Booking Local Shows

Are you sick of playing the same songs day after day in your drummer's garage fantasizing about making a career out of your music? You need to get out and play some shows in your town, but you probably don't know where to go, or what to ask. First you need to ask yourself: do I want to play for free to get exposure, or do I want to get paid for this gig?

Free Gigs. I'm a big supporter of starting out playing for free. This way you will get more people to show up, because they have nothing to lose, except maybe an hour or two of their life. Also, supporters of your band can bring their friends because they won't complain about having to pay for a band that they don't even know. The way I go about getting free gigs is going into or calling the establishment, bar, club, old folks home, etc, and ask if my band can play during 'x' time on 'x' day. I tell them that I don't want their money, and don't want a ticket cost. If it is an establishment that sells beverages or food, then chances are your fans/supporters will reimburse whatever costs are associated with your playing that night. Cause they like food. Or drinks. Hell, even lap dances if you're playing at a strip club. Another thing you could do is ask to open for a bigger band to be exposed to their audience. There might be a ticket cost, but as I said, you don't have to reel in an audience yourself, there will be one there already.

Paid gigs. I suggest these if you have already done a number of free gigs and have developed a fanbase in your local area. These might require more work to land, because you will either need to have a reputation of being a money-maker for the establishment, or prove to them that you can make it worth their while. A lot of people will recommend making a press kit or a demo tape to show to them how good you are, or how your music is relevant to the people that regular the place. The venue will either pay you directly, or the ticket cost will go to your band.

Lastly, if a festival of some sort (fair, music festival, or any other large gathering) is coming to your town, it's a big opportunity for your band. Ask around about who you should talk to in order to play a gig at it. You might get paid, you might not, but who cares! You have a great opportunity to play in front of a lot of people and hopefully score your band some new fans.