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        The thought of booking your first show can be a little daunting. But it’s not that bad. The worst thing a talent buyer or promoter can say is, “No.” If you did not have the gig to begin with, you did not lose anything. However, this guide will help you pinpoint the venues that are more likely to say, “Yes,” to you and your music.

        The first step to getting the right venue for your music is to have clarity about your brand.What kind of music do you play? What artists do you sound like? If you’re a jazz artist, don’t try to book a venue that only seems to cater to rock. The talent buyer for the venue will know that you did not do your homework and will most likely turn you down. Not only that, your fans might be confused if they are familiar with the venue and the kind of shows they usually have.

        Search the internet and write a list of about 15 bands that play similar music to your band.Follow them on social media. Look at the venues that they have played in your area. In addition, go to their shows. These are the venues you will want to approach about booking your band.

        Don’t be afraid to ask other musicians for venue recommendations.

        Your musician friends are great resources.  Find out what venues they like to play, and which ones they would prefer not to play. This should give you an idea of what kind of time you and your band will have. In addition, it may give you an idea of the kind of experience your fans will have. You always want to make sure that your fans have an awesome experience.

        In addition to traditional venues, seek out non-traditional venues.A few examples of some great non-traditional venues are art galleries, retail stores, hair salons and barber shops.

        Search venue and gig booking websites.

        • One way to get information about a venue is by looking at their website. They will have booking guidelines and the contact information for the talent buyer/booking agent. They will also have a calendar with past and upcoming shows. This should help you determine if your music will be a good fit for the venue.
        • Another good resource for finding a venue are sites like Indie on the Move, Sonicbids, Gig Salad, and GigMasters. These sites help artists and talent buyers connect. Before setting up a profile on any of these sites, do your research and make sure you put your best foot forward. There is a lot of competition out there.
        • You may also want to look at sites like Peerspace, Unique Venues, and EVENTup. These sites help you find unique spaces for you to host your own events.

        Now you need to make and keep a list of venues you want to approach.

        I have a spreadsheet with information on venues that I have performed in and want to perform in. A few of the things that I have on my spreadsheet are:

        • Venue name
        • Venue size
        • Website
        • Address
        • The name of the talent buyer
        • Contact information
        • The best day/time to contact the talent buyer
        • A record of any correspondence that I have had with the talent buyer
        • A short description on the type of music and audience they cater to

        After reading this guide, I hope you’ve pinpointed some venues that fit you and your style of music. Please, feel free to share your progress as you make contacts and book gigs.

         

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