Pizza, hot dogs, and assorted fair food is the staple diet for many performers while on the road because it is generally what promoters feed bands. A pot luck, which is generally high in carbs and low in vitamins, is a blessing.
Eating this way is cheap, but it is not the way to maintain health or to consistently do good quality ministry.
Those of you who have performed sick know—it’s not a pleasant experience to be throwing up in between sets or trying not to pass out on stage; and there is no way you want to be talking to people before or after the show.
Eating when food is available gets pretty dicey too. Most promoters do not realize that a buffet which is available before and after the show is best. Instead, some promoters feed the band a huge meal right before going on stage while others wait until after the show to feed the band anything at all.
Hauling equipment to the gig, setting up, sound checking, then performing is a workout. Your body needs to be fed appropriately. But, good food costs money. There are some steps to take that will reduce the bands food expenses while keeping the band members healthier.
Snackify the Band
Spell check claims “snackify” is not a word. I beg to differ—snackify means to keep the band well stocked with snacks and beverages at all times. Snackify includes more than pop and candy bars. It means the band has continual access to healthy beverages, such as bottles of water and juice, and healthy snacks like fresh fruit and power bars.
Every band should have a cooler which gets filled before each road trip. This reduces expenses by keeping the band members from eating at gas station convenience stores. Ideally, the cooler should have cup holders in the lid, because cup holders get used for more than just beverages, so there are never enough cup holders in the van. Wheels with a handle make it easy to transport the cooler onto fairgrounds (if allowed by the fest). If you already have a good cooler use it even if it does not have every feature. But if you need to purchase a cooler for the band, the cooler I recommend is the
Coleman 62-Quart Xtreme Wheeled Cooler (Blue) because it has all the features plus is a good size to fit in most vehicles.
You can reduce the cost of filling the cooler by buying snacks when they are on sale and using coupons. Not a Sunday newspaper coupon clipper? Don’t worry; there are several sources for printable online coupons. Many of these sites have links to grocery stores matching their sale prices with the available coupons. Most snacks have a long shelf life, so buy them when they are on sale with a coupon to get the cheapest price. When the band is ready to travel you will have snacks on hand!
A case of bottled water is a must for every band to keep in their vehicle. Many promoters will provide water, but not all the time. Some promoters don’t provide water at all, and other promoters only have it available before or after the show. Most promoters do not realize that while the band probably prefers ice cold water, the vocalists should drink room temperature water to keep their vocal chords relaxed. Keeping an extra case on hand relieves all the potential problems.
The band may need to stop at a grocery store to re-snackify on longer road trips. Even if you do not use coupons and sales, this is still cheaper than gas stations. So remember—snackify to stay healthy!
Keep a Coupon File
Most people think that couponing is a girly thing to do. So, if you are not a girl and can’t bring yourself to do it, get a girl to do it for you. This is a great project for your merch maiden or significant other. Keep an envelope full of restaurant coupons with the band’s road trip money. Coupons are frequently available for most fast food places and chain restaurants. They can be found in the Sunday paper and at several websites online. Before each road trip, print all available coupons, put them in an envelope with the coupons clipped from the newspaper, and voila—the band has access to less expensive food.
Buy Restaurant Gift Certificates
This tip takes some planning ahead, but is especially useful when the band is going to be in one place for a while (such as during recording) or when you know you will be playing in the same town frequently. Restaurant.com sells gift certificates to local restaurants at discounted prices. For example, a $25 certificate usually costs $10. The restaurants are locally owned, not chains, and there are restrictions on each certificate (such as the total bill must be $35 to use the $25 certificate for dinner only). You can use one gift certificate each month at each restaurant. The real savings come when the website has a coupon code sale. These sales range from 60-80% off. Wait for the 80% off sale then buy multiple $10 coupons for $2! So, the band gets $25 worth of food for $2. The certificates are good forever and if a restaurant leaves the program, the website notifies you that you need to transfer the certificate to another restaurant.
These tips are just another tool in your arsenal that can help make your music ministry successful. Saving little bits of money here and there can make the difference between being able to play one or two more free shows and staying home. Keep up the good work! Galatians 6:9
This article is an excerpt from The Christian Band Handbook.
is full of tips to help make your music ministry successful.
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