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Best Ways to Promote a Gig?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by FriscoBassAce, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    I am in a classic and modern rock cover band comprised of 5 guys, all in our 40's. We recently completed our band lineup and are now booking gigs. Last night, I went to a bar and talked to the owner. Without hesitation, he agreed to have us play on Sat. April 8th from 9:00 - 1:30. The only obstacle is that he doesn't pay the band a set fee, we make whatever comes in at the door. Admission will be $5 per person, and we would get 100% of that. So if we bring 25 people, we get $125; 50 people = $250, and 100 people = $500...you get the idea. Now, he's a reputable guy...I know a guitarist who played there and they didn't have any problems with the gig or getting paid (although they didn't make very much because they didn't have a big crowd).

    Now, as I said, we are all in our 40's and we mainly do this for fun, although it would be nice to make enough money in a month to pay for our studio and to have a little bit left over to pay for equipment upgrades, etc.

    Here's my question: How can we maximize the number of people that show up for this gig? Since it will be our debut gig, we feel like we can get a considerable bunch of our families and friends to come out. What about promotion to the general public? Has anyone ever had success before bringing in tons of people for a gig that only paid for the door?

    We plan to have one or more of our spouses at the door either collecting the money or making sure that the cashier is accurately counting people. So no problem there. Also, the owner told me that we could bring an opening band if we wanted to....he said that would probably get more people there as well. That opens a whole other bunch of questions, such as how long should they play and what percentage of the door would they get (or should they get money only from the fans they bring?)

    My only ideas so far are to make up flyers and posters and post them: a) at the bar about two weeks before the gig, b) around my community at various bulletin boards, and c) create posts on some local internet forums that I'm part of.

    What are some other great ways to promote our gig? Let's hear 'em!

    edited for content
  2. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    -Notify the local "lifestyle" paper. They usually have a "what's happening this weekend" section.
    -place an ad in free classifieds like craigslist.
    -most music shops have bulliten boards where you can post for free
  3. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    If you have an opening band, give them 45-1h set at start(ask if they don't mind not breaking in between). When you go on, play a little longer in sets with less breaks. Where I am going here is no one wants dead air or a DJ..well unless the bands are lousy. :)

    Also, you should look long term if you intend on gigging once in awhile. Consider a quick-and-dirty website(with lotsa stage/crowd pics) or at least an email list of people who want to be aware where you play next.

    My .02 worth,

  4. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    Good advice....we actually want to gig 6 or 7 times a month (weekends primarily). We have a website (www.rocksvillehighway.com) and a mailing list (but it's not that big), so that's pretty much taken care of.....

    Keep 'em coming!
  5. Get the website rollin' and make sure you have a guestbook or something that will keep fans coming back to the site to see what other's are saying. Make your gig schedule available there and even offer an online newsletter sign-up so you can market directly to your fan base.

    I take care of a St. Louis Band's site ( http://www.drzhivegas.com ) and I can tell you that it is one of the key factors in getting the word out to their audience about their gigs.

    Other then that - contact the friends, family, coworkers, and so on. Get them to come to the gigs. Make sure your sets have plenty of 'get the ladies up and dancin' music in it. The days of 'sit in your chair, lighters in the air' are long gone! If the ladies are dancin' then you are doing good! Then you get a rep for bringin' in the ladies and the crowds get bigger and bigger... Then playing for the door become preferrable to a flat rate!

    Pretty girls dancin' = lotsa money!

  6. DrewBud


    Jun 8, 2005
    Here's a small part of something I put together for my current band. Depending on how much work you want to put into it you can take or leave the ideas.

    Gig Promotion:

    1) 2 weeks before every gig put posters up around the area of the gig, the venue, and other high traffic areas.
    a) make some nice 11x17 posters on highish quality paper so that they withstand weather. A blank space can be left at the bottom for filling in gig information for each show. Kinkos might not have the type of paper we need but most “business” print shops should. It’s cheeper to buy in bulk.
    b) For big gigs make up and entirely new poster dedicated to that gig
    2) Create small postcard size handouts for each gig and leave piles at any store that has other similar things.
    a) Whenever going out bring some along to give to people you talk with.
    b) Flyer the Club we’re playing at least the weekend before and possibly 2 weekends before (or nights when similar bands are playing). Leave a few on each table and along the bar for people to pick up.
    c) Flyer outside other clubs when similar bands are playing the 2 weeks before a show (must stand outside club and do it at the end of the night or clubs get pissed).
    3) Contact Press/Radio and get the show in their announcements.
  7. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    My band is new and we had are first gig last week on St Pats.We look to book only at bars with a flat rate. If they want to charge the door we need at least something in cash from them to get us their and the rest from the door. I hear all the time playing for the door or bar take is a bad practice and you wont do well most times. We play next month for a local band i know and they have inside ties to the booking agent at the bar...they play there alot and in return for us opening for them a 1 hour set we get to meet and discuss getting booked in this club. By opening for free the management will see our show and decide for themselves..plus we need the exposure.The gig on ST Pats was a cash amount set up in advance and the bar had a great crowd due to the fact there was no cover charge...they increased alcohol prices to cover us playing. The bar is now re- booking us for future gigs. Look for more bars playing a flat rate.
  8. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    local newspapers, independent papers.
    MYSPACE.com is quickly becomming all the rage with bands. It is like a free website where you post news, photos, music gigs, and people comment on your stuff

    look into that and you add friends... every friend you add would then get bulletins and stuff when you play shows...
    Bands are doing better as independents instead of being signed record labels because of myspace. They sell their CDs and merch there and get ALL the profits..
  9. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    For bar gigs: I have had good success with cross marketing to specific groups in conjunction with the bar. Since that sounds really high falutin' I'll give an example.

    We had a regular monday night gig at a local bar. We talked the bar into running a 9 to 12 free el'cheapo beer special for restaurant employees (uniform/name badge/pay stub as proof). Most restaurant employees (mostly waitstaff) don't get off work around here till 11 anyway, so the bar usually wasn't out all that much of what was cheap beer to begin with. After midnight the slightly tipsy waiters/waitresses start spending those cash tips on shots and beer. We got the bar to agree to paying for the materials (read posters/handbills, very low cost) then we provided the leg work. We put the posters/handbills on cars in employee parking lots at restaurants, on employee bulletin boards (ask for permission to do this, most restaurants were pretty cool about it), etc. We blanketed the local restaurant scene. Took a few weeks but we had that place hopping on mondays, which is a day that is pretty dead in OKC.

    Now, all of the above was mainly promotion for the bar. The reason we did the work to promote the bar is that the absolute best promotion you can do is to nail an entertaining show in front of a packed house. Of course then it helps to get all buddy-buddy with the crowd then pass around an email list. Well, that and a band tip jar (waitstaff seem to tip harder than other groups).

    My point is to pick a group of people and actively target marketing at them. Working with the bar can help give you a gimmick to draw in your target audience benefitting both you and the bar.

    Good luck...
  10. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    Dude that's an awesome idea! What do you think your success rate was with this campaign? And how do you think it affected your band's overall success in your town? Did you see huge increases in web hits or t-shirt sales and/or bookings? How many Mondays did it take to actually see a difference?

    Somebody's got a degree in marketing, right?!? :p

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