We're in Nashville this week for the Americana Music Conference. So we decided to feature another post by one of our favorite bloggers, Nashville based Wes Davenport. Wes is a music marketer, blogger, and publicist. He writes about ways modern musicians can thrive at wesdavenport.com. Follow him on Twitter @wesdavenport for more music industry insights.
Nothing can derail a tour quite like getting your gear stolen. In this post Wes offers some practical advice for securing your gear while on tour. Enjoy!
Too many times, we see heartbreaking news of our favorite musicians getting their gear stolen after a gig. Imagine putting all your mind, body, and soul into a performance, only to come down and discover you've been robbed. Personally, it makes me sick and angry.
To make sure this doesn't happen to you, I asked musicians how they secure their gear to ward off robbers.
Parking in well-lit areas is a good common practice. The Black Cadillacs guitarist John Phillips says, "We try to be conscious of our surroundings and park in places that are well-lit and populated." Vinyl Thief drummer Andrew Broadway agrees. "Honestly, parking location is super crucial. We park close to parks or hotels a lot. So is lighting. Don't park on a dark street."
Certain Tips Are Outdated
Don't hide your keys in the vehicle. That includes above your tires, around your gas tank, in the center console, or under floor mats. These hiding spots are so well-known, they don't do you any good. Would you still hide your house key under your doormat?
Lock Your Doors
It's obvious, but it has to be said. Phillips took his van's locks one step further. "Our locks are designed to make them difficult to cut through. This is mostly a deterrent, because if someone had the know how and determination to get in our trailer, they probably could."
Enough deterrents add up, though. Locking your doors is the easiest one.
Unload Your Gear
It seems like good common sense to keep your gear close to you at all times. Wild Cub lead singer Keegan DeWitt points out the impracticality of this.
"It's really pretty tough to expect bands to load/unload all of their equipment into whatever house they may be shoving into night-to-night. When you are already throwing 5 people on a floor, adding the gear is almost impossible, especially in a large city where you may be forced to park blocks and blocks away."
Do the best you can. On nights you can unload your gear, do it. Other times, it's more practical to leave gear in the vehicle.
Drive a Modified Van
Jay Ollie Stone says, "Don't drive round in a van with your band name plastered all over it." Though it may be tempting to promote your brand this way, the risk may outweigh the costs.
Did you buy a used van from a church or retirement community? Instead of plastering your name and logo all over it, leave it looking like a flower delivery truck or other organization that is less likely to be robbed.
DeWitt found an effective rental solution through Bandago, a van rental company. "They convert the back of the van into a windowless cargo hold with a recessed lock that can't be busted open. That's the best solution."
Insurance is another cost, but it's one that will keep you sane. You're paying for peace of mind. Though insurance companies can't replace the sentimental value of your favorite guitar, they can ease the financial burden.
Pay close attention to deductibles, the amount you pay out of pocket when you file a claim, and premiums, the amount you pay every billing period.
An alternative or supplement to insurance is an emergency fund. Instead of paying premiums, you can put funds into a savings account. Or you could have a smaller emergency fund to cover your insurance policy's deductible. Pick a method that works for your financial situation.
The Numbers Game
Worrying about your gear getting stolen shouldn't keep you up at night. Theft is a numbers game. By taking all of these precautions, your gear will be a much less attractive target. And even if you suffer a loss, you will be equipped to deal with it and get back on the stage in no time.
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