A small rant:
Above, you will see two maps. The first maps out the routing of the most recently announced fun. tour. The second is a population map of the US (white being least populated and dark red being the most).
Many tours by bands of varying degrees of popularity and genres follow a similar route to the one shown in the first map. They do tend to make it by Portland and St. Louis, however, which fun. seemed to have passed over for some odd reason. But the area I would like to point out is (you guessed it!) the Ohio Valley. For those of you a bit rusty on geography, the Ohio valley is the area surrounding the Ohio river, which stretches from Pittsburgh, PA southwest-ish to meet up with the Mississippi River. This area, though well-populated and thriving, is widely ignored by most major tours, fun. included.
So, for a tour like this to completely avoid the Ohio Valley is absolutely ludicrous. Another tour to behave similarly was Pop Punk’s Not dead, which I drove to Chicago to see (and spent about $200 on gas, tickets, and parking). That tour luckily had an off-shoot in Covington, KY (basically Cinci), although New Found Glory wasn’t there.
In conclusion, I guess I’m just complaining. Maybe it’s our fault. Maybe we need to rally support for our scenes and badger bands and booking agents until they decide we’re worthy. Maybe we’re just consider hicks and hoosiers. Who knows.
I may not share the same music taste as the original poster, but I share the same sense of being left out. We exist. We like music. Come here. At least consider it. It’s really upsetting to NEVER have a band or artist I like play where I live.
One of the most annoying things is to see a band’s tour schedule play all over the east, play Detroit, play somewhere in Ohio (Cleveland!?), Chicago, then their next show is Portland. “FUCK YOU MIDWEST, Y’ALL ARE ON TRACTORS LISTENING TO TAYLOR SWIFT, LOLZLOLZLOZ.”
When I was in Portland I actually had people ask me how I knew of certain bands being from Indianapolis.
As a tour manager for indie-rock bands (ones that sell 5000 - 20k albums and aren’t touring the DIY circuit) and a former resident of St. Louis, I feel like I can respond to this.
Why do tours often bypass Louisville, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, etc?
1. Time: Chances are, your favorite band does not making a living from touring. The amount of time they can spend on the road is limited by other responsibilities: family, jobs, etc. Or, they’re tired/beat-down and can’t/don’t want to spend 8 weeks on the road at a time any more, so they hit the major markets and bypass everywhere else.
2. Audience: You can only play to 8 people and a dog in a smaller market so many times before you finally give up on a town. If there isn’t a critical mass of people in your town that give a shit about a band, you can’t expect them to keep banging their heads against the wall for your benefit.
3. Infrastructure: To use an example, I love Pittsburgh, beautiful city, beautiful people — probably the most underrated city in the US. Unfortunately, the longest-running promoter in town is an extremely eccentric, difficult person to deal with and no booking agent I know will work with him any more. There are also few venues with acceptable sound/hospitality/”vibe”/basic hygiene. Combine that with a small audience, and you have a lose-lose situation: we drove 5 - 8 hours to play in a toilet to no one, for no money. What’s the point?
That said, a town isn’t doomed forever, but it takes more than letter-writing campaigns to booking agents: it takes fixing the fundamental infrastructure of your town’s venues and promoters. Perfect example: the Bottletree in Birmingham, AL, which is quite possibly the greatest small club in America. By doing things 100% right (incredible hospitality, wonderful venue, gracious staff, investing in bands and cultivating a local audience), they have turned Birmingham from a must-pass market to a must-play market. (My own town, Denton, TX is up against it now: as standards for venues have risen over the past 10 years, our places haven’t kept up and we’re now being bypassed for Dallas more often than not.)
The upside is, there are plenty of younger bands who are touring A LOT these days, and are creepy-crawling the country as a way to stave off having to get a real job for a few more years. More power to them, but at a certain point, most bands that aren’t that successful will cut bait and focus their energy on cities where there are people to play to and money to be made. That’s not discrimination, it’s just basic survival.