Your band may have a press kit, band website, and demo CD, but what are the next steps to promoting the band and booking gigs. Bands should try an open microphone (mic) night at a local club. Most clubs advertise open mic nights in your local music papers or entertainment magazines. Open mic nights will give your band experience on stage, and the club will most likely have a built in audience. For the most part, all you have to do is show up with your instruments and let the club know you would like to jam a few songs. The PA system and drums are usually supplied at open mic nights by the host band. Call ahead just to make sure this is the case at each open mic event. Many of these events are hosted by local established bands and can produce great networking opportunities. Make contacts and exchange business cards with the bands playing the open microphone night and the host band. It is a great idea to leave a press kit for the club entertainment booker. The hosting band may also like your music and could need an opening band in the future. Sometimes, people in the audience may take an interest in your band for future parties or entertainment. Your band should have some business cards ready with all your contact information for these opportunities.
The reality of starting out as a band is that your most likely not going to get paid at first. You're not in it at first for the money anyway right? In the beginning, you're there because you want to get your music heard and gain a fan base. Offer to be an opening act for a band you know or met at an open microphone night. Email some bands in your area and see if they accept opening acts. Offer to open for free to get some much needed exposure at festivals, events, or parks. Many established bands love opening acts because they don’t have to pay them much, and they won’t have to play as long for each show. This makes the bands job easier overall.
Promote your band any time you get an opportunity. Hand out business cards at open microphone nights and send fliers to clubs that you will be performing in the future. Call or email clubs or venues that handle your genre of music. Once you get some shows, contact your local music newspapers with your band’s name, venue name, phone number, show time, and any other information you feel necessary to promote the show. Many entertainment newspapers offer this service free of charge. Solicit your press kit to local venues. Start visiting local clubs in person with your band and talk with the booker or entertainment director. Leave a copy of your press kit and get them to listen to your demo while your there if possible. Call a day or two after your visit and be persistent. You may have to call a few times, because it can be difficult to get a hold of the band booker. Most bookers work late hours at their venue.
Now that your have emailed or called your local newspapers with any show dates to be published in their entertainment section. Contact any music newspapers or magazines in your area to see if they would write an article on your band or visit one of your shows. If your successful in getting an article or review of your band, make sure to have the article writer include your website address and booking information in the piece. There are many opportunities to promote your band, so don’t miss a chance to have your contact information added to a newspaper article or review of your band.
Send your demo CD and press kit to any local battle of the bands competitions or song writing contests. Battle of the bands locate up and coming talent for their shows. They need acts so this can be a great opportunity for your band. Battle of the bands gives the opportunity to network with local promoters, other established bands, and to be heard by an audience searching for new talent. Many times these events are promoted through radio, newspaper ads, and internet marketing. The winner of the battle of the bands typically receives some nice perks like studio time, equipment, or free advertising. I know a band in my area who won a competition and actually got a chance to play live on the radio. Next thing you know they were playing some of the best venues in the area. Check out these events whenever possible.
Approach town fairs, county festivals, or city concert venues to get gigs and exposure for your band. Most of these types of shows are performed for free by bands, but there is an opportunity to play for a built in audience and promote your band. Do some research on the internet and see what local agencies or websites book bands for these types of events.
Now that your band promotion is off to a great start, it’s time to get your band on the internet, and possibly look for a band manager, booking agent, or sound technician. See part III of our article Get your band out of the garage and into a gig: Part III Band Websites, Booking Agents, Managers, and Sound Technicians. See also Part 1 of or our article on Press Kits and Demos for Garage Bands. For more information on press kit and demo tips, band resources, and band promotion visit the Media Web Source website. This site is a valuable resource for start up and established bands everywhere.
Band Promotion Article - This is Part 2 of a 3 part series On Getting Your Band Out Of The Garage And Into A Gig
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