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For the last two years, concerts and festivals have been at a halt thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more artists and venues feel comfortable enough to get back to “normal” and start playing shows again. If you’re a musician, you’re probably breathing a sigh of relief, and you also probably have a lot of excitement rushing through your veins at the idea of hitting the road again!
However, after some time away from touring, it may be beneficial to recalibrate your checklists. It might be just like riding a bicycle, but it never hurts to make sure you and your band are as prepared as possible.
The music will always come first, and you probably don’t have to worry about putting on a killer show. But, staying safe, healthy, and comfortable while on tour should be a top priority so you can continue to hit the road for years to come.
With that, let’s cover a few tips you should keep in mind for your upcoming tour. The more you focus on the importance of behind-the-scenes issues, the better your shows and your tour experience will be.
As much as we’d all like to think we’re suddenly living in a COVID-free world, that isn’t the case.
While we’re entering a post-pandemic society, the threat of the virus is still very real. If you or someone in your group is immuno-compromised, you might be at an even greater risk of catching COVID or another virus while on the road. So, instead of going on a traditional full-fledged tour, you might consider dipping your toe back into the lifestyle by only performing outdoor shows or keeping your performances limited to small venues.
It’s also important to remember that COVID isn’t the only threat. When you’re on tour, it’s common to share a van or bus with several other people. You’re also interacting with fans every day, visiting local facilities, restaurants, and more. It’s easy to “catch” something, from a common cold to more serious viruses.
And, as much as you don’t want to “jinx” anything, accidents can happen. Whether someone trips and falls over a cord or ends up with a broken toe from heavy equipment, the last things you want to worry about are illnesses and injuries.
Keeping a first aid kit in your van or bus is a good start, but it’s also essential to make sure you know where local medical facilities are, or how to find them wherever you’re staying.
If you haven’t been touring in a while, you also may not have been making as much money as you used to. While touring isn’t necessarily a cash cow, it’s the lifeblood of many musicians’ careers.
You might have taken on a part-time job or side hustle to make ends meet throughout the last couple of years. There’s no reason that has to stop when you hit the road.
Remote work has become more popular than ever over the last few years, with over 4.7 million people working from home at least half the time. If you have a strong Wi-Fi connection and a few hours to kill each day, you can earn extra money while on tour, which can sustain you and your band and help you to stay on the road longer. Some of the best options for remote work for musicians include
Remote work isn’t for everyone. Some jobs require you to be present during specific hours of the day, and that might not be feasible with your lifestyle. However, if you can find something with flexibility and something you enjoy, you can improve your financial well-being while on the road.
There’s a difference between having safety precautions in place and practicing preventative healthcare.
Tours are notorious for long stretches of being sedentary, eating a lot of fast food, and not getting enough sleep. No matter how rock-and-roll it sounds, that’s not exactly the “healthy lifestyle” anyone should maintain for too long.
Make sure you and your bandmates are prioritizing your physical and mental health while you’re on the road. That includes basic things like
Getting enough sleep
If anyone has any underlying conditions, such as GERD or other digestive issues, managing diet is extremely important. It’s worth it to pack your own healthy snacks, rather than relying on fast food and convenience stores that could trigger symptoms, and you should always have antacids or other medications on hand to help with symptoms.
Managing your mental health is just as crucial. It’s not always easy to be away from home, no matter how much you love the lifestyle. To combat the feelings of stress and loneliness, consider things like mindfulness, meditation, or journaling. If you’re feeling anxious or depressed while on the road, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Remote work has seen a rise in recent years, but so has teletherapy, allowing you to talk to a counselor or therapist anywhere in the country.
By focusing on physical, mental, and financial well-being, you’ll be better prepared for your upcoming tour, and you can enjoy every moment on stage that much more. No matter how ready you are to hit the road, don’t forget about this important “checklist” for a better experience no matter where you are.