MEDIOxCORE: Playing Safe…

They May Not Seem Terribly Important, But Taking These Things On Tour With You Could Potentially Spare You A Lotta Bullshit. Take Notes. You’re Welcome.


Every few months it seems like one friends’ band or another is super stoked to head out on the road for tour and then something crappy happens, either causing them to have to cancel a night or two or just come home altogether. More often than not, these things are avoidable. By packing some of these things in along with your gear, you may save yourself a lot of stress.

SPARE KEY(S) – a spare set of keys in case you lose yours; keys to cash boxes, gear cases, and, most importantly, your ride. A lot of newer vehicles have special smart keys that have microchips in them, allowing you to open the car with a spare, but not get it to successfully turn on when in the ignition. But I feel like the majority of touring bands do so in vans they bought used, so that really shouldn’t be a problem. Seriously though. Spare keys.

BUNGEE CORDS AND ZIP TIES – great for securing things in a pinch, whether it’s crates of gear, or your bumper to your car after someone leaves the bar a little buzzed and sideswipes a row of parked cars in the lot. You know.

SMALL WALLET – something easily concealable…leave all your membership cards home, man. All you really need is your ID/license, credit and debit card(s), and smaller bills to make change at the merch table. You should be able to walk around with it in your pocket or purse and feel confident and safe doing so.

TRAVEL TOOTHBRUSH AND TOOTHPASTE – I shouldn’t have to tell you this. But I’m going to. Just in case.

AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT OF HYGEINE, DEODORANT – it gets smelly no matter what time of year it is, but summer has its own particular stank. Respect the confined space you have to share. If you love your bandmates, you will control your body odor.

KITTY LITTER – if you’re traveling in winter, and if there’s room for it. Snow is a pain in the ass; don’t miss out on a show because you can’t get out of your parking spot. It’s also handy to have in certain roadside emergencies.

CAR CHARGER – if you really have to bring your laptop with you, fine, I guess. But you don’t need laptops and tablets on top of however many hundreds or thousands of dollars’ worth of gear to worry about getting lost or stolen. Your phone should always be charged, though. That’s super important for so many reasons.

GPS – everybody needs it sometime, especially if you’re playing at the one rock venue in the middle of fucking nowhere.

A COOLER – hydration is key, especially in spring and summer. Even a small one will work. You can pick up ice anywhere, really, and it’s good to have cold water on hand. And I mean if you really have to, you can pack travel shampoo and conditioner and wash your hair on the side of the road once the ice melts. No shame.

BASIC CAR REPAIR TOOLKIT – doesn’t matter if you get it from Pep Boys or Target, it’s just something really important to have. Don’t let something you could fix quickly yourself become an expensive delay in an unfamiliar town.

FIRST AID KIT – shit happens, and you should probably disinfect it.

A LOOKOUT – one of you should always, always be watching the gear. It sucks, but it’s important. If you can avoid it, don’t pack up immediately after you play. Set your stuff to the side instead of loading it into the van right away. Keep an eye on it, and load back up when you’re just about ready to hit the road. It’s less annoying than coming outside to see your van broken into and all your shit gone, I promise.

THE CONTACT INFO FOR YOUR BANK – have your bank’s number in your contacts. If your wallet/card is stolen, you’ll be able to report it right away.

SPARE CASH – this is so important. Before leaving for tour, agree that each member of your band should have a certain amount of money in their bank account for emergencies. ER or outpatient visits, expensive car repairs, gear replacement, hotel stays, gas and food money in case merch doesn’t sell so well…these things happen. Being prepared for them cash-wise before you even hit the road will soften the blow.

COMMON SENSE – basically, just don’t be an idiot. If you’re packing up a van in the middle of December or August, chances are, you’re dedicated to the music. Kudos to you, truly. But responsibility is your best friend. Understand that shit could go wrong at any time, and be prepared; have back-up plans for your back-up plans. Obviously you can never be prepared for everything, but planning smart will allow you to get through the dumb things that are bound to come up eventually and get your ass up on that stage to play.

I hope this helps. As always, I am always down to discuss more, and always looking for ideas and advice to bring to the masses. If you have a question, want to contribute, or have more tips that have been helpful to you in your experience, get in touch!