We start 2021 with most crew wondering if they remember how to do their jobs. Isn’t that crazy!? I didn’t work a single show during 2020. I was coming off a Christmas break, as is usual in our industry when COVID hit. And because I live in the USA on a visa, I couldn’t pick up any other job. This meant that if I wanted to keep my life as I know it, I have to buckle up and dip into those savings. There have been sacrifices and most definitely a dwindling of my financial safety net. However, I have made sure over the years to be financially savvy so that if I was ever faced with a situation like this (or simply breaking a wrist and not being able to do my job), that I would be able to survive and not have to completely pivot out of my career and potentially risk everything I’ve worked to get to where I am.
I guess the point of this post is that we never know what is coming ahead so we need to make sure we set ourselves up for success. We are a culture that wants everything now. We find it hard to see the bigger picture. We lack patience. These all apply to trying to break into the industry as well. It can be a long, hard road but with patience, you will get there, whatever “there” is for you personally.
There is light at the end of the tunnel and I am grateful that I am in a position to be able to step back on tour when the machine starts back up again. Remember your greatest tool to being successful is the ability to say yes to an opportunity when it arises. Make sure you position yourself to be able to do that and now is the best time to get set up for that!
Here are some actionable items for you to do right now
Do you have a mentor?
Finding a mentor is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself. And you know what else? It’s free! There are plenty of people who would be happy to mentor you. Find someone doing what you want to do and reach out to them with a polite email or DM asking if they would mind answering some questions or having a chat over zoom.
Do you have a job?
Whilst it may not be necessary or possible for you personally to take a job right now, if you are able and willing, this is a great time to save up money so you can be ready to jump on any opportunity that arises when touring starts again.
Are you using this time to brush up on your skills and knowledge? There are tons of free resources online to learn the basics of almost anything!
If this starts to feel overwhelming, refer back to the first action point; find a mentor. They will be able to steer you in the right direction when it comes to all aspects of getting on tour or getting a job in the industry. This is especially crucial post-COVID. There is no better time than now to find a mentor as people have a lot of time on their hands!
Whilst 2020 was a bit of a blowout, hopefully, you can turn it to your advantage. Here’s to the roaring 20’s!
Over the coming months, I will touch on a topic I have gone into more detail on in my handbook “Girl On The Road: How to Break into Touring From a Female Perspective”.
As always, anyone can reach out to me to chat about their journey into touring or if you have any other questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire Murphy has worked for bands such as Vance Joy, Tegan & Sara, Elle King, Lord Huron, Babes in Toyland, The Raveonettes, ABC, Go West, Tony Hadley, Therapy? and many many others, playing in venues from bars to arenas, and 80,000 capacity stadiums. She has toured in splitter vans around Europe, flown in for shows in Russia, South America, Australia and Japan, and toured in buses around the USA and Canada. She has Tour Managed in the UK, Europe and the USA and is currently guitar teching her way around the world.
She has worked with bands at festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, ACL, SXSW and Glastonbury, and played iconic venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Red Rocks and Wembley Stadium. She has owned a successful van rental company in the UK and continues to provide storage for the music industry. She mentors women trying to break into the live music industry and when not on tour, she can be found at the beach or drinking coffee in Southern California.