Civ 6 Rock Bands Comprehensive Guide (2022)

by barathrumobama

The ingame (and fandom) wikipedia entries on rock bands are somewhat vague, so I thought I’d take a closer look at the number of tourism generated from Rock bands.

First, let’s repeat what we probably already know:


  • Rock bands are unlocked with theCold Warcivic. This is a first tier atomic era civic and can be researched straight afterIdeologyat a 20% increased cost, bringing up its price from 2185 to a whopping 2622. Its inspiration is researchingNuclear Fission, a 2nd tier atomic era tech that requiresAdvanced BallisticsandCombined Arms, making it particularily difficult to rush – but taking the chance on theBolshoi Theaterto unlock it may be worth it!
  • Rock Bands can only be puchased with faith, starting at 600 faith, increasing by 100 with each increment. This can be decreased by 15% by having theTheocracygovernment
  • Rock Bands can pass through enemy territory even without open borders, but entry may be denied through theMusic Censorshippolicy card, unlocked at Space Race. Capturing a Rock Band will send it back to the owners nearest city, though you can hold concerts against civs you are at war with.
  • The Hallyu policy card (unlocked at Cultural Hegemony in the future era) will allow you to choose promotions for your rock bands). I will show later how powerful this is
  • Rock bands need to be named to perform concerts
  • Rock bands start at level 1 and can be promoted up to level 4, but they will gain only up to 3 promotions.

Furthermore, Rock Bands need a concert venue to perform – these can be either of the following:


  • Entertainment complexes, theater squares and waterparks with T1 Buildings (+250 baseline tourism) and T3 buildings (+750 baseline tourism)
  • Campuses or Harbors with T2 buildings (+500 baseline tourism)
  • Wonders (+1000 baseline tourism)


There are 12 available promotions for Rock bands, each with differing power levels. First of all, the weaker ones that don’t improve a rock bands performances:

  • Indie: Performing a concert causes that city to lose 40 Loyalty.

This is generally useless. Unless you can pop multiple of these or you’re already applying loyalty pressure, this does absolutely nothing since the city will just recover – and overall it’s very unlikely you will snipe a city from your opponent. It may have its situations, but it’s not contributing to the success of your rock band.

  • Roadies:+4 Civ6Movement Movement.

While certainly handy, this promotions effect is somewhat diminished by the point in time when rock bands roll around – railroads and modern streets should plaster most of the map by the atomic era, so getting around is rarely a problem (unless you started a game in a later era, but I doubt this is a common practice outside achievement hunting).

  • Religious Rock: Performs a concert that converts the majority religion of that city to the religion founded by the player.

If you planned on a religious victory and you’re in the atomic era, something must have gone sideways – but if that’s the situation you found yourself in, your rock bands are now infinite charge apostles that may only die to random chance. Also, there’s a surprise synrgy with theCrusadestenet. Who thought bringing Rock bands to a tank fight could be so effective? It also may bring back your dead religion, (in another civ..), which is an achievement and can be used to stop someone elses religious victory. None of this has any primary use for culture victories though.

  • Music Festival: Performs at National Parks and Natural Wonders for expected 1000 Tourism Tourism and 1 level more experienced.

This one looks good on paper, but it’s fairly inconsistent – the AI rarely builds National Parks and you can’t enter many Natural Wonders (note to self: I need to check whether this works on districtnextto Natural Wonders.

  • Pop Star: Earn Civ6Gold Gold equal to 25% of the Tourism Tourism generated.

I will slot this in with the weaker ones as it doesn’t directly improve the bands performance – but man, can this generate a lot of gold. This is hindered by rock bands timing again – in the atomic era, everything is expensive, and you’re likely gunning to cut down the numbers of turns needed for culture victory , not to generate gold. If you have a faith surplus and lack of gold, this may be useful – but such instances are rare indeed.

Then there is one particular promotion that works perfectly on already good rock bands:

  • Goes to 11: Civilizations within 10 tiles receive 50% of the Tourism6 Tourism from this concert.

This doesn’t increase the rock bands chances at succeeding, but if it does, it can increase the tourism output by 100% or more. Incredibly useful as 3rd promotion, so-so as 1st promotion.

So what are we looking for as 1st promotion? The ones from the latter list:

  • Album Cover Art: Performs as if 1 level more experienced on wonder tiles.
  • Arena Rock: Performs as if 2 levels more experienced on Entertainment Complex district tiles.
  • Glam Rock: Performs as if 2 levels more experienced on Theater Square district tiles.
  • Reggae Rock: Performs as if 2 levels more experienced on Water Park district tiles.
  • Space Rock: Performs at Spaceports and Campuses for +500 Tourism Tourism (+1000 Tourism Tourism if Campus has a University) and 1 level more experienced.
  • Surf Band: Performs at Seaside Resorts and Harbors for +500 Tourism Tourism (+1000 Tourism Tourism if Harbor has a Shipyard) and 1 level more experienced.

The latter two belong in a tier on its own as they elevate Campuses and Harbors to prime destinations even over wonders as they require only T2 instead of T3 buildings to output 1000 baseline tourism and Universities/shipyards are much more common than the T3 buildings in Theater squares, Entertainment complexes and Waterparks. I’ve debated putting Arena and Reggae Rock here, but the AI seems to love their entertainment complexes, so you will get fairly consistent results with those.

Note that Seaside Resorts and Spaceports are only accessible venues through these promotions, but are inferior targets compared to campuses and harbors respectively.


The aforementioned experience level is vital to a rock bands success – it determines the chance of a rock bands failing (to do: scatterplot of rock band level vs performance level). With the max base level being 4 and the maximum gained through promotions is 2 (assuming the NAtural wonder promotion works as I think it does), the chances for success (not dying) are as follows:

  • Level 1:50%
  • Level 2:63%
  • Level 3:74%
  • Level 4:84%
  • Level 5:91%
  • Level 6:96%

This shows how good the +2 exp level promotions are: losing 1 out of 4 vs losing 1 out of 2 rock bands is a huge difference, and if you find enough districts to perform in, your bands are sure to level up at some point, netting you promotions, flexibility and more tourism!


There are 6 performance levels – even though it’s somewhat presented in a confusing manner ingame. The effects of the different levels are as follows

  • Level 1: Unit lost, gain (3/4) x Baseline tourism + (Albums sold * Baseline tourism / 100)
  • Level 2: Unit lost, gain (2) x Baseline tourism + (Albums sold * Baseline tourism / 100)
  • Level 3: gain (3/4) x Baseline tourism + (Albums sold * Baseline tourism / 100), gain 50 albums sold
  • Level 4: gain (2,5) x Baseline tourism + (Albums sold * Baseline tourism / 100), gain 100 albums sold
  • Level 5: Unit promoted, gain (1) x Baseline tourism + (Albums sold * Baseline tourism / 100), gain 150 albums sold
  • Level 6: Unit promoted, gain (3) x Baseline tourism + (Albums sold * Baseline tourism / 100), gain 200 albums sold

Note that the # of albums sold used is the # when you press the button, not the one after the concert. As you can see, the rock band level doesn’t contribute to the number of tourism, just to the chance of survival (and thus of accruing more albums).

As you can see, performing at wonders, harbors with shipyards and universities with campuses with the right promotion can be incredibly lucrative – these can net you immense amount of tourists – but performing there carries a higher risk compared to theater squares etc. with the respective promotions. These net considerably less tourism without the T3 buildings, but are great opportunities for level 1 rock bands to scale up!


I will further examine a few things – notably:

  • how Swedens Nobel prize for literature impacts things
  • how performance level lines up against rock band level
  • how the natural wonder promotion works exactly

That’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed reading.

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