Thursday, May 17, 2007

I've been pondering touring expenses

hmmm. Maybe I should raise a little more hell on TTB -- I've had more visits and comments in the past couple of days than I had in ages! I have also posted new entries, but that didn't seem to matter before. If course, when I have few visitors I feel free to post whatever the hell I like. I'm a bit more cautious when I know several people are reading. I wonder what comments I would get if I enabled anonymous comments. That's not going to happen though.

At the end of the band's European tour one of Steve's blogs triggered a comments discussion of ideas to help the band on a N. American tour. I've been pondering the idea for a while now and think that although we (Church fans) are generally lovely people, I can't see the ideas that require a lot of band/fan interaction working well. The band needs down time and they really can't get that if there are always fans (even just a few) around. Plus, some of the ideas, such as the people saying "I can be your guitar tech in (fill in city name)" might be great for a one off gig, or in an emergency, but I can see it causing major headaches (and very probably some very disgruntled fans) if done at every stop. And food -- wouldn't you feel awful if your lovely homecooked meal gave them food poisoning? Or was just not something any of them liked? I know I'd be mortified. And taking them out to dinner -- what if they hated you or you them? Or were just bored, or boring, or rude and snappy, or sloppy eaters? I'm not sure most fans would be real happy with that, yet isn't it asking a bit much of them (the band) to be "on" all the time?

I think one way nearly anyone could help would be in area of promotion. This could include putting flyers around town, posting to messageboards, and sending press releases (which, like the flyers, could be downloaded from the official site) to local papers, music mags, and radio stations. That cost to the volunteer would be fairly minimal -- flyers and press releases copied at Kinko's (or similar), envelopes and stamps, and a few gallons of gas to put up flyers. And since many places might allow press releases to be sent via email, even the stamps and envelopes might not be needed.

I know it seems kind of callous, but most of the help really comes down to cash. Think about their expenses.

1) Airfare -- about a couple thousand apiece (when I did a check it was more like $2250-2500). So for band members only that would be at least $8000, and could easily be $10,000.
2) a couple vehicles (last year they used a full sized van and a mini van) -- a quick check of car rental places shows for 5 weeks and unlimited miles vans and mini vans run between $2000 and $3400 each, and that doesn't include gas
3) hotels -- they weren't staying in luxury places last time, but they still weren't cheap (hell, even dives aren't cheap anymore). Let's say $500 a night covers it for everyone. If they need hotels for five weeks (35 days) that is $17,500. At $700 per night it is $24,500.
4) Food. Let's assume breakfast is covered by the hotel. If you figure $20 per person per day for lunch and dinner, and calculate that for the band members and only two crew it comes to $4200.

I have no clue about equipment rental costs, or any of the other taxes or fees they have to pay, but just these figures add up to $33,700. And that is for the lowest figures I came up with for each item. It is possible they get some discounts on some of these things, but I'm betting it's still mind-numbingly expensive to tour here. No wonder they are discouraged when they only have 50 or 100 people show up. I bet they can feel the money bleeding away on those days.

But suppose only 2-4 fans per show (assuming 25 shows) would give the band an additional $100. That's only 50-100 people but it would bring in $5000-$10,000. That would pay for the vans and some other expenses too. That would have to help.


Blogger snowfaller said...

I would love it if there was some sort of organized way for fans to contribute some extra money to the band to make a potential U.S. tour more feasible. But I agree - it would have to be money with no expectations for anything in return. I would think there would be enough of us who would pitch in $100 (or more) without feeling the band owes them backstage access or a meet and greet after the show. At least I hope that is the case.

Plus, direct cash to the band is the best way to help make the bottom line better. I buy extra tickets and merch, etc. but even though the band gets a cut they still don't get 100% of the money.

I helped out with posters during the previous U.S. tour and of course would do that again. I think it's all about exposure. They do still draw well and I'm sure the concerts in most major U.S. cities turn a decent profit but as you mentioned - with the airfare, hotels, transportation they probably do come close to breaking even which is a shame...

This is getting long (I should have done my own counter-blog!) but I think about these things all of the time as well.

I can only imagine how difficult it is to manage the four individuals over a period of a month. Just think about how many mood swings we go through in a day even when we are in our comfort zone. I had thought about offering them some time at my house (with no obligation for me to even be there) just so they could spend some time outside of venues and hotels - but like you said - what if they hated it! Same thing on the food. I would of course be more than willing to take care of a meal but if they hated it or got sick I would feel bad for the rest of my life!

I would also like to think the band would accept a cash donation from some real fans as an honor and not take it as a sign of pity. I sometimes wonder if they realize how important they are in some of our lives. I try to do my best by purchasing multiple copies of CDs and other merchandise from Churchmerch and Karmic Hit (and buying SK's art - ha), but to be able to give them direct cash to help out would be a privelige and an honor for me - and I'm sure for others as well.

So let's get that tour booked and see what happens. :-)

9:49 AM  
Blogger veleska1970 said... looks like snowfaller's covered just about all the bases i wanted to. but it's still so easy to feel helpless~~we all want to help out any way we can, but exactly how can we go about doing it without any negative drawbacks??

imagine that~~a tour for a rock band that is organized/promoted/funded wholly by the fans, without any expense to the band at all, without any strings attached, without any repayment of any kind expected by the fans. yep, sounds like fans of the church, alright. what other band in existence has fans like that?? methinks there IS none. not even somebody like U2 or the rolling stones. nope.


6:50 PM  
Blogger eek said...

I am doing a little checking to how to go about doing this, so I'll let you know what I find out. I think it has to be a fan driven deal as I can't see them asking. I'm also not sure how much they'd like it publicised -- I think it would be great for them to promote it a bit as I think more fans would be willing to give if the band was behind it, but I can understand that they might be uncomfortable with that.

I can only imagine how difficult it is to manage the four individuals over a period of a month.

I think it is probably a bit like herding cats! ;-)

4:11 AM  
Blogger lenny said...

hi (fr) eek

you certainly are a hellraiser.
wouldnt want to come across you in a dark, near deserted church concert
keep up the good work.
another church fan

5:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could help with zee jazz
if they make it out this way
oh and I know these great vegan digs
hey in one of them
everybody dresses like a pirate!
how fucking great is that?
raise som hell eek
to raise some cash
hey thats practical,
practically poetry
and you said ya don't even really like poems
but whata bout poetic justice?


1:18 AM  

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