A girly guide to touring with bands

Bksk3CyIQAE2DlrWhen people find out I tour with bands – especially the more famous ones – they imagine pure glamour. They imagine five star hotels, luxurious tour buses and all the perks you could ever dream of…

Well, I’m here to shatter that illusions. Yes, the hotels are glamorous, the buses are incredible and there are many, many perks… but the bottom line is that boys will be boys.

Let’s start with the hotels. If you are touring with the bands in a, shall we say, unofficial capacity (meaning you’re invited, but not there for any reason other than the ride) then there isn’t going to be a room waiting for you. When it comes to sleeping arrangements, tour can be a bit of a free-for-all. Everyone has to sleep somewhere, so you’ll share rooms or beds with other people, you’ll crash on the floor if you have to and that’s if you’re lucky. Sometimes you’ll be partying all night, in room far too small for the band and 30 of their closest friends (mostly random strangers) and that’s when things get less glamourous. The things you hear about bands trashing hotel rooms – absolutely true. It isn’t the magnificent, epic, ultimate gesture of rock ‘n’ roll though, it’s just drunk boys throwing a travel kettle out of the window because they think they’re supposed to. By the end of the night the room will be messy with junk, spilled drinks, empties and people who are about to wake up with the worst hangover or their life. All you can do is be prepared.

Then we have the tour buses. Such sophisticated things, like an apartment on wheels containing everything you could ever need. Once again, just add boys to see it get very messy very quickly.
It can be tricky for a girl, because the bathroom situation isn’t awesome. They room is very small, with a poor excuse for a shower and an even poorer excuse for a mirror. It’s always best to get your washing and hair styling done at the hotel or the venue, because you won’t achieve much on the bus. Even if you don’t need a shower, you’re not going to want to wash your face or brush your teeth with that water, it just doesn’t seem clean. Make sure you have lots of bottled water with you and plenty of face wipes. When everyone around your is letting their hair get greasy and trying to mask the stink of sweat with Lynx, do your best to fly the flag for cleanliness. No one is going to tell a rockstar his hair is greasy (well, except people like me who can get away with it) so they will push their luck. You, on the other hand, will have to compete for their attention with the masses of girls who will turn up dressed in their best, in the hope of impressing your boys.
Another thing you have to worry about on the bus is getting some sleep. Sometimes you’ll be travelling through the night (well, early morning) and that’s a great time to sleep… if you can. The bus will be noisy, people will be awake and there will be all sorts of things stopping you getting a few hours in your bunk. An eye mask and ear plugs are absolute must-haves.
Make sure you pack enough clothes to at least create the illusion that you are wearing something different each day. I’ve seen the band dive into their own merchandise often enough, and I’ve even been known to slip on the occasional band tee myself when clothes were running low.

And now on to the perks. You’ll get to hangout backstage, meet all the other bands and people floating around and when it’s time for the gig you can’t beat the view for the side of the stage. The band will have a rider – a list of demands, like food and drink – so you can look forward to that. Plus, when it’s late at night and the only thing on offer are kebabs from dodgy take-aways, you’ll be wishing you loaded up on crisps and fruit at the venue.
Hanging out in the dressing rooms is fun. Eating, chatting, watching interviews take place or the boys stroll around semi-naked as they get ready for the show.

The bottom line? Make use of the facilities when they’re available. Be safe. Be careful who you trust, even if you think you know them, or they’re a friend of a friend. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do. Drink lots of water. Make sure you get some sleep. Keep a supply of wipes, face wipes and bottled water for the bathroom. Remember your eye mask and ear plugs. And most importantly… enjoy it. Touring is incredible, whether it’s with the rich and famous or the low-budget tours, and no two days are the same. It always amazes me that all the days are so different, when the routine is so strict and similar each day.

Hit the road, you won’t regret it.

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2 thoughts on “A girly guide to touring with bands

  1. Er, any room on your current bus for a middle-aged romance writer? I thought not :/ !!

    Sounds like huge fun – I bet you’ve got a lifelong supply of stories to tell!

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