Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gas Prices Keep Bands Off the Road

Fellow blogger Nedmusic just posted about his direct experience on this, but now CNN is on board with a story about how rising gas pricing are forcing young bands to abandon touring.

Seems that $4 per gallon gas is just too expensive for bands with minimal cash flow and no label support to justify traveling to gigs on the road, especially on the West Coast, where there can be more than 300 miles between decent towns with gigs.

The story says:

On the grass-roots level, cost has always been a concern for touring bands. But the nearly $2,500 in gas Garcia and his two bandmates would have had to pay just to make it to Vancouver, Canada, and back was too much to overcome.

"There's no way we can sustain a blow that big," he said, adding that the band is lucky to break even on a tour, even when gas prices are more moderate.

If they're not canceling their tours, small acts are banding together, stuffing themselves into smaller vehicles or cutting short their tours.

"We do have two bands, the Revisions and the Estranged, out on tour together right now who have decided to share a van to save on gas costs," said Ken Cheppaikode, who operates Dirtnap Records, a Portland, Oregon, independent label and record shop.

Cheppaikode said that after putting seven band members and their equipment into a van, they didn't have room for a roadie.

Maybe once Neil Young solves the world's fossil fuel reliance issues, we'll see more bands on the road, powered by alternative fuels (their vehicles, that is...)


Sue said...

Tom's Shell sign is clever, but the prices are unfortuate, and probably unnecessary.

Chris said...

We just wrapped up our own little tour, where we did 4300+ miles, spent around $1000 in gas, and pulled in a combined $812 in door/merch money. Then there is the expense of motels (we don't do the sleeping on stranger's carpets, generally) and food, so it's safe to say we didn't come anywhere close to breaking even. Most bands also need to factor in what they spend on beer at their shows too, since clubs are pretty tight with drink tickets these days as well. That is what we expected though, so local gigs down the road that actually PAY will serve to pay back our tour expenses.

But "we won't be able to tour anymore" was a common theme with the other bands we met on the road. It's unfortunate.