How To Get Gigs For Your Band
Finding gigs for your band can be a difficult, and often confusing process. You might be asking yourself, “Who do I contact?”, or “How do I go about asking them?”. But pursuing your passion shouldn’t be difficult or stressful. That’s why we wrote this guide on ‘how to get gigs for your band’.
There’s quite a lot of articles out there on finding gigs, but we here at Indie Signal have actually been booked for the smallest of venues to large festivals. We know what it takes to find gigs and want to share that information with you! So take some time to digest the information below.
1. Make a Demo
Without this, all other steps on this list are obsolete. You’ll need to send this demo to every bar, club, and venue you’re trying to get your hands on. Don’t view this as something you just “threw together” either. This is your voice. This is entirely representative of your band, and it’s all club owners have to quickly judge you on.
Don’t freak out though, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on making physical CD’s. Websites like Bandcamp are a great (digital) way of showcasing your demo.
Note: If you’re trying to get gigs as a cover band it’s not completely necessary then to provide a demo. What’s more important is showcasing your live abilities. Get a good camera and microphone and record your band playing some covers.
2. Make Business Cards/Social Media
This one’s pretty simple, but can often be overlooked. Once you start playing out, multiple people will ask for your website/number/email, it makes it so much easier to just have a business card on you with all your information.
In terms of online, social media accounts will be checked out by booking agents, so it’s good to have an active presence. Also, sometimes bands will reach out to you via social media asking if you want to join them in playing somewhere. Social media is a great way to build relationships.
3. Open Mics
Ahh, open mics. Where poets meet magicians meet musicians. Sometimes, open mics can leave a bad taste in your mouth, but they are a free, no-expectation venue. This will allow you to hone your talent and get over any stage-fright jitters.
In addition to this, it’s not uncommon for some one to approach you after your performance asking you for your card. They can either be bookings agents, bar owners, or people looking for a party band. Don’t underestimate who’s in your audience!
Check your local cafes and bars for scheduling. Typically you just walk in and sign up!
4. Email, Email, Email
Once you have your demo, your cards, and a little practice under your belt – email everyone. Seriously. Everyone. Most gigs I’ve gotten were from emailing venues or festivals relentlessly. Most places will have a contact page of some sort built into there website where you can find an email address or a contact form.
Write up a nice email telling them a little bit about yourself and link your website/music. Most won’t answer, but eventually you’ll get one.
5. Contact the Media
This is essentially step 4, except it can be overlooked because these people aren’t booking you gigs – they’re giving you necessary exposure to increase your visibility. Local radio stations, college radio stations, local newspapers, and independent music blogs – the list is endless! These people are looking for good content so don’t be shy to send them your stuff. Always remember, the worst that can happen is they say “no”! And then you’re on to contacting the next person!
Tips To Get The Best From Gigs
- There isn’t a special ingredient on how to get gigs for your band. Persistence is the only key to success.
- Early on, don’t bother worrying so much about the money. Get the gigs you can get, the money will eventually come.
- Now, just because early on you shouldn’t be worried about making money doesn’t mean you should be paying to play either. That’s called “pay to play”, and it’s a dirty tactic club owners use on rookie musicians who are overly eager to play.
- Honor your end of the bargain – show up on time, show up practiced, put on a good performance. A good performance will go a long way. And the people who booked you will remember it, and most likely book you again in the future.