How to Get Gigs | How to Book Gigs
Page updated 3/1/2016
How to get band gigs and shows for your local band? It's
not always easy to get out of the garage and get a gig.
You can get a show booked for your garage band, local
band, or indie band with a little hard work. Your rock
band should have a strong music set, quality song
material, and should play well in a live setting. It is
now time to take the next step and book gigs for your
band. Check out our tips on getting gigs for your band
below as well as our three part article if you click
Get the band out of the garage and in to a gig.
Listed below are some tips to get your bands some local
gigs or shows in your area. With a little persistence
and the right presentation your band should have success
in securing some gigs at local venues. Songwriting for
your indie band is quite important, so make sure your
songs are of a professional quality. While you may have
to play for free at first to get some gets, as you gain
exposure and experience your band should eventually
start to see a paycheck.
How To Get Gigs and Shows for a Band
- Band Press Kit /
Electonic Press Kit - The first thing
your band, indie act, or garage band should do is get
a band press kit together. The press kit, press
package, or media kit will have everything your band
will need to get
started booking gigs. Visit our
Band Press Kit page
for tips on getting the press kit together. Once you
have your press kit, you'll have a marketing vehicle to start
promoting your indie band.
- Demo CD/MP3/Tape - For most gigs, a
club owner or party planner will want to hear how your
music sounds. So record your indie band
Demo CD or Tape.
You may want to buy or rent a portable home recording
multi track studio at your local music store. Make sure
your songwriting is of professional quality.
Songwriting is a trial and error process and may take
time. Many rewrites may be needed when writing songs.
It's just part of the songwriting process. Portable
home recording studios or computer recording software
should give you sufficient quality for most local
venues. Once your band is more established, you may
want to get into a local reputable recording studio.
Many professional indie bands use a computer program
called Pro Tools or Cubase software for recording.
While this is an expensive venture, it may be just as
cost effective to learn the software than booking studio
time. It's also a great idea to get your demo's online
as well. Post demo's to your website and social media
pages. This allows you to share a demo online
through social networking or email links.
- Open Mic Nights - Have you thought
about playing open microphone nights. Try starting off playing
open microphone (Open Mic) nights at local clubs. Not only
will this give you a little experience on stage, you'll
actually have a built in audience. Many open mic nights
are hosted by more established local bands or indie
acts. At these venues your band can make valuable contacts for the future with the
hosting bands and other local bands playing at the open
mic night. Check your local music newspapers, perform
an internet search for open microphone nights in your
city, or search music websites to find this
information. This is a great starting point to play
gigs and shows in your area. Please keep in mind
that open mic nights are typically not paid gigs.
The host band may get paid, but typically those who show
up to perform do not get paid. Use these gigs for
band exposure and networking opportunities.
- Offer to Open for Free - The
reality is that your not going to get paid when you
first start out as a band. Offer to be an opening band for free
for a local band you know. Network with bands that you
may have met at an open microphone night. E-mail more
established indie band in the area and offer to play an
opening gig for them. Many indie bands love opening
acts. They don't have to pay you much or at all
and they don't have to play as long of a show set. This
is the time to start promoting your indie band as well.
Try handing out business
cards and press
kits to any bookers at clubs your band plays. Make
sure to follow up with the venue after you have given
them your press kit. Call or e-mail to make sure they
get back to you. Be persistent, since booking agents and club owners are
always getting approached by prospective indie bands and
garage bands. Typically club booking agents work later
hours, so you may have to call at night to get a hold of
- Solicit your Press Kit - Now that
your band has performed gigs at open mic nights, start calling
clubs and soliciting your
Band Press Kit and
Band Demo. It is a good
idea to visit clubs that play your style / genre of music and
talk with the booker of the club. Please leave the
venue booking agent a press
kit and demo CD. The club booking agent will need a day or
two to listen to your demo music. Call back and get some
feedback on your band demo. Once you get a hold of
the booker, ask for the gig for your band.
Again, be persistent. Once you get a show or gig, visit our
How To Negotiate A
- Approach Town Fairs, County Festivals, or
City Concert Venues - Another way to get
exposure is to gig for a large audience at a local fair
or festival. Some of these gigs your band may have to play
for free to get exposure until your band gains a fan
base. Some festivals do pay bands once they get a
following or fan base. Visit our page on
How to Book Festival Gigs. Do some research on the internet
to see what local agencies take care of bookings for
festivals or town fairs as well. Look for Entertainment Bureaus
in your local phone book. Give out your band business
cards at the show as well. This is a good promotion
tactic to gain more fans. Someone in the audience may want to book your
indie music band in the future.
- Booking Agents - Booking
agents take a percentage of the money that you get for a
gig that they have booked. Booking agents can be a valuable resource for
getting some better paying gigs. Do a lot of research
and be sure they are reputable. Do a search on your
local yellow pages for entertainment bureaus. A lot of booking agents only take
well known acts on their rosters, so shop around and see if they will
deal with your local band. Sometimes it pays to stop by in person and take
your demo and press kit to the booking agent. Check out the
Better Business Bureau
and make sure the booker works for a reputable company.
- College Gigs - While
college and university gigs can be difficult to attain,
we give you some great resources to get your band on the
right path. Many college band gigs are
booked through campus associations. Many of these
associations charge a fee for their services, so do your
research beforehand. Visit our
college gig page for more
- Sound Technician - As your indie
rock band becomes more established, you may need the
services of a sound tech for your gigs. Many venues
have their own PA system (sound systems) and will charge
a fee for the services of the sound technician. Find
this out ahead of time. If the venue does not have a PA
system, your band will have to supply one. Please
keep in mind that someone will have to run sound as
well. Running sound can be expensive. Most sound
technicians charge a good bit to bring the equipment and
run sound. A good sound guy can mean the difference
between a good and a bad gig. Please make sure
your sound technician
sets up efficiently and gives your band professional
- Website And Social Media Band Promotion
- Promote your local band over the internet and social
network sites. If you don't have a website for your
local band or garage band, it is time to get one.
Social media is a valuable
tool for indie promotion in today's internet world. If
you can't afford a band website why not try a
MySpace Music page or
Create a Facebook page for your band. Have all of
your friends and fans like the page and post updates on this
page. Each update will post to anyone's Facebook personal
page who likes your band page in most instances. Post show dates, CD /
album releases, and band merchandise for sale. It's also
important not to always just post about your gigs and
merchandise as well. Try to keep fans interested
in your page by asking questions and responding to their
comments. This makes your page more sticky and fan
friendly. This is a
great resource for bands to actually post your copy
written songs, show dates, band bio, contact info, and
more. Visit our Social Networking area for info on
Media Band Website Promotion.
Post Your Shows To Free Concert Calendars
- Once you have your website for your band or artist, start submitting your band website address
(URL) to local band listing websites. Do a google search on
your city and see what sites list local bands and show
dates. For Example, try searching: (Band Listings
Pittsburgh, or Concert Calendar New York). Email the
site and ask to have your web link added. Also, e-mail
any concert calendars, entertainment newspapers, city
papers, online newspapers, online music show listings
sites, and have your band gigs and shows listed. You
would be surprised how many you'll find in your area.
Also email your local clubs with your website address
and see if they would like a
Band Press Kit. Also
try posting gigs to Craigslist or
Gumtree in the UK
- Hosting & Tools for Creating Your Band
Website. If you already have a website
designed for your band or and need Affordable Server
Space to host your bands website just click the
Host your Web site with IPOWER! link. I power also
has website creation tools available to build your band
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creation tools within the server, so give it a try and
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- E-mail Local Newspapers - Have your
show dates added to local newspaper concert listings.
Most papers will list your gigs for free. Contact any
free papers that list band show dates. Also, see if
they will do an article on your garage band or review
one of your gigs or your CD.
- Band Manager - A
can help your band with promotion. This person can help
book your indie act. Has someone that you have known
taken an interest in your garage band or music career?
See if they would help book your indie band. Relatives
may do this for free or a small fee designated by you.
Please note, watch out for people that get to meddlesome in your band
and try to control your band goals. Negotiate fees
charged for such services.
- Battle of the Bands - Send your
demo and press kit to any local battle of the band
competitions. Most competitions locate up and coming
talent in the area for battle of the bands shows. The
great thing about these competitions is that you can
network with the promoters, other bands involved, and
get exposure. Many of the competitions are promoted on
the radio, internet, and newspapers. The winner usually
gets a decent prize like studio time or free promotion.
Have your business cards ready at every portion of the
- New Clubs, Bars, and Live Music Venues
- Pay attention to all the venues that have live bands
perform in the area. Many bars and pubs tend to
turnover or get renamed after a few years as well.
If you are in tune to all the venues in your region, you
will easily recognize when a new live music venue has a
grand opening. It's a great idea to be one of the
first bands to approach the club, bar, or venue.
Call, email, and even show up in person at some point to
hand the entertainment booker a press kit and
Try approaching the venue even before it opens as they
may need bands for the first few months after they open.
Network with the venue, like their Facebook page, and
follow them on twitter as well. Performing these
tasks on the front end can give you an edge over the
competition. Also, keeping informed on social
media may also give you opportunities to see if the
venue needs bands in the future.
- Gig Finders - Gig
Finders can help you band get to the right venues
looking for gigs. Visit our gig finder page for
pros and cons on using these website services.
- In person promotion vs. e-mail promotion to
find gigs - In today's internet and media
related society, it's very easy to email or social
network message clubs and venues. While I
encourage you to still use social media and email to
find gigs, keep in mind you still need to differentiate
your band. E-mails can be overlooked or left
unread, and the same goes for social media posts and
comments. Find a way to make your band's
posts or messages stand out above the competition.
Some ways to do this may be to research the venue and
find something in common with you and the booker.
Other ways to make your message pop are to make sure
your demo is professional, short, and to the point.
E-mail messages in long paragraphs are not going to get
read. A few sentences that get to the point
are the best way to approach a new venue. Think
about what differentiates your band and use those points
to drive the message home to get the gig.
Even with email and social media you may still have to
visit the venue to try and secure the gig.
This is why you must have a hard copy professional press
kit, demo, and business cards with you at all times.
Even though you may be web and social media savvy, it
doesn't mean that the venue booker is using these means
to book bands. While a manual hard copy
press kit may not be as prevalent today, it's still
important in certain circumstances to have these