When you’re touring, you’re on the clock 24/7. The work can seem unrelenting at times, but the experience will mold you into a stronger, adaptable, and considerate individual. On tour, the highs are high, and the lows exist too, but all experience those lows, and the community of support that goes with the touring profession is like no other. These are the pros and cons of touring as we see them.
The most obvious perk of touring is free travel. Transportation, food, and accommodations will all be covered when you’re on tour on top of your wage. You’ll stand beneath the architecture you’ve only ever seen in films, and you’ll experience cultural celebrations you never knew existed. However, when you’re touring, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the local culture as much as you’d like. As mentioned before, touring is demanding work, and it will require your attention 24/7 when you’re on the road. Unless you’re having a travel day, you may only get to slip out for a cup of coffee.
Travel days offer much-deserved days off to band members and crew, and they are an excellent opportunity to spend the day experiencing a new city. The number of travel days you’ll get when you’re on tour will depend on the artist with which you’re touring. Larger productions may need a full day of set up for each performance, resulting in one travel day for every show day. Other tours may only have a handful of travel days throughout the entire tour.
Everything Is More Fun Together
The daily demands of executing a perfect performance catalyze developing deep friendships and a robust community sense. As a result, all the traveling and the experiences that go with it are elevated to new levels because you get to share those experiences with people with whom you’ve fostered deep, meaningful connections. You get the courage to pursue opportunities that would seem crazy with your family or friends from home, and the dullest moments can become filled with delight because of the people around you.
When you roll out of bed in the morning, there’s always someone to join you for a cup of coffee. Stopping by catering to grab your daily meal can be like sitting down at a restaurant with friends. Going to bed is like a never-ending sleepover. For better or for worse, you’re really never alone, and your days are full of teamwork and companionship.
With the opportunity to tour comes the chance to experience progression at warp speed. No amount of preparation or practicing off-tour could replicate or replace the vast leaps in expertise and understanding you get from doing the work for a live performance. You’ll create muscle memory for your most common tasks, deepen your understanding of all the intricate parts of touring and how they fit together, and become tremendously adaptable by confronting and conquering unexpected and unforeseen crises.
Along with refining and advancing your individual skills, your relationships with the team and the cohesiveness in how you execute on show day will see tremendous growth. A day on tour will serve you better than any team-building exercise ever conceived.
Best Roommate Ever
Living in close quarters with other people for an extended period of time will have a lasting impact on your self-awareness and serve you in your relationships off-tour as well. People you tour with aren’t going to hold back on remarking on how your behaviors affect them. To some degree, your tour mates will know you better than they know yourself, and if you can’t adapt to accepting the feedback with grace and understanding, you won’t spend much time on the road. They will tell you if you or your food smells, if you’re making too much noise, or taking up more than your fair share of personal space, and they will expect you to do the same for them.
As a result, you will become the ultimate roommate, guest, and coworker. The lessons learned in this area will positively impact almost every facet of your life off-tour. All you need to do is be willing to accept feedback and take positive action in response to that feedback.
Yes, traveling is both a pro and a con. While seeing a new place every day can be exhilarating, it is also exhausting. Long drives and long flights will drain even the most resilient individuals and take a toll on your body. This is why it’s so important to take care of yourself on tour. Exhaustion will translate to fatigue and an abundance of negative energy. Negative energy is contagious and will spread like wildfire impacting everyone around you.
Eating well, getting regular exercise, and sleeping will deepen your well of energy and vastly impact your outlook and mental health. With more energy, you will maintain a positive attitude and ensure that you are contributing your fair share of the work required on show day. Therefore, caring for yourself is caring for those around you on tour.
Abbreviated Home Life
If you make a career out of touring, you guarantee that any trip home will be brief. For most, money is only made when you are actively touring. So to support your livelihood, you’re going to want to make sure you’re on the road as much as possible. As a result, you will lose the opportunity to build some traditional life skills such as grocery shopping and cooking. It will be challenging to develop and maintain relationships with people from your home city, and your time with your family will be infrequent as well. Your life becomes intimately intertwined with those you tour with and may result in a forfeiture of your individual life with the agency of how you spend your time on and off tour.
Humans are very communal animals by nature. They derive a lot of energy and satisfaction from being part of a community and being a vital, contributing member of that community. It’s these characteristics that have allowed us to proliferate so effectively on a harsh planet. When you’re on tour, you are an active member of a very proactive and cohesive community. Each day is filled with purpose and camaraderie, and there is rarely any downtime. Coming home can be like ripping a bandaid off since you lose that community and a sense of purpose with no transition. As a result, the days home can feel very depressing and lonely. If you feel this, you need to know that you aren’t alone, and most of the people from your community are feeling the same. Reach out and support each other, and don’t fester in the loneliness.
Hopefully, these pros and cons give you a better understanding of what it can be like to be on tour. In future episodes, we will go more in-depth on each of these, so stick with us to learn more!