The schlepping can be kind of a pain-and for me always involves a cart-trying to balance two banjos-a guitar-and a road case (with banjo stands and goose necked mic stands)-and-very much worth it to create the "best" show-
As you know it also makes a difference when we travel together-three of us always leaving from Seattle and Bob from time to time-a type of credit card or airline status-can lead to a free first bag for everyone. Then we divide the remaining bags around so each person might be checking a 2nd bag-often a $25 charge-and suddenly it feels like a good investment-especially when we can cluster 3 or 4 shows together where we are driving between gigs-
Then there is the "Japan experience"-where most if not all fees are negotiated-enough so that we will bring a 12 string guitar as well-and on those tours there ARE folks who carry our gear-a dedicated road crew-well-as you know-something special-
Again-always trade offs-but also always wanting to find ways of improving the show and the audience experience-putting off as long as we can the day when they say they've heard enough-
Who would have thought when it started 57 years ago that we would still be doing this?