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How to Get Gigs | How To Book Gigs

How To Get Gigs For Your Band


How to Get Gigs | How to Book Gigs

Page updated 3/1/2016


How to get band gigs and shows for your local band?  It's not always easy to get out of the garage and get a gig.  You can get a show booked for your garage band, local band, or indie band with a little hard work.  Your rock band should have a strong music set, quality song material, and should play well in a live setting.  It is now time to take the next step and book gigs for your band.  Check out our tips on getting gigs for your band below as well as our three part article if you click this link.  Get the band out of the garage and in to a gig.  Listed below are some tips to get your bands some local gigs or shows in your area.   With a little persistence and the right presentation your band should have success in securing some gigs at local venues.  Songwriting for your indie band is quite important, so make sure your songs are of a professional quality.  While you may have to play for free at first to get some gets, as you gain exposure and experience your band should eventually start to see a paycheck.

How To Get Gigs and Shows for a Band

  • Band Press Kit  / Electonic Press Kit - The first thing your band, indie act, or garage band should do is get a band press kit together.  The press kit, press package, or media kit will have everything your band will need to get started booking gigs.  Visit our Band Press Kit page for tips on getting the press kit together.  Once you have your press kit, you'll have a marketing vehicle to start promoting your indie band. 
  • Demo CD/MP3/Tape - For most gigs, a club owner or party planner will want to hear how your music sounds.  So record your indie band Demo CD or Tape.  You may want to buy or rent a portable home recording multi track studio at your local music store.  Make sure your songwriting is of professional quality.  Songwriting is a trial and error process and may take time.  Many rewrites may be needed when writing songs.  It's just part of the songwriting process.  Portable home recording studios or computer recording software should give you sufficient quality for most local venues.  Once your band is more established, you may want to get into a local reputable recording studio.  Many professional indie bands use a computer program called Pro Tools or Cubase software for recording.  While this is an expensive venture, it may be just as cost effective to learn the software than booking studio time. It's also a great idea to get your demo's online as well. Post demo's to your website and social media pages.  This allows you to share a demo online through social networking or email links. 
  • Open Mic Nights - Have you thought about playing open microphone nights.  Try starting off playing open microphone (Open Mic) nights at local clubs.  Not only will this give you a little experience on stage, you'll actually have a built in audience.  Many open mic nights are hosted by more established local bands or indie acts.  At these venues your band can make valuable contacts for the future with the hosting bands and other local bands playing at the open mic night.  Check your local music newspapers, perform an internet search for open microphone nights in your city, or search music websites to find this information.  This is a great starting point to play gigs and shows in your area.  Please keep in mind that open mic nights are typically not paid gigs.  The host band may get paid, but typically those who show up to perform do not get paid.  Use these gigs for band exposure and networking opportunities. 
  • Offer to Open for Free -  The reality is that your not going to get paid when you first start out as a band.  Offer to be an opening band for free for a local band you know.  Network with bands that you may have met at an open microphone night.  E-mail more established indie band in the area and offer to play an opening gig for them.  Many indie bands love opening acts.  They don't have to pay you much or at all and they don't have to play as long of a show set.  This is the time to start promoting your indie band as well.  Try handing out business cards and press kits to any bookers at clubs your band plays.  Make sure to follow up with the venue after you have given them your press kit.  Call or e-mail to make sure they get back to you.  Be persistent, since booking agents and club owners are always getting approached by prospective indie bands and garage bands. Typically club booking agents work later hours, so you may have to call at night to get a hold of them.  
  • Solicit your Press Kit -  Now that your band has performed gigs at open mic nights, start calling clubs and soliciting your Band Press Kit and Band Demo.  It is a good idea to visit clubs that play your style / genre of music and talk with the booker of the club.  Please leave the venue booking agent a press kit and demo CD.  The club booking agent will need a day or two to listen to your demo music.  Call back and get some feedback on your band demo.  Once you get a hold of the booker, ask for the gig for your band.  Again, be persistent.  Once you get a show or gig, visit our How To Negotiate A Gig page.   


  • Approach Town Fairs, County Festivals, or City Concert Venues - Another way to get exposure is to gig for a large audience at a local fair or festival.  Some of these gigs your band may have to play for free to get exposure until your band gains a fan base.  Some festivals do pay bands once they get a following or fan base.  Visit our page on How to Book Festival Gigs.  Do some research on the internet to see what local agencies take care of bookings for festivals or town fairs as well.  Look for Entertainment Bureaus in your local phone book.  Give out your band business cards at the show as well.  This is a good promotion tactic to gain more fans.  Someone in the audience may want to book your indie music band in the future. 
  • Booking Agents - Booking agents take a percentage of the money that you get for a gig that they have booked.  Booking agents can be a valuable resource for getting some better paying gigs.  Do a lot of research and be sure they are reputable.  Do a search on your local yellow pages for entertainment bureaus.  A lot of booking agents only take well known acts on their rosters, so shop around and see if they will deal with your local band.  Sometimes it pays to stop by in person and take your demo and press kit to the booking agent.  Check out the Better Business Bureau and make sure the booker works for a reputable company.  
  • College Gigs - While college and university gigs can be difficult to attain, we give you some great resources to get your band on the right path.   Many college band gigs are booked through campus associations.  Many of these associations charge a fee for their services, so do your research beforehand.  Visit our college gig page for more information. 
  • Sound Technician - As your indie rock band becomes more established, you may need the services of a sound tech for your gigs.  Many venues have their own PA system (sound systems) and will charge a fee for the services of the sound technician.  Find this out ahead of time.  If the venue does not have a PA system, your band will have to supply one.  Please keep in mind that someone will have to run sound as well.  Running sound can be expensive.  Most sound technicians charge a good bit to bring the equipment and run sound.  A good sound guy can mean the difference between a good and a bad gig.  Please make sure your sound technician sets up efficiently and gives your band professional sound service.
  • Website And Social Media Band Promotion - Promote your local band over the internet and social network sites.   If you don't have a website for your local band or garage band, it is time to get one.  Social media is a valuable tool for indie promotion in today's internet world.  If you can't afford a band website why not try a MySpace Music page or  Create a Facebook page for your band.  Have all of your friends and fans like the page and post updates on this page.  Each update will post to anyone's Facebook personal page who likes your band page in most instances.  Post show dates, CD / album releases, and band merchandise for sale. It's also important not to always just post about your gigs and merchandise as well.  Try to keep fans interested in your page by asking questions and responding to their comments.  This makes your page more sticky and fan friendly.  This is a great resource for bands to actually post your copy written songs, show dates, band bio, contact info, and more.  Visit our Social Networking area for info on Social Media Band Website Promotion
  • Post Your Shows To Free Concert Calendars - Once you have your website for your band or artist, start submitting your band website address (URL) to local band listing websites.  Do a google search on your city and see what sites list local bands and show dates.  For Example, try searching: (Band Listings Pittsburgh, or Concert Calendar New York).  Email the site and ask to have your web link added.  Also, e-mail any concert calendars, entertainment newspapers, city papers, online newspapers, online music show listings sites, and have your band gigs and shows listed.  You would be surprised how many you'll find in your area.  Also email your local clubs with your website address and see if they would like a Band Press Kit.  Also try posting gigs to Craigslist or Gumtree in the UK
  • Hosting & Tools for Creating Your Band Website.  If you already have a website designed for your band or and need Affordable Server Space to host your bands website just click the Host your Web site with IPOWER! link.  I power also has website creation tools available to build your band website.  We use their service for all our sites and have been completely satisfied.  I think you'll find there prices to be some of the best around, especially for the band on a budget.  They even have simple website creation tools within the server, so give it a try and click below for more information.  Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives compensation from some of the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.


  • E-mail Local Newspapers - Have your show dates added to local newspaper concert listings.  Most papers will list your gigs for free.  Contact any free papers that list band show dates.  Also, see if they will do an article on your garage band or review one of your gigs or your CD.
  • Band Manager  - A band manager can help your band with promotion.  This person can help book your indie act.  Has someone that you have known taken an interest in your garage band or music career?  See if they would help book your indie band.  Relatives may do this for free or a small fee designated by you.  Please note, watch out for people that get to meddlesome in your band and try to control your band goals.   Negotiate fees charged for such services.
  • Battle of the Bands - Send your demo and press kit to any local battle of the band competitions.  Most competitions locate up and coming talent in the area for battle of the bands shows.  The great thing about these competitions is that you can network with the promoters, other bands involved, and get exposure.  Many of the competitions are promoted on the radio, internet, and newspapers.  The winner usually gets a decent prize like studio time or free promotion.  Have your business cards ready at every portion of the competition.
  • New Clubs, Bars, and Live Music Venues - Pay attention to all the venues that have live bands perform in the area.  Many bars and pubs tend to turnover or get renamed after a few years as well.  If you are in tune to all the venues in your region, you will easily recognize when a new live music venue has a grand opening.  It's a great idea to be one of the first bands to approach the club, bar, or venue.  Call, email, and even show up in person at some point to hand the entertainment booker a press kit and demo cd.  Try approaching the venue even before it opens as they may need bands for the first few months after they open.  Network with the venue, like their Facebook page, and follow them on twitter as well.  Performing these tasks on the front end can give you an edge over the competition.  Also, keeping informed on social media may also give you opportunities to see if the venue needs bands in the future. 


  • Gig Finders - Gig Finders can help you band get to the right venues looking for gigs.  Visit our gig finder page for pros and cons on using these website services.
  • In person promotion vs. e-mail promotion to find gigs - In today's internet and media related society, it's very easy to email or social network message clubs and venues.  While I encourage you to still use social media and email to find gigs, keep in mind you still need to differentiate your band.   E-mails can be overlooked or left unread, and the same goes for social media posts and comments.   Find a way to make your band's posts or messages stand out above the competition.  Some ways to do this may be to research the venue and find something in common with you and the booker.  Other ways to make your message pop are to make sure your demo is professional, short, and to the point.  E-mail messages in long paragraphs are not going to get read.   A few sentences that get to the point are the best way to approach a new venue.  Think about what differentiates your band and use those points to drive the message home to get the gig.   Even with email and social media you may still have to visit the venue to try and secure the gig.   This is why you must have a hard copy professional press kit, demo, and business cards with you at all times.  Even though you may be web and social media savvy, it doesn't mean that the venue booker is using these means to book bands.   While a manual hard copy press kit may not be as prevalent today, it's still important in certain circumstances to have these available.