Our website uses cookies. See our cookies page for information about them and how you can remove or block them. Click here to opt in to our cookies

Hit the Road - Giving Young Musicians Their First Taste of Touring

Dumfries' What About Wolves performing as part of Hit the Road

First established as a pilot project through Creative Scotland's Youth Music Initiative in 2011, Hit the Road continues to provide an invaluable service to Scotland's next generation of musical performers, managers, producers, promoters and technical staff.

In this Connecting feature, Hit the Road's Scott Kirkwood talks us through a brief history of the project as well as the different types of support and training they provide.

Tell us a bit about the history of Hit The Road?

Hit The Road is touring project that enables independent music makers aged 14 – 19 to experience their first professionally managed tour across Scotland. The initiative was piloted in 2011 with support from Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative and is now a national project visiting every corner of the country. To date, Hit The Road has organised 15 tours and benefited over 45 emerging young artists from Scotland. Some highlights include Model Aeroplanes from Dundee, The Mermaids from Dumfries & Galloway and Eilidh Hadden from Perthshire.

What are your aspirations? Why do you do what you do?

We want to inspire and encourage young people to get involved in making music in some capacity; whether it be performing, composing, or in a backstage or technical role. We believe it’s essential that we continually unearth, train and develop new talent, bands and artists as well as managers, producers and promoters, thus investing in the next generation.

Tell us a bit more about your work. What goes into putting on the tour?

Firstly we choose the acts we think are most suited to the tour; there’s a need to ensure that the tour works logistically as well as in regards to aspects like musical genre. We then find the most suited (or in some scenarios, only) local promoter to book a show in the best available venue and, by liaising with all the promoters, we establish a tour routing that works in practice.

Once we have booked the shows, we design and manufacture promotional materials such as posters and flyers while also managing an online marketing and press campaign for each show. We distribute this info to local press in each location to achieve as much local interest as possible. Each act is then allocated their own professional tour manager who is local to them, and who takes them to and from each show, giving them advice throughout the tour.

As well as the tours, we also run a range of open-access workshops focused on various aspects of the live music industry such as song-writing, instrument technology, and the early stages of touring for musicians and technicians.

What support do you offer musicians while on the tour?

As well as their own local tour manager looking after them, while ‘on the road’ we hire industry professionals with expert knowledge who produce a range of workshops providing vital skills and information on how our musicians can develop and sustain their careers.

This includes everything from press and social media to stage-craft, recording, music video and photography. We also offer career opportunities for non-musicians to shadow our professional team on tour and across a range of creative and technical roles including tour-stage- and event-management, sound engineering and media.

What are your plans for the future?

We’re continually trying to improve and perfect the tours and maximise what our participants gain from the experience. For 2015 we’re developing plans to encourage the young people to be even more hands-on by getting involved in the promotion of the tours and participating in the media and press strategy.

We’re also looking at the development of new and additional workshops; our current ideas include bands learning how to organise their own DIY shows, which will ultimately equip them with the skills and knowledge they need should they decide to pursue music as a career.

More Info

To apply for Hit The Road 2015 visit hittheroad.org.uk/#register. Follow them on Twitter @HitTheRoadTours and Facebook/hittheroadscotland.