With so many new acts out there, not many are in the privileged position of being able to wait for the phone to ring when it comes to gigs. Most of us have to get in touch with promoters and do the legwork ourselves. But if you’re looking for an opportunity to play, you can cut out the middle man – putting on a gig of your own isn’t as difficult as you might think.
1) Venues (part one)
You would be surprised how many pubs/bars/venues will let you hire a room with all the required equipment for a decent price. If you want to turn a profit (or at least break even) from your gig, work out a realistic ticket price and how many people you can get to come along, then find a venue which matches with your budget. Many will take an up front fee for the room and let you keep the profits from the door – some might even give you a percentage of the bar takings too. Ask around.
2) Venues (part two)
If that doesn’t work or take your fancy, put on gigs in unusual places to drum up a bit of interest. Hire a van for an afternoon then do an acoustic gig from the back of it at your local park for example, fin a cafe that doesn’t usually put on gigs and then you can promote it together as a ‘one off event’. This kind of thing not only keeps fans and casual passers by interested, but can also get press coverage on a local level. Use your imagination.
3) Make it about more than the music
If you have other creative friends (artists, dancers, film-makers) you can get them to be part of the show. Allow them to showcase their work at the same time as you’re playing your latest tracks, and you can nab their audience as well as your own, not to mention give people something new to appreciate.
4) Do gigs online
With live streaming now available on YouTube, and other services such as Ustream available, you can now promote your new material without leaving the house. And, most importantly, your fans won’t have to either. This is low cost and low profit, but it’s unusual enough at the moment that you might draw people in with the idea.
Vital things to remember at every gig:
– Put on a good show (it sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised…)
– Sell merchandise if you can, a few extra pennies here and there can make a difference
– Don’t go it alone, gig with other local bands who already have their own followings
– Be professional, and invite professionals. If your gig is big enough, you might have the chance to impress an A&R or two…
– Don’t miss out on new fans, make sure you have a mailing list to sign up to or get people to follow you online while at the gig. Everyone will be linked to the internet, and by getting your captured audience to push the buttons right there, while they’re enjoying your show in the moment, you’ll get more.