Finding gigs for your band can sometimes feel impossible when you’re getting started. So to make it easier for you I’ve made a list of things you can do to get your band out gigging.
A few of the things on the list will be easier to do if you have recorded a demo. If you don’t have a demo of your band put together yet, check out ‘Recording Your Band On A Budget’.
In No Particular Order
1. Notice Boards
By making a promotional poster and posting it up on notice boards you can let people know your band is for hire. There are lots of places you could go to use a notice board, Coffee Shops and Community Centres are a good place to start.
2. Talk to your Friends, Family and Co-Workers
Talk to everyone you know and see if anyone has a party or special events coming up that your band might be suited to.
When your starting out it’s usually better to do some gigs for experience rather than money. That way there is less pressure on your band to perform at the quality expected of a band at that cost.
3. Social Networks
Having a social media presence for your band is really important. If your not sharing anything online how will people find you?
Using Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Sound Cloud etc, are great places to open up conversation and connect with your audience about upcoming gigs, songs, albums and for them to find out more about you.
Posting your demo online will also make it easier to use your Social Media Networks as part of your EPK when booking gigs. Managing your Band’s Social Media is a massive topic, but if you do a quick search on Youtube or Google you will find lots resources.
4. Open Mic Events
A lot of local restaurants and bars will hold an Open Mic at least one night of the week. Most Venues will have different ways of booking your gig. Some will allow you to show up on the night and jump on stage, where others will want you to book a calendar date and time.
These are great places to try new songs and perfect for meeting other local artists, musicians and bands, which leads to our next item.
5. Networking With Other Bands
This is really important if you want to make more of a career out of this. You need to start networking with other bands, artists and like-minded people.
Networking can lead to playing bigger, better and possibly paying shows. Just think of all the connections those people might have. Simply Networking could lead to your next big opportunity you otherwise would not have had access to.
6. Local Charity Events
Charity events can be great exposure for your band. While Donating your time and aligning with a good cause, you get the opportunity to network with the local community and the event organisers.
Get in contact with the event organisers in person and give them your demo or a link to your demo and EPK.
7. Craft and Farmers Markets
Like charity events, these gigs are mostly for experience, networking and exposure. They are perfect for raising awareness about your band, as you can network with, stall merchants, event organisers, and everyone in the local community that comes to the market.
8. Battle of the Bands
Jumping into a Battle of the Bands for your first few gigs is probably not the best way to go. If your hoping to “WIN”, It’s better to get some experience behind you, a well practiced act, and a bit of a following first.
Some battles offer prizes like Recording Tim, a Friday Night time-slot that pays well, or even Music Videos. Unfortunately they are usually a popularity contest. Battles are generally won by the band who sells the most tickets or brings the most people. So if you haven’t built much of a following, your chances of winning are slim.
9. Schools, Colleges & Universities
This may not seem conventional to some, but a lot of popular bands have played school shows. Reasons a school might have a live band perform could be, a School Fair, Ceremonies like Graduations, and School Dances.
Colleges and Universities also hold their own events and gigs. Some even have their own nightlife with pubs and bars looking for bands to performs.
Find out who is in charge of the entertainment at these places and get your EPK or Demo in their hands.
10. Band Booking Agencies
Booking Agencies will put your band in a catalogue with all of their other musicians. Generally bands will be sorted by genre or whether they play original or cover music.
When a client of the agency needs live music, they are given the catalogue to choose from. Some bands get the majority of their gigs through agencies, but just because you have an agent, it doesn’t mean they will get you gigs.
If your music is great quality, you have a good online presence and an electronic press kit with demos, your chances are far better.
One or Two Last Things
Lots of Venues, Pubs and Bars will book their own shows. This can be financially in your favour if you’re a good negotiator. Even if your not a negotiator, contact them directly and ask if your band can play there.
Once you get gigging, you may find that gigs can lead you to more gigs. You may even be offered a residency (regular time slot) at one of the places you’ve played.
I would love to hear from you if this helped you, or even if it didn’t.
What ways have you heard of, or tried to get gigs?