Guide to getting and playing better gigs


   

Rules Of The Road

     
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Everyone should carry his/her own stuff. If you can’t carry it for a five mile trek, then don't take it.

Everyone should pay for himself/herself at all times. It's too confusing to figure out whose turn it is to buy, so don’t. Split the costs of all food, housing, travel, beer, etc. right down to the cost of tolls and the shared newspaper. Elect someone as treasurer who'll keep a running tally on expenses, and who hopefully has a good grasp of long-division. Having an "up-front" conversation about finances always improves your chances of having a successful tour. Don’t leave anything out. Everyone should be able to speak openly about their concerns regarding finances or any other matter.

Share responsibilities such a map reading, making reservations, changing money, getting train tickets, getting your local "busking" pass, etc. Some of us are naturally more eager to take charge while others may be inclined to follow the desires of the group. It's true that while you’ll see many different and cool cities, these places can be a bit intimidating if you don’t know the language and/or have no experienced guide with you who can show you around. And every city is, indeed, different - complete with its own systems and customs. However, we have found that much of the real experience and fun of travelling abroad comes by fully participating in those routines of daily life i.e. changing money, getting a room for the night, ordering tickets, figuring out what bus or train to take, and general city orientation, etc. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. So don’t shy away from taking your part in tour responsibilities. You’ll be surprised just how "less foreign" and intimidated you’ll feel once you’ve played a few gigs in two or three towns.

While most Europeans have a decent grasp of English, as a performer, you don’t want to come across as an arrogant prat who expects everyone else to bow to his perceived ignorance of languages. Any polite attempt at speaking a few local phrases will go a long, long way towards warming up the crowd to you and your music as well as adding a few Euros to your hat. By the way, speaking English loudly does NOT constitute the speaking of a foreign language.

If anyone is separated from the group for less than a day, then return to the hotel/hostel to re-group. If one is separated for more than one day, then be sure to have a mutual contact phone number/person in your home country who can serve to shuttle messages between you.

Each of you will have different interests, energy, appetites, etc., so it’s usually a good thing to allow for the splitting up of the group for an afternoon every few days. You don’t want to be at each other’s throats as to what to do or where to play or eat. Most importantly, don’t take too personally anything that may be uttered when scaling the steps of your nineteenth museum or castle.

Make a real effort to practice your music or craft for at least two hours each morning (but don’t wake up the neighbours!). You'll be tempted to go, go, go all day to see as many museums, galleries, churches, parks, and villages that you can. This tendency will unfortunately have a bearing on your energy level when it comes time to perform. So, if you’re going to Europe to sightsee, then do that. But if you’re going to Europe to perform, then it's imperative that you save time each day to practice and to be energized to perform. You’re body and your audience will appreciate your dedication.

Eat as healthfully as you can (i.e. try not to over-indulge on French Roast coffee, Swiss Chocolates, German Beer, or Italian Pasta). Your stomach and friends will thank you for it. Try to eat a decent amount of veggies and fruits. These help to maintain your digestive equilibrium.

When abroad, most travellers commonly complain of digestive problems, even when eating fairly decent foods. You can eat healthfully without going broke by shopping at the markets where the locals shop and by buying fruits and veggies, meats and other items that can be beneficial to maintaining your stamina and overall happiness.

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