How does your band go about getting a show?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by spectorbass83, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. spectorbass83


    Jun 6, 2005
    For bands with a Manager this must be a piece of cake...but for bands like mine who are independent and rely on one another to get shows in the city, it becomes challenging.

    How many of you guys actually have Managers, or a person that acts as the booking agent for the band? How do you guys get gigs, what approaches do you take, where do you look?
  2. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    My band has a manager. It was purley by luck that we got inolved with him. Up until we got with this guy our singer was doing the bookings. He was in bands since he was 15 and had gotten quite a few contacts from his years doing that. He also would hear about venues that took on similar bands and would ring them up talk to whoever was in charge of bookings and then usually land us a gig. It takes alot of balls to be able to do this and he's got bucket loads of those. There's is a certain element of BS involved but you dont want to misrepresent the band either.

    Anyways our singer managed to get us into one venue where our manager sends his other bands. Im still not even sure how he managed to do that. But I think someone was sent down by this manager to check us out or else the bar manager rang someone and told them to come down and check us out. Either way we ended up with this manager and the band is really starting to take off.

    In my first band we used to organize gigs in a little dive in my town. You would pay €50 to get a back room and then charge at the door to break even and have enough money for a beer or 2.
  3. spectorbass83


    Jun 6, 2005

    Good to hear that your band has caught a break..lately I am finding that you gotta have a Manager if you wanna get somewhere. If not you will play at he usual bar for 50 bucks and free beer...If you want more than this, you need to know the right people.. we had a manager for a brief time but he got us nowehere and ended up leaving without saying bye.
  4. My band leader and I have been trying our hand at booking the past half few months. He's a guy with a ton of experience in the field and he gets results, but it takes him plenty of work and sweat. It's not a job you can sit down on. I learned this the hard way. I am just now starting to get real results (several months after I began).

    The huge disadvantage to having band members do booking is that when something comes up that occupies the band's time (i.e. trying to press an album before christmas- like us), booking suffers. We have been tracking for about a month now, and were worried we would not be able to meet the booking requirements for the tour we had scheduled for february. Lucky for us, we got a manager about a week ago. He is helping, if not making, this tour happen.
  5. I'd argue that getting gigs is not a piece of cake for anyone. Bands with managers still have to del with contract issues and payment and finding open dates.

    You really have to network and find like-minded bands that will put you on the bill with them to start with. Beware: Even the indie scene is not immune from bands that look for openers that suck to make their band look better.

    You should also be doing some kind of recording, and using it to promo yourself. And when you do get a decent gig (any gig), network the heck out of it. Make sure that you meet someone on the club staff, more is better. Be professional in your dealings with the club management, get names, get business cards, follow up.
  6. cossie


    Apr 29, 2005
    Out of sight...out of mind.

    Make the band known to bar owners, and other places a band could play. It doesn't have to be anything theatrical, or some sort of infamous stunt:

    make a visit in person to a bar,
    ask to speak to someone who deals with entertainment,
    give them a demo cd,
    (even if you are a cover band, record your best 2 - 3 covers, our 3 song covers cd got us a big headlining gig in a university),
    a copy of our setlist,
    a list of any places you've played,
    contact information and a web site link if you have one.

    if you get a gig, be professional about how your conduct yourselves, and when you're done go and talk to the owner, ask them if they'd like you to come back again, its all about building a rapport with owners, plus it can be harder for someone to turn you down in person, rather than over the phone!

    play any gig you can get! we've done a few free gigs, and birthdays etc, word gets around then, so when you play a bar, people actually come to see you.

    get friendly with other bands, share information about any venues you've played - "alright crowd, but the heavy rock stuff doesn't really float their boats", "the owner can be tight with the cash when it comes to paying up" etc etc

    be friendly, and polite to everyone, it costs nothing and it could come back to bail you out in the future (my last band got a few pay day gigs simply because i spent 10 minutes talking to a guy after a gig about my bass setup, and he knew the manager of another bar, and hooked us up!) at the time i felt like telling him to F-off cos i was knackered...
  7. spectorbass83


    Jun 6, 2005
    Perhaps you are right..My band never had a real Manager so I guess we cannot speak from experience. I am sure it would also cause some issues too. But going by what is happening in the scene in my city (which is picking up), it looks like bands with a Manager tend to do a lot better than bands who are on their own and independent like us.
  8. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    you need a booking agent..more then a manager.
    a lot of rooms won't book to anyone except a booking agent.
  9. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Agreed. Good booking agents already have relationships with many of the local clubs, and their job is totally different from that of a manager.

    Have your manager hire a good booking agent . . .
  10. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    Oops then my band has a booking agent. I think its more or less means the same thing here. The band calls him management.
  11. spectorbass83


    Jun 6, 2005
    How exactly would you go about getting a Booking Agent?? probably just through playing shows, and networking?
  12. nickname


    Jan 22, 2005
    We have currently hired a close friend, with relative musical understand and a strong desire to learn. I've helped her along the way so far and she's doing well. What you really need is some one that can represent you in a professional manner, meaning he/she is good on the phone, people tend to like them, they arent afraid to meet people, and can fit to dealines.

    I used to beleive that it should be all up to the musicians and that it shouldnt be dealt by with other people, but its truley helps having someone to book your shows. have a meeting every month to discuss the progress and the goals for next month. where you would like to play etc. Always find out the name of the booker ahead of time.

    And like someone said, sometimes when a club/booker sees that its a "booking agent" for the band they seem to pay a lot more attention.

    thats my 2 cents
  13. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    ouch! 50 bucks for the whole band?

    I've been playing bass and guitar for about 10 years but have only been gigging for a little over a year now. We started getting paid about $200 and moved up and up and now we're getting around $400 for the whole band plus free beer. Another band I just joined a few months ago played our first gig this past weekend and we had to play for the door, no guarantee at all from the bar, but to our surprise we brought about $400 just from the door.

    Around here it is all about networking and getting a demo out to the bars.