As a young band, the process of getting gigs can be a daunting task. You are well rehearsed, you have a killer set and you’re all committed to your band, but you just can’t seem to get any gig dates in the books. I have put together a list of 5 simple ways which can hopefully improve your chances of getting gigs.
1. Have Something to Show
This seems like an obvious thing to say but it is something that I have seen young bands fail to do countless times - having something to send to promoters and venues to show what you can do. This can be a studio recorded track or could even just be a live performance recorded through a phone. If your band is well rehearsed and gig ready, a good promoter will see that. If they have the option of giving a gig to a band who they haven’t heard play or giving a gig to a band who have sent a them a good quality song, it’s a no brainer.
2. Be Available
Over many years of gigging, I imagine I could count the number of gigs where the line-up has remained the same from the point the gig is booked to the date of the show on one hand. Bands drop out of gigs ALL OF THE TIME. This leaves many gigs with open slots in the line-up that need to be filled up last minute. I can’t stress enough that you absolutely should make yourself the ‘go to’ band to fill these slots. A lot of bands will not go out their way to play a gig at such short notice so if you make sure that your band become the ‘go to’ group for these kind of slots, not only will promoters think of you next time they get a slot, they will also likely look to give you other gigs down the road as well.
3. Go to Gigs
This is a broader tip as it relates to simply networking and meeting like-minded musicians. Sure, you can probably get gigs sitting at home banging out emails, but the best way to get yourself in line with a promoter or venue is to get out the house and go to one of their gigs. Find a promoter gig you think would suit your band, or a venue that plays bands that are of a similar style to you. Find the person in charge, shake their hand, make a good impression and big up your band! Extra points also for handing them a CD (see tip 1).
4. Put on a Good Show and BE PROFESSIONAL
Another no brainer, but much easier said than done. If you manage to get a gig booked, turn up on time, be friendly and, most importantly, put on a killer show. You are much more likely to get more gigs if you can build up a good reputation as both a great live band and a group of nice people because venues and promoters talk to each other and if you become known as the band that turns up late and unrehearsed, then you will severely limit your chances of booking more gigs.
5. Support Other Bands
This last point has been somewhat of a personal annoyance of mine for as long as I can remember. Realistically, when a new band starts to gig, they aren’t going to be headlining Wembley every week. New bands are going to start by booking gigs with promoters on a show with a few other bands of a similar level. You bring your fans they bring theirs and you end up with a packed gig. In theory it’s a brilliant idea and a great way of building a fanbase. The problem is that anytime that I have attended or played gigs like this, there is always at least one band that will play their set then pack up and leave, often with several bands still left to play. Take it from me, you do NOT want to be that band. You want to be the band that when you aren’t playing your set, you are right at the front cheering on whoever is playing because, trust me, if you support other bands, they will support you too and so will their fans.
There are countless other ways you can go out and get gigs but hopefully if you decide to try out any or all of these tips, then you will be playing every week before you know it and doing what is most important, becoming a great band.