Live music in crisis, part 232: Now tour bus price hikes are blamed for cancelled tours

Tour bus
(Image credit: Herbert Pictures)

As if inflated ticket prices, European travel problems for UK bands, gun law controversy, venues struggling to stay afloat amidst rocketing energy costs and a general post-Covid logistical hangover weren't enough, the latest issue putting the kibosh on tours by even well-established artists and bands - a lack of tour buses and drivers.

It doesn’t work when tour buses double and triple in cost.

Anthrax (facebook)

Speaking to Billboard (paywall), Lindsay Manfredi, of alt-metallers Cold revealed that the band's latest tour was cancelled after tour bus prices more than doubled overnight, from $800 a day to $1500.

“We literally had to just pull it, because it wasn’t feasible for us,” she said. “That’s how it is for lots of touring bands.”

Michael Sweet of Stryper, confirms that supply issues, triggered by record post-Covid demand and an exodus of experienced drivers to trucking during lockdown, have made touring in its current form unsustainable for the veteran metal band. “You budgeted $15,000-20,000 for fuel, and you look at the potential of that being doubled,” he says. 

Downgrading wasn't seen as an option for Stryper: “We’ve been there and done that and prefer to ride in some sort of comfort. It’s very important to have a bus that’s reliable, with a reliable driver."

“When we’re getting $10,000 a night as a guarantee, and you get all these bills, you’re in the red instead of the black. You can’t afford to tour like that.”

Elsewhere, even bigger bands are struggling to get around. Anthrax, after blaming "ongoing logistical issues" for cancelling European dates earlier in the year, clarified on facebook that “It doesn’t work when tour buses double and triple in cost.” 

Read more: Billboard (paywall)

Will Groves

I'm lucky enough to be MusicRadar's Editor-in-chief while being, by some considerable distance, the least proficient musician on the editorial team. An undeniably ropey but occasionally enthusiastic drummer, I've worked on the world's greatest music making website in one capacity or another since its launch in 2007. I hope you enjoy the site - we do.