We all dream of traveling like a rockstar with a fancy tour bus, nice hotels and endless food and drink. But, to make a band into a business, it’s important to really look at all of the expenses and make sure the revenue will not only cover those costs, but also leave some money in the bank after the tour is over.
One of the most important touring tips is to put off every “step up” into luxury. This applies to non-tour life as well. Opt for affordable, every time. Once you upgrade to a nicer, and then even nicer place, those upgrades will start to become non-negotiable essentials to you. If you can put off upgrading, you’ll not only save yourself a lot of money, but you’ll also keep an essentials-only perspective which will help you in the long run.
Buy a vehicle if you can rather than renting and if you have the means to buy a van or an RV, you will save a lot over time compared to renting.
Once you are making higher performance fees and seeing more money come in from merch sales, keep in mind that an increase in revenue doesn’t necessarily mean you should increase your expenses. As you start to make more money, keep the expenses lean, and mentally tell yourself not to change your style of touring (or living) until the artistic performance demands it.
Think about how to get the most bang for your buck – a decent hotel, in a good location for a day off will do a ton for everyone’s mental health, and little splurges like that or a nice dinner out on the town will mean the world to a hard working crew. Road life is hard, and a good budget is important for balancing money with everyone’s physical and mental health in mind.
Tune in below to see the fourth episode of Band to Business: ‘Tour Budgets’.
Band to Business was created to help in the business of artistic endeavors, and shed some insight into the behind-the-scenes jobs that make it all happen. See you next time!
About Jen Kellogg
Jen Kellogg has spent over 25 adventurous years in the concert industry as a roadie, talent buyer, educator and entrepreneur. During her quarantine, she’s hosting a virtual workshop series called “Concert Business Basics” to help those starting their career in the concert industry, and established professionals interested in expanding beyond their existing areas of expertise. She crunched numbers as the tour accountant for the Vans Warped Tour from 2009-2017. During that time she co-founded The Entertainment Institute and brought the fan’s unique backstage workshops with artists on the tour. Prior to that, as a talent buyer at Jam Productions, she booked theaters and arenas, and specialized in minor league baseball parks. Her first full tour was with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson and it sparked her love of the road life. Jen teaches Producing and Touring Live Entertainment at Columbia College Chicago and has spoken at highly respected industry conferences including SXSW and Pollstar.