Life on the road can be challenging for artists with PR requests, travel, fan engagements, press and media, security at show sites and many other things which can take place at different show sites. This is why DJs / bands and live performers often times turn to tour managers to assist with all of these issues on the road. The role of a tour manager can be vital to any tour an artist engages in. The tour manager handles both administrative and organizational duties, and to make sure everyone is satisfied, may even take care of the personal issues of other crew members or artists on tour.
The job of a tour manager can involve event coordination, accounting at show, travel and logistics coordination, operations, merchandise sales and ticketing settlement, human resources, and sometimes tour managers can even take on the role of a personal assistant for artists that are high maintenance. To be a good tour manager, one needs to be detail oriented, but also able to see the full vision of what the artist is trying to create. Additionally, having patience is key.
Because a lot of the characteristics of a tour manager transfer over to artist management, there are cases where the tour manager also doubles as the actual manager. Often on smaller tours, the tour manager may be acting in a double role as not only a tour manager, but also a sound engineer, a driver, a merchandise manager, or other crew position.
Some specific responsibilities of a tour manager may include:
• Creating a tour budget
• Assisting in advancing and preparing all the details for each show
• Securing and managing of all the at show income and expenses during the tour
• Overseeing other production elements like lighting, sound, publicity, and even selling of merchandise during the tour
• Booking and coordinating all ground transportation, flights, hotels
• Coordinating with the touring agency
• Overseeing or directly handling the transportation of all VIPs and crew
• Creating a security plan for each venue and public appearance
• Working closely with publicists, show promoters, venue managers, ticketing agencies, etc.
• Ability to solve extreme problems, like unexpected issues that may arise during touring – (medical, security, travel, contractual)
• Leading a team of varying size to execute each event
On larger or longer tours, the duties above may be shared between two or more people.
Completely outlining the specific duties of a tour manager can be near impossible as there are countless scenarios on the road that need the tour manager’s attention. Ultimately, the job of the tour manager is to make sure that everyone, including the artist, is okay and happy while on the road. Tour management can be both fun and stressful, but can also be very rewarding as it is crucial to the success of an artist’s touring career.
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