On The Road: Tour Life

Touring. It’s not something I expected to do when I first started managing artists a few years back, but it’s rapidly become my favourite part of the job. There’s nothing I love better than hitting the road with my artists - epic drives and endless tour playlists, weird and wonderful AirBNB’s, new venues in new cities packed full of new crowds. I recently looked back over my calendar and realised I’ve been on tour for 16 weeks out of the past 8 months. 50% of my time has been spent on the road, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I got home recently after Great Gable’s New Zealand tour (which was beyond words) and realised I was staring down close to three months at ‘home’ in WA - no flights booked until September. It was a weird and kinda panicky feeling in those first few days: what was I going to do the whole time? Where would I stay? I haven’t had a home base for over 4 years: I’ve been housesitting full time since late 2015 to save money on rent and to give myself the freedom to take off whenever I want. But it does mean that when I’m back in WA I have to hustle to find somewhere to stay (thanks mum and dad for always putting me up when I’m completely stuck).

Still, after I’d given myself a few days to chill I started to realise just how much I need these few months downtime. Over the past 12 months I’ve gone from never being sick to constantly getting hit with the flu, despite the endless batches of ‘tour medicine’ that I force-feed the band and myself on tour (raw garlic, ginger & chilli in honey - get on it) and the copious amounts of echinacea that we basically mainline. It’s also a challenge to work on the road - like all managers you get it done but having some time and space to plan out the next 12 months for the band and come up with some outrageous ideas is a rare treat.

I’ve learned a lot about touring over the past few years, and am pretty careful now with how I plan and book tours for the band. It’s tempting to look for the cheapest options - those 6am flights, the shitty tour vans and the accom that doesn’t quite have enough beds - especially on tours where the budget is a little tighter than you want. But having made that mistake once in the past with the first band I managed (leaving a venue at 1am and heading to the airport at 4am is no joke - sorry guys) and seeing the terrible effect that touring in that manner has on artists, I now always have the bands’ comfort and mental health as my top priority. Sometimes that means flying them a day early to avoid a hectic day of travel on a show day. Sometimes that means booking an extra night so they can go straight into their accom from the airport if we can’t avoid an early flight. It always means booking accommodation as close to the venue as possible to maximise chill time and minimise travel. And sometimes it means booking everyone a massage on the band account when we’ve been on the road for a month with some big shows to go.

Touring for me is still one of the best things I get to do - a massively unexpected perk of the job. Sure, sometimes it’s a challenge and tempers get frayed, but I feel really lucky that I get to spend this time travelling with some of my best mates and watching the crowds grow with every tour. No doubt I’ll soon be counting down the days til I hit the road again, but for now I’m also going to enjoy waking up in the same place for a few weeks and maybe even unpacking my suitcase at some point.

COOL MIND BLUE NEW ZEALAND TOUR

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COOL MIND BLUE AUSTRALIAN TOUR

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