With gas prices now over $4.00 a gallon and no end in sight to the top-end (I suspect we’ll hit $5.00 this summer), it occurs to me that another bad side effect of all of this is that small bands that don’t make a big amount of cash may find themselves unable to afford touring, particularly constant touring like many bands do these days. In recent times past, it wasn’t uncommon to find bands playing five dates in five days within say, five hours driving distance of each, for low ticket prices. Money is made off the merchandising done at the shows, not by the tickets. Fans and the bands would drive from gig to gig, city to city, sleeping in cheap hotels to help offset costs.
But with gas at more than double the price it was several years ago, how will this impact small bands? Will we see regionalization occur even more than it already has as bands stick closer to home to keep costs down? Will we see more extended runs in one city, again to keep costs down? Fans may become less willing to travel long stretches by car due to the rising gas prices, too. We may, in effect, see bands hitting the major metropolitan areas, or those areas that have a built-in support base for them
I don’t want to be a doomsayer with this, but I’m having a bad feeling about all of this that hopefully won’t be realized. Hopefully we won’t see the demise of the many outstanding small bands that fly below the radar of the mainstream. That would simply be tragic.