How to get gigs

How to find a venue for your gig

Guide

Preparation is the key to success when it comes to getting gigs. This is especially true if you are looking to find and book a venue for your act.

Finding the right venue

The first step to booking a venue is finding one that is willing to take you. Start by getting to know your local music scene. Compile a list of all possible venues, from well-known establishments to small pubs, bars and similar sites.

Don't limit your research to just the traditional live music venues - look at community events, corporate parties, etc. When it comes to playing your first gigs, it's worth taking any opportunity you can get.

Focus on the right venues

When researching venues, try to scope out:

  • which spots in your area put on local bands or fresh, unsigned talent
  • which ones put on touring bands who may need an opening act
  • which bands in your area play live often and may need a support act
  • what types of music local promoters are putting on

Keep in mind that some venues may prefer a particular music style, or serve a target demographics such as students or young professionals. If you're not familiar with the venue:

  • look at its calendar for past and upcoming shows
  • check the venue specs
  • visit the place in person to get a better feeling for it

Aim for a venue that caters to your genre and has an established audience who share similar taste in music. Think about the needs of your audience (eg a coffee shop may not suit a metal band). Bear in mind that many venues are booked well in advance. Approach them ahead of time and let them know to put you on their call list in case they have any cancellations.

Make friends and network

As in any business, networking can open up opportunities. Go to as many local gigs and live music nights as you can. Speak to other musicians - they can help suggest venues and introduce you to their contacts.

Once you find out who is in charge of booking bands, send them your press kit and demo and, if necessary, follow up by phone or in person. If you are looking to book gigs through a promoter, see how to approach gig promoters.