Touring is one of the most important practices of a successful band. If you have any aspirations at all of making your band or your craft your career it’s important to tour regularly to stay in the public eye and to expand the geographical borders of your audience.

There are few bad reasons to tour. It gives you the opportunity to connect with fans you don’t run into every day. It allows you to promote your new album or EP. It gives you the opportunity to test out new material or hone old standards to an audience of people who will give you visual and realistic feedback. It allows you to meet and discuss your music with new people and new bands. It allows you time to digest the material that you’re working on and potentially come up with new material. It pulls you out of your comfort zone and forces you to focus on performance rather than just doing covers of your own songs. According to Jim DeRogatis of Sound Opinions, it’s one of the easiest ways to find out about new artists.

What can touring do for you in your home environment? When you return from a tour you’ll have a new perspective of your performing skills, a better grasp over your old material, ideas for new material, tricks picked up from bands you’ve met, new contacts that can help you further promote your music, closer bonding with your bandmates, great stories, new ideas for your band, (potential) financial gain from merchandise sales, new fans who will listen to your music, prosthletize, consume, attend your shows.

With all those positives you’d think that every band you know would be mounting tours regularly. This isn’t the case and there are several reasons for it. First, it can seem daunting to book and mount a tour. Second, everyone falls back on the economy negatively affecting shows. This is only partly true but it can contribute to an overall perception that touring is more difficult than it should be.

Is touring difficult? It’s certainly not as easy as getting booked and selling out a show in your hometown. It doesn’t have to be as difficult as the widely held perception though. There are hard and fast rules for how to book a tour, promote a tour, execute a tour and have an impact. Some of them will be discussed at the next Bandcamp (link), some others are mentioned here, here, and here. The question is, where do you want your musical career to go?

In the short term, the easiest way to learn how to book a tour, the responsibilities of a touring artist and improving your merchandise sales on tour, is to attend the next Bandcamp. The next installment of Bandcamp will be held at Caroline Collective on January 4th, 2009. The topic will be Touring and we’ll cover the entire process of touring from the booking to the promotion to the execution of the tour and getting home safe and sound. Speakers include Gretchen Schmaltz of Western Civilization, Sara Winter of Warehouse Live and Terry Crane of Commerciant.

*The biggest bonus for members of the Houston music community looking to book a tour is that we’re going to help you do it. Bandcamp will be taking proposals from bands for length of tour, location, budget, goal. From the submitted proposals we will be booking a tour for one Houston band.*

WHEN: January 4th, 2009, 1-3pm

WHERE: Caroline Collective, 4820 Caroline

WHAT: Bandcamp:TOURING

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