How to organise a music tour?
January 11, 2006 6:13 PM   Subscribe

How to become a music promoter?

How would I organize a European tour for a well established modern jazz quintet? Where to find contacts, and how set up gigs?
posted by semmi to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
1) Find a band that is in the same style. Find their tour history.

2) Get contact information for all the clubs that the other band toured.

3) Call all the clubs, ask who handled booking for that show. Get contact info.

4) Put together a promo package consisting of a CD, a onesheet, and a personal letter which gives details about the tour, including the potential dates for the show.

5) Mail promo pack to all promoters/clubs.

6) Find another band in the same style. Repeat three or four times.
posted by Jairus at 6:49 PM on January 11, 2006

Jairus sums it up pretty much.

Honestly, the answer is you just DO it. There's no magical voodoo to it at all, you just do it. The reason you're a promoter and someone else isn't is because you got off your ass and called a few venues and asked if they had open dates.

At the end of the day, being a music promoter is mostly just organizing things and making phone calls. It can be a ton of work, don't get me wrong, but really all you have to do to book shows is.. well... all the stuff you'd think you'd have to do!

For my music promotion organization, I wrote a document on how to book a show that's a bit "my locale centric", but might help you with some of the basics.

For other resources, you might want to check out my gratuitous but definitely on topic [self link]. The forums would probably be a good resource for you, as well as, at least from the perspective of finding ideas of things you'll need to find in europe, the local resource page.
posted by twiggy at 7:34 PM on January 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

Honestly, the answer is you just DO it. There's no magical voodoo to it at all, you just do it. The reason you're a promoter and someone else isn't is because you got off your ass and called a few venues and asked if they had open dates.

Yup. There's not much more to say than this.
posted by Jairus at 7:43 PM on January 11, 2006

This part may be obvious, but remember it: your success depends on local support. You can plan all you want from far away, but only the people at the local clubs in the weeks leading up to the gig and on the day of the gig will be able to promote and support you. After you know which clubs you are going to play, start communicating with those people. Make sure they get plenty of nice promotional stuff in plenty of time to use it effectively. Woo them -- you want them to love your band long before you get there. Ask them what they want and how soon they need it. They will need time to translate promotional text into the local language, design or adapt posters, and get things printed.

You might consider a web page or mailing list devoted to the tour insiders, including all the clubs you're hitting. That makes sure they always have access to whatever they need to know about the group and your visit. Add lots of downloadable hi-res photos, sound samples, etc. Make it easy on the local promoters. But also write personal messages to local contacts to make sure they know you care about making the event (which is also their event in their club) a big artistic and financial success.

And remember that this one tour with one group could become future tours with this group and other groups through the same towns and clubs. Grab things as you go -- snatch a copy of every bit of promo material you can get, all the local-language material -- so that you and the local promoters will have that much of a head start the next time you go through that country. Get electronic copies of promo material if you can. Take pictures of the venues so you'll have a record of the setup, maybe hints to help you prepare for playing in certain places. Note all the problems, all the failures, all the pains in the ass, as well as all the stuff that worked, all the wonderful stuff. Keep a list of local contacts. You will build your own database, learn a lot, and be an order of magnitude better the next time you go around.

Also, if you mean to hit several countries, make sure you are ready to travel: visas, vaccinations, medical and accident insurance, etc. You wouldn't want to discover that some of your performers or crew can't cross borders on time. There may be nothing to worry about, but make sure, and do it very early so they have time to get passports and so on.

You might also ask your local musicians union for advice on touring the continent. Ask about possible hidden costs -- large fees for anything? Big deposits you have to make? Insurance requirements? You don't want to be scraping for money at the last minute. "Hi! I hope I don't wake you up! But, uh, yeah... I'm in Budapest and I need a thousand dollars or they're going to keep me in jail."
posted by pracowity at 2:34 AM on January 12, 2006

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