Arts Entertainments

The Gig Is Up – Getting Those Gigs

It’s time for your musical dreams to come true: playing live on stage to masses of screaming fans… or at least a room full of people listening to your creations. Although the ultimate goal is a well-paying gig, an artist or band just starting out may need to accept a few gifts. Consider them as experience. Use this list as a start on how to get gigs, a checklist of the basics, and a starting idea.

The preparation:

  • Talent: Know your style, be solid in your acting skills before taking on too big of a job.
  • All bandmates know their responsibilities.
  • Calendar – create your timeline
  • Internet: online presence, class announcements, forums, press, friendship with other gangs
  • Networking: go to shows of other bands and meet them, create critical allies, rub shoulders
  • Press kit – with contact information, web address
  • Demo tape/CD with your 3 best songs
  • extensively tested
  • Decent equipment – with backups and spares
  • Reliable transportation for the band and ALL equipment
  • Funds: who handles your band’s finances, food, gas, places to stay
  • Booking agency or manager to get reservations, when affordable and research thoroughly.
  • Sound technician
  • Playlist: well formed, very smooth, more than enough for the time allowed, minimal pause between songs

The places:

  • Fundraisers, Charities, Benefits
  • City festivals, fairs, free concert halls, trade shows
  • Music contests, songwriting contests
  • battle of the bands
  • Nightclubs, bars, pubs – karaoke, open mic night
  • Weddings, special occasions, private functions, parties
  • Country clubs, cruises
  • Restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bookstores
  • Schools, churches, universities
  • home concert
  • jam sessions
  • online video
  • Exchange of concerts with other bands of a similar style: one band opens the show, the other closes

Get the concert:

  • The attitude should be “how can we help each other”
  • Understand what is expected of you – don’t assume anything, including food and drink.
  • Make sure the venue has a good reputation for being fair
  • Be prepared if you need to audition live during the less busy hours of a club.
  • Venue specifications, space, sound
  • Keep your word, create respect, do what you say you will do
  • Get it in writing, contract
  • You know it’s up to you to promote your concert, right?

The promotion:

  • Word of mouth with enthusiasm!
  • Flyers, Posters – Get permission as needed (eg parking lots)
  • Street teams, fan clubs
  • Internet Marketing: Artitopia events, email, ezines, newsletters, class announcements, blogs, concert calendars, mailing list (online/offline)
  • Call ALL your friends, family, coworkers, schoolmates
  • Press releases to any available media
  • Newspaper, radio, local concert guides.
  • Bulletin boards, music stores, record stores
  • Go where your particular style of fan would hang out or work – do your market research
  • Exchange promotion with local stores, restaurants, have a cool idea
  • The number of heads through the gate is the most important factor for a new booking

At work:

  • A gig is a job, so the same rules apply: be on time, don’t take too many breaks, be prepared to do your best, and be professional at all times. The reputation you create will follow you.
  • Sound check, balance, volume levels
  • Make sure the audience knows the name of your band
  • A good catchy opening line.
  • Be adaptable to your environment – have a sense of humor
  • A musician under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a recipe for disaster.
  • Merchandise for sale – CDs, t-shirts, stickers… entrance prizes
  • Ask someone to take great photos (video) to add to your photo albums later, and chat with your fans! Get the names of fans to add to the online photo narrative.
  • Collect emails, distribute business cards, promote the next gig, get referrals
  • Something will probably go wrong, think about the typical disasters and try to be prepared
  • Have fun because you are doing what you love to do!


  • Let everyone know you had a great time and thank them for coming to see you and thank the operators and staff at the venue.
  • If you have a gang following you, be courteous and move your team as quickly as possible.
  • Get Your Pre-Designated Moneyraiser to Do Their Job
  • Drop the rock star attitude – don’t make a big head of yourself
  • Respect the people around you and don’t burn any bridges.
  • Learn from every experience
  • Add any upcoming gigs or follow-up press releases to your Artitopia profile. Show the world what you are!

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