A musician friend of mine recently reached out and asked if I had a template for a day sheet. After ten years of touring, one would think that I would have one in my arsenal. At one point in time, I definitely had one, but through the use of Master Tour, and other online formats, I have relied on them less and less. Perhaps some will think of a day sheet as antiquated, but I do believe there is virtue in posting hard copies, and I would argue that there is a large contingency of the touring community who would agree with me.
What is a day sheet?
A day sheet is a document that presents the day’s schedule. What information you include on it is going to vary based on the tour, who is reading it, and what your band and crew deems as important to their day. As the tour manager, you are the one who is responsible in making sure you are communicating this information in a timely manner. Remember advancing, and all of that information you collected? Well now it’s time to let some of that info see the light of day.
What do you include on a day sheet?
As stated above, this is going to vary, but here are some examples of timing to include: arrival, load in, line check, sound check, support arrival and sound check, any dark stage requirements, doors, support stage time and length, changeover, headliner set time and length, any hard or soft curfews that may apply, along with arguably the most important part… bus call! (Bus call is when you leave for the next city.) There are other elements you can include such as press, phone calls, travel schedule, flights, ground, meetings, hotel info, the list goes on, but sometimes you will want to omit certain items from a day sheet for reasons of privacy.
When do you post it?
Ideally, you should post these as early as possible. For some, this may come in the form of posting them on the bus the night prior. For the venue itself, these should be printed the night prior, and posted as early as possible, in key locations. Being the first one into the venue and doing a walk through with venue staff, is most definitely to your advantage as a tour manager. When your touring party begins to wake up, you are going to want to have those answers of location on the tip of your tongue.
Where do you post it?
Post day sheets in a high traffic areas of the backstage. This could dressing rooms, catering, entries and exits, you name it. The goal here is to get people to see them, and even better, to read them. Receiving less questions about the daily schedule means more time to spend on what the day actually requires.
Why omit certain items?
Say for example you have a principle artist. Their day is going to look considerably different from the the rest of the touring party. Certain core elements will overlap, such as soundcheck and set time, but a call into business management isn’t necessarily information that the rest of the touring party needs to be aware of. Going beyond this, sometimes it is necessary to keep hotel information or travel information discreet. Generally speaking, hotel staff and security are good about being discrete, but do yourself a favor, and don’t put yourself in that situation to begin with.
Other ways to share
Online calendars and touring systems are here to stay. Arguably, the most popular system is Master Tour. People can simply take their phone out of their pocket to see what the day’s schedule is. A beautiful thing! But, with that said, sometimes it is nice to NOT have to take your phone out of your pocket. Having information posted in the venue and on the bus solves this problem. I always post a copy inside and outside of my production office to quickly have this information available. If you don’t use Master Tour, or are on a smaller tour, email is a great way to communicate the daily schedule, or via a group text thread.
Other info you might want to include
In addition to the basic schedule, sometimes it is nice to include information such as venue staff phone numbers (General Manager, Box Office, Runner, FOH, LD, MON) for quick access. This is something I would probably keep in my production office. Some venues will post this on their own accord. I’ve always enjoyed this because it says to me, “Hey, we are here for you, let’s work together and make this the best show possible. Contact me any time.”
Timezone, hotel information, hotel amenities, production info, time it takes to get to the next city, security info, merchandise rates, the list goes on and on. Again this needs to be tailor to WHO will be reading it, and WHERE it will be posted. If there is a big event coming up later that week, go ahead and start including it early on as to avoid surprising anyone.
Sometimes reading over droves and droves of daily schedules can be a bit mundane. For a bit of encouragement for your band and crew, try including a word of the day, or fun fact about the city you are in. When someone walks up to me, and tells me, “Hey, I really like that word curmudgeon,” I know that they’ve at least LOOKED at the day sheet. Half the battle is getting folks to look at it. Encourage these habits!
Day sheets come in many different forms. The main idea behind all of this is to effectively communicate information, so people know what’s going on. Treat other’s time as you would treat your own; don’t waste it.