“I’d like to perform at your venue, how do I go about doing that?”
“Send us a press-kit”
I’ve heard this exchange MANY MANY MANY times. The truth is, a lot of beginning artists don’t know how to go about trying to get booked for shows. I like to liken getting booked for a show (in the early stages) to job hunting and job interviews.
When you are trying to get booked for a show a lot of times you are trying to find the venue that has the right fit, just like a job that is the right fit. If you are a BRAND NEW artist your first venue should be in your area. A little basics real quick, capture your market (city) first. Once you find the venue that you feel is a good fit for you, there are a few options to explore.
One, you could try to book a show on your own night, this is good for people who have a decently established fan base. But, here I want to talk to the young artists.
The other way is to try to book as an opener for a larger act. This is where it is also like a job interview, going in to speak to the booker, you should already know the date and who you are trying to open for (i.e. know the company). Also, a lot of times promoters are the ones who determine who is at the concert, so find out whether the venue is booking the acts or if an outside promoter is.
The reason I say booking is in the details is because the more you know, the less you’re asking the booker to research. If you know the name of a group performing, the date they’re playing, and you think your style compliments them, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the new guys who call up and say “I’d love to play a show, what do I need to do to do this?”
By knowing exactly what you’re after you are taking out a lot of guess work. Most bookers are still going to need music, so also try to find out when the person booking the acts will be in so that you can deliver a sample of your music to them. This will raise your chances of booking a show a lot more than the person who decides to just leave it at the venue for booking to pick up when they get a chance.
Remember, it starts with one. Once you get that first show booked and you can build a following of people to show up, you’ll keep building your leverage for other shows. Just make sure when you’re doing shows, you capitalize on the opportunity!