Grassrootsy shares the story of a musician who did her first short tour of the Midwest and had what she describes as a "pretty terrible" experience. Fortunately she thought it through and came up with 5 lessons that are a combination of "I knew that," "I should have known that" and "I didn't expect that." The reality is that if you're embarking on something fairly new you're likely to forget some of the most obvious things you've learned in the past. Add that to what you don't know and lists like this become much more than passing entertainment.
"5 Lessons I Learned From My Terrible Tour" is a solid post from Grassrootsy but I wish I knew who wrote it. I discuss this issue a bit further after the lessons learned from one artist's first short tour in the Midwest.
1) Nice Websites Don't Mean The Venue Will Be Nice
The artist says that usually venues with great websites tend to have their acts together. But she encountered just the opposite on this trip reminding her that more research on venues, including asking fellow artists, is always in order.
2) Just Because You Can Sell Out A Venue At Home...
Though it may seem obvious, even when you're doing well locally it doesn't mean that anyone will show up in a town you've never been.
3) Fellow Artists Are Your Strongest Allies
This artist's best show on the trip was organized by a local artist who then did as much as she could to make the show a success. This artist worked with her to make that happen and it was not only the best show but also the most financially successful.
4) Weeknights Suck
You probably already know this but it should be a key point when you're booking shows. As this artist points out:
"They’re your anchor days and in most cases your weekend shows will make you the most money. Sometimes its easy to forget how strategic your booking should be when you’re just trying to fill holes in your calendar."
5) Be Prepared For The Worst
This is so true for everybody. "What's the worst that can happen" thinking usually involves minimizing the risks rather than preparing for them. This artist emphasizes planning ahead, staying positive and not letting the nutty things that inevitably happen get to you.
Which leads to one of my own biggest lessons in life: It Can Always Get Worse (no matter what your friends who care about you say). So be prepared to deal with that.
Lost Marketing Opportunities
Grassrootsy was created by working artist Joy Ike but you see few signs of personal identity on the site and the occasional use of "we".
I'm pointing this out for two reasons:
A - I don't know who wrote the post and I feel bad about not knowing.
B - That's just one of the lost marketing opportunities on this marketing blog. I guess that's ironic but mostly it's unfortunate.
The main issue overall is the lack of identifiers. How can people know who you are if you don't tell them?
[Thumbnail image "Grapes On Tour" courtesy Jon Candy.]
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