Landing Your First Gig: Easier Than You Think

Apr 14 07:48 2009 Travis Dean Print This Article

Landing your first gig at a venue isn’t difficult. In fact,Guest Posting if you aren’t picky about where you perform and don’t expect to make too much, if anything at all, then it should essentially be a cinch. The following are a few different routes to getting on stage you can take depending on your level, expectations and goals:

Play At Your High School

Most high schools have some sort of talent show every year. If you’re currently enrolled in high school, then there is no reason that you shouldn’t sign up and perform (unless everyone happens to be mysteriously sick on that day every year). It’s entirely free and you’ll have the support of your entire class/school because, next to the rest of the performers, you guys will likely be one of the few that actually display some sort of talent (we hope).

Play At a Small Non-Venue

By non venue, I mean a bar or a community room in a church or “youth activities center” type location. These should be relatively easy to book and often don’t require that you sell a certain number of tickets. You will, however, have to promote the show by posting flyers, sending MySpace and Facebook messages, telling/begging your family/friends, etc. all on your own because, unlike actual venues, non-venues don’t usually attract large crowds on any given night.

Sign Up for a Battle of the Bands

This is probably the least likely for the simple fact that you don’t find Battle of the Bands competitions very often. But if you live in a small city/community then there might be some organization that puts on an annual BOTB. Try to do some research via your local newspaper. Often times they are held at high schools as well. It could be a fun thing to do but will require a lot of research on your part. If you have the time you could even try self-hosting (and then rigging the competition!—just kidding). I’d recommend keeping this on the back of your mind while you try securing an actual gig.

Play At an Actual Small Venue

Depending on where you live, there should be a plethora of small venues that are always looking for local/unsigned/indie bands to perform. If you don’t already have an electronic press kit, then now would be a good time to put one together and start emailing to venues. I’d recommend first calling the venue and finding out their booking process and how long it typically takes them to get back to an artist if they’ve been chosen to perform. Then, of course, follow their directions and be sure to follow up with a phone call or email to find out whether or not they’ve actually received your press kit. Just don’t call them every single day … you don’t want to be “black-listed. “

Ultimately, landing your first gig shouldn’t be a difficult task. The real work is creating enough good music to have a decent set list in addition to a local fan base that will actually show up to your gig and doesn’t consist of your immediate family and the homeless man who just happened to wander in. Don’t be discouraged if the first show doesn’t go well. Even some of the biggest acts had to start off that way! Once you start playing shows, you will generate buzz and start growing a fan base. The next step is going on a mini-tour…. so start saving up for that dingy van!

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Travis Dean
Travis Dean

Aaron Wiener is the founder VP of Artist Relations at Audiolife, an artist services company in Los Angeles, CA.

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