Band touring on the road, playing shows

Playing Great Shows and Touring

The following band resources information is based upon input from numerous bands and musicians, the Bandmonster staff, and our contacts and resources in the music industry.

Quick Advice: Playing Great Shows

  1. Know your songs.
  2. If you can't play it straight through during practice without making major mistakes (or worse, stopping), don't expect it to magically come together at your show. Play the songs you know. If you want to throw in one or two that you're shaky on, you better have a really good stage presence to pull it off.

  3. Be confident.
  4. We've all seen shows where you could point out a half-dozen mistakes the band made, yet the crowd loved them anyways. Think big picture (it's just one show) and play through it. There's no such thing as a microphone big enough to hide behind. Be bold. And don't wait until a show to get confident, train yourself to be bold (see below).

  5. Practice your stage act.
  6. "Well, if this was an actual show I would…" This strategy never works. You'll forget and revert to how you act during practice, and if that's leaning on an amp for 45 minutes, that's why...


Quick Advice: Touring

  1. Be really sure you want to tour.
  2. Touring is a job. A fun job if you go into it with the right attitude and expectations. Know why you want to tour and what your goals are. And make sure everybody in the band is on the same page.

  3. Plan well.
  4. Check out our recommended reading list below. The more research you do, the more you'll know what to expect. A poorly devised tour can break up a band. A well run tour can be a huge success.

Recommended Reading for Playing Shows and Touring

These are recommendations from our clients and staff (most of whom are in bands). If you have a suggestion, please contact us. If it's good, we'll list it.

The Tour Book: How to Get Your Music on the Road
Andy Reynolds (July 2007)

Tour:Smart: And Break the Band
Martin Atkins (September 2007)

This Business of Concert Promotion and Touring: A Practical Guide to Creating, Selling, Organizing, and Staging Concerts
Ray Waddell (October 2007)

The Touring Musician: A Small-Business Approach to Booking Your Band on the Road
Hal Galper (October 2007)

Basic Live Sound (The Basic Series)
Paul White (January 2004)

Additional Resources for Playing Shows and Touring

These are sites our clients and staff (most of whom are in bands) recommend. If you have a suggestion, please let us know. If it's good, we'll add it to the list.


Billboard Magazine: Musician's Guide to Touring and Promoting (
Twice yearly magazine featuring an A&R directory, music conference listings, directory of agents, attorneys, and managers, and city-by-city listings of clubs, radio stations, record stores, and local press.

Booking Shows
Helps bands get gigs. Connects musicians with promotors / venues.
Another source for booking shows and finding venues.

Music and film festival that takes places each year in Toronto; showcases local, national, and international musicians and artists.
Annual music, film, and multimedia festival based in Austin, TX that features musicians from all over the world.

CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival (
New York City music and film festival sponsored by CMJ (College Music Journal).

If you would like to contribute or make a suggestion for Playing Great Shows and Touring, please contact us.

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