The route you take to get more gigs for you and your band can often be determined by the goals you have set for yourself: make more money, increase your popularity through exposure, improve your stage presence or impress record labels with a packed schedule. Whatever your motivation may be, here are a few ideas that go beyond the obvious phone call or demo submission:
Band / Gig Exchange
Get to know bands from other areas and play gigs together in your area as well as their homebase. This lets you both expand your reach and win new fans. Do this with a number of other bands and repeat it regularly.
Most bands want to play the high paying weekend gigs. Weekdays are less popular and thus easier to get. While attendances are rather low compared to Friday and Saturday nights, playing during the week can be a good way to improve your stage performance, prove your value to the club owner so he may let you play weekend gigs too – and don’t forget that you can still make new fans.
Once you got a gig, do your best to promote it and draw an audience so the booker may give you another, maybe better paying gig soon. If it’s your first gig at a certain club, tell the booker what you will do to promote the gig – and you will have to do more than just create a facebok event: hand out flyers at the club a week before your gig, deliver posters, play in the streets and point at your gig – you know, a lot of leg work.
It’s not always the band that draws an audience. Many time it’s the event itself such as beach parties or springbreak shows that get people to raise their butts. Especially if you are a rather unknown band, setting up a theme event (or helping the club owner organize one) can be a good tool to draw people to come and see you play. Think of a Wild West theme or Barbecue with your country band, Italian music with pizza and pasta, a 50s theme party with rockabilly music…
Bigger gala events and corporate shows usually ask for cover and dance bands. However, there are also ‘smaller’ events such as store openings, open houses or anniversaries in every town that could well use some good live music. Make sure your band is a good fit (classic rock for a biker store, classical music or jazz at vernissages…).
The personal touch
Okay, there are definitely clubs and bookers that only accept un-personal don’t-call-us-we-call-you online submissions. It’s never wrong, though, to call and suggest showing up in person for five minutes to hand over your demo and band info. Personal sympathy means a lot in business.
Turn yourself into an asset
Besides doing a great stage show there are many ways to prove your value to a club owner off the stage. If you can help solve technical problems, if you are a great marketer or if you can help find other bands to fill a spot on short notice you will definitely be remembered. If you are generally pleasant to deal with, a club will be more likely to book you rather than a band with all divas.
Meet people, talk with people and always have business cards and demo CDs at hand.
Feel free to share your ideas and learn from each other…
– Julian Angel
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