You may have been doing some jam sessions with your band and are ready to take that next step and set up a gig, but may run into a problem…how do you book a gig?
Here’s some tips to help you book your first gig.
1) Wait Until Your Ready
You want your band to be cohesive and your sound to be on point before you do your first gig. You only have one chance to make a first impression, so you want your debut to come off without a hitch.
2) Ask Around
Call upon any network you have within the local music community for help. You may have friends in bands that need an opening act.
3) Make a Demo Recording or Video
You want to demonstrate your style and talent to the booking agent, so getting a good recording of your best song or creating a Youtube video of you performing (even if it’s in your garage) is a good way to show a booker what you can offer.
4) Visit Venues and Introduce Yourself
If you don’t have any connections to help you secure a gig, do the leg work yourself. Go check out some local venues you’d like to play at. Listen to some music, talk to employees e.g. bartender to get a feel for how things work there and get a sense for what they are looking for from musicians they hire. See if you can get a conversation with their booking agent. Also, consider doing open mics for exposure.
5) Do Your Own Online Research
Before or after you visit a venue, visit their website and read their booking guidelines. Make sure you can deliver on what they are asking for (e.g. minimum of 30 attendees, a three hour set etc), and email them or complete their online form if you are ready to try and book the gig.
6) Contact the Booker, Talent Buyer, or Venue Owner
Send a brief email asking to play at their venue. This is what should be included in your message.
-Address the message to the actual name of the booking agent.
-Include a short introduction that describes in a couple of sentences your sound, size of your band, and where you’re from.
-Include a link to your recordings or videos. Never send attachments unless they ask you for them.
-Tell them how many people you can bring to the gig. Be realistic and don’t set false expectations because that will hurt you in the end.
-Be flexible. Offer to open for touring bands or offer to put a whole bill (a group of bands) together if you can deliver this.
– Provide your contact info and thank them for their time.