Ever Tried Herding Cats? Try Being A Tour Manager.
Andy Inglis is pretty cool as to How — but not so hot on Why!
Andy Inglis, East India Youth manager and tour manager, co-founder of the acclaimed Luminaire live music venue in London and lecturer in live music at UK and Nordic Region universities, gave his tour management lecture as part of a Birmingham music festival late October.
All Years Leaving, now in its third successive year, features an eclectic two-day programme of performances from groundbreaking bands, producers and DJs, curated by Birmingham promoters This Is Tmrw.
The 2015 instalment, held at popular city music venue the Hare and Hounds, features sets from international artists including The Wytches, Speedy Ortiz, Chastity Belt, East India Youth and Money, alongside Birmingham artists such as Free School, Dorcha, Hoopla Blue and Mutes, live art, DJ sets and pop-up diners.
Speaking ahead of the event he had this to say, “This is my 26th year in the industry, and I’ve made enough costly mistakes to bankroll a city council. Like booking seven flights for band and crew to Berlin, forgetting I’d done it, and booking them again a week later. I’m hoping that, when this is all over, I’ll have helped the audience to avoid a few of mine, and stop them making a few of their own.”
Were one to distill the essential message of Andy Inglis’s robustly entertaining, informative and seriously instructive mini-lecture on being an effective Tour Manager it would be thus –
Rule 1 of being a TM – Don’t be a Dick.
Rule 2. You didn’t you read Rule 1 did you? – Dick!
Rule 3. If you have been a TM Dick through no fault of your own – it’s still your fault. Own up, don’t blame anyone else, put it right, learn, move on.
Rule 4. Avoid hitting Dicks (that’s what drummers are for).
Rule 5. Allow a 5/10% contingency fund/resources for the unexpected. Everyone else is a potential Dick but always be nice to everyone. Favours are the one currency that don’t show up on the accounts spreadsheet — spend wisely.
Rule 6. Lie sincerely…
Rule 7-20. Don’t mention The Guest List!
His near apoplectic deconstruction of the most pretentious hospitality rider ever was a joy to behold – actually, it was more a chainsaw dissection and a salutary lesson to all bands and management in how not to seriously piss-off promoters. Just think Spinal Tap ‘being professional’ and rising above the existential dilemma of fitting square-sliced meat in to triangular cut bread!
The overriding theme was one of preparation, problem-solving — rather mitigating having to solve problems in the first place — and treating people with civility: don’t use up all your favours at once. Andy is very generous with his notes — check them out – the slide-show alone is a class act antidote to those knuckle-gnawing death-by Power-Point presentations where buffoons just read out what’s on the screen already. Priceless tips were as apposite for National tours as they would be for your manager-roadie mom/dad driving you to the Hare or where ever. Stage and lighting plans pre-gig to the venue tech crew, overkill? What if you’re held up and have five minutes before you’re on? Sort out parking spaces and it’s worth exaggerating the size of vehicle. Create and update a Tour Book — it’s your Bible and you are God.
Get a child to check your on-line bookings before you press ‘send’ (see above re Andy’s senior ‘flights’ moment). If you go through Customs/passport or controlled areas — you go last — and a million other things else as well. Oh, and photo all receipts and paper stuff. Finally – take a picnic! Hats off to Lyle Bignon for arranging the gig.
Review: John Kennedy