You have a band and looking to book a gig in your town. How do you go about doing so? And what would be the best way to go about it? There are a number of bands like yourself looking for similar opportunities. Getting turned down by venues would not be an ideal situation for a band looking to make its mark.
Venues look forward to Artist Management Companies to minimize the risk. Your experience is counted and venues don’t have the time and energy to research your band before giving you that gig. After all, they’re a business. It can be difficult to cut through the initial barriers. But this is why you’re reading this article.
Let’s go through how you can get yourself more gigs, events and capture the imagination of your local scene. However, you need to know what the industry is before you start calling up venues.
Venue owner or promoter is someone who deals in talent. Depending on the scale of the venue, they work with Artist Management Companies or independent sources. They make money from a percentage of ticket sales and food&beverage sales. So you can see that the venue owners/promoters work for numbers. So your goal would be to gather an audience which results in profit.
EPK ( Electronic Press Kit) plays an important role in giving them a preview of your performance and helps your case in convincing them to book you. Make sure you develop one before you connect with the venue owners.
If you don’t have previous gig experiences which you can show or have a lack of good content for them to preview. Don’t worry. Just keep reading.
1. How to find the right venue for your gig
Every venue or promoter is looking for a certain kind of artist to work with. As they’ve got an audience which is already catered to and know what they want. Your goal would be to identify those venues which work with your music. It’s not a pleasant experience to play a gig where you’re playing for the wrong crowd or vice versa. The most ideal way to figure it out would be to go through their events page and check the past artists or events that have happened at that venue. You’ll get an idea of whether to approach that venue for a gig or not. However, once you’ve identified the venues that fit your music. Attend a few gigs at those places yourself. It’ll help you understand the scene even if you’re not involved directly at that very moment.
You have to put some effort into categorizing the venues that you’ve selected. I know spreadsheets can be boring but its an effective way to lay down a plan before you start connecting with the venues.
You can look back at the sheet and figure out where to play the next gig or how to contact the next venue.
- Venue name and address
- Phone number
- Name of Booking Agent
- Venue Size
- Short description of the type of music and audience they work with
- No of times you’ve played there
Networking is everything in this business. It’s more than just talking about your music and your band. As an artist or band, you should be familiar with your local bands. It pays huge dividends when you connect with similar people from your background.
You can collaborate with a local band who is already familiar with multiple venues and share a similar taste in music. Get to know the decision-makers in such gigs and make a good impression on them. It’ll help build your connections furthermore.
Even in smaller events like open mics or RSVP gigs, it is easier to connect and have a more in-depth understanding of who you should be making a connection with.
4. Contacting the Venue
Once you’ve decided the venue. The best way to contact the promoter or the venue owner is in person. However, if you intend to write them an email. The effective way would be precise and to the point. Most importantly it should contain your EPK, as discussed before.
At the end of the day, you’re inquiring about the gig and the email doesn’t have to be a story about your band. But a detailed informative profile. This would play a definite role for the promoter to book a gig for your band.
For most of the gigs, you’ll do the promotion on your own. At a basic level, you have to set up a Facebook event, put up some flyers and share posts on your social media.
But in order to do better than that, put up a poll for your fans to vote on what they want on the set-list. You can create a buzz if you have a specific theme in mind. This will add more value to your gig. Give out a few tickets for the first 5-10 people who have the shared your post and has the most reach.
6. Follow Up
After you play the gig, what’s next? You really need to play the local venues regularly so that you connect with the audience. Keep in touch with the venue staff and the person who got you the gig in the first place.
To best way to build a good reputation with the local venue is to be professional. Being on time and making sure your rig is working properly which makes it easier for the sound guy or the technicians to work with you. Respect the art and the art will give it back to you. As an artist that’s your primal motive and goal.
Conclusion: How to Book a Gig. As a local artist on your own.
Hopefully you’ll be able to use these tips to book bigger and better gigs for yourself both in your local music scene and beyond.
Remember, the most important element to booking great gigs is planning it thoroughly first.