How to Use a Tour Off-Day Creatively

– Posted in: NEGOTIATION

You’ve done everything possible to fill each day with bookings, and yet you still end up with one day, between gigs. You don’t have to drive and you don’t have to play. Depending on how long you’ve been on the road, you might want to simply sleep or catch up on emails or write a new song. If however you have done a brilliant job of planning and this day off is no accident, a great deal of business can be accomplished. Here are some ideas to help you pass your next off-day more productively.

The Media:

Having an extra day in the town where there is an upcoming gig affords you ample opportunity to take advantage of the local media outlets. Since you previously advanced your date, you are already aware of the local media that caters to your style of music.

Perhaps you already scheduled a live radio interview or performance at one of the local TV stations. If not, this would be a great time to drop in, especially if you know the time a particular DJ is on air or when they are live rather than during a syndicated taped portion of their air day.

Many TV networks, affiliate stations produce local noon news shows. Some of these shows will have live guests, especially those that have a community events calendar segment. Check ahead about this kind of programming. There may also be specialty show programming on public television or community and educational TV channels. Some advance research may land you on a show reaching thousands.

Print media opportunities also await for those day-before-show interviews with local daily papers. Scheduling these would certainly have required pre-planning while advancing the tour.

Use a day-off to schedule phone interviews with media for upcoming tour dates. Since you already have the phone number of the hotel where you’ll be staying, you can line up phone interviews for a certain segment of time during the day. Keep them tightly scheduled in order to cover a number of upcoming cities.

Live Promotional Appearances:

Having an extra day prior to a gig opens the opportunity for some teaser shows. These may take the form of an in-store appearance at a record retailer. Pre-planning this promotional event would be necessary. This may be an actual performance or simply a CD-signing event. Short teaser sets at shopping malls, chain bookstores or coffee shops help push advanced tickets and sell CDs. To set up shows at Borders,; Barnes & Noble,; or Starbucks,, you must contact the community relation’s director for each individual store. They list their stores on their websites with names, addresses, phones and store number. Some Starbucks have an area coordinator who books talent for a number of stores within one region.

You may also want to check with local university student activities’ offices. This may turn into an actual booking in the future. They often have mid-day concerts in non-traditional performance places, such as the lounge or cafeteria. You might pre-arrange a teaser set with the concert committee for a free noon show to be used as an audition for a booking in the future. Similarly, fraternity houses often have luncheons where a teaser show or paid gig might be booked. All of these things provide new names for the mailing list, potential merchandise sales and ticket buyers for the show the next night. Keep teaser sets short, since they are free. Leave them wanting to hear more.

Alternative Sales Locations:

Advanced promotion is all about expanding your audience. Having an extra day in a tour date city allows you to explore new outlets for ticket-buying audiences as well as potential sales outlets for your CDs.

Think about your audience. If you have a sense of your audience–where they shop for clothes, food, what restaurants they are likely to frequent and in what activities they often participate, then you are able to identify potential new markets for your CDs and ticket sales. Place flyers for upcoming shows in these stores, (with permission, of course). Perhaps the owner would play your CD over their system and display your CD at the cash register, next to the flyer announcing your upcoming show. If this is a particularly good location, often frequented by your fans, perhaps you can set up a consignment or sales outlet for your CDs. This requires a bit of organization on you part, but may be well worth it, if you think the sales potential is right.

Business Meetings:

Depending on the city, any off-day may be the perfect time to schedule business meetings with your artistic team, band members or record label. If you were attempting to find agents, managers or labels and are near their location, this would be a perfect time to have set up a meeting in advance. If you are trying to get booked at a specific venue for the next time you tour in the area, stop by the venue and drop off your promotional packet in person–try to meet the booking contact.

You may have also scheduled this off-day because there was a conference in town where you might be able to showcase or meet with industry personnel. It is often difficult to maximize all the benefits from such a conference in a single day, but when the opportunity is there in mid-tour, better to use that one day to its fullest. I’ll discuss showcasing and booking conferences in detail in another article.

Personal Activities:

There are many possibilities for personal day-off activities. If you are looking for a relaxing day off rather than one filled with work, try to explore each city you tour through. Even the smallest town may have something unique to offer. Even though you are touring as part of your business, there are no rules that say you can’t take in a museum, a sporting event, explore the parks or beaches. Check out the town’s athletic facilities, fine restaurants, attend a yoga class or get a message. Be kind to yourself while on tour and experience as much as the town has to offer. On days when there is actually time to see more than your hotel room, take the opportunity. Your touring experience and your life will be much richer for it.

And, I invite you to learn more about this and other topics important to your career development and to sign up for free weekly audio Biz Booster Hot Tip! Every Monday you’ll get another valuable strategy and technique that you can put to use immediately. You’ll find helpful books, career development seminars, Booking & Touring Success Strategies & Secrets online course and information on booking tours, the music business and performing arts. It’s all waiting for you at Jeri Goldstein is the author of, How To Be Your Own Booking Agent The Musician’s & Performing Artist’s Guide To Successful Touring, 3rd Edition.

* If you would like to reprint any of these articles, please contact Jeri Goldstein for permission.

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