We talked about why playing live is important for musicians, now the question is how do you book shows?
If you’ve never played live before..
Start small, ask around if any of your friends are having a party and if you could play. Keep an eye out for any open auditions or any venues looking for a band to perform. Take what you can get. Try to expand your network and don’t be afraid to ask if someone could help you out. The worst they can say is no.
Or make your own opportunities, there are a few venues you can hire for your own gig, you can even invite other bands to play along and make an event out of it.
Approaching venue bookers / event promoters
Have a list of venues that normally host live shows and do a bit of research. Is there a contact person listed for booking shows? Are they open for new acts? What is their preferred method of communication? Is there an email / phone number listed? If the answer to these questions, then you may contact them directly and introduce your band. When doing so, remember to be polite, professional, clear and concise, don’t waste their time.
Remember, most venues’ priority is getting a reliable act that can bring in a crowd. If you have a good reputation they are more likely to book you for their venue.
Show & Tell
If you get asked “Why should we book your band?”, what would you say? You could tell them great things about your band, but will you have something to show to back up your pitch?
This is when getting organised beforehand might pay off. You need to at least be able to give a booker / promoter a description of your band and a short bio. You also need to show them your songs. It might be a good idea to build a press kit for your band, which you can set up on your band’s website, bandcamp or Sonicbids. What needs to go into your presskit? Sonicbids have outlined the press kit essentials here.
Someone is interested in booking your band! Exciting as it is, don’t get carried away.
Respond to their interest in a timely manner. If you take too long a booker / promoter may move on to another band. Check all your bandmates’ availability, make sure there are no scheduling conflicts before you commit to a gig. Don’t say yes to anything you can’t deliver.
Get as much information as you can before confirming. This includes the when and where, what kind of event it is, any backline / equipment you would need to bring, appearance fees, even dress codes.
Confirm your understanding in writing to avoid any disputes and make sure all your bandmates have the same understanding.
For more resources to help you land your next gig, check out these links:
Congrats, you’ve booked a gig! What’s next?