How Touring Truly Works for a Band, Any Band

Are you asking yourself . . .

Why does Hayseed Dixie never play a live show in my town?

Are you saying to yourself, “Screw those uppity bastards!!! They don’t never come play in (insert my town here)!”

Yeah. A lot of you probably are saying that. And we say that a lot too. We look at maps sometimes and say amongst ourselves, “Why have we never played a show in (insert town here)?”

Every time we announce new tour dates, we get a sled-load (sometimes hundreds) of emails and Facebook comments asking us why we’re not playing in (insert town here) on this tour, or this year, or why we never play in (insert town here). Let us please explain, because if you don’t work in the music business, and you probably don’t, then you probably don’t know how this stuff actually works - hell, why would you? So let us please explain the following facts:

  1. 1)We want to play everywhere. Really. We do. We want to play in (insert every town here). Especially if we’ve never played there before. We love seeing new places. That’s half of why we got into this line of work. But it is not up to us. We do not decide where we play. Let me repeat that. We do not decide where we play. In order for us to play in (insert town here), a venue or club or festival or promoter must hire us to play in said town. And they must believe that there are enough people willing to pay to see us in that town that they will not lose money. This normally means the promoter or venue must believe that at least 200+ people will pay to see us in a given town, or they won’t hire us - because they will lose money. And no promoter or venue wants to lose money.

  1. 2)Playing music is how all of us in the band make our livings, and we really like it that way. We don’t have other jobs because we don’t have time to have other jobs and also do everything required to make Hayseed Dixie happen. And since we depend on the band income to pay for our kids to eat, we can’t lose money. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely love a good party. Who doesn’t? But playing music is our job, not our hobby. And we like our job, but we don’t have time to make money doing anything else. So, no promoter wants to lose money on us and we can’t afford to lose money.

  1. 3)Normally, we can only play in a particular town or area once every 12 to 18 months or so. Otherwise, the venues or clubs or festivals or promoters in that town or area will not want to hire us - they will be afraid that we have already been there too recently, and they might lose money. So, if we just played in (for example) Belfast in July, and then we do a couple of weeks of shows in September of the same year, there won’t be a Belfast show in there for September. Nobody will hire us to play in that area again for at least a year. And that isn’t up to us. Personally, I’d play Glasgow once a month if it was up to me. But it isn’t up to me.

  1. 4)If you want us to play in (insert town here), it makes us feel very good when you tell us. It makes us feel wanted. And that’s honestly nice. Everybody likes to feel wanted. But it won’t help get us to (insert town here). Truly - the only way to get us to play in (insert town here) is to convince a venue or club or festival or promoter to hire us to play in (insert town here). One more time: we do not decide where we play; the venues and promoters decide who plays in their towns.

So tell us you want us to play in (insert town here) if you want to. But if you actually want us to came and play there sometime, please tell the venues or clubs or festivals or promoters in (insert town here) to hire us to play there. Thanks indeed. We’ll see you at the show and then we’ll see you at the bar!

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