Touring seems like the ultimate dream to any musical outsider; you get to feel the intensity of a live show each night for a living whilst being transported to multiple cities or even countries. From the outside it looks like any traveller’s dream, being able to go to new places for free, however there is an incredibly dark side to touring that is rarely discussed. This goes from testing relationships, the lack of sleep and in some cases the promotion of drug use. It is a testing atmosphere for any artist or band which could potentially make or break a person. In recent years artists or bands regularly tour then the band has spilt and the idea of a tour occurs years later for their ‘come back show’ or ‘reunion tour’. This is most certainly evident for band One Direction, who for over 5 years straight were touring across the globe and barely had any time off. This resulted in band member Zayn Malik to leave the fivesome as he had “enough” of touring, and a year or so after Zayn’s departure One Direction shared the same sentiment and had enough of “life on the road” which lead to their hiatus. However, for those who follow any of the One Direction members lives can see that Harry Styles and Liam Payne are still regularly touring across the globe with Harry Styles even doing an American and United Kingdom and Ireland tour in the same year. This begs the question, did the constant touring lead to the demise of One Direction? This could be true, as much as you may love your friends/bandmates, spending a 10-hour drive can truly test your friendship, and you will be bound to see all their annoying habits and will barely get any time alone. For those suffering with mental health issues not being able to have some time to breathe on their own can lead to a potential breakdown, and being stuck in a metal tube (also known as a plane) throughout the year can become draining. This tests friendships and relationships which with bands is essential to any success.
It’s not only relationships that are tested throughout touring but your own mental well-being, as there is no freedom on tour, you are separated from normality and home which can result in some pretty self-destructive behaviour. This is evident in not just bands but also artists suffering with drug addiction and mental health problems. Demi Lovato has openly spoken about her battle with drug addiction and has discussed that the touring life makes it so easy to fall back into the pattern of addiction, the sleepless nights or the lack of time to sleep make it almost impossible for any person to function. Singer Alanna McArdle announced her departure from Cardiff punk band Joanna Gruesome citing she left for mental health purposes proving that live tours can lead to the break-up of bands.
There are many reasons for the dissolution of a band, however touring can play a major role. A UK charity called Help Musicians found that over 60% of musicians suffered from depression or other psychological issues, with 71% claiming touring was an issue. This only further proves that touring though can be exciting for any musician also has a dark side.