So you’re just starting out and you’re struggling to get gigs for yourself or your band? Well have no fear! Here’s 5 tips that really worked for me. I’m going to start with the tip that I think helped me out the most and that’s setting up your own shows.
#1 – Set Up Your Own Show
I used to put on a monthly event called New Path here in Liverpool which was kind of a grassroots experimental type thing. It got me so much experience in putting on shows and dealing with people and venues and I was able to take the event to Manchester as it built up.
There are loads of advantages of doing this, mainly you instantly have a gig and you have full control.
To do this you want to approach venues in your area, the smaller the better as you’re starting out so there’s less – if any cost involved.
You might strike a deal where you have to bring in a number of people or pay for your own engineer – which is obviously great if you know someone who can help out.
With your own night planned, all you have to do is find other bands to play the bill and that’s where our next tip comes in…
#2 – Gig Swapping
So armed with your own show, you can now approach other bands in and out of you city for a gig swap.
For example, if you live in say Liverpool and you’d like to play in London, get in touch with a band there with the gig swap proposition.
This is the way it worked out for me and I’ve managed to form some great relationships. Obviously, it makes sense to ask a band who’ll fit the bill for your gig so you’ll both introduce each other to your audiences.
One thing of note – don’t make the huge mistake of not returning a gig swap!
#3 – Message Promoters & Bands
If you don’t want to deal with the effort of putting on your own shows then you can just email promoters who are putting on events that fit your genre.
Message the bands who are playing shows you want to play. Every band has a facebook or twitter account these days (well, they should do). Ask how they got involved with that event, form a relationship – you might want to offer them a slot at one of your own events. This happened with me and it was actually at a event I put on – a musician in a band sent me a message saying they saw the gig, loved it and we starting chatting about music. I ended up booking them for one of our shows and vice versa. It just snowballs!
#4 – Put the word out
Many cities have their own Facebook pages or groups listing shows on that area. For example, the Liverpool Bands Facebook page is great resource for keeping up with what’s going on as they regularly share other promoters messages about needing bands. Always good to keep an eye on and you can also send them a message saying what you’re after. Just don’t spam.
#5 – Local Festivals
Local festivals are always looking for local support to bring in local people. You need to apply for these as early as possible and I suggest you’re ‘active on social media’ as you have to look like you can sell tickets. As tough as that sounds, it can really work in your favour later on as it’s always good to say you’ve played a festival and it builds up your gig CV nicely.
BONUS – Do an online gig
OK Bonus tip. Do an online live streamed gig. You have full control of the setting, time, date – everything.
Obviously this is gonna take some practice setting up but you can set up facebook event page for it as well as SongKick – whatever.
It’s a very modern take on shows but it will also showcase your performance. I really think this is under utilised!
And that’s it. I hope that’s been of some help to you guys and you start seeing some results. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or you just wanna say hi.