Our first tour, the run we did back in summer 2014, taught us pretty quickly how unpredictable and challenging a tour can be. First off, all of us being between seventeen and nineteen at the time we neither had the funds nor the wherewithal to hire our own van. So we came up with the idea to split the tour in two; the first few days we’d be driven by a couple of our mates in their cars, whilst the last half of the tour would be in a proper van with a driver, as the tour’s last half had longer drives.
This plan seemed great up until the first night, after our show in Bristol. We had the idea to try and be cheap by camping somewhere en route to the next stop, however after hours of looking for somewhere with no luck we stopped in a Tesco carpark and accepted that this was the best we we’re going to get. Whilst sleeping in a car doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world, I can tell you that after spending all night in a Ford Ka with three other guys and as much gear as you can fit is a nightmare of snoring and cramped legs that I never want to relive! Add to that being woken up in the early hours of the morning by Tesco security guards and our first night on the road, safe to say, was an unexpected one.
After the cramped experience of the first night we hoped that the rest of the run was going to run more smoothly in terms of transport. We’d arranged for a driver to meet us after the first couple of days to take us the rest of the way. This arrangement lasted just for enough to get us to Manchester, so about a day and a half. Once we’d arrived in Manchester at around midnight he told us that he had another job to get to for another band. With that he up and left us to find very last minute accommodation for the night.
The next day was an adventure for sure, we managed to find a pub that let us take over a corner of the bar for the day whilst we waited for the venue to open. To kill time we had a look round Manchester city-centre because none of us had spent much time there before. One of the best finds of the tour was probably a vegan burger joint/ record store called V Revolution. Along with some fine food that kept us full well into the next day, they were kind enough to let us put up a poster for the show on their notice board.
We’d almost forgotten about our transport situation until that night after the show when our driver didn’t return at the time he said he would, which left us with nowhere to sleep and no way of getting to our next stop. We eventually managed to fit myself and Khalid in one of the other band’s vans whilst Dom and Jacob found some room in the other because Evenu and Amateur Drive By (whilst both split up now) are still two of the nicest bands we’ve worked with.
In the end though, our transport difficulties led to some of the most memorable parts of tour as Khalid and I spent the next day at the beach chilling with Amateur Drive By whilst Dom and Jacob got drunk the night before with Evenu and almost lost their drummer.
Sticks & Stones’ first tour was definitely a memorable one, if not the smoothest ride! So, I’d say the moral of the story is; get a proper van for your tours, unless you want to risk some seriously cramped sleeping conditions, potentially some serious sunburn and a killer hangover.