Getting a Gig - Doesn't Happen By Luck
Updated: May 19, 2018
So where to begin? I have had the pleasure of playing music for many years, whether with a band or as a solo act and over the past few years booking for other venues. I am always finding myself in conversation with other musicians who want to know how to find more places to play. There is no secret formula... well maybe there is but I haven't found it yet, however there are some basics that will help to increase the likelihood that you can find and retain gigs. This is what has worked for me over the years.
1. Practice... ok so clearly that is a given but it is important that you perfect your talent. Determine the style and approach and work hard at it. But lets assume you are already doing that and now you want to share your gift with the world.
2. Video! Capture what you do on video and prepare to share it with potential venues. A couple of tips, live video with some songs that include just the hook or chorus etc. Show your variety and range. A simple cell phone video that is edited for about 2-3 mins of content using a video editor will go a long way. You don't need a full song , in fact having 30 seconds of a couple tunes is really what you want when sharing with potential venues. iPhones have come a long way... simply setting up your phone to record, playing some tunes and using the iMovie function on the phone is an easy way to get started. As you play live gigs in front of people, capture the video. Having a friend in the audience to record while you play also works well or using a gopro or similar camera.
3. Have a social media presence either fb or a website where you can direct potential venues to view your material. Again sounds basic but I have talked to many a musician either new or experienced and they lack a location to share what they are doing. Make it easy for the person doing the bookings, use a direct link.
4. Research and contact venues. Simple searches for live music in your area will result in potential venues to play. Using fb messenger or email you can contact venues with a standard brief introduction and a link to your video. Cast your net far and wide. With a little research it isn't hard to find places that have live music. Just know that venues tend to book very far in advance and may not have openings for 6 months or more but if you reach out on a monthly basis you can move to top of mind with the venues.
5. Plan in advance. Knowing that many venues book so far in advance, you need to start early. Don't wait until May to try and book for the Summer. You will get a lot of "No's" and you will get a lot of non responses. Don't take it personal... you have to continually reach out to potential venues.
There are many ways to hunt down opportunities but you have to do the leg work. Ambition and hard work can often times trump talent. If you are the greatest player and you don't work hard to capture opportunities, you will be sitting at home. Nothing is entitled and venues aren't going to come knocking on your door. YOU HAVE TO WORK HARD. Its not always about who is the best it is about who works the hardest.