Coping with Covid -
The Shows Must go on
At House of Tours, we can’t tell you how grateful we are to be gaining momentum and starting to see our diaries fill up again. We’re grateful to still be here and functioning at all when so many in the creative industries, and other industries too, have sadly sunk under the financial strain of the pandemic.
With that in mind, we understand that many people are anxious to keep the industry afloat and are worried about the impact that catching covid would have on their tours and shows. We completely get that and are here to help. Here are our top tips for touring and performing during covid.
1. Bubble up
We’re not discussing your personal hygiene here, though of course it’s responsible to wash thoroughly and regularly, not just amid covid but generally in life too. No, we’re talking about your tour bubble. We may be back to normal-ish right now in terms of what we can and can’t do, but that doesn’t mean the virus has gone away and we can just forget about and ignore it.
Remembering this, it’s best to keep contact with the same people, if at all possible. We assume you’re not in the habit of using different performers in every city, but you may also wish to ensure that the same techies, roadies and crew are there for the whole tour an try not to swap in and out. This means that you form a nice work bubble and restrict contact with those outside the bubble while on tour or working on the show.
2. Skip the hotels
We love a hotel as much as you do, but it’s safer right now to stick to your own accommodation and have everyone from your bubble in it too. The most hygienic and comfortable way of getting some shut eye and moving your people from venue to venue, is the sleeper bus. Have you ever been on an overnight budget coach trip before? We hope you never did experience the horror. The sleeper buses from our partner Jumbocruiser are nothing like that. They are furnished with everything you’ll need for comfort and ease of travel.
You’d need a vehicle of some sort anyway for getting between places, right? Well now you can skip the cost of hotels on top of that and get an all-in-one hotel on wheels. All of the buses can drag a trailer and have some luggage space so you might be able to save on set and equipment transport too! Embrace your inner tourist and go road tripping instead of hotel-hopping.
3.Covid test, yes really
We know the feeling of anxiety whenever you take a lateral flow test. No one likes them, but they are a necessary evil if we want to keep venues, theatres and arenas open. People in all industries worry about taking routine tests because they worry about losing work and income if it’s positive. With 18 months or more without work, performers may have more to lose than most with a positive test.
A cancelled show may be a right nuisance for everyone involved in the show, and believe us it is, that’s nothing compared to the loss of income we’ll all experience if outbreaks of covid keep happening in concerts, shows and festivals. It’s better to cancel one show than sacrifice the nation’s creative careers for another year. So, yeah, test regularly and be responsible.
4. Plan food ahead
If you’re not in hotels, and even if you are, you may need to plan your meals and food stops more carefully. As you can imagine, most tour busses aren’t going to fit through a drive through, so with that in mind, you may need to think ahead food-wise.
You may be in a work bubble, but you can be a road family too, so liaise with your bubble and take things in turn to reduce contact with other businesses. It’s safer to send in one person to a takeaway with lots of orders than for everyone to queue up. You just have to plan ahead a little and maybe rock, paper, scissors who has to go in and ask for 30 cheeseburgers.
5. Move your own instruments
Yes, we know that is someone else’s job, but those people also have other stuff to move and jobs to perform. If you move your own guitar about then it makes it simpler for everyone. How do you even sanitise guitar strings anyway? If you’re the only one touching your instrument, then it reduces the risk of it carrying germs and whatnot. So, if it’s possible, try and keep your own instruments or whatever you’re going to touch onstage with you and move it yourself. It’s not forever and it won’t kill you.
6. Limit fan contact
This one is harder for some than others. Some people after 18 months away from their fans and admirers want nothing more than just to stage-dive and feel the love from their audience again. We’re not advising it, but we do understand it. However, from a safety standpoint, we feel the need to say that whether you want to or not, you should keep fans at an arm’s length during and after your shows. If stage door autographs are your very reason for living, then take your own pen and wear a mask. It’s common sense, but it’s not necessarily the first thing on your mind when you’re full of adrenaline and joy after your long-awaited first live show post-pandemic, so we’re just pointing it out.
What are you doing to stay safe on the road? Maybe you’ve perfected the art of cleaning light control desks with alcohol in less than three minutes or have stopped ordering Dominos to a junction off the M25 to reduce contamination risk. Maybe you proudly invested in your own travel cup you keep with you at all times. Whatever it is, we’d love for you to tell us on social media. You never know, one of your tips might help someone else in the touring industry stay safe.
We are all in this together, after all.