First of all: International gigs are exciting endeavors for all D.I.Y. Musicians. You’ll dive into numerous situations and cultural/linguistic contexts that are new to you.
There will also be situations that demand an elevated sense of cultural understanding and empathy.
Problems that can easily be solved on your home-turf will quite possibly turn out to be more challenging when the environment differs greatly to the one you are used to.
To make sure your trip runs well, I’ve gathered some important pointers to be aware of.
Obviously, these are only a few within a broad catalogue. But first things first – let’s get started right here:
Maintain logistical patience
Even though things might be planned out to a micro-level – keep your logistical patience, especially in critical situations.
Just as the musical heritage in certain regions produces distinct mannerisms, there are also logistical habits that can vary greatly among countries.
Production-steps that seem natural and obvious to you might not be so evident in a different country. Be especially open to new work-styles and modes, and try to respect procedures that might seem less productive to you at first.
Every airline acts uniquely
While one airline might act tolerantly towards musicians, the next one could be a total show-stopper.
Try not to fight the nature of airline roulette. You’ll probably loose.
Instead – inform yourself very thoroughly about the individual airline policies of the companies you are flying with, and know your rights before you get on the plane.
You won’t get very far engaging in arguments on the basis of speculation and “general knowledge”. So, try to embrace the mindset that every airline has its own stance on instrument-transport and work with the possibilities at hand.
Be a humble guest
Especially if things and complications start to act out, acting humbly will keep the vibes positive on any occasion.
Acting out with attitude while indicating some misconduct will – in most cases – slow down the process and impair the overall mood.
Some battles have to be fought out, for obvious reasons. If you have the feeling a definite breach of contract has been made, or if certain conditions vital to the show just aren’t met, you’re absolutely in line to speak up in a respectful manner.
Often, the problem lies in the double role of the D.I.Y. Musician, acting as a booked artist and tour manager. Try communicating your side of the argument very clearly, and that your main goal lies in the successful realization of a given show.
Check local news
Being aware of major events happening during your stay is always helpful.
It can have consequences on the way you act logistically (f.e. If you know that demonstrations or large-scale activities are blocking broad parts of the city’s infrastructure).
It can also help you out in conversation or on stage, being aware of certain events that are happening right now and the emotions they might be triggering in the audience.
Identify sights you’d like to see – potentially
Believe me – you will be asked about certain sights or your possible preferences within a city. Be prepared to hit a home-run and memorize some important sights you might want to see.
This is also a basic form of respect towards your hosts and the audience. Taking part in the local culture, things they might be proud of and proud to show, turns you into a humble guest.
By minimally reading up on certain sights or landmarks you indicate interest, and your willingness to meet at eye level.
Calculate extra time for technical language barriers
Besides the usual technical mishaps or unpredictabilities, language is a factor your should count in.
In some countries, technicians are limited to their mother-tongue. The only thing you can then hope for is professionalism and a keen sense of empathy and understanding.
In situations like this it’s more important than ever to count in extra time for soundchecks. Mainly because you don’t know how the communicative situation might effect or hinder the workflow.
I hope these basic pointers on international gigs will make your first live experiences abroad a success!
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