THE MU ADVISE ON PACKING U P BASS CASE FOR
hinking of gigging abroad? Taking your first hop across the water,
you'll need to think about many things - from securing gigs to
finding funding to getting the right insurance.
APE YOU PPEPPED FOP EXPORT?
Whether you're heading down the showcase, guerrilla gig or festival
route, you need to be export ready. That means you need to be in a
position to prove to bookers overseas that you can haul in a crowd,
garner some press attention and put on a good show - and have
something to promote and sell to the industry. Make sure you have a
strong, comprehensive online presence. Use the right social and digital
platforms for the right countries. YouTube will probably be a key part
of your plan, as that's where engagers go to hear and see you.
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While there are UK-based promoters and bookers with solid contacts
who can smooth the passage for bands wanting to tour abroad, they
come at a price. If you don't have much in the way of funds at your
disposal, arranging a tour will need some lateral thinking and plenty of
networking. “Artists can get overseas gigs by talking to musicians from
other countries who are gigging in the UK. Word-of-mouth contacts and
recommendations can be invaluable,” says MU live official Kelly Wood.
Focusing on genre-specific festivals and events is a good starting
point. You may be able to tap into an existing jazz, folk, heavy metal
or other circuit. Want to create a little more buzz? Guerrilla gigs in
sitting rooms and empty spaces have increased in popularity since
the Libertines gatecrashed fans' front rooms in the early noughties -
and it's not just the preserve of the lesser-known acts.
Prince embarked on his own guerrilla-style tour in 2014, playing
an intimate gig in Lianne La Havas' sitting room. Organisations exist
to support guerrilla gigs, such as Sofar Sounds (sofarsounds.com)
who connect artists willing to play with those eager to host. Another
option may be industry showcase events - from Womex in Europe to
SXSW in Austin, Texas.
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Touring overseas can be expensive. It's not just transport, food
and accommodation. Take into account hidden expenses, such as
insurance, repair and breakdown costs. Still, there are ways of
getting funding. PRS for Music Foundation's International Showcase
Fund, UKTI's Music Export Growth Scheme and the British Council/
Arts Council's Artists International Development Fund are good
places to start.
If you're planning a tour around Europe with gigs in different
venues in different countries, we strongly advise you contact the
MU to discuss international differences in tax law.
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From the goldrush of showcase events via the buzz of foreign
festivals to the thrill of enjoying cultural differences, playing
overseas provides lifetime memories. For the latest advice on visas,
insurance, tax laws and travelling with instruments, get in touch
with your regional office via theMU.org.
MU members get access to a range of career development advice. If
you're considering a change, contact your regional office and book
a one-to-one with your MU official for bespoke advice. For general
advice and more information about how to join the Union, please visit