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How To Advance A Tour

Posted by Artist Growth on Jan 28, 2016 9:38:49 AM

Guest post by Billy Reed, originally published on his site where you can find all kinds of useful information on touring, tour management and generally being awesome. Billy is a professional tour manager currently on the road.

What is advancing?

Advancing is a process that begins weeks before a show or tour ever begins. It’s the period of time where needs are expressed and logistical pitfalls are overcome, in order to prepare for a successful day of show. No two advances are the same. Each one is different, and must be tailored to meet the needs of the situation you’re in.

Advancing can include, but is not limited to discussions on parking, labor, load in, load out, scheduling, audio, lighting, hospitality, merchandise, venue amenities, guestlist, meet and greets, press, security, hotels, settlement, the list goes on.

As outlined in the pre-advancing lesson, organization is key. You are opening the flood gates of your inbox, and having a solid base for how you are going to stay on top of information and requests will drastically improve the quality of your life once you’re in the thick things.

You know that thing about first impressions? How they tend to last? Think of that when you’re sending out your advance. It’s the first contact you’re making with the house, and it sets the tone for how your show is going to be run in a few weeks. Venue staff and production can smell a turd in their inbox. Equally, I’ve learned when I’m about to step into a pile myself. Don’t be that turd.

There are an infinite number of situations that could arise day of show. No advance will totally full-proof your day, but it can tighten things up significantly. Think of something very simple, like arriving to a major metropolitan city while towing a trailer. If you express your parking needs before arriving, you will more than likely arrive to the most beautiful looking coned off spots, where you will easily be able to pull in your rig. Onlookers will gasp and swoon as you pull in. Who do these parking spots belong to?! My friend, they belong to you, because you advanced it.


advance.jpg Billy's mobile production office set up

Below I’ve included a very general advancing template. It is going to be overkill for an open mic night, and likely not enough for a larger situation. The questions you actually end up asking will depend greatly on who you’re touring with, the crew you’ve hired, what you’re traveling in, what kind of gear you’re bringing (or not bringing in), if you have support on the tour, and what style show it is (club, festival, something else).

Be mindful of who, and what you’re dealing with while advancing. There is a balance of getting the information you need, and over advancing something. This is only a template. Use it as a reference. Find it below the break.

Hello, I’m reaching out to advance _________’s performance on Thursday, January 1st, 2026. Attached to this email is our stage plot, input list, hospitality rider and W9.


(#) persons traveling with _________. No dietary restrictions.


_________’s are traveling in a bus with trailer. 65′ long. Need at least 85′ for trailer door and room to maneuver cases. Please provide detailed parking instructions that I can provide the driver. A map and photos are requested.

– What time can the bus arrive to park for the day?
– Where will the bus and trailer park? Is it the same location as load in? Will we back in or nose in?
– Do we need any type of parking permit?
– Is shore power available? Any restrictions on use of bus generator?
– At what time can we have access to the venue?
– Where will we load in?
– What is the load like? Any stairs, elevators, long push, ramp, forklift, etc?
– Please advise if the venue is a union house. If union, are there any mandated breaks to be aware of?
– Will loaders be available upon the in and out?
– What is the latest time the bus is able to move?


We are traveling with a FOH engineer. We are NOT traveling with a MON engineer or LD.

– Who will my day of show contact be? What is their contact info?
– Who is the house sound engineer that day? What is their contact info?
– Who is the house lighting director that day? What is their contact info?
– We are not traveling with any additional production gear (FOH board, monitor board, lights, etc.)
– We are traveling with all backline.
– No one is on IEM. All players will need wedges.
– We are traveling with a 18′ x 15′ backdrop that is fireproof certified.
– Do you have a drum riser available? 8’x8’x1′ is what we are looking for.
– If you have a tech pack, go ahead and send that over.
– Are there any other acts on the bill?

AUDIO (in this example, the band is not traveling with an audio package, but if they were…)

– Tell the house what you are bringing in
– Specify what your needs are gear wise from the house
– If traveling with an engineer, include their contact information here.

LIGHTING (in this example, the band is not traveling with a lighting package, but if they were…)

– Tell the house what you are bringing in
– Specify what your needs are gear wise from the house
– If traveling with an LD, include their contact information here.


TBD – Load In
TBD – Soundcheck
TBD – Support Load In
TBD – Support Soundcheck
TBD – Doors
TBD – Support
TBD – Headliner (Include Length of Set)
TBD – Curfew (Is there a hard curfew? Room flip?)


– What is our hospitality budget for the evening? (I like to send a shop list closer to the show date)
– Are in house meals available?
– How many guest lists spots are available to us?
– Is a runner budgeted for this show?


– Do you have dressing rooms? How many?
– Do you have a production office? Where is it located?
– Do you have showers? If so, please provide # large bath towels.
– Do you have laundry? If not, is fluff and fold available?
– Is a private bathroom available?
– What is the internet network and password?
– Please provide clothing rack and full length mirror in main dressing room. (Other special requests)


– We travel with all merchandise and a merchandise seller.
– Where is the merchandise area? How does merch get to this area?
– We require one 8′ table, a well lit area, and access to power.
– If this is a mandatory house sell, please advise in advance.
– Should we need to ship anything to the venue, please provide a safe shipping address.
– Any questions regarding merchandise should be directly to merch@merchperson.com


– Who will I settle with that evening?
– Please provide receipt of deposit at settlement if one has been made.
– If there is to be withholding, please let me know in advance.
– We will take a check for settlement. It can be made out to __________.


– Our photo policy is first three songs, no flash, no stage, no backstage; unless otherwise stated.
– Tour travels with credentials. Will provide photocopy for security on DOS.
– Do you have an origination fee for pro audio/video taken at your venue?
– Can you please provide me the number of a reputable car service/taxi company that services your area.
– Do you have a preferred rate with any local hotels?

Is there anything out of the ordinary that I should be made aware of?

Looking forward to the show!

- Billy Reed. You can follow Billy here and check out more on his site, Need For Reed.