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Touring Tips and Show Booking Advice

Eva Alexiou-Reo is the president and founder of FATA Booking Agency in Philadelphia, PA. Eva began her music career booking local DIY house shows and working at college radio in the mid-late ‘90s. Since founding her independent boutique agency in 1996, she has worked with artists including Hot Water Music, Jimmy Eat World, Flogging Molly, Saves the Day, Rusted Root and many more.

 

 

Eva talked about how touring has changed for artists in the past 20 years. She also shared some advice for artists looking to book their own shows as well as some tips for those who want to work on tours with booking agents.

 

Music Consultant:

 

Hi Eva, thanks for taking the time to speak today. You founded and have run FATA booking for over 15 years now and also manage a few artists. Can you tell me a bit about how you got started?

 

EAR:

 

​Of course! In 1992 I started going to see national bands passing through Scranton/ Wilkes- Barre area, which is where I grew up. Since it was so small, it was really easy to meet bands. I befriended a band called Hot Water Music, who I went onto working with for the first 9 years of my career. By the time I was finishing high school, I was helping Hot Water Music with their US and Canadian touring. They became a pretty well-known band fast, which led me to start FATA Booking Agency. They went on to introduce me to Jimmy Eat World, Elliott, and other amazing bands I worked with (as well as many I did not). I spent a lot of time with these bands both on and off the road. Later I worked with Hidden In Plain View, Mae, The Blood Bothers, Pretty Girls Make Graves, and many, many others.​

 

Music Consultant:

 

How has the touring side of the business changed since the inception of your company?

 

EAR:

 

​It’s changed drastically since I started. When I began, bands spent a lot of time booking their own tours and working with their fans to build up their music and spread the word about their band. There were a lot of boutiques doing big things. Everyone knew each other. There was a common respect for each other and there was a lot more help shared. Most of this does not exist anymore. I enjoy helping others reach their magical goals. ​

 

Music Consultant:

 

Is there an argument for choosing a smaller boutique agency like yours over one of the bigger agencies?

 

EAR:

 

​I tell bands all the time to look at the agent, not the agency. Don’t look at the bands ON the festivals or tours, because there are thousands that are not on them. Work with the team who will fight for you and knock down walls. Don’t look back and change teams when the walls have been knocked down. Sometimes this works and others it does not. Bigger agencies have amazing agents at them, just like a lot of boutiques like FATA and others.

 

Music Consultant:

 

What is your read on all of the consolidation of the major booking agencies? Do you think it will last?

 

EAR:

 

Well, I did see today that one agent left one to start his own and another went to a boutique. I’ve seen this pattern before and hope it does work for many. But from what I have seen, it typically does eventually break back apart. ​If only we had a crystal ball.

 

Music Consultant:

 

While I am sure all projects are different, are there strategies that always remain the same when growing a developing artist’s touring business?

 

EAR:

 

“When,” “Why,” and “Where” to tour.

 

Know when it’s a good time to tour. For example, don’t go against other big tours, know if there is something going on either with a release or college radio or a time of the year when people are around.

 

Also, know why you are touring. Is it your goal to build a fan base, digital numbers, press/radio, to try all the Wholefoods in the US or Chick-fil-As?

 

Knowing where to tour is huge. Who wants you where? Do you know? Go get them and hit it often until you start moving numbers. People talk. If you are selling rooms, people find out about it.

 

Music Consultant:

 

The most common question I get in our business from artists just starting out is, “How do I get/attract an agency when I am not worth tickets in multiple markets?”

 

EAR:

 

​Good music. Good live show. Realistic expectations.

 

Music Consultant:

 

Do you have any advice for artists who are self-booking?

 

EAR:

 

​Yes! Keep doing it. Our jobs are hard. You should know this so you love how hard we work for you!! When we call in favors to get you something you think you deserve, say, “Thank You!”

 

Music Consultant:

 

Any parting advice for musicians on developing their careers in general, or can you talk about mistakes that they should avoid?

 

EAR:

 

​Don’t switch teams when it is working. Stick with the people who know you best, who worked for you out of the gate and did it well. That being said, if they do not do it well, then you know you should change teams.

 

For more information about Eva Alexiou-Reo and the work she does with artists and tours, visit the FATA website.

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