‘Why Didn’t My Favorite Band Play My City?’ – Band Manager Explains Tour Routing
It inevitably happens to most bands at some point in their career - a tour gets announced and one of the markets they hoped to play ends up not listed as one of their stops. It's an annoyance for the group and sometimes a source of confusion and derision for fans in that missing market. So why didn't your favorite band play your city? The Band Camino manager Jameson Roper attempted to set the record straight, responding to one fan on Twitter, pulling back the curtain on what goes into a tour booking, routing and how and why some markets can sometimes be missed.
The Twitter thread started with one of The Band Camino's fans reaching out to Roper on Twitter asking why the group wasn't coming to North Carolina, specifically asking for a Charlotte show and noting the tour routing as well as the day off in the schedule where such a show could take place.
Roper, who admits these types of messages come frequently, decided to share the inquiry as a jumping off point for a larger explanation as to why missing markets happens, not only for The Band Camino, but likely other groups as well.
"After the TBC tour announce yesterday I got more messages like this than ever before. I'll pull back the curtain a bit and explain how tours come together. This might be interesting to you or a complete waste of my energy but here goes," explained Roper.
"Routing a tour is very hard, and this one in particular had to be completely trashed and started fresh 3 separate times. It took us well over 6 months to have a good idea, then even 48hrs before announce we had to swap 2 shows (redo the tour poster & marketing materials, etc)," he revealed.
"Here's how (most) acts approach routing. First, where do you *ideally* want to play? •Is the market one an artist has history in? •Was the last time in the market strong on the on-sale or sluggish? •Are the streaming/social numbers growing in a particular market? •Is there a festival/other radius that immediately prohibits including certain markets? (Radius is a very common issue with routing. 'Radius' meaning if you're agreed to play in a market there are rules about how close you can play within a certain period of time before/after) Use these qualifying questions to create somewhat of a 'dream' tour, then go to the next level," the band manager offered, sharing the first portion of booking a tour.
From there, he adds more questions that need to be answered. "Which markets do you want to 'take the step' in? (Meaning go up in room size.) For instance, on the Louisville show for this tour, we're doing the same room as Tour Camino because a) it's a sick venue b) the only other option was seated. So we couldn't take the step, but Paristown was available and routed perfectly into the tour. •How booked up is the room you want to play? •Will the stage in the room you want to play fit the production/lighting package you're planning to carry? •Does the venue have enough power? •Is there enough bus/van/truck parking?," he continued.
"Next comes the tricky part," suggests Roper. "Where are you going to start? Want to think about the fact the band/crew will start in the same city they need to get back to in the end. In this case, we knew we wanted to end in Nashville, & as always want the easiest/shortest drives for the crew. Then you run into radius issues, conflict checks, and the right room being available."
Using the initial question from the Twitter user Ethan's inquiry, he adds, "In the case Ethan initially brought up 'why no NC' the answer is simple: there wasn't the 'right step' in Charlotte that was available. The band did Fillmore last time (2,000 capacity).... ...so in that market we would ideally want something in the 3,000-4,500 range, but a) the perfect venue doesn't exist in the market and b) we did explore doing Fillmore again but the room was booked solid every potential day we would be around NC."
He further elaborated, "Conflicts are an issue too - we initially had a routing, learned one of the show days was the same night Foo Fighters was playing around the corner, so we immediately changed it. There will always be other tours going out at the same time, but in this particular instance we knew Nightly and The 1975 were out at the exact same time and you want to avoid playing the same market on the same night as artists that have some similar/overlapping fans. Also, this band prefers playing to open floors rather than seats, so factor all this in as well as availabilities in venues being slim, and your tour starts to take shape."
Roper concludes, "Every artist wants to play every market that wants to have them - The Band Camino definitely does, at least! A lot of times it's just a brain teaser of a situation and it's hard to make everything come together perfectly. We try so hard to hit every city that wants to see the band - believe me. This particular tour has been in the works since before Tour Camino was wrapped! Hope this helps solve some questions. I know people have tweeted/emailed/DM'd about how tours comes together."
The initial Tweeter Ethan, commented back, "I appreciate you peeling back the curtain. This makes total sense! Charlotte and even Raleigh lack a 'next step up' venue for the band. I know you guys work very hard to make this show happen for everyone, and just know we appreciate it! Can't wait to see y'all again!" He got a reply from Roper noting, "Believe me bro - if Charlotte had a 3-4k cap venue with a GA floor, we'd be there. Charlotte pops OFF for The Band Camino. Respect."
The thread also caught the eye of The Word Alive frontman Telle Smith, who commented, "This thread is perfect for fans to read of bands at all levels."
So, does that clarify to some extent the issues bands face when booking tours and why your market might be missed? One other thing that Roper didn't mention is that in the post-pandemic touring world, many acts were anxious to get back to touring, which at least initially led to an influx of acts vying for stage time and venue bookings.
As The Band Camino were the initial subject of the tour booking discussion, we should note that the group will be back on tour starting Sept. 14 at The Met in Philadelphia. See all their dates and get ticketing info here.
You can get a closer look at which rock and metal bands are currently touring in 2023 in the gallery below.