New York Times had a terrific story (picked up by Artsjournal.com today) about a website that will do for traveling artists what Tripadvisor.com does for hotel seekers. GoTour.org (hosted/sponsored by The Field) provides a place where artists can post and receive advice about how to go about performing at certain venues, how audiences in different parts of North America react to different types of music, where good eats can be found, etc. You can search venues by state or by region–a helpful feature if you are considering regional tours.
The website is well organized and attractive. However, its biggest strength is also its biggest weakness–it depends on people to enter the information. This is a strength in that you get some good practical advice from people who have been there. Their experience is subjective perhaps, but it is much better advice than you will get from buying a book on touring North America.
Depending on user input is also a weakness because, well, there is nothing entered in the website. While there are local guides for New York City, there isn’t a single venue listed for the place, nothing at all listed for Philadelphia (or any part of PA except Allentown). I found listing for venues that no longer exist. (The NYT article says the website is celebrating its first anniversary, but I found entries from 2001 and the site has a 2003 copyright.)
Regardless of the shape it is in now, I am posting about it in the hope that readers will contribute to it and flesh it out a bit. It has a great potential for being useful to artists so everyone do your bit and update it!