3 Cheap Touches That Improve Artist Experience in Your Small Venue

Courtesy of Brad Ferguson / Production Manager,  FOH Tech

As a former tour manager and front of house technician, I’ve been in a lot of different venues in a lot of different places of all sizes and conditions.  While each venue offers a unique experience for both fans and artists alike, the working experience is quite different from venue to venue.

Having artists and musicians return to your space is equally as important as having the return fan or regular customer.  Building a small amount of consistency and forethought into your venue can make all the difference in having a great artist experience and seeing them return tour after tour.

Here are 3 Cheap Touches that improve Artist Experience in your small venue:

1.) Dedicated Ramps for Loading In / Out: 

Make it easy on artists to load in and out.  Having ramps dedicated to loading from the floor to the stage can save you time and money on your load in.  Get a carpenter to build some for you or you can order cheap ready mades.

2.) Have a List of Recommended Local Restaurants & Hotels:

Touring bands and tour manager alike love not having to answer the question “where should we go to eat?” and “what’s the closest hotel to the venue?” Having a list of restaurants and delivery options will help you with advancing your shows and also build relationships with other businesses in the community.  You’ll win extra points by having a binder with up to date menus, phone numbers and business hours.

Include a list of recommended hotels and amenities with average rates.  Highlight hotels that offer shore parking for buses (Is there underground parking?  What’s the overhead clearance?).  These questions are normally asked by tour managers but having the information handy will win you extra points with customer service (and educate your opening bands when they come back as headliners!).  Again, going through this exercise every so often will strengthen relationships with your hotel partners and also provide excellent hospitality to your artists.

3.) Spruce up Your Dressing Room

If space is an issue in your venue and you find yourself using backrooms and basements for artist hospitality, find small ways you can make the room more comfortable.  Is there a mirror in the dressing room?  Enough seating for the band that’s arriving?  A dedicated place for show schedules?  Ice box? Put a tablecloth on folding tables, an air freshener in basement dressing rooms (rider permitting) and a copy of the local paper. Ask yourself, “Would I hang out here?”


The tips outlined above are low to no cost way of welcoming touring acts and supporting your local businesses.  Taking small steps to welcome your artists will get returned to you by both supporting them in a great performance, encouraging a return play and also building community to support your live music hub.