Booking a show when you’re first starting off can seem a daunting, overwhelming task with no clear start. Getting multiple rejections, and figuring out how fit yourself into the right space would make anyone discouraged. But with the right research, persistence and advice you can better understand how to get your act on stage where it belongs. Here are some quick things to keep in mind when first figuring out how get booked.
Do your venue research
Whether in your own city or not, doing your research in order to find out where your sound might fit is very important. Look at a venue’s website, social media, and past calendars. Look at their capacities and assess whether the size of your act would be appropriate for the space.
If you’re in an unfamiliar city, pull up a map and look at what’s in the neighborhood. Is it in a college neighborhood? Downtown? A hub with other bars around it?
A reasonable way to get your band booked is to look for local or touring shows with compatible sounds that don’t have openers yet. Although you often have to look a few months in advance, bigger bands usually have tours planned before they have openers for all their dates. Contact their booking agent or the venue’s booking to find out who’s in charge of their opening slots and move forward from there.
Before you reach out the venue, talk to other bands that might fit your bill and bring those to the venue upon initial contact as well as a few different dates that might work for everyone. Consider the days of the week before you start the conversation.
If you’re looking to headline, make sure you find the right date for a certain venue. Try to be realistic about the day of the week your band will be able to draw, and be a good value for the venue.
Once you’ve done your research, and understand where your sound might fit, reach out as much as you can to booking agents. Email, email, email! Booking a show is sort of like looking for a new job. It takes a lot of reaching out, and constant communication with people across the board. You can expect a lot of No’s before Yes’ or Maybe’s. If they don’t respond in a week or two, don’t be afraid to follow up. Everyone in this industry is so busy you often have to do some nagging in order to get the attention you deserve. A booker’s response has many different outcomes. Sometimes they will tell you the spot is already filled, simply say no, or redirect you to the open act’s management. If it’s a clear no, sometimes you gotta take the loss but it helps to stay on a venue’s radar for future gigs; show them how much you have to offer their venue. If you get redirected, that’s okay. It just means that someone else might be handling the opening act for a band or tour. Be sure to contact them. Getting your name out there is one of the most important ways to gain momentum, make as many connections as you can and you never know the opportunities you might be opening up to.
Want to know more about booking a show or small tour? Check out next month’s event!