. The job is always a challenge. Whether the show is a one off tiny bar gig or an international stadium tour the challenge is the same – can I make it work?
I like a challenge. And usually, because I have done hundreds of shows and been on tour for nearly twenty years, I just apply my knowledge and experience to the challenge and it all becomes very easy.
The particular tour or event is then just routine.
Routine is good – but I like a challenge.
Which is good because I think the latest job I have taken on is going to be a real challenge.
Will I be able to pull this one off? I don’t know. I do know that this job is certainly going to test my band tour management skills to the limit.
Let me explain.
I have been retained as the Tour Manger/Production Manager for a band who are playing a couple of big music festival shows this summer.
Nothing unusual in that I hear you say. Hire a sleeper bus, get some road crew, submit a budget to the record company and get on with it. What could be simpler?
Well actually, there are a great many things that are simpler than the logistics surrounding this particular tour.
Firstly, a bit of background. The band in question is comprised of the some of the members of another band who were very successful in the 90’s, earning a gold disc for their debut album and touring with the likes of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Black Crowes, Supergrass, Oasis and Pearl Jam. That band then split up in the early 90’s.
Some of the members of the previous band have now started a new project. And through a combination of hard work, networking old contacts and backed by a solid reputation this new band has been offered the chance to play these two major festival shows.
The slot the band is supposed to play at these shows is on the festival main stage. This means this completely unknown band will play to a combined audience of 40,000 people for the two shows. This is an unbelievable opportunity for a new act; these will be their first shows in Europe and they will be playing to 40,000 people -obviously they should play these shows!
That’s all the good news. The bad news is that the new band is based in New York. The festivals shows they are playing are in London, England and Dublin, Republic of Ireland. The band is not signed or releasing any records; there is no record company involved. As there is no record company involved there is no tour support.
This means there is no money available to do these shows other than the performance fees. (The amount the band will get paid for the shows)
The fees are £3000.00. (This is equal to nearly $6000.00 at today’s exchange rates which is pretty healthy amount of money for playing two rock shows. However, as all my costs are going to be this side of the pond [in the UK] then I need to use the £3000.00 figure).
This amount is not a lot when you consider I need to to get 4 musicians over from New York, hotels for 4 days, transport, crew wages, back line equipment rental and other tour costs paid for.
See what I mean about a challenge? I’m off now to get some budgets worked out!
More next time….