Summer is finally here, and for many performers, this means it’s time to get out there and tour.

There’s nothing quite like being on the road with like-minded artists and creators. From honing your performances through nightly shows, to taking in some sights, summer tours allow you to practise your craft in a new environment.

While the benefits of touring are extensive, there are some drawbacks that you should consider, and most importantly prepare for, before you hit the road. For example, being away from home and performing in high-pressure festival environments can affect both physical and mental health. The good news is there are tried and tested strategies that can help you keep well and avoid preventable problems.

The Edinburgh Festival and Fringe is a major stop for many UK artists, and we want to ensure you make the most of this great opportunity. Therefore, we’ve created a brief guide to help performers, crew, managers and organisers look after themselves and each other during the event. Let’s get started.


Preparing for Edinburgh Festival and Fringe 2023


This year, the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe runs from the 4th to the 28th of August. Note that down if you haven’t already!

Whether you’re a comic, an actor, a dancer, a musician, variety artist, technicians, manager or part of the venue team, it’s crucial that you’ve prepped your wellness strategies as well as the show.

Here are some techniques you can add to your repertoire.


Manage Your Performance Anxiety

Stage fright and butterflies before a gig are prevalent feelings. However, having a mental toolkit to manage performance anxiety is essential for calming your nerves and increasing your well-being while at the festival.

Popular strategies for reducing pre-show anxiety include:

  • Re-framing your thoughts through a positive lens.
  • Visualising the success of your performance.
  • Practising deep breathing techniques.

These are designed to calm you down just before you go on stage. They can also be paired with long-term anxiety management strategies.

Save our performance anxiety poster to ensure you have expert tips in your pocket.


Take Care of Your Mental Health

Our psychological self-care tips for artists, creators and performance professionals can help you sustain good mental health, enhance your wellbeing and achieve your goals.

BAPAM works with Equity to provide free online psychological support groups to members, and with Help Musicians on free self-care workshops for those working in music. You can find out more about groups and workshops here.

If you need immediate support in a mental health crisis, find out how to get help here: Mental Health Support In A Crisis

BAPAM provide free support for issues relating to your mental health. Depending on the type of work you do, we can offer a range of services, which may include short term psychotherapy for work-related mental heath concerns.


Don’t Neglect Vocal Health

Whether you prefer singing or cracking a joke, looking after your vocal cords is paramount at a festival.

You can keep your vocal cords healthy on the road by warming up, singing from your diaphragm, and taking vocal naps (no singing periods). Other popular techniques include singing from your diaphragm, drinking lukewarm water, and humidifying your home.

Smoking cessation should also be encouraged.

If you do run into persistent vocal health problems, knowing what to do and acting quickly is vital.


Stay Hydrated & Eat Your Veggies

Being on the road lends itself to takeaways and low-effort meals. However, maintaining a nutritious diet and adequate hydration boosts your mental and physical health, improving your performance. Try not to eat a huge meal late at night after the show. Make sure your snacks are healthy ones: fruit, nuts, oatcakes, rather than cakes and biscuits.

Some performers supplement their diets with multivitamins while on the road to get extra nutrients. A professional opinion is always the best route for clarification on your nutrient intake. 


Refrain From Overindulging

Alcohol is a favourite pastime for unwinding and ‘taking the edge off.’ But there’s a very fine line between relaxing and managing anxiety with alcohol.

While performing at festivals, try to be vigilant about your drinking habits and assess whether they’re positively or negatively influencing your life. Excess drinking can also have knock-on health effects and affect your career.

Explore our drinking factsheet to learn more about healthy alcohol consumption.


Final Thoughts

Touring and travelling away from home for gigs and festivals is an exciting step for any artist, and the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe is a major UK highlight. To maximise the opportunity, put your mental and physical health first throughout the experience. Good luck and have a great time!

Want a comprehensive checklist? Our Healthy Touring Checklist can be used by artists and managers as part of planning for a tour or time away from home. It includes suggestions for a Health Rider to help everyone involved with the show to support artists to remain healthy. See BAPAM’s Healthy Touring Checklist here.

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