The Economics of Touring

July 27th, 2014
free_raisins, money, tour
The Free Raisins just finished our third tour, so I thought I'd look at what costs and how it compared to our first tour back in 2012. We travelled 3k+ miles and played 11 dances in 11 nights, one of which was a special "double dance" in Toronto that we planned the tour around. We brought and ran our own monitors as in past years, stayed with friends and dance community hosts, and mostly ate grocery store food. Unlike the last two times, we traveled with a caller and we rented a minivan.

We spent money on four things: gas, groceries, tolls, and the car rental. These we split four ways, including the caller:

Car $686
Gas $406
Tolls $90
Groceries $90
Total $1,272
Per-person $318

We earned money on two things: playing and cd sales (old [1] and new). These we split three ways, with the caller handling their own income:

Playing $4,679 (11 nights)
Old CD $303 (30 cds)
New CD $1,340 (85 cds)
Total $6,322
Per-person $2,107

After touring expenses this is $1,789/person for 11 days, or $162/day. This is about double what we saw on our first tour, even though this time we rented a minivan from Hertz. Having CDs to sell did help, but mostly it seems that more people want to come out to see us play now, so we were playing to larger crowds.

While everyone we met was wonderful, and without dancers and organizers we couldn't have done these dances, it was our hosts who made this possible. Eleven different individuals and couples who took us into their homes, gave us beds, and fed us delicious breakfasts. Hotels this nice would have taken all our income and then some, and without the excellent company!


[1] Perhaps some of the old cd money should be counted towards the first tour we did: that's the tour we recorded to make the CD. On the other hand, perhaps some of the CD money from this tour should be counted against the cost of making the cd, which hasn't broken even yet. Accounting is tricky.

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