More and more American bands are looking to European music festivals and gigs to promote their unique sounds, and European concert goers are excited to attend their shows. But traveling through Europe with your band comes with a different set of concerns that you might not have considered. Fear not! Blue Orange Travel, a New York City-based travel agent, specializes in band and entertainment travel. Read on to learn the best advice for bands traveling and performing overseas.
What You Need To Know When Your Band Books European Music Festivals
While you might be worried about contracts and negotiations in different languages, you will find that many people at your venue and festival will speak fluent English. In fact, nearly all legal communications will be in English as well. However, if you feel misunderstood, ask for a translator who can help ease communication breakdowns and help make sure you are heard.
The use of the Euro has simplified the need to change your money at each border. Typically, the Euro and the US dollar are of similar value, but for specific exchange rates contact your bank. If your tour is successful and you generate a lot of cash from merchandise sales, you might consider using an international bank to deposit your money before leaving one country for another. This will save you time, money and headache at customs.
An European plug might look different from the typical sockets you are used to in the US. The voltage is different as well, making it dangerous and impossible to plug you gear in as you would at home. Consider arranging the rental of quality, touring step-down transformers that will make your US voltage equipment work well with European electricity. When in doubt, follow this simple guide for voltage world wide.
Stay in Touch
Mobile phones are the preferred method of voice-to-voice contact while traveling in Europe. Check with your cellular provider to learn about roaming and overseas coverage before you leave home. You might also consider purchasing an international GSM cell phone that allow you to pay only for your calls without a monthly fee.
For staying in touch with fans through e-mail or social media, traveling with your laptop and planning stops in hotels or restaurants with Wi-Fi is a simple and effective way to stay connected. Wireless broadband internet is available throughout Europe in venues, hotels, cafes, airports and restaurants, just like in the U.S.
Be aware that most countries in Europe have some kind of foreign artist tax and will take a percentage of what you earned while you were in that country. The amount typically depends on the country where you performed. Consider specifying that all fees are “net and free of local taxes” and that you will be paid in your own currency when you create contracts.
There are several methods of travel for bands going between European music festivals and shows. Splitter vans are an economical way for you to drive yourself and equipment across Europe. Typically, splitter vans are large, cargo-style vans that will seat up to eight people with space in the back for gear. With comfortable seating, full audio-visual equipment and more, these vans are reliable, economical and are able to get your standard range of instruments and equipment from place to place.
A sleeper bus is a more luxurious and expensive option for traveling from show to show. Similar to coach-style buses in the US, a sleeper bus is ideal for more people or if you want room to lie down, spread out and truly relax between shows. Sleeper busses typically come with a driver, and fuel costs are included in the overall price.
Equipment and Gear
Getting your gear to Europe can be a headache. Research airline weight restrictions for their passenger luggage before you travel. Chances are, you won’t be able to fly with all your gear. Instead, shipping what you need with a freight company or even renting equipment from your destination country might be your best, money-saving alternative.
Book your next European music festival or show and let BlueOrange Travel handle the travel details. Contact us today to discuss your band’s flights, transportation, and more.