Tour managers are often overlooked and under-appreciated. They make a massive impact on the success of a tour, by keeping everything on track and preventing the tour from crumbling under pressure.
If you want to go to the next level and play larger shows, turn a profit (or at least break even), you need to learn how to tour manage yourself properly.
Jack McCutcheon is an experienced tour manager with over 13 years on the road. He joins us to share his insights about what it takes to be a great tour manager in today's music industry. Listen now to learn more about tour management for your DIY band!
What you’ll learn:
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Welcome to episode 107 of the Bandhive podcast.
It is time for another episode of the Bandhive podcast. My name is James Cross and I'm not here with Matt Hoos of Alive in Barcelona, but we do have a very special guest, Jack McCutcheon, front of house engineer and tour manager extraordinaire out of the U. K. How are you doing today, Jack?
I'm good James, how are you? Glad to hear that? It's good on this side of the pond, we have snow. It's the start of december almost, it's like november 29th. So I'm getting ready for christmas. I'm excited. And I think you have some exciting plans coming up in the next few months as well. The first post pandemic stuff. Right, well, I mean, actually, the post pandemic that's been kicking off already over here. I've actually just come off the road as of two days ago for the end of the year for me, we in the UK open things up pretty early and festivals started happening kind of as early as late july and my feet haven't touched the floor since then.
So it's been pretty full on. I did have more touring books in before christmas that went away just for various reasons, I think some covid cancelations and what not, But I made the decision not to look for any more touring this year because I'm already booked out from mid january until december next year. Yeah. Got to have some time off in there at some point. Yeah, that's right. It's like looking forward does pay dividends sometimes. Yeah, well it's great to hear you're staying so busy if you don't mind just sharing a little bit about your background, you know, how did you get into the music industry?
I guess first of all, do you play any instruments yourself? I would be tempted to say no. Now, just because whenever I do pick up the guitar or the base is not particularly harmonious what comes out or it's just the same four chords. But yeah, that is how I started, you know, I used to play guitar, bass drums In bands as long as I can remember really. And then I was lucky enough around the age of 13, in the town that I grew up in North Hampton in the UK. There are some guys who ran like an alternative music school for kids who wanted to play in bands rather than orchestras and a very early age they started teaching is a bit about town engineering and I kind of got into that then, Yes, started mixing gigs when I was like 14, 15 I think and then just kind of kept going and then as everywhere in the music industry, everybody wants you to do more than one job at once.
So as soon as I started, yeah. Since I started working with bands that were touring, doing mixing their sounds, then they need a tour manager. So you kind of learn that on the job. Yeah. One things leads to another and here I am, 13 years later, wondering why I'm doing it. Because there's nothing like it right? There is certainly nothing like it, that's for sure. Yeah. Yeah. So you've been doing that for 13 years and that the whole time? 13 years on the road or that was when you started Yes, I think 13 years sort of pretty much from when I started doing touring works, I'm 33 now.
So yeah, when I was 20 is when I got picked up by a guy who ran a small PA company from the town that I grew up in and he took care of a bunch of sort of golden oldie bands like from the jam. So the bass player and drummer from the jam and the blockheads and the animals. And So I got to kind of cut my teeth with bands like that, which was pretty lucky. Really? Yeah. Getting to learn the ropes from somebody who's been out there for 2030 years and really has the experience to say, Hey, this is what we've learned over the years.
So you don't have to learn those lessons the hard way. Yeah, well, they can be pretty hard when you're learning them from people like that, but. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Well that's great. And we were talking about what you do before we hit record and it sounds like you're typically working at least as a tour manager, you're working with artists who are doing club and theater level shows. Although you also do sound for arena level shows. Which is amazing because that's like a totally different beast. And just a side track here for people who don't know, you know, like a club.
Typically you show up to the club and the sound system's there and you use that maybe you bring a board of your own whatever. But for an arena, no like everything is for that one show you load in the entire P. A. The stage, everything. So it's a totally different beast. Which is kind of outside of what we should really talk about here on Bandhive because we're focused on D. I. Y. Artists. So for somebody to go from D. I. Y. Shows to an arena is going to take quite some time, but I wanted to throw that out there just because I also do sounds I'm a little nerdy about that.
Yeah, I mean you say that it can take quite some time because of the pandemic. We're seeing things that we've never seen before. I just started to all managing a brand new artist here in the UK called daisy Brain. I received a bit of a panicked phone call from Locomotion Management who managed an artist called Youngblood, who's doing very well over here at the moment, and they said, we've got this new band and they were about to go out on tour supporting Yungblud next month, can you help?
They've never done a gig before. I was that okay, what's the date? I looked at my diary and I could make it work. And the fifth ever show was Alexandra Palace in front of 10,000 people, you know, so that's huge. And they've lived, literally, just got, I mean, they're good players, but they're all young drummer was born in the year 2000, you know, which kind of freaks me out of it. It's so amazing. We have people in the Bandhive community who are 22, and they were born in, you know, 99.
I'm like, how, I mean, that's only six years younger than me, but still, it's it's quite shocking. And they're going to be smashing it out the park about is like, yeah, this next generation of artists is ready to embrace digital media, I think, which is again, not what we're going to talk about, but like, the people born in the eighties and nineties, I kind of see going like social media, like, let's do this the old way And the people who are born like 99. And on our like, yeah, Tiktok, we got this like, we can do this.
Why not? So that's going to be a massive shift I think is all that direction is going to just be different. We're going to see those younger artists absolutely take over. But I think this is a good jumping off point with daisy brain. What did you have to do to get them ready for that tour when they've never played a show before. Now they're opening for a Yungblud who Youngblood himself just a few years ago was not that big. I remember he did warped tour and he was like one of the unknown people.
This was what, 2017, I think he was on warped and now he's doing massive shows, especially in europe, but also in the U. S. Yeah, I mean his trajectory has been incredible. So yeah, what do we do to get daisy brain ready? I mean, first things first was like, right where we need to do a show before we go out on the road with Yungblud. So they booked a gig into a place called the Sea, bright Arms in East London, which is like a little 200 capacity sort of sweaty back room of a pub.
And I mean half the people there were industry like, there's quite a lot of buzz around this band, which is good because they are great. So thankfully they're really cool receptive guys and just, we're open to me talking to them about what I think we need to do, you know? And they were really kind of on it. So the main thing that was, you know, they do have a bit of playback, so it's making sure that the playback rack that we put together is solid and in preparation for going out and supporting a larger artists, like the main, especially for like, the opening band, like, they really need to be concentrating on getting on and off stage and not getting in anybody's way.
Like, when you're band opening up for a larger act, it's almost as much about how you get on with touring crew and the touring band of the headline act as it is about what, how many punters you're playing to every night because um, they're actually the people that are going to give you a leg up in the industry and they're the people that will take care of you and they bump into you at a festival later down the road, one of your guitars is broken. They were like, hey, no, I remember you from that tour, you were really cool.
You got your shirt off state quickly, like, of course, I'll reach doing this guitar for you while you're doing something else, you know? So a lot of what I spoke to daisy brain about was, yeah, just being ready for that really and, and, and making sure that you're polite, good manners and your equipment in good shape. Yeah. So basically don't have this ego of, like, we've never played a show before, now, we're opening for a Yungblud, like, were amazing, like, just be like, hey, we're new, we're here to learn, kind of just that attitude of being receptive to feedback, I guess, and treat it as a learning experience as a whole.
Absolutely, absolutely. And I mean, you know, I try and treat all my work in that way as well, right, all the way up to the biggest artist that I work with, Just like, most people probably do. I went through a stage where I had a bit of young arrogance and cockiness when I kind of thought, Yeah, and I'm doing some big shows, arrogant sound engineers who would have thought, Yeah, Yeah, I know strange, strange concept, but I think, you know, you kind of, that gets whittled out pretty quickly on the road because you spend six weeks in a metal tube with people driving around europe or the US, and there's not really much time to be a dick, and there's no space for it either, you have your bunk and that's it.
Yeah, exactly. There's no there's no way to run to. Yeah, well, as we get further into this, let's rewind a little bit, because a lot of d I y artists don't really know what goes into putting together a tour or what really tour management is, aside from, like, a glorified babysitters, what people might say, and there's a lot more than that. I mean, it can be a lot of that sometimes, but yeah, it depends on the artist too, I'm sure. But can you give a quick rundown of what you would put down for?
A job description of a tour manager? Okay, so as a tour manager, I take responsibility for the implementation and facilitation of the tour from the point at which the booking has been made. So the booking agent will make the bookings across the territory that you're touring in with the local promoters. Once those contracts have been assigned, I then get past the contracts, I'll then put together a budget, which kind of is the sort of the Holy Grail of the tour, in terms of like, can we do this?
How are we going to do this? How many band members can you have, if it's like a pop artist, he doesn't have a set amount of band members or how much crew can we afford to take, how much production can we afford to tour? Are we going to stay six people in one hotel room and we're going to have a hotel room each and all that sort of stuff. And so that's the point at which that all gets worked out in a good team. That budget will happen very soon on and the decisions will be made coherently and from that point forward, there's no big surprises once the budget's been written, you know, I'll then go ahead and book all the crew and extra band members that there needed book rehearsals in and book all the transport, all the hotels were going into different territories and we need visas and such.
That's a process that might have to happen way before the tour. An artist that I've been asked to mix front of house for next year, girl called beabadoobie, he's doing quite well at the moment. They've just started their petition for the U. S. Visas for next year already. So your visas might have to happen quite early on. So I suppose that's kind of it really in in terms of the advance and then once all that's in place, I would put together a production and hospitality rider, which is basically a document that all the information about our tour is distilled into it, will have the touring party, how will be traveling, what power requirements we have in the venue, what dressing room requirements, we have, what catering requirements, we have, what stage requirements back line everything very intricate documents to try and make sure that nothing's a surprise when we turn up and then I started what's called the advanced process with the venues.
I talked to them and just make sure that they're able to accommodate us and if they, you know, there's any areas in which there might be difficulties that we can work together to. So I knows out before we get to the venue, then come the actual tour by and large, everything should be in place. And, you know, there's some venues coming up where perhaps you can take your whole lighting rig in or, you know, for some reason you can't do everything that you want to do, then that's not surprised and you're prepared for that.
And then the day to day running of the tour would just be making sure everybody is in the right place at the right time, which can be very problematic depending on who you're working with. That's the babysitting, that's where the babysitting comes in as soon as you're on the road. Yeah. Which is the part that everyone sees. That's like the thing people think of. Exactly, yeah. Which is the tip of the iceberg, to be honest. Yeah, yeah. That's when the babysitting comes in and doing accounts, you know, I've learned to become an accountant who doing tour management as well.
Like my thankfully, my accounts are often quite praised by management, especially when I work with new bands, they're always kind of blown away by it, which is always pleasing. It means that Germany get paid quickly as well. So yeah, that's always a plus. If you can control that, say, hey, I finished my stuff quickly and you can actually understand it. So that means you can pay me sooner. That's always a plus. Yeah, that's it, to use daisy brain as an example. Again, they've got fantastic business management they do to payment runs a day, which is incredible and they were just, she was over the moon with my tour accounts and so I got paid very quickly, which is great.
Yeah, that's always a plus. Well, thanks for sharing that rundown. I hope that gives listeners an idea of what the scope of being a tour manager is. There's so many different things that go into this and obviously the bigger the act, the more there is and the more it gets split up with other people, if you're lucky and have the budget for that, which I'm sure, you know, if like for example, an arena tour would have the budget for production assistance and all kinds of stuff, but for a D. I. Y artist, this is all going to be you, if you're planning your first tour as a D I. Y artist, these are all things you have to think of, and it seems like an incredibly overwhelming list, but once you have a list, you can kind of go through and take off the boxes saying, okay, this is done, this is done, this is done.
So let's say for, not for daisy Brain since this was opening, but for an artist who's headlining, let's say mid sized clubs, you know, like 5 to 750 people, how far in advance would you start this planning process, just always as soon as possible really. It kind of depends on the structure of how things get booked. So if you're booking the gigs yourself, then I would always just try and get all that done first. If you're lucky enough to be working with a booking agent, they'll hand it all to you as a tour that book.
But yeah, if you're booking it all yourself and concentrate on that process first, you know, like you can do this methodically and work through it and you should to make sure that everything is having the right attention to detail applied to it. So you get the bookings in and make sure that you're being realistic with the fees that you're taking at that point. So perhaps something that might start happening at the same time as booking. Actually, I'm kind of eating my own words here is that you could start putting that into a budget and it can just be simple.
Like my budget sheets cover every eventuality, but even just a simple like income and expenditures, you know, so like this is what you're gonna get each gig and only go on guarantees. Like only go on what you're guaranteed to get always, you know, plan for the worst case scenario. So your budget should always be the worst case scenario. So the booking agent saying we're going to pay you 500 bucks for this gig. But if you sell out, then you'll get a portion of the ticket sales, A portion of the cellblock ticket sales don't budget for what that might be.
Even if you're pretty sure you'll sell out because it's your hometown and you always do just budget for the guarantee. Just go for the guarantee thing. Don't even think about much. That's a bonus on top as well. You work with the guarantees as your income and while you're booking, you know start being realistic about our case to say we've got 10 gigs coming up. We think we can book these 10 shows. If we're booking these 10 shows then we need to at least make sure they're getting this much of a guarantee each show and just really try and work that and then once those bookings are in is when you can really start working to that budget and trying to minimize your costs really.
Then further in advance you can book hotels and transport and stuff like that than the the cheaper it is. Yeah that's something that I think is often overlooked as you know People when they're looking for a vacation, book 4, 5, 6 months out but for a tour they'll go ahead and book hotels for the next night. It's like that would have been half the price if you booked it two months ago. Yeah totally. And like twice as nice a hotel as well, you just be rolling up to some motel in the middle.
Like I've done some shitty motels in America and I was like oh yeah especially I don't know if you've done the drive from anywhere in the southwest like L. A. Or phoenix to the east side of texas, that's like a two day drive and it's just, there's nothing in between. It's brutal. Yeah, thankfully I was on a bus when he did that. I've done it both ways and the bus is much nicer. I totally agree with you there. Yeah. Yeah. I wouldn't want to do it in a van.
Yeah, I don't mind van tours in the northeast, but in the southwest it's just, it's brutal. Yeah, I mean Vance was going to actually be better sometimes because at least you get a hotel room and you're out of the vehicle, you know like crazy sometimes when you're on a bus, especially doing back to back bus tours like done in like four weeks around the UK, then six weeks around europe and then you fly out and do six weeks around the US and like here with the same 15 people in a metal tube that whole time was quite a lot.
You're seeing new things every day, but you're still going stir crazy because like you haven't left the bubble actually, you know, this is kind of side tracking but as a tour manager, do you go in and plan things for days off, like activities or do you let the artist decide or the artists and crew decide, hey, like do whatever you want today. Just be back by bus call. Yeah, I mean it's kind of a bit of both really, as I said to you like, just before we started, I've kind of whittled down my tour management roster to a few people that I really enjoy working with because I found that being a tour manager and front of house had a bit of a glass ceiling in terms of me advancing as a front of house engineer.
But there's some people that I really enjoyed all managing main person to mention. There is a guy called Nick Mulvey who I've been with four or five years now. He's like a brother to me and we're very much cut from the same cloth and you know, I know how we liked it all together and so I'll try and make sure that there's spar days and stuff booked on those days off for like, you know, it's very much somebody who'd like to spend a day out in a hotel in the middle of nowhere, in nature with good food as opposed to someone who wants to be in a city where you can, where we can go out and party or perhaps at that end of the tour, maybe we want a bit of a party.
So I think, yeah, it depends how long I've been working with an artist as to how would I know them and I do try not to some young tour managers, I see taking on more than they have to in that respect as well, feeling that they should be like, okay, what's a day off, so we need to plan to do something. In fact, I heard Yungblud to ask his tour manager the new Bond film was out while we were on tour, you know, and he was like, hey Caroline maybe would be nice.
We got a day off tomorrow, maybe we can find a cinema that showing Bond and we all go and watch it fine. Yeah, lovely. I'll, you know, I'll do that. I'll go around and ask the crew who's up for it. But generally speaking, I won't kind of weighed in and ask people or just say I've organized this because everybody deals with being on the road in their own way as well. And as we were just saying, it can be quite intense, You can, like, in terms of the amount of time that you're spending together, but there's a big sense of camaraderie as well and so people might feel a little forced to spend more time with these people that they're already spending a lot of time with on their day off.
You know, I think to some degree you kind of have to leave it open for people to do what they want. That's all super interesting. I think that's really important for artists to understand when their tour managing themselves, it's like, yeah, you're, you're out there with three or four of your best friends, but that doesn't mean you all want to do the same thing on a day off, maybe. Like, let's say your drummer is a total introvert and you have a day off, they just want to go chill in the hotel and like watch netflix all day and you want to go into the city and party like that's fine, but recognize that not everyone is going to have those same goals for a day off, which for me too, personally, like, back when I was touring, it was a day off. Cool.
Like, let me go chill, I'll go do laundry if I have a friend in the city, I'll meet up with them, but I don't want to go party. I want to enjoy my first day off in 12 days, you know? Exactly, exactly. And as you said, you know, you've got to give space for everybody to do that, how they want to, you know, and you're not always going to marry up, there might be that wicked day off that you have in a city where funk, here, we all want to go for dinner and then the great bar happens and then ship the club happens after that, but you know, don't push for it.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, to circle back on something, you said a little while ago, you take over once the show's start getting booked that way, you have the contract and you can put your budget together, but for a D I. Y Artist there's I think one really important step they need to do before they can book tours which is putting together their routing for their tour. So it sounds like in your situation when you're working with these artists, the artists management has decided which markets to play and put together the routing, is that correct?
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. That's something that I wouldn't assume to really like have input or have very little insight into it. I mean I have some insight to it just to by virtue of having done what I do for quite a while. Um and I know that basically the most powerful tool for that nowadays is Spotify, you know, I know the booking agents have just got a ship that's going to gig in Istanbul because that track just went off in Istanbul last week. So it's totally numbers based these days.
It's not like, you know, saying, hey, these are the major markets between these other major markets. It's like this is where we're doing well. Yeah, it's kind of a bit of both. I think like obviously there's a major markets that always will be, you know in europe, it's London Berlin the two major markets after that, you know paris Madrid depending on the kind of music you're playing and then obviously, you know in new york L. A. And the typical major markets, you should always try and hit those up even just by virtue of the fact that that's where that's where the industry hangout.
But I think tools such as Spotify, you know, because it's such an immediate feedback on where your music is getting listened to. It's allowed artists to kind of create their own markets in a lot of ways, you know, or just sort of at least see where their fans are and and to play to those strengths. So there's that and then there's also a thing about leaving tickets on the table, which is a term that you might not have heard unless you kind of had some involvement with booking agents.
But leaving tickets on the table means like not necessarily going in and hammering somewhere that you do well in just because you can like say there's a kind of regional town for some reason you go down really well in and you could possibly book like a 7 58 100 cap venue. Whereas everything else on the tours looking about sort of 3 to 400 cap, Maybe it's still just do 3-400, possibly 500 cap venue there and leave some tickets on the table. That's an area where people are digging your music. It's better to play a sold out show than a show that just may be sold out or didn't quite sell out or perhaps even as a half full room.
Like it's always better just to like keep the buzz and keep the hype. And that can even mean that you might even then just do two nights at the same place, but that's a lot more of high p that's a lot more buzzy than having a half full bigger room. So Yeah, that's something to be kind of conscious of when you're working out your routing and you're looking at your numbers, it's about kind of not just selling as many tickets in one tour just because you can, you know?
Yeah, absolutely. And it also has that sense of exclusivity, you know, if there's 400 people who bought tickets, but 801 of them then it's like, hey, next time we're not going to miss out and we are going to buy the instant, the pre sale goes on sale. I think it's such a cool strategy, I've seen that and for the fans, it's special to like for longtime podcast listeners. They know I'm a massive af I fan and a f I did three shows in SAn Diego when I lived in SAn Diego back to back in the span of a year.
They did five shows but three in a row. And that was amazing because I got to see my at the time favorite band three nights in a row and no, where else could you do that for that band? Unless you followed them on the tour, which I didn't do because, you know, like I had work and stuff and you know, you'll see bands playing two shows quite frequently, but three shows is a stretch. Like, I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I've seen artists do that and it's not like a residency where they're playing a full week, usually like one or two shows, that's it, 3 to 5 somehow, at least from what I've seen seems kind of abnormal.
It certainly is. It's definitely a thing to do and it is A tactful thing to do, you know, and it's something that booking agents and artists of all sizes kind of like to do. Like there's a venue in London, a very famous venue called Brixton Academy, which is a 5000 capacity sort of theater venue, but it's a bit of a flag in the sand venue. You know, once you've done Brixton Academy, like people really know who you are, If you do two bricks stones, people would rather do to Brixton back to back on a tour than go to Ali Poly, which is 10,000 and do that because it's just got a bit more of a stamp on it.
I can't remember who it was the other day, but I saw somebody doing four bricks and academies. That's incredible. Yeah, they could do the 02 arena if they wanted to, but it's more viable doing for Brixton Academy. Yeah, well, I think this is going to be another topic that's kind of not really relevant to our listeners, but I just want to throw this out there for the few listeners who might get enjoyment from this. Which is the difference between what an artist plays in europe and what they play in the US or vice versa.
I know years ago I saw frank turner here, I think it's 2013 playing a 750 Cap venue. That was the same year or maybe one year after he sold out Wembley in the U. K. I think it was not the 80 K. Cap but like the smaller 20 to 30 K. That's huge. Now enter Shakeri is playing Alley palley in the next week or two. As of the time we're recording this In April they're playing 500 cap venue in Boston. That's massive. If you think about that's literally five of the capacity compared to the shows that are playing in the U. K. That's just such a shift to see.
But it also works the other way. There are punk bands here in the States that no one knows or cares about but then they go play europe and they're us based bands. They play europe especially Germany I see and they'll play like 56 700 people and it sells out. Which I think is absolutely amazing to see the difference in how international touring works. So this question is not really going to be relevant to our listeners again. But how do you kind of See that from your perspective. How do you handle an artist who is used to playing massive shows and now they're playing two shows that they're basically going back 10 years in their career.
Yeah, no, it's a good question and you know, I think, yeah, I might not apply to everybody in your listenership, but I think it's definitely something to be learned from it all, because, you know, we'll always, there'll always be great gigs and will always be shipped gigs and you've got to enjoy both of them just as much basically. And I think a good kind of case study of this for me as an artist called Amy Shark, who is an Australian artist who's currently sort of number one over there I think, or was a couple of months ago, and he's doing arenas and stadiums Over there and started 2019, just before the Apocalypse.
She came over to Europe and I got asked to take care of her over here. They wanted to do it on a bus because you don't really get to do bus touring in Australia. But the size of the clubs were like, some of them were like 200 capacity and not sold out, you know? And this is someone who's going from doing 20,000 a night in Australia to 2 to 300 capacity clubs, and some of them were heaving some of them were not. And yeah, it's just about remembering what it was like when you first started grafting it, you know, because Amy wouldn't have been playing, she didn't just start playing arenas in Australia either.
She started at open mic nights. And so it's just about kind of like just bringing that grace to it and just being like, okay, well it's a new bunch of people, it's a new place, it goes down well in one part of the world, doesn't necessarily mean it's going to everywhere, but it also doesn't mean that it's not worth trying and that it's not worth putting the hard working to build that up. Yeah, sometimes you just gotta gotta keep plugging at it. Yeah, for sure. Well, I think there's probably also an interesting dynamic there because you have an artist who has been playing these massive shows for years and then they're playing a tiny club and I would imagine that they just blow everything away that that club has had for the last week or two because the club is used to having artists who play clubs and then all of a sudden there's this artist who has this massive experience playing a tiny club.
You know, obviously there's there's great musicians who play smaller venues, but I think there's just something to be said about showmanship. Another example maybe is years ago, I saw pure love frank carter's former band at 02 Academy, but like the small one in Birmingham and that was the best show I've ever seen because it was amazing to see this band essentially a supergroup Playing a tiny stage where is like a year prior, he'd been playing in gallows to crowds of like, I don't know, 20,000 at reading. So did you see something like that with Amy?
When she played those smaller shows was like, wow, this is different from other artists who would play this venue. Yeah, I mean, she's definitely a pro, you know, she's definitely got his finessed her show and uh performance style. So I suppose, yes, in danger of sounding like a bit arrogant, I think I'm kind of, I'm lucky enough to kind of be working with a lot of artists on that level. And so that level of professional itty and finesse show isn't new to me. But also say it presents some problems as well, really.
You know, if band and crew who are used to having a large scale production around them, you just can't reproduce that in a club. You know, you can't get that Pop vocal, that sounds like it's 100 m wide, you just can't get that in a venue that only holds 200 people, you know, so yes, definitely a level of professional itty in the way that, you know, she and other artists I've worked with dealt with that change for sure. And just kind of been like, it is what it is and in the same way, you know, where this is applicable to absolutely everybody whether you're in an arena or a back room of a pub somewhere.
Like it's about playing your best show, no matter how many people are in the room, you know, that's when I really worked with some one, I've seen some of the most professional work ever, you know, in my career is when I've been with artists and they're confronted with a half full room or less. You know, like a couple of people in the sound engineering there and like they're still come on and really play, they're all into it and just enjoy it. Just remember that it's music and it should be fun. Yeah.
And that's really what it is. And I imagine it's also a special connection for fans when they're in a room that holds, Let's say 500 and there's 100 people there, Which I've seen all too often unfortunately. But when the artist really goes 100 10% anyway, that's got to be a special connection for those fans because they're saying like, hey, there was no one here, but the band still was amazing. They didn't just say, you know, we're going to phone it in today. Like, let's pretend it's a day off and we'll just do like half hour set.
You know, like no one wants to see that if the band doesn't want to be there, the audience knows on the other hand, if the band clearly wants to be there, even though there's not a lot of people in the room That's also going to be something that the audience picks up on, and they're probably going to be bigger fans of the band at that point, because of that totally, I couldn't agree more, and you'll probably sell more tickets next time around because of that as well.
Use the reference of like, a 500 cap venue with 100 people there. Those 100 people go away and they're buzzing about it and they're talking to people about it the next time you come through. Yeah, maybe just book or to undercut than you, but you'll sell it, you know, if you put that effort in before. Yeah, especially it goes back to what you're saying about leaving tickets on the table. Maybe at that point they could do 500 but it's going to look a lot better if they do 200 sell it out, because then they can say, hey, like last time we only sold 20% of the tickets this time we sold out, that's a huge difference.
And that just adds to the hype that those 100 people started creating from the first gig where you played your ourself to them. Exactly. On this note, as we kind of start to wrap things up here. I'm sure there are lots of resources and tools that you use to do your job effectively. I know a lot of people use Master Tour, which is kind of out of reach for most D I Y artists and probably more power than they need. Is that one you use yourself? I do, yeah, I do use Master Tour.
I started using it version one actually, it's quite a while ago. Nice. But before that I just used to use google calendar. I only really use Master tour for the scheduling and for the immediacy of everybody having it on their phone and I can send everybody immediate updates and do it that way. I don't get into the back end of it for my accounting and everything like that, you know, I just use Excel docs. I have a template and my tour accounts, then I can just fill that out.
I need to have a template for my budgeting and for my accounts I have a personnel information form that I send out just another Excel doc. You know, when I'm working with a new band or whatever, I just send this to them and it half it's all their personal information in one go. So yeah, you know, there's plenty of free resources you can use out there, like there's kind of like the boring bit of touring, really tall tall management is the spreadsheets and the calendars. But yeah, for me, that's my favorite part, like google sheets.
I used to use Excel as well, but now google sheets is amazing. Would you be willing to share your your sheets a blank copy. Yeah. Yeah, that's fine, awesome. I'll share my budgeting and my accountant cheats and my much stock sheets. No problem sharing all of those things. There's nothing genius going on. Alright killer. Thank you Jack for anyone who's listening. If you want to download Jack's templates, just head on over to band, I've got rocks slash 107 and we'll have the links to each of those templates for you.
And like I said, Jack, you also do some audio work in the studio, which you're probably not going to do a lot of for this next year since you're booked up, but if people want to reach out to you, sounds like they should go to JMc audio dot co dot UK, is that correct? That's correct, yeah, yeah, they can hit me up on there. I offer tracking, you know, if you're based in the UK, have a recording studio in bristol which has, whereas a turn to cap venue attached to it, to live rooms to control rooms, vocal booth.
So yeah, we do tracking. Mixing mastering. So yeah, come say hello. Alright, celery. Well, Jack, it's been a pleasure speaking with you. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge on the podcast today. I really appreciate it. Thank you jones pleasure to be invited into the habitat. Yeah, thanks so much. Have a great day, cheers, bye bye mm hmm. Mhm Yeah, that does it for this episode of the Van Hive podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in and listening. Of course. Big thanks to Jack McCutcheon for coming on the show to talk about tour management.
I always nerd out about stuff like this so much. So it was really difficult for me not to sidetrack, but I hope that you enjoyed this episode and learn something from it. Jack seems like an incredible tour manager. It's so cool to see how things scale from the D. I. Y. Level up to the club level up to the theater and arena level. Like I said in the episode, I nerd out about this stuff and I hope you will also, because it's so incredibly important that when you don't have a tour manager, you've hired, you are your own tour manager and you have to take care of these things.
So I really hope that you will listen to this episode and take it to heart and go out there, grab Jack's templates. The links will be in our show notes page at band, I've got rocks slash 107 and use them to your fullest advantage. So, again, thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate it. We'll be back next Tuesday at six a.m. Eastern time with another brand new episode. Until then, I hope you have a great week. Stay safe and of course, as always keep a rock
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