Working from home? Switch to the DIGITAL edition of Projection, Lights & Staging News. CLICK HERE to signup now!
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

A Chat with Gabi Parra of Tour Forensics

Mike Wharton • Company SpotlightMarch 2020 • March 7, 2020

The recently-formed company, Tour Forensics, which is comprised of longtime international tour manager David “5-1” Norman and production coordinator Gabi Parra, was one of the companies to contribute to the Roadies of Color United (R.O.C.U.) International conference held in the Atlanta area from Feb. 7-8 (See related story).

With a background of more than three decades in the live event touring industry, Norman and Parra’s path first crossed many years ago. She sat down with PLSN at the conference to talk about the company and the mutual goals it has with the R.O.C.U. association.

‡‡         Focus on the Details

As a stagehand and a runner, Parra was working at a Florida venue where Earth, Wind & Fire were rehearsing for an upcoming tour. Tony Bulluck, the production manager at the time, was trying to find a new production assistant. Bulluck hired her for the tour, and years later when Norman became tour manager, she began to work with him.

“David and my work styles are very similar,” Parra quickly discovered. “We are both incredibly detail-oriented people. Once we started working together on a day-to-day basis, we realized we worked together really well in a lot of different ways. It’s a bit of a simple answer, but we both really ‘nerd out’ for organization. We kind of bonded over that.”

Norman had been formulating the idea of a touring consulting agency for some time, before he met Parra. In 2018, he invited her to be a part of it. The company formally became open for business in 2019, and “we hit the ground running,” she says. Their first client was multi-platinum Australian artist Dean Lewis. Since he is still up-and-coming here, he needed a successful first U.S. tour. “He’s about to majorly cross over into the America market, so we helped him with his first USA leg,” Parra says. “Dean was a great first client, and it was an ideal experience for both him and Tour Forensics,” she adds.

‡‡         A Tour Consulting Business

In a nutshell, Tour Forensics is a consulting business. They help tours get under way, “in whatever way they need,” says Parra. “By that I mean we tailor our services to the particular tours specific needs.” With the pair’s wealth of contacts and depth of experience in both domestic and international touring, those services can be far reaching, including arranging passports and immigration.

“We can do anything, from help with staffing to securing vendors,” Parra continues. “Budgets, tour routing, helping with hospitality and hotels; connecting with the appropriate people —really, we are there with them every step of the way. Dean, because he’s an Australian artist, needed help with it all.”

The touring industry is not a cookie-cutter business by any means. Some tours might not need that much help. Maybe they just need someone helping them with their budget or accounting. “We can pull all the details together for whatever the aspect of the tour is,” Parra adds, “simplifying the process for the tour itself.”

Helping the underserved client is an objective to the way Tour Forensics operates. Forward thinking, preplanning, knowing where the pitfalls are can save a lot of headache. From a few steps outside the immediate circle, it’s much easier to see. “Unfortunately, there are a certain acts that struggle with organization, which costs them money and success unnecessarily. We’ve seen these blind spots really affect people and they are so avoidable,” Parra says.

‡‡         Facilitating Better Tours

Tour Forensics’ drive is to facilitate better tours. As the sole proprietors and employees at Tour Forensics, “5-1” and Parra have the resources and the network of acquiring what a tour needs without providing it from an in house staff. For that reason, Tour Forensics is very fluid and efficient. Couple those aptitudes with two detail-focused people keeping their eyes on everything, and it’s small wonder their success is already notable.

Parra notes that she got to know ROCU’s Lance “K.C.” Jackson while touring together with Earth, Wind and Fire. “He started telling me about this conference idea early on, so I wanted to support him. Of course, he asked David to be on the planning committee, because he is so organized and has a lot of background with these types of events.”

She and “5-1” see being part of ROCU as a reciprocal relationship, one that expands and strengthens each other’s network and relationships with people already in the industry. Parra concludes, “Honestly, we love to do the work, bottom line. These are our colleagues and friends as well, so it is with a lot of joy we want to see them succeed.”

For more information on Tour Forensics, visit www.tourforensics.com.

The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!