In this edition of Behind the Agents Desk, I wanted to discuss the role of a Tour Manager. During my time in the music business, there are several questions that consistently come up when discussing the roles and responsibilities of various members of an artist’s “team”. One such question is what is the role of a tour manager in relation to an artist. Often times there is a misconception that a tour manager can be a friend that tours with an artist to keep them company, or someone to oversee the party activities on the road, or even a hype man or woman to get on the mic while the artist is performing. This, however, is not all the defines what a tour manager is. A tour manager has a bigger role to play on tour which includes the following responsibilities that are vital to a successful show for their artist.
- Artist / Venue Coordination – A Tour Manager will assist in providing coordination between the artist and the venue/event organizer. Handling everything from guest lists to the coordination of specialized lighting and effects critical to the performance. The role of the tour manager is to make the artists’ job easier so they do not have to worry about guest lists, access wrist bands, coordination of dinner arrangements, tour arrangements, etc. They oversee all of the artist needs and ensure that the venue can meet them.
- Sound Check Manager – Tour Managers typically are responsible for the coordination of sound checks at the show site. To ensure that a soundcheck is properly done and coordinated so that when the artist shows up for the event they can perform without concern or worry of potential sound issues, equipment malfunctions, or issues with rider/hospitality. The tour managers job is to facilitate and solve any issues prior to the show.
- Press Coordination – Tour managers in many cases facilitate all press and media meet and greet requests with artists prior to a show.
- Safety and Security – Managers act as a safety and security element for the artist to make sure they are safe on stage and only the correct people are allowed backstage. This ensures the best possible show for the artist.
- Scheduling / Travel – Tour managers ensure that schedules are adhered to with artists, and travel accommodations are in place at each show site so that artists are able to make smooth transitions to one show site to the next. They can coordinate flight changes, bus/pickup changes as well as any ancillary travel arrangements on site that need to be made. Most importantly, making sure the artist makes it to the show on time, every time.
Hopefully, this gives a better idea of the vital roles and responsibilities of a tour manager as an essential team member in the artist management group.