If your band has been trying to get gigs and you’ve been failing, you might feel pretty worthless, especially if you consider your music to be fairly good. There are a number of reasons why a bar or venue might decide not to book a band, but if you really, really can’t find any shows at all, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re doing something wrong.
Here’s a look at a few simple reasons why a band wouldn’t be able to find any gigs, and what bands can do to overcome the odds and start booking shows again.
The wrong booking techniques.
If you’re not contacting venues in the right way, it’s going to be exceptionally hard for your band to find any type of show, regardless of what you sound like. You may have heard that it’s a good idea to just send out press kits with attached CDs; if this was the case, you’d never hear a bad band play at a bar. You do, though, right? How’d they get up there?
They took the time to make a personal connection with the people doing the booking, and if you want to keep your band playing out, you’ve got to do the exact same thing. Go to bars and venues and actually talk to people. If they have open mic nights, be there. This is absolutely the best way to get booked, and there’s no substitute.
This should go without saying, but you’ll also need to tip your bartenders, especially if they’re booking gigs, and be very nice to everyone at the venue. You haven’t hit the big time yet, and being respectful and courteous is a big part of keeping work steady for your band.
You’re booking in an overbooked city.
If you live in a city like Los Angeles, Nashville, or Chicago, you’ll have trouble finding your band gigs simply because everyone’s booked up. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get shows, though.
What you’ll need to do is start targeting successful bands rather than venues. Go to local shows, and ask the band members how they’d gotten booked. Listen to them, and buy them a beer or two. If your band has CDs, give them out. Eventually, you’ll get called by one of the local bands for an opening spot, or you’ll get some valuable tips that can keep you booked. It takes work!
Every one’s not pulling their weight.
Remember, the advantage of being in a band is that everyone can work to get shows. If some one’s not trying to book anything, talk to them about it. If they don’t want to book, make them do something–have them make flyers, or burn CDs, or call fans to get them out to gigs. A fully functioning band is one in which every member has a job to do. If you can master that, you’ll keep your band booked, and you’ll find gigs much more easily.
Does your band have trouble finding gigs? Post your thoughts in the comments section below this article.