There’s a certain romance still attached to the idea of the wandering troubadours, who need nothing but their voice and an instrument at their back. Solo acts are still popular, and plenty of people make their daily bread this way.
The problem, of course, is that touring costs tend to be a lot more costly these days, compared to in the past. So how do you get out and tour more as a solo artist, without breaking the bank?
Keeping Touring Costs Low As A Solo Act
1 – Couchsurf.
I won’t repeat the well-known Amanda Palmer story, but seriously, if you’re a smaller act still starting out, this is a viable option. Throw in a free performance, and you’ll probably have fans begging you to stay at their place overnight.
Swapping music for a night’s rest is one of the OTHER oldest professions in the book, and you’ll almost certainly have more trustworthy contacts than random people on Craigslist.
2 – Play more gigs.
One advantage to being a solo act is there’s very minimal setup and support required. You can play smaller venues, and you’re more convenient for them due to your minimal technical needs. Even booking multiple shows in the same day is a serious possibility as a solo artist, if you do one Afternoon and one Evening gig.
For that matter, if you’re solo and acoustic, just walking into bars and seeing if they’d pay you to play for a couple hours becomes an option since you could simply sit down and do it.
3 – Contact broadcast stations ahead of time.
Local radio or even TV stations are often looking to fill blocks in their schedule, or replace last-minute cancellations. A solo artist with a good story to tell is always popular with programming directors who’ve got time to fill.
A couple media appearances on your tour will greatly increase your exposure, as well as helping ensure your gigs sell out. They could even bring extra work in that town!
How do you manage your budget on tour?