High Gas Prices Affecting Touring Bands

High Gas Prices Affecting Touring Bands
With CD sales on the decline, it’s no secret that many bands have turned to the road to earn their green. But now, with gas prices climbing more and more each day, touring and the much-needed cash it generates for a band is being threatened, a new Chicago Tribune article has revealed.

"We drove from Omaha to Madison to play a show and it cost us $240," Matt Maginn, bassist for Omaha indie rock act Cursive, told the Tribune. "My jaw just about hit the floor. That's double what it cost us before. If you're a new band driving cross-country in a van pulling a trailer of equipment that's getting 6 miles a gallon, and you're getting paid 50 or 75 bucks to play a gig, I don't know how you survive."

Mitch Marlow, the manager of Chicago-based quartet the Redwalls, adds, "It costs the band $100 to fill up their van each time. Travelling around the country for shows, that adds up. The Redwalls are lucky that they have a big enough fan base where they can still do it and make money. But plenty of bands are at the threshold where they have to consider whether it's worth doing."

And bands aren’t just the only ones in the industry feeling the pinch of rising fuel prices. According to promoters and club owners who talked with the Tribune, it’s getting harder and harder to coax Canadian and overseas acts to tour the U.S. because of the high prices at the pump. Also making matters worse is the declining U.S. dollar, which is further taking a bite out of bands’ profits, as well as those earned by clubs and booking agents. "It doesn't make [economic] sense for a lot of bands to come over from Europe or Canada because the value of the dollar is so low," Ray Quinn, owner of the Chicago club Martyrs, said.

All this doesn’t paint an optimistic picture for the touring band, or concertgoers for that matter. And as one promoter puts it: "It's going to be the good, the bad and the ugly."