Hit the regional road

Friday, 12 Aug 2016

Want to play shows outside the capital cities? Not sure where to start? The Live Music Office wants to make planning a tour that little bit easier with its Live Music Map. Created as a tool to support artists and the live music community, the Map shows you venues, radio stations, gear hire companies, rehearsal spaces and more – all across Australia.

We spoke to Live Music Office Audience and Sector Development Director Damian Cunningham about how to get your show on the road and into some regional venues.

What’s the best way for touring artists to use the Live Music Map?

By searching for venues and support businesses, like backline hire or local radio, in the location of your gigs. Say for example you have a gig booked in Adelaide on a Saturday and a week later another show in Melbourne. You can use the Map to find venues in between those two locations, in towns like Mt Gambier or Ballarat, and approach them for shows. This will help you create a small tour that ideally makes things a little more affordable while exposing you to new audiences and building your community.

What’s the best way for performers to approach venues to find gigs?

Once you’ve found a venue on the Map that’s appropriate (be sure to research the venue to make sure it’s the right for you), find contact details then get in touch to politely enquire about the possibility of booking a show. It’s always good to have a digital one pager document ready to send the venue so they have an overview of your music and show.

If an artist has never played regional shows before, where should they start?

It’s best to start close to home. Look at building a following slowly and confidently from your hometown, then move further afield. It’s important to collect your fans’ information either from ticketing data or from attendance at gigs so you can keep the conversation going and let them know when and where you will be performing.

How should you plan a regional tour and what should you consider?

Planning a tour takes time, but it should always start with establishing what it is you’re trying to achieve. I recommend a four month lead in once you have the shows booked. 

Make sure you have your budgets and financials locked in to keep yourself on track. We have some free tour budget templates available on the LMO website which are a great way to get started.

Download the LMO Artist Tour Budget spreadsheet (simple)
Download the LMO Artist Tour Budget spreadsheet (complex)

Additional free resources that may help you out are available on our site, including sample performance agreements and stage plots.

How can you find an audience in an area you haven’t played before?

Reach out to the venue booker for advice as they will know the local scene and it’s in their interest to make the show a success.

Talk with other musicians who have played gigs at that venue and ask what worked and what didn’t in promoting the show – it’s all about building your networks and helping each other.

Community radio is also a fantastic way to reach regional audiences. The Live Music Map includes radio stations around the country, so look at stations in the areas you’re playing in, and make sure they have your music at least a month before your show.

Amrap’s Airit is an incredibly useful service for getting your music to community stations around the country, so explore that as a way to distribute your music to radio. Another way the service can help you is by providing reports of which stations have played your music in the past. This can help when you are planning a tour and looking at where you might already have some support and fans.

What other tips do you have for promoting shows in regional areas?

Work with the venue and other local artists to get insight into the scene. If the venue has a mailing list, make sure your show is featured. Help the venue help you by always supplying good quality photos, bios and music in multiple formats so they have all the tools they need to promote your show.

It’s also worth exploring promotional opportunities with the ticketing company that services the venue – they may have their own mailing list and avenues for promotion.

Reach out to local community radio and see if you can do interviews before the show or when you get to town. Make sure you’re included in gig listings and seek out local print media for interviews.  


Listen to Damian Cunningham talk about the Live Music Map on Perth’s RTRFM.


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