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How to Book Your First Show As An Independent Artist

Have you ever heard the saying, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”? Well, that may be true, but if it’s your first time, you are going to do some things incorrectly. Ask another local musician that has booked a show from friends, strangers, etc, and they could probably do some things they should’ve done better. Here are 5 beginning tips when booking your first show as an independent artist or band.

Focus on Flyers

Social Media is a great place to promote a show, but if you want to go the old-school route, a flyer is still going to be your best bet when you book your own sure. Make sure the price you set for tickets is reasonable, and the date is as prominent as well as the club. Then flood the city, go to your favourite spots around your city and, with permission, put it up everywhere. If you don’t have the time to do it and are in a financial position, hire a street team. There are people who do this service in most cities, and if not you probably have a friend who could use twenty bucks or something that could help you out.

Limit the Artists You Book

If it’s a small venue, three is a great number, but anything more than five can be painful and turn into a tragedy. Booking more artists is not the way to get more people to your show, it only increases the likelihood of drama and chaos.

Don’t Let The Show Run for Too Long

Unless you have hired professionals or a well-trained team to move equipment on and off the stage, you’re probably going to have delays. A band will take too long to set up, play too many songs or have technical problems with their set and with these issues, the show will be pushed back. Nobody wants to watch a set when it’s time for the last call. You have to make sure that every band is given a set time and don’t go over their performance slot.

Pay the Bands Before You Pay Yourself

Booking the show can be a breeze, or it can break the bank. Since you’re starting out, you have to realize that losing money is a part of the game. After paying whoever is necessary (Sound, DJ, Club, etc), you have to see the remaining balance and split it as fairly as possible. If you’re paying all the musicians and recouping some of your expenses, then that’s awesome! But if you’re paying the bands, and it’s running you dry, just be positive and focus on the long game.

Learn from Your Mistakes

There are hiccups with professional shows, so since this is your first go at it, expect some hiccups. You can kick yourself and beat yourself down, but don’t let stop you from doing this in future. Learn from your errors and see where you went wrong and do better next time. If you hated it or it completely bombed, there is no shame in hiring a person to take care of the sweat for the next show.

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