Our top 8 DIY touring tips

Published 23 October 2018
You’re there to play shows, so your gear is your priority – this isn’t the time to bring your whole wardrobe in a suitcase. That said, don’t bring unnecessary gear either. Do you really need all 17 pedals on your board during your set? You’re going to be the one loading it in and out of the venues, so really think about what you need.
Write out a schedule including where you need to be and what time. Have all the contact details for the venues and places you’re staying on hand, so if you’re stuck in traffic or have any problems, you can call ahead to let the appropriate people know.
It might be tempting to go out after shows every night, or to spend the daytimes out sightseeing, but when you get to day four of tour and are too tired to move, your performance will suffer. Yes, seeing new cities is exciting, but that isn’t why you’re there. Take care of yourself and don’t go overboard on the activities.
Yes, the drums belong to the drummer, but don’t be that person that won’t help with load in because it’s not your gear. The last thing you need is somebody getting injured because they were lifting too many heavy things on their own. You’re performing as a group, so it’s important to work as one behind the scenes too.
This might be your first time playing in a city where nobody knows you, but if you want to come back again in the future, you’ll need to leave a positive impression. People talk, so being rude to your sound engineer won’t help you on the night or in the long term. Speak to the other acts playing and make connections, you never know when you might cross paths again and need a favour.
If you’re just starting out, you don’t need to have expensive custom-made jackets or anything outlandish – but affordable merch is key. Bring some cheap but professional looking merch to make sure your new fans leave with something to remember you by – and it’ll help you pay for petrol to get to the next city too.
No, not everyone needs their own tech, but an extra pair of hands can go a long way. They can help with load in, cover your merch stand while you’re playing, or even take photos and videos to share on your social media channels. If you’ve got a friend who will do it for free, or even someone who wants the touring experience for their future career path, bring them along and just pay for their food and accommodation. 
Lock your van or car when it’s unattended, even if it’s for five minutes while you run something inside the venue. Don’t leave the boot open with nobody standing there watching, and cover over anything that won’t fit inside the boot with a sheet. When you’ve loaded in, make sure your gear is in a safe place – don’t leave it next to the bar where drinks can spill, and don’t assume you can just leave it anywhere there’s space. Most venues have designated areas for storing equipment on gig nights, so always ask if you’re not sure.
Protect your instrument/equipment by getting a quote online.