How do you get gigs?

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EggmanEggman Frets: 43
We're a rock band playing originals and covers. We are versatile and have a bit of experience. For example we played a couple of local festivals in the summer (mostly originals), we played a private birthday party (originals and covers), and we even did a full Sgt Pepper tribute act. We've done numerous other gigs, but these are the most notable.
How would you guys suggest we go about getting more gigs? As a band who has not yet built a real fanbase? We can provide all our own PA etc. What do I do?
Any advice would be gratefully recieved. Thank you.
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  • EggmanEggman Frets: 43
    I have emailed various venues and events with a description of the band, why I think we should play, and links to facebook page/music. Rarely does anyone reply. What are we doing wrong? Perhaps we're expecting too much too soon, and should just let stuff happen.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2531
    Trawl round all the pubs in your area which put on bands. It’s a long slog, but you will eventually pick up a couple of gig. If they like you then they are likely to book you again.
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  • A lot of places will only book via agencies now so they don’t have to deal with bands directly. Ask venues if they use an agency ( and which one) so you can contact them. Or just google agencies in your area, in an old band most of our gigs where through an agency we had contacted who didn’t have any bands at all just tribute acts singing to backing tapes. So when a venue said they’d like a full band we got all the gigs for a while. 

    Look at the social media of bands who are roughly similar to yourselves, there may be venues they play that you aren’t aware of you can contact. 

    Join local facebook groups for musicians as there might be requests to cover cancellations or a venue looking for a particular type of act. Some venues are quite active on social media so messaging via Facebook will probably get a reaction from them. 


    Assholes are like opinions - mine’s on the internet. 
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  • For pub gigs, get yourself (or whoever is the most natural salesperson in the band) face to face owners or managers.  They are a lot less likely to say no to a personable guy who has made the trip to see them personally than they are to ignore an email.

    "Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it." George Bernard Shaw



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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2761
    Friend of mine recently used Facecrook to message a local pub saying they had two specific dates available. It made them sound busy. Anyway they got one of them there and then. Chance maybe but on this occasion it worked.
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  • FezFez Frets: 214
    It's all legwork. Pubs are very poor at social media and email but some do respond. I booked a gig yesterday on faceache. I use www.lemonrock.com as you can see venues that have bands on and contact them directly. I find telephoning the pub/venue can be good but getting to speak to the right person often takes several attempts. Sometimes you just have to keep knocking on the door until it opens.
    Don't touch that dial.
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  • sw67sw67 Frets: 95
    It takes time - after 4 years we have 6 pubs that give us 3 or 4 gigs per year. Booking gigs is a pain in the arse. They ignore messages or ask for lots of info and dates then ignore . I have messaged at least a dozen pubs this week with one reply. 
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 11059
    It's true, it does just take time I'm afraid. My current band has been going for five years, and it took nearly three to get any momentum. 

    My most successful sales pitch is "We're not very loud, if you've come out for a drink and a chat with your mates you don't have to leave the pub when we start playing". We can pump it out when we need to, but volume is a critical and seriously underrated issue when trying to get repeat bookings IME.  

    We're now in the position where we haven't asked anyone for a gig for two years, everyone contacts us. 
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  • hotpickupshotpickups Frets: 1066
    edited November 2018
    My singer left my band last year and I bumped into her recently. She started her own band and told me she never knew how hard it is to get gigs as she left it all to me. Lesson learned on her part. It's hard work and you'll get a fair few doors slammed in your face but you will get them if you persist. Many give up   Depends on what the music scene is like in your area too 

    good luck 
    Link to my trading feedback:  http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/59452/
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  • Eggman said:
    We're a rock band playing originals and covers. We are versatile and have a bit of experience. For example we played a couple of local festivals in the summer (mostly originals), we played a private birthday party (originals and covers), and we even did a full Sgt Pepper tribute act. We've done numerous other gigs, but these are the most notable.
    How would you guys suggest we go about getting more gigs? As a band who has not yet built a real fanbase? We can provide all our own PA etc. What do I do?
    Any advice would be gratefully recieved. Thank you.
    All good advice in the posts above. To take a slightly different tack, it's not getting the first gig at a new venue that is the real challenge, it's getting rebooked several times over the next year. 

    Understand why you're all in the band and what you want to achieve. The very fact you do originals and covers means it might be hard for you to get pigeon-holed and hired. Then, once you have the gig, what are you going to do to encourage the audience to to come and see you again and bring their mates? I know of a couple of bands that go out under one name to do their originals and another to do covers. One even supports themselves - originals for the support slot, Rush tribute as the main event.

    If you're an originals band, find venues that hire originals bands. Make sure you have something about yourselves that is perceived as being unique or original - otherwise you'll be forgotten very quickly after the gig. 

    If you're a covers band, find the venues which attract audiences looking to have a drink and a dance listening to their favourite songs - and find out what those songs are...

    If you're a functions band, act like one. 

    If you just want to gig infrequently to show off what you've been up to, promote your own gigs and market to your friends. 

    Use social media so the people that like you can take part in your journey and feel connected to you in some way. That will encourage word-of-mouth recommendation and a sense of loyalty and belonging. 
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  •   More of the same, really. In my experience emails and social media messages are ignored (even if they've asked for them). Phone calls might work, but they have to be at the right time to catch the right person and that's often when the rest of us are doing our day jobs.
    Similar with visits in person. Eventually you'll get to the right person but they're often not working the shifts you can get to. We spent literally years trawling the local pubs of an evening (about a 20 mile radius  'local') week in, week out for a handful of gigs.
    Persistence is key. Eventually you'll get there. And repeat bookings are marvellous.
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  • JD50JD50 Frets: 362

    I always found the best nights in terms of turn out fun & cash to be the ones myself and the band put on ourselves. Also don't just restrict yourself to pubs/clubs....

    We played a few art galleries some open studios a cafe & a cinema...

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  • Mark1960Mark1960 Frets: 177
    One trick I learnt was to look at websites or Facebook pages of "established bands" in your area to see where they play. This will give you a list of pubs / clubs which hire live bands, then contact those venues to see if they will book you.
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  • Scour local new papers and Facebook to find venues putting on bands of your type. Call or phone (pref with demo CD and or business card) and ask to see who books acts. They're not always in but if you drop card/CD off you can call or phone again. Sometimes they will tell you the name of the Booker or if they use an agency. Not down as much as you can.
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  • A lot of places will only book via agencies ... venue looking for a particular type of act.
    This.

    If you get representation, they can attempt to find you work at venues where there is an audience for what you do. The fee is justifiable for the work it lands you.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • djspecialistdjspecialist Frets: 502
    edited November 2018
    You could ask this guy Jered Threatin for advice.  He apparently has some innovative techniques for getting gigs.

    https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/nov/12/threatin-band-fake-fanbase-tour

    http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/143752/

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  • One me thing I will add is don't bother with leaving a cd. On most occasions they will lose it or even dump it. Best thing would be to give them a URL to the sound files etc. In an email is good as they are usually lazy and don't want to type it in and rather click or maybe a business card if they don't lose that too 
    Link to my trading feedback:  http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/59452/
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  • I was on here to post exactly the same thing really so I’ll tag on here if that’s ok.
    basically I wasn’t also looking on advice of how to get gigs. I play in an all originals band which we have professionally recorded and self released music (at our own cost) and I no want understand how lucky we are in what followed after reading the above.
    through a friend we were offered a gig supporting a band with (for reference of their size only) just over 3k “likes” on Facebook. When it got to the gig there were only about 20 people there, but getting something in a very high profile venue with a well enough liked band was good enough.
    through another friend we were offered a second gig playing before two high profile bands (in a nieche genre) with 50k followers between them online, there were around £150 people there.
    it might seem like from this that we are doing really well but even getting these gigs more than six months apart has been difficult.
    promoters where we are seem to oppoerste in such a closed off way. 
    Some expect you to create a whole profile on Music Glue uploading music Andy photos just to submit and interest of working with them, nothing. Ones back from that.
    others simply operate a generically email address.
    we have send a very well presented version of our electronic press kit that offers all the information they would need and have still had nothing back. We have also reached out to bands and managers directly when we see gigs that we assume we could offer something at, nothing.

    im sorry for such a short long post, I’m going to follow this with genuine interest as to what people suggest, I just wanted to give more details on my specific case should someone be able to help 
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  • One me thing I will add is don't bother with leaving a cd. On most occasions they will lose it or even dump it. Best thing would be to give them a URL to the sound files etc. In an email is good as they are usually lazy and don't want to type it in and rather click or maybe a business card if they don't lose that too 
    Some people like a YouTube clip, just what people expect these days but it’s also some evidence that you can play as a band ( see also Threatin...). 
    Assholes are like opinions - mine’s on the internet. 
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  • horsehorse Frets: 698
    I was on here to post exactly the same thing really so I’ll tag on here if that’s ok.
    basically I wasn’t also looking on advice of how to get gigs. I play in an all originals band which we have professionally recorded and self released music (at our own cost) and I no want understand how lucky we are in what followed after reading the above.
    through a friend we were offered a gig supporting a band with (for reference of their size only) just over 3k “likes” on Facebook. When it got to the gig there were only about 20 people there, but getting something in a very high profile venue with a well enough liked band was good enough.
    through another friend we were offered a second gig playing before two high profile bands (in a nieche genre) with 50k followers between them online, there were around £150 people there.
    it might seem like from this that we are doing really well but even getting these gigs more than six months apart has been difficult.
    promoters where we are seem to oppoerste in such a closed off way. 
    Some expect you to create a whole profile on Music Glue uploading music Andy photos just to submit and interest of working with them, nothing. Ones back from that.
    others simply operate a generically email address.
    we have send a very well presented version of our electronic press kit that offers all the information they would need and have still had nothing back. We have also reached out to bands and managers directly when we see gigs that we assume we could offer something at, nothing.

    im sorry for such a short long post, I’m going to follow this with genuine interest as to what people suggest, I just wanted to give more details on my specific case should someone be able to help 
    It can be really tough / feel almost impossible to get a foothold. I'd say that once you know who the local promoters are in your genre, you need to get in with them.

    So show up at the gigs they put on, talk to them, give them a cd, get to know them a bit, make it so that they like you and want to help you out. Then maybe you'll start to get more support slot offers and go from there.

    If there is a UK 'scene' or genuine community for your genre, then winning over the various key influencers can obviously help massively, but it's hard to get their attention because they're being bombarded all the time (as are the local promoters to be fair).
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 1502
    edited November 2018
    When it comes to original music, time should be spent mostly on songwriting and fine-tuning the product, before entering radio talent competitions or similar. This is where the talent sniffers hang out.
    “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
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