Episode #034: The Nuts & Bolts of Tour Production, Finances & Live Show Business Pt. 1


Today we get a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes functions involved in set and tour production. Having worked with artists such as Joni Mitchell and k.d. Lang, we are fortunate to have John B. Webster, better known simply as John B, with us today. He is going to share a bit about how he managed to land such impressive gigs and his philosophy that keeps all doors open. He touches on the nitty-gritty of set design, including the creative process and the importance of keeping the type of venue in mind. Those on a tighter budget would be delighted by his brilliant tips for introducing striking design elements, all available from your local Home Depot. We further talk about the effects of lighting and color on stage and hash out the difference between a fogger and a hazer. Tune in to find out what else you can do to put up a spectacular show.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Friends can be valuable contacts.
  • Never burn bridges in relationships.
  • Set design starts with a meeting with the artist.
  • 3D CAD programs can be used to sketch set designs.
  • Design elements must fit different venues.
  • Banners are user-friendly, convertible and inexpensive.
  • Digital printing has made logo printing much cheaper.
  • Use mylar foil and lights to create atmosphere.
  • Colored lights work well on screen door mesh. 
  • Make friends with the light guy at the venue.
  • Uses hazers rather than foggers.
  • Lighting and music must correspond.
  • Identify your primary color lights and communicate it.
  • Create a story with your music.


“I’ve spent most of life very carefully trying not to burn any bridge whatsoever because you just never know when that’ll lead to a different opportunity for you.” JBW [0:03:48]

“You can’t, in any musical environment, you just about never can have too much haze.” JBW [0:16:26]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Displays2Go — https://www.displays2go.com/

John B. Webster — https://johnbwebsterdesign.com/

Savvy Musician Academy Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/onlinemusician/

The Super Fan System Elite Program  http://www.callsma.com/

Leah McHenry

It's become my absolute obsession to find out what will make musicians successful today. In the face of many obstacles, and in the vast sea of the internet, we have an opportunity that has NEVER been available to us in the history of the music business.