How to get gigs

How to approach gig promoters

Guide

You can book a gig directly with a venue or with a music promoter. If you book with a venue, you may be responsible for promoting your show yourself and paying venue rental fees. If you would rather someone else handles this, you can approach a promoter to get a gig.

Different types of gig promoters

You will mostly come across three different types of promoters:

  • large promoters working with booking agents or managers, and promoting gigs and tours on behalf of signed bands and artists
  • smaller promoters working with independent or emerging local musicians
  • in-house promoters working exclusively for one venue, booking the venue diary

If you are approaching promoters, keep in mind that:

  • Not all promoters appreciate cold calling. Use your network and contacts to make introductions and ask permission from the promoter to send them your music.
  • Make sure that your demo is of good quality before you send it. First impressions count and promoters often receive dozens of proposals and emails a day. If you want to land that gig, it's important that your promotional materials stand out. 
  • Think how you can create a win-win situation for the promoter. Align your goals with the venue's and, above all, remember that promoters want to get crowds through the door - show them that you can deliver the audience and fill the venue. See how to find audience for your show.
  • Promoters are generally busy and may not reply to all the proposals they receive. You should follow up by phone, or even in person if you haven't heard back.

Not all venues work with promoters. Try to find out what their preferred method is before approaching them, or ask other bands who have played in the venue about their experiences.

See also how to pitch your music.