The Tour Manager (Road Manager) in a nutshell is responsible for making sure the tour runs smoothly from start to finish. A lot of work goes into the preparation of a tour and here are some tips you should keep in mind (link). The venues would then be booked either by the artist or their booking agent. And then the tour manager starts to work their magic.
Before the tour
Once the tour is booked, the Tour Manager starts planning the travel and accommodation sides of the tour. The first thing they would do is get a budget written out. This would include all the money expected to be spent on the road including:
The money allocated on artists per day (per diems)
The first few days of tour, you will get into the spirit of the tour and maybe feel like going out, buying drinks and treating yourself in general. A few days later you find your money is gone and you can’t do anything. The tour Manager will make sure this doesn’t happen by allocating the money so that it lasts until the end of the tour.
The cost of transport and accommodation
Are you traveling by car/van/bus or any other means of transport? Then the budget for tickets/petrol/vehicle hire has to be allocated. Furthermore will you be staying at a hotel? At a friend’s house or sleep in the van/bus? Depending on your decision money should be allocated towards accommodation, making sure you have a place to sleep while you are on the road.
Depending on the size of the tour there could be a number of extra expenses to take in mind such as wages for the crew, sound, lights, equipment and other. Before the start of the tour they double check everything making sure that the travel and accommodation is booked, the venues are prepared to provide everything that’s been agreed and everything is ready to go. As well as this, if the band is selling merchandise, the tour manager will check stock levels and cash flow during the tour. They may even allocate the merchandise to a staff member or volunteer found at a gig if he/she is too busy to do so themselves.
On the road
When you get on the road, he will be responsible of making sure everything runs smoothly, and the tour schedule is followed. This means making sure you are where you have to be, when you have to be there including load-in, sound check and stage times.
They will deal with the financial side of things taking care of receiving the payments from promoters, allocating the per diems and settling all the accommodation costs. This will help make sure the band are never accused of missing costs and will mean they can focus on more important things such as the performance!
The tour manager will check and make sure that all band members are fit and healthy to play each show. If members come over with an illness or exhaustion from the tour, it will be the tour manager’s job to notify those whom it may concern with the decision of what to do: cancel the gig or see a doctor!