How to approach promoters & venue bookers for gigs
August 10, 2016
Playing gigs is essential for any musician hoping to develop their sound and gain more fans. Whether you’re focusing on playing on your local circuit or are looking to spread your wings further afield for out of town gigs, you’ll definitely need to be in contact with gig promoters and venue bookers to get some gig dates organised. So here are our guidelines to getting in touch with promoters and venues to book those all-important gigs.
Where to start
If you’ve got your ear to the ground in your area then you’ll no doubt already have some local gig promoters and venues on your radar. Try and go to other bands’ gigs as much as possible too to get to know more promoters on your circuit.
If you’re looking for new contacts locally, or perhaps for gigs in a different town or city, then also keep an eye on venue gig listings to find out which promoters are putting on regular shows. Most importantly of all, chat to other bands for their recommendations of promoters they’ve worked with. The Unsigned Guide online music directory also has contacts for Promoters and Venues across the UK so can also be a good starting point if you want to book some out of town gigs.
Do your research
Whilst it may be tempting to wing your music out to all the promoter contacts you’ve come across, you are ultimately wasting your time – which would be better spent investigating a little further initially. Check out what types of music promoters are putting on and bands they’ve previously booked. Does it fit in with your style of music? There’s no point emailing an acoustic promoter when you’re a heavy band! Spend a couple of minutes looking on their website and recent gigs they’ve organised to make sure you are barking up the right tree before you hit the Send button.
What to send
How gig promoters prefer to hear from musicians and how they want to hear your tracks varies across the industry. Whilst some prefer to receive MP3s via email, others find files like this clog up their mailbox and would prefer a Facebook message with a link to your music. The Promoter and Venue listings in The Unsigned Guide will tell you exactly how each contact prefers to hear from you & what format they want your music in. Many promoters will have information on their website about the best way to submit music so make sure you follow their guidelines.
Generally it’s best to keep contact short and relevant. A brief intro about your music, where you’re based, what gig dates you’re looking for and details of any noteworthy gigs you’ve played in the past is a good start. If the promoter has previously put on bands that you have a similar sound to that is also worth mentioning, and will add a personal touch to demonstrate you’ve done your research.
It’s also a good idea to put together a press kit to direct promoters to. It’s a straightforward easy way for them to find out everything they need to know in one simple click, but just ensure you keep it up to date! Don’t forget to include contact details for your band and links to well-maintained websites and social media pages.
Don't be afraid to follow up
There is no harm in politely following up your email if you don’t hear anything at all, typically leaving 4 to 6 weeks from your initial contact.
The Unsigned Guide is an online music industry directory. Since 2003 The Unsigned Guide has been used by emerging bands, artists, producers & music managers to search over 8,500 UK music contacts across 50 sectors of the industry, ranging from gig promoters, venues, record labels, music publishers to recording studios, managers, radio stations & festivals.
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