A Guide to Booking Your First Live Gig for Independent Artists

August 20, 2018 | Touring

Booking your first gig is always an exciting as well as intimidating step that has to be taken carefully, and with all the right considerations.

If you’re an independent artist who is about to book their first gig, there’s a bunch of steps you’ll have to take to ensure that the process goes smoothly, and results in a success!

From choosing the venue to negotiating the price – there’s several things that you’ll have to go through as part of the process.

Choose the venue

This is obviously the first step you’ll have to take, and it must be done carefully. If you choose a venue that’s more suited to your music, there’s a higher chance your experience will be a success.

First off, choose a venue that you’ll be able to fill and pull off. While it might be tempting to play at your favourite club or venue, it’s not always going to be the most fruitful choice.

For your first few gigs, try to go with relatively smaller venues and slowly build your way up to bigger ones in an organic way.

Choose the most suitable dates

A timetable clash is the last thing you want to deal with in your gig – and it’s integral that you choose dates for your show that are suitable for all your musicians, as well as yourself. There’s little chance you’ll just walk into a club and find your ideal date.

Therefore, negotiate with your chosen venue beforehand so you can settle on a date that’s mutually beneficial.

Sign a contract

Small venues don’t often require artists to sign contracts – but do try to see if there’s a way to get one. The larger venues do usually have contracts that lay out the date, the price you’ll be paid, and any arrangements you or the venue has to make for your gig.

Make sure to go through your contract carefully. If the show happens to fall apart for any reason, the contract might still require you to pay the fee since your name was on the list.

Negotiate a fair price

This is an important aspect of the process that you’ll have to pay some deliberate effort to. While there might not be much room for negotiation in club bookings, there’s no harm in trying to get your way.

You can do a better job at negotiation if you convince the venue that you’ll be able to pack the place with people, and perhaps provide some tangible evidence that the gig will be a success.

Prove that you will be doing a sufficient amount of press before the gig, and prove that you’ll be able to pull a big enough crowd.

Voilà! There’s now much more chance of you getting paid what you demand.

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