A Week in the Life of a Tour Manager: A Case Study
This was taken from real diary entries written whilst on the Musicfinity tour in early 2008.
Day 1:I am finalising last minute details today, making sure the tour buses will arrive on time tomorrow, making sure all artists, their managers and their entourages will be ready for travelling in the morning. I’m looking at my thunderbird address book and all the people I have to call, I minimise the window and open up the content management system for the Musicfinity site, I create a news story for the front page letting everyone know that the tour is beginning tomorrow night in London.
Day 2:I leave message after message for the label director worrying that he is going to sleep through and miss us coming to pick him up in the tour bus. Finally I get a call back saying that he is ready, which is good because we were outside his house. We pick up the local bands and head from Norwich down to London.
We leave the bands to check into their hotels and head to the venue where it is time to set up all the equipment. I have a good chat with the venue manager as the team begin to set up before moving onto my next duty: sorting out the posters and decorations for the venue.
The gig goes well, the support bands chosen from the Musicfinity website are just what the fans ordered and although we didn’t sell out we could give the venue manager the rest of his money whilst happy that we’d made some profit.
Day 3:Up at 8am today, which is a bit of a lie in, we are heading to Cambridge for the next leg of the tour. There is a lot of waiting around today as the venue won’t let us in until midday, this gives me a chance to sort out hotels for the next few venues.
The sound check worries us a little as the singer of our headline band is suffering with the flu and his voice is nowhere near up to scratch. We order him to sleep until we need him and under no circumstances to speak to anyone. This pays off as he comes to the venue looking a lot brighter than he had done earlier on.
The gig is nowhere near as busy as the London one but the crowd is as just as excitable and obviously enjoyed the music. We also see evidence of the flyers we’d given out and emailed to fans of the site, which meant that the marketing plan we’d devised was working.
Day 4:To Peterborough today although feeling a bit worse for wear, late nights and early mornings are already beginning to take their toll on me. I’m beginning to wonder how I would handle two months of this.
The gig goes so smoothly that we decide to have a small after party in our hotel. From the outset I knew this was going to be a bad idea because I am already tired and adding some alcohol and dancing to that is just going to make me feel worse the next day.
Day 5:Today is our day off, we get to travel to Nottingham and then relax for the day which is good because most of the team are hung-over. However, myself, the director and our headliners for the following night have to attend a press conference. It has been organised since before all the venues were booked so it is something that needs to go right and will hopefully propel the website and the tour into stardom.
The press conference goes well and I am content in the fact that website hits will start going up and more people will be flooding into each venue.
Day 6:The morning is very relaxed and we roll up to the venue at 1pm, quick sound check, a few drinks and then the fans start pouring in, just when you think the venue is full more turn up. It is so exciting seeing people in a venue waiting to see bands that you have put on the stage!
Day 7:The bus breaks down on the way to Sheffield which means we are late for sound check at the venue. The venue manager is less than happy that he’s been waiting around for us. Another brilliant night although I didn’t see much of the gig as I was gathering band members together who thought it was my job to tell them when it was time to get on stage.
All in all a brilliant week, stressful but it gave me an insight into what was to come in the following months and I knew that even without any sleep or a chance to relax I was going to enjoy myself.