Live Music & Events
It’s time to play a show!
Performing live in front of an audience is the focus for many artists. Whether it’s your first gig or you’ve been touring for years, planning is essential. The more you plan, the less stress you’ll face on show day. It’s also important to be professional and respectful when you deal with venues.
Are you ready?
Above all, make sure the songs are great and the performance tight. You should rehearse, rehearse and rehearse more. Be confident that it’s time to play live shows. If you’re not sure, get some feedback. Ask people you trust or other artists you respect to come to a rehearsal. Once you’re happy, it’s time to get a gig.
How to approach venues for gigs
Identify someone in your act to be the main contact for dealing with venues. This person should be organised and a good communicator. Remember – first impressions count. Venues will get a lot of confidence if your act is professional and easy to work with.
Put together a digital ‘one pager’ that contains the following:
- Name of your act
- Contact details – name of main contact, email and phone number
- Biography – 50 words max. Make it short and to the point.
- Photo – include a high res 300 DPI photo that represents you and engages people.
- Three tracks of your music – embed them in the page rather than just adding links.
- Video of your live performance – embedded in the page
- Two relevant quotes about the band that promotes what you’re about.
- Social media handles, usernames and tags with active links.
Research how the venue wants to receive gig enquiries and email the digital one pager to their preferred contact (usually on their website). When pitching your act, emphasise:
- That you can draw a crowd
- How you stand out musically
- How you plan to promote the show
Always be polite and professional. The venue has to have confidence your show will be a success – give them that reassurance.
Other tips for getting gigs
- Link up with local promoters that program regular band nights.
- Make friends with other artists and suggest working together to put on a package for a venue. For example, three artists perform on one night and promote the night together.
- Residencies are also great artists and venues to grow a fan base. They also minimise the logistics for the venue.
Once you’ve got the gig
- The venue thinks you’re great and offers you a gig – what’s next?
- Get everything in writing. Ask the venue to send through a contract or use our templates and send an agreement through to the venue.
- Send the venue a ‘press kit’ that includes your bio, photo (make sure it’s a high res jpeg), website details, social media handles/usernames and links to your music i.e. Soundcloud, Bandcamp etc.
- Visit the venue to work out how your show will work there. Look at the venue’s website and read media articles so you have an idea of what it’s like before you arrive.
- As part of your agreement for the gig the venue should supply you a comprehensive list of what the venue has in production, what PA or mixing desk set up they have.
- Check what production the venue is supplying (PA, mixing desk, lighting) and make sure it’s appropriate for your show. Usually this information is in the performance agreement. If you need something they don’t have, work with the venue to find a solution rather than be unreasonable.
- Create a plan to promote your show. Be careful not to bombard everyone and don’t just rely on the venue to push the show. Instead, interact with the venue’s digital promotion by re-posting and linking to their website.
- Send the venue your stage plot and inputs list plus what backline you’ll bring and whether you will be using the in-house operators or bringing your own.
Closer to the gig, reach out to the venue manager to discuss how things will work on the day of the show. Also ask for a ‘worksheet’ i.e. a document that outlines practicalities like the venue address, who to contact on the day, load in times and sound check times.
On the day of the gig
It’s the day of the gig and your time to shine. To do that, have a plan.
- Make sure you leave enough time to get parking near the venue and know where to load in your equipment.
- When you arrive at the venue, introduce yourself to the venue manager, operators and staff. Supply your guest list to the venue manager.
- Plan and write out your set list. Give copies to each performer and the sound engineer.
- Liaise with the venue manager on where you can set up your merchandise. Make sure you get to the merchandise desk soon after you finish performing. It’s a great spot to meet fans and discuss the show. Have a signup email list to collect peoples contact details.
- Once the show is finished, pack away the gear and load out. Then ask the venue manager for the gig settlement sheet. This document is a breakdown of the costs involved in the show i.e. the number of tickets sold, venue costs etc. Usually the funds will be transferred electronically to your bank account.
- Make sure you leave a good impression – clear the stage and leave the green room is tidy. Thank the venue manager and tell them you would like to play there again.
After the Gig
Review the show – think about what worked well, what you’d like to improve, whether everyone involved was happy and how to change things in the future.
Reconcile payment for the gig, pay any outstanding fees and record any expenses – this will help at tax time.
Email the venue and thank them for the show. Send them any live reviews or press that came from the event and let them know you would like to play there again.
Follow up with contacts of fans you met at the show or any that signed up to your contacts list. Maybe even send them a photo from the gig.