CHARTING NEW TERRITORY
Physical Tour Booking Issue #1: GIGS
When it came to the actual booking of the tour, I had no idea what to do. This was always my problem. For years the notion of touring was strong in my heart and weak in my mind. Whenever I asked someone how they just “went on tour”, the most common and detailed answer I ever got was “I just did it’. Thanks. I had so many questions. How do you afford to not work and still pay your bills? How do you afford all the gas and the accommodations? How do you get gigs lined up, day after day in not only sequential but geographical order? Who will come to your shows in a city you’ve never been to?
My saving grace was a blog my old friend Stef Lang wrote with some tips on tour booking. THANK YOU! She laid out the process in laymen’s terms. For anyone interested, bookmark this link!: http://steflang.blogspot.ca/2010/04/touring-bands-where-to-play-in.html. On paper, you can see my progress.
When it came down to it, all it really took was a concise, friendly email about a small paragraph long to get that feeling of major accomplishment. Then doing it again. And again. And again. I remember being at work when I received my first YES response. “WOW! This is actually happening! I have a gig in Seattle!” Then San Francisco! Then Santa Monica! “This is so exciting, it shouldn’t even be legal! Wait, is it legal?”
Physical Tour Booking Issue #2: THE WORKING VISA
After some careful consideration of whether I was going to sneak in to the states or take on the daunting visa application task, I decided to avoid the possibility of a 5 year U.S. ban and be a good little girl. I did a little bit of asking around and was directed to the American Federation of Musicians. Lucky for me, they have an office in Victoria. A very nice lady signed me up with them and gave me all the paperwork and instructions I needed. About $500 later, my application was in the mail. I think it is mentionable to address that if any step of this visa process happened more than a day later than it did, I would not have made it. I have never cut any time sensitive issue as dangerously close as I did this. I honestly believe that the Gods were on my side on this one. If anyone is curious about the actual process, here are the straight goods: http://www.afm.org/uploads/file/p2_visa_info/P2_INSTRUCTIONS_JAN2012.pdf.
Physical Tour Booking Issue #3: SHELTER
If daycare paid $20/hour, maybe I could afford the luxury of 5 star hotels all the way down the coast. But it doesn’t, and luckily there is a little gem of a website out there called .ORG! I heard about it from an acquaintance I had bumped into at a Wal-Mart Print Shop line up who had just gotten back from a month of it in Australia. I put the idea in the back of my mind, as it was irrelevant to me at the time. When the conception of the tour came about, it popped back into the front and as it turns out, my girlfriend’s mother used it successfully to travel all over Europe! With her couch surfing mentorship, she helped me set up an account and navigate around the website. Once my gigs were booked, I carefully analyzed profiles of people in the appropriate cites, paying special attention to the reviews of people who had stayed with them in the past. If you have seen the San Francisco tour vlog, you will remember that one of our couch surfing experiences didn’t go over that well. This was a direct result from me failing to adhere to my profile scanning gut feelings. It clearly stated that this guy was young and enjoyed drinking. Advice: Always better to go with someone who doesn’t include alcohol as one of their passions. On the whole, this website made our adventure far more exciting, enriching and sociable than if we had’ve been isolated in hotels all month.