A typical tour van shown above.
What is a tour manager?
A tour manager is the bookkeeper of a client's tour. They track expenses throughout the tour and keep track of money available. Common expenses on tours are gas, food, and van repairs. Tour managers also have to make sure they collect the money their client made at each stop. They budget for the tour to make sure money is spent wisely and all expected expenses can be covered. Tour manager's are also in charge of keeping track of time and assuring that their clients get where they need to be on time and supervise everything that happens on the tour.
What level of education is required to do this job?
Usually it ends up that most tour managers are friends with their client before they have their position as a tour manager. Because of this, many people have as little as a high school diploma. If you're applying for a position through a record label, such as Fearless Records or Hopeless Records, the competition to get in is higher and any level of college degree or experience is better than just a high school diploma. Experience is key in the music industry and to some labels and clients, experience is more important than a college degree. Recommended college degrees would be in the area of business, accounting, management or communications.
How does the future look for tour managers?
The future is for tour managers is most likely going to stay stable at the level of openings that there are now. There will always be new clients needing a tour manager at the same rate that clients no longer need a tour manager. It's a tough career to get into unless you make yourself known and get yourself connections or you are friends with your client before they need someone to be their tour manager. Clients want someone they trust and know well to be their tour manager and be cramped in a van or tour bus with them for sometimes tours as long as three months.
How much money do tour managers make?
Tour manager's salaries vary based on their client. Many tour managers start off making very little money and having to work a part time job when they aren't on tour. Then they gain experience and could either begin working with a more well known client of stick with their client as they get bigger. If the artist they work for is not well known and they aren't making much money then their crew won't be making much either. The better the team of people working for the client, the more known the client may become. If the artist is signed then usually the record company is the one paying the band and crew. If that's the case, when an artist does really well off when they're signed, usually a tour manager does not need to have a job outside of touring.
Above is a music video montage of a common festival tour called Vans Warped tour that is all summer long with countless bands.