24 Booking & Touring Tips


By Bernard Baur


1. You need a recording that is mixed and mastered, and a performance video.

2. Prepare enough material for at least two full sets (40 to 60 minutes per set).

3. Include “cover songs” to engage the audience. But, make them your own.

4. Prepare an “acoustic set” — just in case there are sound problems.

5. Find the most popular acts and promoters in an area; contact them and try to hook up a show or two with their help. Offer to do the same for them.

6. If you have a story, contact the local media: press, radio, cable shows, etc.

7. Try to book an “anchor gig” — one that will cover most of your expenses.

8. Smart Route your tour. Book shows along your route — especially to and from your anchor gig.

9. Determine which areas and venues are best for you; book them regularly.

10. Determine what tour schedule suits you best, i.e. three days, 10 days, etc.

11. Try to get a sponsor or investor to help with expenses.

12. Negotiate fee guarantees, sound, backline and (if possible) food and lodging.



1. Develop your home base first. Then, expand your bookings to other areas.

2. Plan a route within a day’s driving distance (50 to 100 miles).

3. Target an area where a “demand” exists — or where you want to create one.

4. Do NOT tour nationally (or too many areas) until you conquer a region.

5. Start small, with a two or three day tour, and work your way up.

6. Build a “Circuit.” You MUST play the “same” venues on a regular basis. If you don’t return every two or three months you’ll lose fans and momentum.

7. If you did well at a particular venue, book another show IMMEDIATELY — before you leave. In fact, if you did as well as you thought, bookers will offer you dates.

8. When critical mass is achieved (sold-out Shows), expand your area again.

9. Try to get a “residency” at your most successful venues.

10. Once established in an area, expand it by another 50 to 100 miles.

11. Promote via your Social Networks. Upload daily photos, blogs, videos, etc.

12. Touring is about exposure and promotion. Do NOT expect to make money on the first few tours. Most artists don’t see a profit until they’re an established touring act. Your first goal should be to simply break even.