Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Worship Wednesdays - 3 Tips to Book a 5-Province Tour

Recently, we shared the news of our first East Coast Music Award nomination. (You can read about it HERE.) The awards ceremony is part of the larger East Coast Music Week (ECMW) - an annual celebration of showcases, workshops, seminars, concerts, and general music awesomeness. This year, ECMW will be held in my hometown of St. John's, Newfoundland, in April. In recent years, we've toured the East Coast in the fall, but if we're going to travel all that way in April, it made sense to move this year's tour to the spring.

So for the last two weeks, I've been in Booking Mode! I have 2 months in which to book an 8-week concert tour covering 5 provinces with a goal of 30 events. Crazy, I know!

Since I'm in Booking Mode, I thought I'd share 3 of my favourite tips 
for booking a multi-province tour:


I can't stress this enough! Booking 20-30 events will mean more than 200-300 emails, phone calls, and texts. The most important step for booking: find a system that works for you. I use email folders to keep track of all my communications. I also use Numbers (like Excel but for Mac) to create a massive spreadsheet. This is my master list with venue names, contact info, communications, and ultimately, all the info about the booking.

#2 - MAPS

I'm a visual person, and I love to see a sense of my progress. To give myself a view of the big picture, I actually use paper road maps to plan our tours. It's not high tech, but it works for me, and that's all that matters. As a CAA member, I get free road maps. I'll pick up maps for our tour provinces, and stick them to my office wall. I trim the edges and put them tight together to give a better sense of our tour area. Then, I pull out the Post It Notes. I use yellow to mark the cities we'll contact. When I get a positive response, I change it out to green. When I book the city, I change it to pink (because pink is always best!) Seeing the clear visual of our travel route keeps me aware of the big picture, and the colour-coding of the Post Its helps me track our process and see the areas that still need attention.

My low-tech map system, partway through our 2014 planning. You can see how the different coloured Post Its show the progress of the different bookings, and point out the areas that still needed work or confirmation.


Planning a tour of this size is an epic amount of work. There are hours of communications, negotiations, and the inevitable rejections. In a general week, I'll do 10 hours of booking, but I can put in up to 30 hours when we're in the big crush of things. It can get exhausting, especially if I'm trying to squeeze that into a few days. Plan to do a little every day. Don't let it overwhelm you. And make sure you're also planning time each day to write, rehearse, and actually make the music you love.

I hope these tips help you with your tour planning! 
Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments section...

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!


Bobbie Ann Cole said...

This is soooooo helpful. Thank you.

Bobbie Ann Cole said...

This is soooooo helpful. Thank you.

Allison Lynn said...

Good to hear! It's my pleasure, Bobbie :)