Resources for finding places to play
I've been out of the live gig game for a little while but now I'm in a band that is going to want to try to get some shows when our demo is done. In this newfangled digital world are there web resources for finding clubs that have live bands play, or more precisely are looking for bands to play at their venue, or bands that need other bands to fill out a line up?
The "old way" was to go to places you knew or were near you. I don't go to hang outs anymore so I don't know of any near me, and I don't feel like paying a Sunset Strip club a few hundred dollars for the privilege of an opening slot on a Tuesday night.
in fact there is a newfangled way to search the interweb called Google.
Navigate to the Google site and type in something in the little box....
like "clubs with live music in (your area)" or something similar. You may have to try a few different search entries but you'll eventually come up with a list that has been compiled by a city or maybe even the state.
;) sorry couldn't resist....but seriously...that's how I found a good list.
I just did a two week tour through California and almost entirely used http://www.indieonthemove.com/
Mostly I would pick a town and search live music venues within a 100 mile radius.. Worked great.
I would also look up the top ranked artists in my band's genre in that particular region and contact to see if they wanted to gig swap, wanted to open for us, or just needed some support using http://www.reverbnation.com/
Teaming up with local bands in our genre was crucial for draw and exposure.. Worked out pretty good.
So far I've had a little more luck with the Reverbnation page. At the moment I'm looking at bands in my area and seeing where they are playing. A lot of the places don't show up on IndieOnTheMove because they are too small.
There are numerous ways to get gigs for your band. I prefer using grassroots social marketing campaigns to promote my band. I use local "hipster" magazines to print small ads and occasionally put ads for gigs on the radio. I find if you use a particular media enough, you create quite a stir in their advertising market and often develop a fanbase based solely on "what are they doing next?" I've also found that it's best to promote the band long before actually performing to develop a fanbase. That way you have a good product to sell to venues and they'll always call you back if you sell well. They don't really care how "good" or "real" you are. If you move the paper in one venue and promote the venue as well as the band, others will find out about it and want you to do the same exact thing, which you already know will work. That's theoretically cause a domino effect allowing you to slowly expand out from your current local and play gigs in other cities. Just be careful not to over-sell yourself and bore the scene!
A lot of people argue that marketing campaigns are a waste of time because your band "isn't marketable," or "just wants to go out and play," if that's the news then great! You have a fresh new band that should test well in "alike" markets. If anything, it'd broaden your horizons because you're not specific to one genre and all kinds of people can find good taste in the music. And this will only open more doors for you to "go out and play."
If that sounds like too much work, just hire a manager. Pay to play always works!
One way is to attend an open mic night. My wife's band has gotten into many establishments that way. Knock out a couple of tunes and approach the open mic host or manager letting them know you'd be interested in playing. These open mics are usually hosted on an off night during the week.
Network, network and network.
If you have your electronic press kit, web-site and demo ready. Build a list of venues that book bands like yours and start "cold calling".
I watch where other bands play at and use that approach as well as summer events, community events and festivals. Finding places to gig is work but not as much as getting your foot in the door with them or just to communicate with you. :scowl:
Use the Google to find gigging bands in your area. Go to their websites. Make list of venues they play. Compare bands, making special note of overlapping venues (indicates frequency of hiring). Return to the Google to locate said venues. Visit in person, sell band. Rinse. Repeat.
Good luck! :hyper:
ChrisB2 does the same thing I do:
Google is really a good place to start. I start by putting in (CityName) Bands, so it would look like "Chicago Bands" or "Orlando Bands".
You can even get more specific if you're after a certain genre: "Chicago Country Bands" or "Orlando Wedding Bands".
Then look at those band's websites to see where they are playing. Get the names of those clubs and look at their websites to see how they book and get contact info.
Hope this helps.
I'm having very mixed results with this.
I've been trying to use Reverb Nation to see where other bands are playing, but 50% of the bands around me are dead with no activity. When I find a band that is in the same genre as mine they haven't updated anything in months to years. It seems to indicate that you can either play at dive bars on weekdays or the pay-to-play clubs in LA.
What's also frustrating is that even the dumps say "Must be able to bring in 20 people." How the hell is a new band supposed to guarantee 20-30 people to a dive bar?
I can find every live music venue in town by looking at show listings in our local weekly paper. Some of them only do stuff once a week but they're all in there. When I lived in Seattle there was a website called Three Imaginary Girls. A reference to a Cure song. They had a very comprehensive show listing for originals in almost any genre and you could locate all the venues with it. There should be a resource like that where you live.
Actually getting into the venues you find is, like Blue said, a game of network network network. Make friendly with bands and promoters and work those connections. I'm down to get a new band do its debut opening at one of my shows. You'll bring all your friends that gig. Good for you, good for me. Whether you can keep it up is another question. But I'll get you on a bill if we have an open slot sometime and you have a decent demo.
There's always BandMix.com.
Even in my small town, there are quite a few musicians and bands listed.
A lot can be done on facebook these days. Find similar gigging bands in your area and hit the "like" button. Bands will then send you events of places they are playing. The same with bars clubs and other holes on the wall places. Those venues are on facebook also.....they will send you events etc. Like those bands and learn about even more places to play.
Indie on the move is the best tool out there right now (unless you just happen to know the best venue owners and musicians in every city).
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