How To Get Gigs For Your Band Or Yourself

How to get gigs for your bandAs a independent musician,  you’ve probably at one point wondered how to get gigs for your band. Doing live shows is an important part of anyone’s music career, it’s a great way of meeting your fans face to face and allowing them a different kind of contact with you. It’s also a great place to make CD sales and build up life long fans, as if you impress with a performance you’ve got a lot of power at that moment.

A problem many musicians face however is being able to get gigs to perform at. If you’ve never performed at a show before, what proof have you got to show venues you’re worth hiring? Thankfully there are ways around that, which is what I’m going to share with you in this article. May I say though, if you’ve never done a show before and are nervous about the whole thing, check out our post on dealing with pre gig nerves. There’s some good tips in there about getting shows to practice your live performances too, so have a look. But anyway, here are how to get your band booked (Also works for solo musicians).

Find Suitable Locations To Perform At

If you want to get gigs for your band or yourself, the first thing you need to do is compile a list of venues you would be willing to perform at. This may be because the venue has acts that play your style of music, or because you think it would be easily obtainable. Whatever the reason, list down the venue and the reason why you’ve chose it. It’d be easier if you categorise this list straight away, as this list will be one that you could potentially use throughout your career (Adding as you go along of course). You don’t want to make your list of venues too unrealistic, for example you’re not going to get to play the biggest venues in your country straight away. It is however realistic to play at popular local venues if you approach the venue right, so note them down.

You’ll want to note down all different types of venues, from clubs, to venues that run showcase nights, and maybe even raves. Places that do themed night and pubs also accept live acts sometimes, so don’t narrow your vision and only think about approaching the standard venues everyone else plays at. The good thing about thinking outside the box is that some of these places will actually pay non established acts where the ‘bait’ venues won’t. This is because these regular venues are over saturated with acts trying to perform there every week, so they don’t need to pay to get acts. Non conventional venues sometimes do.

Once you have a nice list of places you can potentially play at, the next stage is to find out how to get in contact with them.

Find The Venue’s Contact Details

This stage can be done while looking for places for your band booked to gig at. It’s best to get as many contact details for the venue as possible, you’ll be needing their name, their address, their phone number, and the email addresses for the people who take bookings (Or a general one if you can’t find that). Once again, add these to your files about venues you can get gigs at. Now we’ve got a selection of contact details, and we hopefully know who to talk to, we can approach the venue.

Approach The Club Or Venue

When it comes to approaching the venue, remember that you’re approaching them with a business proposition. That means you have to approach them in a professional manner, looking neat (If you’re meeting them in person) and talking to them in a respectful manner. Now I’m not saying you have to turn into something you’re not, you don’t have to meet them dressed in a suit if your look is more casual (You’re an independent musician after all, not a city worker). However, you should be aware that if you look a mess or act in an unattractive way, there’s very little chance they’ll want you to perform at and represent their venue.

So, what’s the best way to try to get shows for your band? I’d always advice ringing them first. If you phone them up and tell them you’re a musician who’s currently willing to perform at venues you can usually tell whether the venue is looking for performers or not. If they’re not, they’ll usually let you no very swiftly. If they are but is open to select people, you’ll have time to get in your sales pitch. If you impress with that, they may offer you a chance to come in and give in your demo or audition. If you fail to impress with your pitch, they’ll probably let you down.

Not all venues you ring will lead to anything else, in fact a lot of them probably won’t. But even if only a few do it’s been well worth your time. Getting your first few shows are the most important, as once you’ve got a few shows under your belt you’ll have leverage. You can then quote having performed at these venues when applying to do other gigs, and each time you do a bigger venue you can get a bigger one of the back of that…

Those venues that don’t want to let you perform, don’t scrub them off your list. As you get more well known, there’s a chance that these places will book you for gigs then.

If the venue’s local to you and you want to perform at a specific night, another option is to turn up at the relevant night with a demo. The night’s promoter or manager should be there looking over things, so find them and let them know you’d be willing to perform at their night. Give them your demo along with contact details and see what the response is.

Auditioning For Shows

Some venues will ask you to simply to give in a demo as an audition, and you should give them a copy of the tune you want to perform. In fact, you may want to give them a look at a few songs you could potentially perform and let them choose which ones are most suitable for the event they’re going to put on. Some places will want you to actually do a live audition to perform.

If you get a live audition, always make sure you go prepared. Make sure you’re punctual to the venue, and have all the material you need to carry out your trial successfully. Make sure you’ve rehearsed fully, and are ready for anything.

Once your audition is finished, they should usually be able to tell you if you were successful straight away. Sometimes however they may need to contact you at a later date so make sure they have your up to date contact details. Try and find out when they’re likely to contact you buy, and if you haven’t heard from them a day or two after that make sure you chase them up and find out what’s going on. Don’t harass them however, as annoy them and you’ve little chance of getting booked for the gig.

How To Get Gigs For Your Band In Your Local Area

The methods listed in this post covers how to get gigs for your band in all areas. A lot of independent musicians seem to think areas affect your ability to get gigs, but it really doesn’t. What matters more when trying to get gigs for your band is the size of the gig and whether you are big enough to play at that venue or not. Keep building your way up and one day you will be.

How To Get Gigs For Your Band? Your Band’s Got A Gig

And that’s that’s how to get gigs for your band. As always these are just guidelines, and things can vary from situation to situation. Follow these tips however and (Talent permitting) you should be able to get your band booked for gigs and live shows. You’ll never again wonder how to get gigs for your band, good luck in getting them!

17 thoughts on “How To Get Gigs For Your Band Or Yourself”

  1. I would like to perform at gigs and get noticed for my voice.

  2. It is possible, just make sure you put in the work to find these gigs. Once you have them, also make sure you prepare to get the best possible chance of performing well. Good luck.

  3. I’m the guitarist and singer of a blues band and the two problems we have are to do with our age. I’m 18 and the bass player and drummer are 17 and 16. Because of their age promoters don’t let us play showcases and when we go for opening slots for acts we get told that we’re too young to truly play the blues. They don’t even listen to our stuff. Any way of getting around that. I’ve been told that getting a manager might solve it but how do we do that if we can’t play live to get noticed by any.

  4. Hi, that sounds like a real problem. It sounds like you need to prove to people that you can play well, and that age is nothing but a number. Do you ever hand in demos to these places that you apply for? If you can get people to listen to your demo, they may have a different view on you. You may even be able to use your age as your unique selling point.

    Don’t give up, keep getting your music out there and (Talent permitting) people will start to take you seriously. It only takes one respected person to give you a chance, then a whole load of others will follow like sheep.

    A manager would also be beneficial in this situation. If they hand in a demo and are older and more mature looking themselves, they may actually be taken more seriously. Good luck with this.

  5. hi there, my name is courtney and I am 16 my hopes are to be a sucessful rapper however i recorded some tracks and placed em on youtube, I am lookin forward to permorm at live gigs and places so I can be known and lookin out for a label which could sign me any ideas/tips which could help boost me up, and get more known.

  6. Hi Courtney, check above for the tips. Anything else specific just ask. Good luck 🙂

  7. I agree completely – keep on getting yourself out there and don’t give up, no matter how many times it seems like you’ve been knocked back!

    Also though, there are some good new online tools (free ones!) for finding gigs. Check out – lets you search for slots in gigs near you, suitable to your sort of music. Very cool.

    But don’t give up, is the main thing!!

  8. Totally agreed Octavio. Gigging is a great platform for selling your physical CDs, it’s harder for people to say ‘no’ in person. 😉

  9. This content is very accurate! Musicians most do whatever it takes to start performing, as much, as posible. Music performing is a fantastic way to create a fan base, and sell more music.

    Congratulation for your site–Great content!

    Thank you

  10. Hey I’m chris a solo artist looking for my breakthrough I need some advice on how to get their. ?? Also I wanna know some local Philly Venus u would recommend I play at

  11. Hey Chris. Your best bet is to check the rest of our guides on getting and performing gig here.

    With regards to your other request, the venues you play at would largely depend on what kind of music you play. I suggest you do a online search based both on location you can travel to and the type of music they play. Good luck.

  12. I’m in a dark nu-metal band, kinda like Mushroomhead but more heavily rap-influenced. There are no other bands anything like us in my area, so how would i get gigs?

  13. Skytzo, the key is finding out where you target audience hangs out. Find out, and gig there. If there are no hang outs for your music genre anywhere near you, then create one!! Advertise it online, and become the first dark nu-metal band and event organizer in your area. It’ll help you build your name a lot quicker, as you’ll be seen as the place to go if people in your area want to hear your kind of music. It’s a big task, but it can pay off in big ways if works out!

  14. how will i get a gig at shepherds bush empire

  15. Hi Kieran. Usually gigs at Shepherds Bush Empire are for bigger acts. You’ll need to build your name up a lot before you get to perform there, but once you’ve got a bigger name and buzz, start networking with events that are scheduled to perform there. Who knows, one of them may book you. That, or your manager could book you to do a tour performance there. It will all cost a lot of money though, so don’t worry about playing there for now. Start with some smaller venues and get yourself known first. Good luck.

  16. Hey im a dj looking for a my first club gig. I have many listeners when it comes to people liking the music I mix. I was wondering if I was to approach a club with an email on wanting to play at their venue what kind of things would you suggest I say?

  17. Hi Josh. A good idea is turning up to the club night and handing your CD in personally. Be sure to send a email first checking it’s OK and so the event organiser is expecting you. Doing it personally gives you a better chance of getting remembered and let’s you start building a relationship with them. I suggest this. Good luck.

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