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May 3, 2018

Hit the Road: Planning Mini Tours

While booking a national, sold-out tour of stadiums might be your eventual goal, everyone has to start somewhere! Planning a mini tour is a great way to dip your feet into the world of touring, meet more of your fans and make some money. If you are ready to hit the road on a series of mini tours, here’s what you need to know to get started.

Decide on a Timeline

Leave yourself plenty of time to start the booking process and get everything ready for your first show. If you will be touring in cities that you have traveled to before, you’ll have an advantage and won’t need quite as much time. You should probably start the process about 5 months before the first tour date, and every venue and date should be set in stone no later than 2 months in advance. If you are not familiar with where you’re headed, you should leave more time.

Choose a Route

Routing for mini tours will never be exactly perfect, but minimizing the time you spend backtracking is essential. Google Maps is a great free tool for plotting out where you will visit and deciding on the best possible order and route. If you don’t have a big crew traveling with you (you probably won’t!), it’s best to keep drives less than 6 hours on a day you’ll be playing a show, and under 10 hours on an off day. Spreading your drives out will stop you from burning out and give you extra time in case of an emergency.

Find the Venues

Once you’ve chosen what cities you want to visit on your mini tour, you need to find the right venues. Are you a singer-songwriter? A coffee shop, cultural center, art gallery, listening room or theatre might be a perfect fit. Are you a rock group? Festivals, block parties and clubs are a better match. If you want help finding good venues and getting practical advice, try using an online resource like Indie on the Move.

State Your Case

The vast majority of talent buyers at different venues operate via email. Keep your pitch short and sweet and don’t overwhelm them with information. In the subject line, place the date and any other bands on the bill. Check the venue calendar in advance to ensure there isn’t another event on that date. Include a link to one of your performances (YouTube is great for this) and a link to your website or social media. Explain your connection to the area and how many fans you think will attend the show. More than anything else, buyers care about that!

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