As promised, we are here to answer any questions that you might have about touring…that is, provided we know the answers! If not then we will find someone who does and pass on the message.
So you want to book an overseas tour. Good on you! South Africa is full of talented musicians that the world needs to hear. However, turning the dream into a reality requires some insider secrets.
Firstly, don’t be fooled- you can absolutely do this without an international booking company. (We did and we loved every penny of it!) Secondly, be prepared to send A LOT of emails. We promise it will be worth it.
With that out of the way, let’s get into the first step of your tour.
STEP ONE– Book your Bed before your Gig
If you are touring independently your No.1 priority is being thrifty. Nothing eats away at money quicker than Hotels, Air bnbs and paying for every meal! Our first overseas tour was to Europe. While it involved a lot of trial and error (we booked to play 3 shows within 3 days in 3 different countries- clearly I missed a geography lesson or two!) we did get one thing right: we based the tour around friends and family.
If there is one thing I recommend for a first ever international tour it is that you base your gigs around your accommodation.
This can be a tough pill to swallow…for example, I had my heart set on doing a US tour. In fact, our last UK tour was originally intended to be a New York Tour! Until (after sending over 400 emails arranging gigs) I realised that there was no way we could do this because we would have had to pay for accommodation and food every single day. The result? We ended up having the best tour of our lives in the UK (where we had family and friends to stay with in every town). Not only did our amazing support network provide us with beds but they kept us fed and entertained and even came out to support our shows!***
The honest truth is that we are South African and most exchange rates WILL NOT be in our favour! That said, once you have accepted the fact that this will determine where you can and can’t tour to (for now at least- it will be a different story when you achieve worldwide fame!), we can get to booking shows!
***Not everyone has friends and family conveniently scattered around the world. Sometimes this takes a bit of work! However, it is absolutely worth reconnecting with that twice removed great grandma who stays in London or keeping in touch with a childhood pen pal who has a holiday house in Budapest. I am NOT suggesting you should leech off people- only contact people if you actually DO want to see them. One of the incredible bonuses of a touring musician’s life is the relationships you make and people you connect with on your travels.
That said, if you are at a loss for accommodation, I recommend trying out hostels (at a minimal cost) or Couchsurfing (something we tried out in Paris which is completely free!). If you are really in a tight spot then don’t be afraid to ask for help on Facebook– you’ll be surprised how big your reach is from all the people that your music has touched.
To summarise: Book tours to places where you will incur the least expenses and worries so that you can focus on booking the best shows possible!
I hope this has helped you- remember that you can send any questions or topics you’d like us to cover to firstname.lastname@example.org !
Happy touring x Fran and the FC Team
FC Live in London https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjbyPEZtdcw