How do musicians book a concert tour?
I should have asked the American singer/songwriter/pianist Rich Wyman when he was touring the Netherlands this past summer. I should have asked the South African composer/guitarist Derek Gripper when he toured Europe last autumn.
I recall agreeing to organise a concert for Derek Gripper a year before the event. Does it really require planning a year in advance?
Derek was invited to perform in a music festival in Denmark. The airfare was covered, so he stretched the tour date to cover various house concerts in the Netherlands. I think that was how he did it.
We don’t have the luxury of any music festival or anybody covering our transatlantic fare to the USA. We just had to assume or trust that we’d get enough concerts to eventually cover the airfare. Instead of thinking big and ahead, we thought piecemeal. Each concert would cover some aspect of our touring. The small ones would cover the car rental. The big ones would cover the airfares between cities.
Actually that’s not how it began.
We simply hoped to get one concert to fix the destination. And then we asked if the concert organiser knew anybody else who could help us get another concert.
It’s “catch 22” because we can’t determine if we should book the tickets first or wait to get a concert booked. If we wait for a concert, airfares will rise and become unaffordable (with respect to concert revenue). If we book our air tickets, we might not get enough concerts or any.
Right now, we know we have a big house concert in the heart of San Francisco on Saturday 20th November. We are crossing our fingers for a concert in Houston on 13th November. In between, we could be giving concerts in the outskirts of Houston or even drive up to Austin, the music capital of America. With so much uncertainty, how can we possibly book a ticket to fly from Houston to San Francisco? Which date?
A few days ago, I was asking the same question about leaving Phoenix. How long should we stay in Phoenix? The answer came in the form of a concert booking in Houston.