Every musician has a dream tour.
Their choir taking a “vocal music pilgrimage” to Italy to sing in beautiful, historic churches with soaring ceilings, and having the once-in-a-lifetime experience of singing at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Their band anxiously anticipating the thrill of marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. Their orchestra visiting the cities of Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague to walk in the footsteps of Europe’s great composers, and to perform for packed, appreciative audiences.
But, let’s face it. Price is a reality for most things in life, and that’s just as true for selecting a concert tour opportunity as it is for purchasing a vehicle or buying a piece of furniture.
In fact, it’s all the more of an issue for selecting a concert tour because you’re not just finding the right price for one person; rather, you’re trying to find the right tour for the right price for 15, 30, 50, 100 or more people!
Often the best approach to selecting a concert tour destination is to find a cost-effective way to make your dream tour a reality.
Let’s start with some important questions to ask to generate price-effective concert tour ideas.
- Where do you want to go? Make a list of 10 cities worldwide that hold your excitement and passion. This is the fun part of the process. What excites you? Have you always wanted to see Times Square? Have you dreamed of walking on the Great Wall of China? Now is the time to let your imagination run wild. If you’re unsure, run a Google image search with keywords such as, “the most beautiful cities in the world” and the let the imagery inspire you. Or, visit the New York Times travel section to stimulate ideas. Visit the Spotlights section of this blog to see what other music ensembles have done and see what makes your heart skip a beat.
- With your list in hand, start crossing off the ones that are obviously not going to work. Do you direct a school ensemble and you know your district would never in a million years allow out-of-state travel, let alone international travel? Maybe it’s best to be realistic and cross off that African safari. Whittle your list down to three options that are exciting and still seem feasible.
- Now, with your list in hand, ask yourself: Do you have a reasonable idea of your ensemble’s tour budget? Do you plan to do any organized fundraising activities, or will everyone fund the tour by their own means? If you believe everyone can afford a $1,000 per person tour, then driving a few hundred miles to Chicago for a four or five-day tour is quite reasonable. Spending a week in Florence may not be.
Now you may be thinking these are good questions to generate ideas for concert tour destinations, but how do you know what it will cost to visit a destination on your list?
How do you know where your ensemble and participants can afford to go?
There are laundry lists of factors that play into how much it will cost to take a concert tour, such as:
- the length of tour (of course, a 3-night stay in France is going to be less expensive than a 9-night stay).
- travel dates/seasons (generally, it’s less expensive to travel in the winter or spring than in the summer).
- the number of total travelers (the fewer people you have to pay for fixed cost items, such as the performance venues and motorcoaches, the more expensive the trip will be).
- number and type of concerts (performing on stage in a major world-class concert hall is a more expensive proposition than a midday recital in a church).
- the number, type, and location of meals included (of course!).
- what hotel (or multiple hotels) at which you stay and where it’s located (staying in trendy midtown Manhattan is going to cost more than staying just over the state border at an equally impressive hotel in New Jersey, for instance).
But, that doesn’t mean we can’t look at the typical concert tour at typical destinations and make an educated guess.
Here you will see price ranges of some typical concert tour options for American and Canadian music ensembles. These will surely give you a better idea of the necessary expenses involved.
Please keep in mind these price ranges do not include round-trip transportation (by coach or airline carrier) to and from these destinations, as these costs can vary widely depending on time of year and where you’re located in relation to a destination.
$200-$999 per person
Most destinations in the continental United States. The following list is in order from most to least affordable.
$1,000-$1,999 per person
$2,000-$2,999 per person
Most European destinations as well as the People’s Republic of China. Generally, the following list is in order from most to least affordable.
- Baltic States (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania)
- South Africa
- Germany (with our without a visit to the Czech Republic)
- Austria (with our without a visit to the Czech Republic and/or Hungary)
- Great Britain
- Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland)
- South Pacific (Australia, New Zealand – not a combination of the two)
$3,000-$3,999 per person
- South Pacific (Australia, New Zealand combined in one tour)
- Antarctica (seriously - some people have actually asked about this one!)
Now you have some effective tools and guidelines to help select a price-effective concert tour destination. Just remember: It’s okay to let your heart guide the way – just make sure to have your head lead you there.