What are the key elements to consider when considering how to get a gig.




An impromptu discussion with a local booker inspired a consideration of how to get a gig led us to think what acts can do to help their chances of getting a (or more) gigs. Drawing on some important and recurring points raised by music writers and bookers we look at nine main things that will help you get that gig.

9Research

9 Things To Do If You’r Looking For A Gig - Research

Depending on your perspective it is easy ,or lazy, to send out blanket emails to bookers. So before you send that email check that the venue that you are sending to fits with what you are looking for (e.g. size wise, genre) and also make the email personal (so if you have the name and a clear reason for looking at the venue then all the better).

Cultural Enterprise suggest that research can start earlier, recommending the following;

*Attend industry events like Born to be Wide and XpoNorth
*Network with bands, promoters and venue staff at gigs
*Research and connect with promoters online

8Keep Your Emails Brief

9 Things To Do If You’r Looking For A Gig

Hearing of the vast array of emails that bookers get in a day, brevity will win the day. Whilst not ignoring the social niceties, the basics of your email needs to include who you are and what you are looking for always make sure you include your band name, location and Soundcloud / YouTube link.

“They just want to open their inbox and not be overwhelmed with your 2-page life story. Learn how to write a to-the-point, concise email that pitches your talent and worth to that venue.” confirms Bandzoogle.

7Know What You Need To Know

9 Things To Do If You’r Looking For A Gig

When thinking about how to get a gig, but you need to think about what you need to know as a band (think things like how long is a set? where are you are on the bill? what facilities are there? when’s load in? what’s the plan for sound check? what back line is there etc) and what is important for you. It is a difficult game to start making assumptions so please when it is appropriate make sure that any questions that you require answering to, are resolved.

6Learn To Roll With The Punches

9 Things To Do If You’r Looking For A Gig

“No” can be a horrible word and conjures up all kind of negative responses, but don’t confuse what a booker is saying with other things i.e. look out for “not yet” or “not just now”.

“I once had someone get pretty irate with me because I turned down their proposal” said Jhoni Jackson writing for Sonic Bids “Reacting angrily is probably the best way to ensure you’ll never get a gig with that particular venue. It’s fair to ask why they turned you down, though. Take whatever they said constructively, and consider it helpful advice for your next inquiry.”

So if you don’t get a gig, take it on the chin and make a note to try again.

5Be Cool

9 Things To Do If You’r Looking For A Gig Be Cool

There is a fine balance , when looking for a gig, to be had on one hand a level of enthusiasm is to be lauded and on the other there is nothing worse than a constant barrage of emails, phone calls, Facebook posts etc (for that perfect balance have a read here). Have a strategy to engage with a booker and keep to it, normally it is fairly simple an email, then a follow-up after a week or so.

Be cool, keep cool.

4Talk Money

9 Things To Do If You’r Looking For A Gig Money Talks

When looking for a gig, it might be something that you are uncomfortable with, as an act payment , in whatever form, is required (we won’t go into the arguments of payment in this article), so don’t be afraid to discuss the fee for the show. Bookers are more than happy to discuss and clarify the fee.

3Remember The Booker Is Doing A Job

9 Things To Do If You’r Looking For A Gig

This might seem strange for a booker, this is what they get paid to do, they need acts for the venue / event, if they cannot do that then they don’t keep their job. Bookers tend to be managing multiple demands and pressures at the end of the day an ideal or a good act for a venue is what the booker is looking for.

2 Remember You Are In Control

9 Things To Do If You’r Looking For A Gig

This seems to be at odds with what you initially think, but just as some one looking for a job can decide wether to take it or not, so too if the deal or the arrangements for the act are not right The Music Union in their Fair Play Guide note;

“It’s always worth trying to negotiate, but if there’s no flexibility on the promoter’s behalf, and the deal isn’t right for you, don’t do it – you’re not losing anything, but you are applying quality control.”

1Play the Gig

9 Things To Do If You’r Looking For A Gig

So you agree the gig, the deal is done, playing the gig is the easiest bit right? Well maybe, or maybe not, but the deal is not done until the performance is complete. Be on time, come with the right kit and expectations, get the job done at the end of the day one gig can lead to the next gig…




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