How to Get Your Band Booked

By January 10, 2020Booking Gigs

Playing for a live audience is important for a band’s success.

It will help you grow your fanbase and spread awareness of your music.

It can be a good source of income, but sometimes it takes a while before you actually make money on tour.

Regardless of whether you’ll make money at it or not, the essential steps to booking a venue are the same.

What are they? I’m so glad you asked.

1.   Practice Your Set

There’s no point in booking an event until you’re on top of your game.

Practice your songs until you’re absolutely stunning.

Things are less likely to go wrong if you and the rest of your band can perform your sets in your sleep.

2.   Get a Press Kit and Demo CD

While in the process of trying to book a venue, don’t be surprised (and definitely don’t be offended) if nobody has ever heard of you.

After all, that’s why you’re trying to get yourself out there, right?

Having a press kit with all of your essential info, and a demo CD, makes it much easier to explain who you are and what kind of music you perform.

You should create a website for your band with current photos, mini-bios for each of you, and links to samples of your music, including at least one full-length song.

An embedded YouTube video of your band performing live would be an excellent idea.

On your press kit, have your band website displayed and easy to find.

Get a domain name that matches your band name, is short, and/or easy to spell or remember.

3.   Figure Out Your Playing Window

Don’t start calling up venues if you don’t know exactly when you are available.

Make sure everyone in the bad has their schedule clear on the same days, and write those days down.

DO NOT approach a venue and say “anytime in the next three months”.

You may say something like, “All of our Saturdays are free until X date” or, “here are the dates and times we are available to play”.

Not having any kind of schedule will make you look like an amateur garage band–one without a touring schedule OR a day job.

You can’t be free “whenever” if you have any kind of private or professional life. This is doubly true when you have to get two or more people together at the same time.

Venues have probably worked with people who couldn’t make a schedule, and they won’t want to repeat it.

4.   Network

Look into the venues where you’d like to play.

There are some questions you will need to answer about each potential venue.

Does the venue work with artists directly, or do they want you to work with a booking agent?

If so, is there a certain booking agent that they prefer to use?

If you may need to use a booking agent, you need to find out which agents handle the bands in your area, whether they are taking on new clients.

Be prepared to pitch your band many times to multiple venues and agents.

Remember: pitching is a numbers game. If you talk to everyone in the area who might say yes, chances are that at least one of them will.

5.   Contact the Venue

Compose a good pitch letter with all of the information you need to let a venue know:

  • Who you are
  • What music you play
  • Where you’ve played before
  • Who is in your band
  • Your artist website address
  • Your managing member’s contact info
  • Social media profiles linked at the bottom (for the band and not individual members)
  • Song sample links (YouTube or private hosting sites)

Send an intro email first with just a couple quick sentences.

If they don’t respond send a follow up within a week.

Once they reply explain that you would love the opportunity to perform at their venue.

Offer to open for another act or fill a vacancy, especially if you’re just starting out and need a way to get seen.

Do whatever you can to make things easy on the venue.

6.   Follow up

Be polite and professional in every communication.

Have your information organized and all in one place.

Answer right away if you are contacted by an interested party, and have your available dates on hand to schedule a show at a moment’s notice.

If a venue doesn’t answer your initial email, send a polite “just reaching out” email about a week after the first.

Send it in the same conversation as your original email, so that the information shows up again at the top of their inbox.

7.   Display Your Talents

If you get a reply and the venue wants more details, provide them.

They may want to know more about your music, listen to some of your songs, or even meet you in person.

Bring your press kit and demo CD along, just in case.

Discuss any merchandise sales you may want to host at the event, and ask how the venue prefers to handle that.

Then, most importantly, if you get the gig– play a great show!

If you draw good crowds, everyone will want to have you back or have you somewhere else.

8.   Be Professional

Show up on time–meaning, well before the show begins.

Have all the equipment you need and set up, do your sound checks, and so on, in a timely fashion.

Don’t bring any drama to the event.

Don’t invite any known troublemakers, and leave any of your own at home.

Don’t have more than one or two beers for the entire evening.

One drunken comment could ruin your reputation forever.

Don’t leave your trash lying around, and don’t damage the premises or any of the venue’s equipment.

9.   Thank the Venue

Don’t rush off without a word when the show is over.

Thank everyone who helped you out, especially the venue manager who booked you for the show.

Send a follow-up email within a week to thank the venue and tell them that you’d love to play there again soon.

A little professionalism goes a long way.

10. Be Open to Every Opportunity

Don’t turn down a show because you think you’re too good for it.

Sure, at some point you can’t say yes every time someone asks you to play, but you can’t afford to say no without thinking about it first.

Even a birthday party can pay you good money.

And, you never know who might be there.

Covering for another band may not make you any money, but it will get you in front of more fans.

Weigh your options and take every gig that you reasonably can.

Get That Gig Faster!

Since you’re busy making music and improving your art, you want to get straight to business when it comes to booking a venue.

That’s why GigFaster helps you find the venues that work with your music genre, send and keep track of your pitches, and easily respond, all from one dashboard.

Sign up today for a free trial!


Craig Kelley

About Craig Kelley

Craig helps indie artists book more gigs, promote their music and submit to record labels @ GigFaster and GigFaster University . His latest release is his 7th album, Not So Blue. His band has supported Grammy artists including Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Rick Derringer, Gary Hoey, Joan Jett, Fuel and many more. He is also the host of The 5 Minute Podcast For Musicians.

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