Playing live is one of the best ways for independent musicians to hone their sound, win new fans and build their confidence performing in front of an audience. From intimate gigs at local venues to sell-out shows across the country, every performance is important, so it’s crucial to know how to get in touch with venue bookers and gig promoters in order to secure your next live show.
If you’re ready to take your music on the road, here’s some useful advice on contacting the right people to book gigs that will be worth your while.
Find gigs in your local area
First of all, get to know your local music scene inside out. Chances are you’ll probably already be aware of the popular music venues in your area, and these are good places to start getting bookings. Make sure to attend the gigs of other local bands too, and introduce yourself to the bookers and promoters close to home.
Get to know other local musicians
Getting know the other bands and artists on your local circuit is a great way to build mutually beneficial relationships. Find out how they get their gigs and ask if they can suggest any venue bookers that they’ve used in the past – you could even offer to support them at their next show.
Contact the right people
Do some research before getting in touch with any potential venue bookers to make sure they are likely to work with you. For example, it would be a complete waste of time contacting a heavy metal promoter if you’re an acoustic singer-songwriter. It’s important to make connections with the people who suit your genre and have a good track record for securing gigs, rather than simply sending out an email to the first promoter you come across.
Send your music to promoters
Established promoters will probably have a website containing contact information and details about how they prefer to accept music submissions, as this can vary across the industry. Some would rather an MP3 file sent to their email inbox, while others may want a link to your track via social media.
When contacting promoters and venues, always keep it brief and straight to the point. Alongside your tracks, you’ll want to include a short intro to your music as well as your contact details, location and availability. You could also include information about any significant gigs you’ve played previously. If you’re able to draw a big crowd, be sure to mention that too, as it will boost your chances of landing a great booking.
Put together a press kit
Make it as easy as possible for promoters and venue bookers to find out everything they need to know about you by creating a press kit. Directing your contacts to an electronic press kit (or EPK) gives the impression of professionalism and simplifies the process of booking gigs by compiling all of your essential info in one place. Your press kit should include your music, contact details and any other relevant information, as well as links to your website and social media pages.
Follow up if you don’t hear back
Don’t be afraid to send a respectful follow-up email if you haven’t heard anything from your contacts after a month or so. Your initial message may have simply been overlooked or missed, so it’s always worth trying again.