Behind the scenes of every successful tour lies a vehicle that carries the artists and their crew from one city to another, enabling them to share their music with fans far and wide.
We’re embarking on a journey through time, exploring the evolution of tour buses, from their humble beginnings to the latest technology that redefines the touring experience.
How it Began
Way back in the early days of touring, musicians relied on vans to travel from venue to venue. Whilst still functional, there was a lack of space and amenities which made touring a rather claustrophobic experience.
As music tour popularity increased, there was a sudden need for better transportation for bands spending a lot of time on the road. Enter: The Purpose-Built Tour Bus.
Where it Began
It was in the 1950’s when rock n’ roll artists were travelling from one city to another to perform in clubs when early tour buses came about, usually converted camper vans that could provide very basic amenities for the bands.
As years went on live music was only on the rise, and it was in the 60’s when using tour buses became more popular amongst rising talent. This is when more and more bands began using buses to move the band and their equipment.
On the Up
The creation of sleeper buses marked a pivotal moment in the touring experience. These were vehicle specifically designed to meet the needs of the touring musician. In the 70’s these buses began to provide basic accommodations such as sleeping areas, bathrooms and kitchens.
Stars can be touring for weeks at a time, so there was a necessity to improve comfort on board.
A few years later, touring had attained new heights. Stadiums and arenas caught on like wildfire, singers were now setting out on extensive tours, captivating audiences of thousands on a regular basis. Sleeper buses became the go-to modes of travel, for not only the band but also the crew and their equipment.
Designing for Efficiency
With the growing demands of touring, bus manufacturers began focusing on optimising the design and functionality of tour buses. The layout of the buses was carefully crafted to maximise space utilisation, allowing for ample storage of equipment and instruments. Interior configurations were customised to cater to the specific needs of each band, ensuring a comfortable and efficient environment on the road.
As the music industry thrived, artists began demanding luxury and extravagance on their tours. This gave rise to custom-designed tour buses that resembled homes on wheels. These buses were equipped with lavish amenities like plush seating areas, state-of-the-art entertainment systems, private sleeping quarters, and dedicated dressing rooms. They became a standard feature, offering artists a comfortable and luxurious sanctuary between performances. Much like our star sleeper buses today!
Today, the world is a lot more sustainably-focussed. Artists demand a tour bus industry striving to improve its environmental impact. Manufacturers are exploring various fuel options. We actually had our first HVO fuelled tour a few months ago, which you can read about here.
We’re constantly working to minimise our environmental footprint when touring.
The Future of Sleeper Buses
There are several advancements in technology that mean the future of tour buses is headed towards a more sustainable, connected, and luxurious experience.
Band tour buses just like regular cars are constantly being fitted with new technology, integrated systems and smart devices to make the touring experience that much more seamless.
The industry will continuously evolve, and we’re excited to embrace the possibilities!
From the early days of cramped vans to purpose-built tour buses, and the introduction of sleeper buses with improved accommodations, the comfort and convenience for artists and their crews have significantly improved over the years.
Looking ahead, we envision a future where tour buses continue to evolve, offering unparalleled luxury and convenience. Customisation will remain a key focus, ensuring that each tour bus caters to the unique needs and preferences of the artists.
As the industry embraces new possibilities and adapts to changing demands, we are excited to be at the forefront, providing cutting-edge tour bus solutions that redefine the touring experience.