Posted: Oct 5, 2015
Category: Music Festivals
1. Develop a relationship with local promoters. You’ll have better chances of playing festivals they put on if you have a pre-existing relationship and have worked together in the past. The music industry, like any other industry, is based on relationships. Try to foster some good ones early on and grow them as you progress as a band. Having a solid promoter or talent buyer that likes you as people and likes your music is always a good thing; you never know what opportunity will come from it.
2. Practice, practice, practice! Don’t put off practicing until the night before a show. You don’t want to get on stage and not sound good. It makes you look bad and it makes the show or festival look bad. You won’t be asked to come back.
3. Keep your EPK (Electronic Press Kit) up to date. Have this ready to go at a moments notice. All you need is a ZIP file that has a bio, a couple of your best songs, 2-3 high resolution pictures (iPhone pictures won’t do!), all your social media info, and that’s it. While you’re at it, put together a nice looking stage plot and input list. There’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t have this.
4. Early on, try to play as many shows as you can to build a fan base. Eventually, you’ll hopefully get to a point where you want to be more selective in the shows you play and you’ll want to space them out more so you don’t affect your draw. But if you’re a growing band, don’t be above opening for a band here and there.
5. Be realistic. There are thousands and thousands of smaller local festivals all over the country that are looking for talented musicians. You want to play Lollapalooza, but you can only draw 20-50 people? Good luck with that. Work your way up realistically. Play that awesome Hot Sauce Festival that has 5,000 that come out. Play with other bands and book shows together.
6. Be part of the community. Partner up with other friends and local bands. Book shows together and support each other when you are playing. You’re all in this together.
7. It’s nice to do favors, but at the end of the day, it’s still your job and you should get paid appropriately. It’s still a business… don’t let yourself get screwed.
8. Promote and market the hell out of your shows! If a festival promoter sees that you are active on social media, in the streets and have press on local blogs, they will be way more inclined to book you at their festival. They look at all that stuff!
9. Don’t be an asshole. Just be nice to everyone and show gratitude to those who help put on the events that you play. Chances are there’s at least 20 people who have been up for a few days producing the event so you can play 45 minutes… do not treat these people badly. It gets back to the festival organizer one way or another, and you won’t be asked back.
10. It’s cliché to say it, but have fun. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. If you’re having fun, people notice, and that goes a long way to how people view your band.
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