As a young band at the beginning of your career, the most important thing you can do is get out there and try to play shows. Building an audience is essential, and the only way to do that is to play, play, play wherever you can.
That means taking over the town you live in, of course. But what do you do after you feel like you have a hold on your region? It might be time to head over the pond and start spreading the word of your band oversees.
Knowing how to book a tour in Europe doesn’t have to be complicated. It might sound fancy, but you don’t need fancy connections or huge success as a band to do it. Read on, and we’ll walk you through what you need to know about booking a tour in Europe.
Start As Early As Possible
If you’re hoping to tackle something as ambitious as a European tour, you’ll need to start early. It takes a lot of planning and organization to get something like that off of the ground.
You’ve booked a tour in America before, assumedly, so you know some of the main steps you need to do. Do those same steps and do them months earlier than you are used to. Start by reaching out to promoters and venues in Europe somewhere around seven months prior to when you would want to be there.
Keep a spreadsheet on your computer of who you’ve contacted, when you reached out, and if you’ve heard from them. Not everyone will get back to you, but trust us when we say there are a lot of different venues in Europe and you will find someone willing to book you.
You will also be well-advised to have as much online presence as you can physically manage – not just social media accounts, but also embarking in advance on a round of Soundcloud promotion so as to create a buzz around the band; being able to say you’re doing well domestically can never hurt when you’re trying to book venues on the other side of the pond.
Do your due diligence in researching the venues before you reach out as well. Look through their social media, dig through their website, and try to get a true sense of what their ‘thing’ is. The more personalized you can make your e-mail, the better chance you’ll have at the venue or promoter taking you on.
If you can appeal to the venue’s goals and vibe, you’ll make yourself an asset to them instead of something they need to worry about. That’s the key.
Don’t Be Afraid To Play Tourist
Europe is big, like very big. You may feel like you need to intentionally couch your touristic tendencies and put the tour at the forefront of your mind. But let’s be honest: how often do you get to be young and in Europe?
You’ll need something to help cut down where you might want to look into, and you might as well let it be your true desires. Making a list of cities you’re actually dying to visit in Europe and create a route out of them. Reach out to venues and promoters in these cities.
You’ll get to hit two birds with one stone: playing venues and building fans, and seeing some of the cities around the world that you’ve always wanted to see.
Should You Rent A Van?
You’ve started to connect with promoters and venues, and as the months pass, it looks like your European tour is really going to start taking off. Now you need to start digging into the nitty-gritty details of the tour.
For example, how will you get around?
You’re probably used to taking the band van around when you tour in America, and this still might be a viable option when in Europe. However, renting a van isn’t exactly cheap, when you factor in the cost of both the gas and the rental.
Many touring bands starting out in Europe actually decide to play the train game instead. Train travel between various European countries is often quite cheap. You’ll need to have a downsized gear package small enough to carry on and off trains with you, which might not work for everyone.
But if you don’t mind lugging your stuff around from town to town, using the train system to get from show to show can save you a huge deal of money.
What To Bring With You
Europe is a far way from home, and you’ll need to make sure you pack the proper essentials as you hit the road overseas. This means enough currency to survive, first and foremost.
You’ll be able to trade American dollars for Euros once you arrive at your first stop, but you’ll want to have enough cash on you that you can really get as much money as you need.
The electricity and voltage requirements in Europe are also quite different than those in America. The power line frequency is different, which means you’ll need to invest in a number of converters and transformers for your gear.
The last thing you want to do is get to your first gig in Europe and realize you can’t plug anything in! That could be a true nightmare. Be sure to talk with a venue prior to arriving and ensure that they have everything you need in order to play.
You might also want to invest in a new cell phone with a local number. This will allow you to make calls without having to deal with international charges. Some phone plans from American companies allow you to work internationally at little to no charge, however.
How To Book A Tour In Europe
If you don’t know how to book a tour in Europe, the above information can lay things out much more clearly. There’s a lot to think about, but your adventures on the other side of the world can start now if you begin planning.
Need more advice about starting out in the entertainment industry? Check out our blog for more information.