Back in the Eighties I had the privilege of travelling all over the UK playing keyboards in a pop/rock band. With a couple of roadies, the 5 band members and all the equipment, it was a bit of a crush. The luxurious touring bus wasn’t for us instead we had the choice between a Ford Luton or a struggling minibus. This is a problem for many bands, but there are also plenty of reasons why you should consider hiring a van for your band.
Roll on thirty years, and life has certainly got easier with the touring band. PA’s are smaller and more powerful. Back line amps and cabinets are more portable, and keyboards can fit on your iPad instead of having to humph an organ and a Lesley cabinet with a revolving speaker. Drums haven’t changed much, unless you like the sound of an electronic kit or drum machine (not my choice!).
So what are top 5 reasons why you should start hiring a van for your band?
1. Cost of Ownership
The cost of buying, taxing and maintaining a van is probably not cost effective to your average band. Especially if you are getting infrequent bookings and struggling to get paid at the end of a noisy pub gig.
2. Think Small and Save Money
Because many bands and musicians have downsized over the years, there’s not the same need to hire a van. By using a car or van rental price comparison site, there are great local deals to be found on smaller vans, SUV’s, people carriers or Estate cars.
3. Can I Have My Money Back?
Hired vans can be cancelled should your gig fall through or your drummer quits (as if that would happen!) So if the booking is cancelled within 7 days of the car rental booking date and at least 48 hours before pick up time, all funds will usually be reimbursed.
4. Never Miss a Beat
Hired vans, in most cases, come with full roadside assistance, ensuring you get to the gig on time without looking like an oily rag!
5. Travelling Abroad
You can book the van or the car of your choice in advance, using an on-line car or van rental comparison site or app. Get the best choice of vehicles and save time by having the boring paperwork prepared in advance.
If you are a successful touring band, you can ignore all of the above as your tour manager is likely to have solved all your travel arrangements, be it a private jet, luxurious touring bus or a smaller splitter van. If you’re just starting out, I’d take a look at the blog advice for booking your own tour. Good luck!
Written by Malcolm McNeill, the owner of car rental comparison website BestCarHire.com and Motorhome rental comparison website HolidayCampervan.com.
Back in the eighties he played keyboards with Passionate Friends, was managed by Harvey Goldsmith, was signed to the MCA record label and supported The Police, Rod Stewart, Big Country and Nik Kershaw.