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How many people show up at your gigs?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by JaneBass1, Sep 15, 2008.


  1. JaneBass1

    JaneBass1

    Jul 23, 2008
    A few weeks ago I had a gig, but they only confirmed to me 1 week in advance. So I was only able to promote for 1 week.

    I was expecting at least 50 people to show up, but only 15 did, none of them were our fans.

    It was kind of a so so day weather-wise. It has been raining, but it had stopped by then.

    Even so I kind of felt disappointed. At least not as much as the first band that played, as the only ones there were the 4 of us, the bartender and the sound guy.

    How many people do you usually get at your gigs? Are they regulars, new ones?

    How do you attract more people? Any suggestions?
     
  2. Tedddy

    Tedddy

    Dec 3, 2007
    Like, 2 or 3 usually.

    Last gig, the guitarists mom and dad came, and our backup singers boyfriend came. :(
     
  3. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    1200+ at my last gig

    (Wasn't *my* gig, though... I'm just the bass player!) :bassist:
     
  4. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    This tends to be a problem for lots of bands, including my own. We play all original music, and its definitely not mainstream stuff, I'm part of an experimental/ambient band, and it's a lot harder to find the right audience and bring people to shows. In my earlier days all our friends would come out and when we paired ourselves with this other local band we were friends with it was easy for us to draw between 30-60 people. In our later days the friends stopped showing up as regularly, I guess you can only see your friends bands and know their songs for so long...
    There are ways of getting a good audience, one is to play a venue that caters to your "scene" and the kind of music you play. Another is to bust your balls handing out flyers at the right places. Make 1000 flyers, go THE venue or a venue near the one you'll be playing soon. As everyone is leaving hand them flyers, you gotta be diligent if you want to bring in the crowds.
     
  5. jomahu

    jomahu

    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    honestly, i dunno. we do so many private and city events, it's hard to tell who's actually coming to see us.

    once in a while, we headline a club gig, and there's usually a packed/sold-out crowd, but it's hard to say...
     
  6. My current Top40 rock covers band has played 4 shows so far.

    First gig 2 weeks promo, roughly 300 people attended and it went off! Got paid AUD1000. Promo was paper based posters, promo leaflets dropped around the place, and venue did promo too.

    Second gig private corporate function roughly 200 very reserved crowd bit of a downer but it was at Fremantle Prison and we dressed up and had a ball. Got paid AUD1000. Guitarist arranged through work.

    Third gig private birthday party not promoted by us 60 people in attendance and almost went bad at the end. Got paid AUD900. Contacted via one of many free message/classified boards I use to advertise us.

    Fourth gig private birthday party not promoted by us about 70 people in attendance it was a good gig except it was about 3 degress (we played outside) and I was suffering an infection from what I later learned was caused by diverticulitus so that was fun. Got paid AUD1250. Booking taken by people attending first gig.

    Next gig is a charity benefit which is part of a convoy run - roughly 700 vehicles registered in the convoy with an average of 3-5 people per car (based on last years figures). Can't wait for that one! ! ! ! No money but a receipt for tax purposes for about AUD1000. They are providing sound and staging and we are promoting it and will be trying to get agents and venue owners down to check us out and book us as well. Hopefully that pays off in the long run and if not, we did a good thing for a charity and can still get quality gigs on our own. They found us on another of those free websites.

    We promote via paper based methods (home made A3 and A4 posters, A5 and A6 leaflet drops etc), building email mailing lists as well as Myspace and a lot of free local classifieds. Cold calling venues and corporates.

    Hope thats helps you some.
     
  7. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Minimum: 1 (the bartender). We still played our entire 4-hour show because (a) we're professionals, (b) we were getting paid, and (c) who knows, a bus load of people might be coming in the door any time now!

    Maximum: About 15,000 when we were opening for more famous people. About 1,200 when we were the headliner.

    How to attract more people: There are three kinds of people who attend your shows - (a) friends (and relatives) of the band, (b) regulars at the venue (bar, club), (c) people who come to see "the band that's playing tonight".

    To get more (a), get more friends. Talk to people in the crowd during breaks so they get to know you as a person. Hand out stuff with your web page on it. Get their email addresses and add them to your newsletter email list. It's all about personal contact.

    To get more (b), play better venues. Yeah, I know, there's not much you can do about that. But hey, aim for the better places when at all possible.

    To get more (c), advertise, advertise, advertise. Start with your own web page, YouTube, MySpace, etc. Many cities have one or more music or entertainment web pages - register with all of them and keep your photos and gig schedule updated. Put up posters, hand out flyers, get your friends to wear your band t-shirts as often as possible. Heck, GIVE your friends free band t-shirts. Every $10 shirt is worth it if ONE person asks them "who's that?" and your friend tells them where you're playing next. Record your music and post it everywhere you can. Give out buttons with your name and logo at your gigs. Give away a few t-shirts. Sell as many t-shirts as you can. Make contact with people who do podcasts and get your music included. Paint your band's name and logo on your car/your mom's car as appropriate. Google "promote your band" and get thousands of more tips and ideas.
     
  8. You guys get gigs?!
     
  9. Yeah.

    Sorry.

    :D
     
  10. CPplaysBASS

    CPplaysBASS

    Mar 17, 2007
    Ontario
    It is really tough going for original bands ... always has been, but at least there was a time that the only way to hear new music was to go out to the clubs. Now everyone can sit at home and watch thousands (millions?) of new bands on YouTube and MySpace.

    What can help though is that when you design posters that you give to the venue to display a couple of weeks leading up to the show (assuming you do this), put on the poster what other bands you sound like .... people who never heard you will rarely choose to go see and indie band they have absolutely no clue about. A simple "You like "this band", "that band", and "so and so"? ... then you'll LOVE ... "Your band" ...

    Won't bring in 1,000 people with that idea, just a small suggestion to help a potential audience figure out whether they'd want to see the band or not.

    And I agree with scottbass in terms of the quality of venues but not for getting paid in my case... where I live in Toronto, Canada, the band can get booked into small unknown bars where we can charge what we want at the door and keep all the money. That usually amount to $40 (8 X $5). Or we can play a well known venue where the booking agent charges $10 at the door, promises to give us 50% of the door for poeple who are there to see us (usually 3-4 other bands on the same bill), play for 100 people since the venue in an attraction itself, and then end up empty handed when the booking agent leaves before the end of show (unless we sell some merch). It can suck not making money, but the exposure is more important.
     
  11. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I've played to 5 at a bar and I've played to probably about 5,000 at a festival. Normally I'd guesstimate somewhere between 75-300 folks at a "normal" gig.
     
  12. zac2944

    zac2944

    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    +1

    I'm in that same boat, only doing covers. Club gigs can get pack to capacity. That's only 200-300 at most clubs around here though.
     
  13. I assume that you're playing original music...it's a tough deal to build a fanbase.

    1st thing- get a myspace page or some sort of website where you can upload music, pics, show flyers etc.

    Hit up EVERYONE that you know when you have a gig coming. Don't get offended when people don't come...thats the nature of the business. Try and make it a party atmosphere i.e. JoeBob's BIG BIRTHDAY SHOW or something like that.

    And try to pace yourself when booking gigs, limit yourself to once a month or so. Make it an event.
     
  14. lamonica78

    lamonica78

    Feb 9, 2008
    Philadelphia
    It can be hit or miss on a weeknight, but at smaller clubs on a weekend slot, we average anywhere from 40-60+ people. I'm the one who does 90% of the promotion. I hit myspace and facebook pretty hard and ONLY target people in this geographical area.....what good is it to have a bunch of porn stars from LA on your friend list....they are never going to come out to a show!

    In addition, we run a popular open mic, so we've been gaining new fans and emails through that. We also try to perform at other open mics to gain new fans as well as just going out to see bands we like and network with them.

    Finally, Craigslist can be a good tool as well. We've had people come out to a show after seeing our name numerous times on CL. Persistence is the key.

    We're at a point right now where we've been playing non-stop since March 07 so we're going to back off a bit to work on new material and get people excited to come check us out later in the fall/early winter.

    Keep up the hard work and try not to get discouraged.....choose your gigs wisely, try to open for a more popular band and network with their fans!

    Good luck buddy!
     
  15. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Chicago
    Bringing people to shows if you're an original band has to be one of the hardest things bands face today. The trick is don't play too many shows a month. That way you can bring the same people to see you and you'll always have a decent crowd. Also leaves plenty of time for promoting, etc.
     
  16. Twiggy Jr.

    Twiggy Jr.

    Nov 17, 2005
    Oklahoma
    well, we're working on getting a cover band together, but as for now we just sit outside the dorms when the freshmen are leaving to party (from 7-10 on thurs, fri, sat), then take a break and head back outside upon their drunken returns (12:30 am till whenever, anywhere from 2:30 am till 6:30 am)
    besides the sorrority girls that have to get carried in from over consumption of alcoholic beverages, about 80% stop for atleast a song or two, and last week we got shut down b/c like 60 people had stayed and congregated and singing along to "she hates me" and "caress me down", even "sweet dreams"....oh, and there are 1500 people living in this dorm...so throughout the night, i'd say about 600 stay for at least a song or two, and we sometimes have groups upwards of 50 or 60...damn campus security has to ruin a sing along acoustic jam session
     
  17. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    We have a handful of "faithful" that come to many of our shows. It's really hard to tell who came to see you, who may have heard you as they passed by and popped in, who is just a regular at that venue or who is just putting up with you as they eat/drink.
     
  18. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I've played to completely empty rooms and to crowds of thousands. In 25+ years I've never been in a band that had a real large group of "regulars".

    Your draw will vary for lots of reasons totally out of your control...what other bands are playing in town, big concerts in town, big sports events in town, holidays, weather, traffic or parking hassles, cover charges, press and radio coverage, location of the venue...you name it.

    The important thing is to play every gig like it's a packed house. Yes, the folks that book you might not be happy with the draw but most of them will recognize a fire-burning show when they see it. Don't ever "phone it in" because of a small crowd.
     
  19. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Seriously! When we played a small club gig with not much of a turn out my drummer would say, "well its practice" but I always thought, no, this is what we practiced for.

    No wonder after 3 years he decided to sell off ALL of his equipment just to get out of debt.
     
  20. ghiadub

    ghiadub Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    Auburn, CA
    Played two gigs at the same bar last weekend;
    Friday about 35 people, 15 came to see the band
    Saturday about 300 people, 4 came to see the band

    We got paid the same for both nights.
     

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