A tour manager is the person who runs the show when a band is on tour. The tasks a tour manager undertakes can vary, but they typically include things like:
- Checking in with promoters and venues to make sure everything is in place as planned, from accommodation to equipment.
- Keeping everyone on schedule - dragging the band out of the bar to get back on the bus, making sure the driver is there on time, etc.
- Handling the money from shows and paying out P.D.s
- Checking in and out of hotels
Like many jobs in music, there is a big divide between the work done by tour managers on smaller tours and tour managers on big budget tours. On a small indie tour, the tour manager may be the same person as the band manager, may double as the driver and the road crew, may be the most responsible member of the band, or may even be a friend who is along for the ride. These kinds of tour managers often take one a work horse/everyman kind of role, reacting to whatever comes up. On big budget tours, there may be a team of people in place running the tour, and the tour manager's job and responsibilities become more defined. For instance, if there is a full road crew in place, the tour manager simply makes sure they are doing their job and are where they're supposed to be when they're supposed to be there - but they don't actually have to look after the gear themselves. These tour managers act more as supervisors to the team working for the band.