How To Make Sure You’re Booking a Good Venue
"Booking a tour can be a difficult process. Not only are you spending hours upon hours emailing venue after venue, but you’re also taking a major gamble on the venues you’re contacting. It’s often hard to know if the spot is a good fit for your band, if there is decent foot traffic, how hard you will have to work for your draw, and how well their booker will work with you to make the event a success. It’s just one huge gamble.
So today we’re giving you a few tips on how to find the right gigs.
1. Ask Your Fellow Musician
Reach out to your friends and ask them how their show went at the venue. Was it worth the trek? Was it a good money maker? Was it a good fan-building experience? Was the staff good to work with. Would your friend play it again?
Your friends will be honest with you and they have the musicians' advantage, which is very different than a fan’s perspective.
2. Research the Website Carefully
Spend as much time on the venue’s website before you even think of emailing them to pitch a date. Read their booking page thoroughly. Serious websites will have one. These pages will tell you if there is/isn’t a sound system, how long the venue could take to respond to your email, if the space is more conducive to bands or acoustic acts, and if you’re playing for tips or cover (among other things). You can use this information to determine whether this will be a good gig for you.
3. Visit the Venue’s Facebook Page
A venue’s Facebook page will often give you a better idea of how beneficial it will be to book a gig. It lets you know how responsive they are, how involved they are in their music community, how hoppin’ the space is, and whether they hold events on a regular basis. Sometimes an official website poorly represents the venue; but an extremely active Facebook page can make all the difference. In fact, that matters more these days.
When on the Facebook page look for:
- an up-to-date events calendar
- regular status updates by the venue
- regular page posts by their customers
- pictures of the venue (easy way to gauge if that “Cafe” is actually a cafe or a dive bar)
4. Use Indie On The Move (thanks!)
We can’t tell you how much we love IOTM. If you haven’t heard of this site, read one of our older posts for the scoop: Grassrootsy’s Top 10 FREE Resources for Musicians. IOTM’s venue reviews are a priceless tool in venue booking and we use them on a weekly basis!
5. Scope Out YouTube
When all else fails, hit up YouTube. Watch videos shot in the specific venue you’re considering. YouTube is an underrated tool for scoping out a venue’s vibe and determining whether it will be a good fit.
6. Ask Your Fans
Like we said in tip #1: A fan's opinion of what makes a good venue is very different from a musician's. But it’s still worth asking your fans which venues they think you should play. After all, they’re the ones coming to see you!."
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