How to book your band’s first gig Finding your first gig is easier than you might think, even if you don't have a promoter or booking agent.

Whether you’re a solo artist or have created or joined a new band, getting your first gig can be a monumental step in your music career. By now, you are probably well-rehearsed and have a few decent songs to perform and feel like it’s time to get some live performances under your belt.

But how do you actually get your first gig? At first, booking a gig might seem impossible, especially if you have never performed live before and nobody really knows what to expect from you or your band. The good news is that with a bit of hard work, finding your first gig is easier than you might think, even if you don’t have a promoter or booking agent.

Create some buzz

Today we are living in a digital age, and to get your first successful gig and make it as a musician, you’re going to need to learn some good marketing. The good news is that thanks to social media, building some buzz around your music has never been easier. You can spread the word on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok to gain more interest in your music.

Find 15 to 30 second snippets of your music that you consider most representative of your sound, and post memes and participate in challenges using these snippets and any other kind of band material you can incorporate.

This will boost your chance of booking a gig, since as you build your fan base, this is going to impress more venues, who after all are most concerned with filling seats. A venue is much more likely to be interested in booking a band that has online followers compared to one that nobody has ever heard of.

As a new musician you just want any kind of edge — and as many as you can get. If you’re clever about it, you can also supplement your numbers with some paid followers and interactions. This is cheap, and everyone does it to some extent, but never over-do it.

Record a killer demo

Recording a demo is an essential step in making sure that you secure your first gig bookings. Most promoters and venues will want to hear how you sound before they decide to book you.

The good news is that recording a demo doesn’t need to be a difficult or expensive process. The best way to do this is to hire a recording space from PIRATE, with recording studios in various different locations set up with all the equipment that you need.

A PIRATE studio (Sheffield).

Along with this, PIRATE’s website offers some really handy tips to help you impress at your first gig including how to improve your stage presence and more information if you are interested in learning more about what does stage presence mean.

Take professional photos with a consistent or unusual style

Bear in mind that promotors, venues, and even your fans are going to know what you look like. If you don’t really look like you could be an artist or that your group could be a band, then it’s time to think about how you can make this happen.

For example, if you’re in a band, this can be easily done by having photos taken where you are all wearing the same, consistent style. You could share a quirky item of clothing like a hat, or just stand out in some other way that is somewhat consistent across the band.

All-female Slade tribute act Slady.

Remember, you aren’t just selling music. You’re selling an image and a feel. Your overall impression is what is going to separate you from the rest of the crowd, and it’s important for making sure that your fans are going to recognize and identify with you.

Aim small at first

Don’t get carried away with visions of big venues and massive crowds for your first gig, since for most performers, it doesn’t happen like this at all. Whether you are a solo singer or a band, it’s a good idea to start out by aiming small and approach some small, local down-to-earth venues where you are more likely to get a gig booked.

A local live music venue or pub is a great place to start, and the best part is that this gives you a chance to practice performing live with a smaller, friendlier audience who are there anyway, rather than having booked tickets to see your show specifically.

It’s a lower-pressure way to put yourself on the map, and these smaller events are often frequented by music professionals that you might be interested in getting your work in front of.

Ask proactively

When it comes to getting yourself or your band booked for gigs, you can’t be shy. While it might always be easier to get in touch with people that you already know when it comes to booking gigs, put yourself out there and contact other people too.

It’s a good idea to put an editable email template together that you can use as a pitch for booking gigs. Include your band name, influences, and ask if the recipient would like to hear your demo. You should edit this to include why you are contacting each venue when sending the email.

In many ways, getting gigs is quite similar to applying for jobs, and it is always worth taking some time to find out more about the venue you want to play at.

Get out and network

Networking is something that any musician can benefit from when it comes to booking gigs and maintaining a good schedule of performances. The more you talk to other musicians, promoters, bands, organizers, and venue owners, the better.

The fact is that these people are often always on the lookout for musicians and bands that they can book to play events, and networking is the best way to make sure that you are on their radar. The best part of this is that gigs and events are going to be one of the best ways to network, so attend as many as you can and make as many connections as possible.

Spend time in big cities where there is often a large, vibrant music scene and lots of artists, bands, promoters, and other music professionals that you can meet and get to know. It’s worth taking some business cards for yourself or your band with you that include contact details that you can hand out. It sounds simple, but it can be one of the best ways to make sure that you are remembered after the event — and get a callback.

Whether you’re a solo artist or a band member, getting your first gigs isn’t always easy. But once you start performing live and making friends in the industry, you can always find a way to take your musical career to the next level.

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  1. Someone I know got a lot of following from just doing tiktok challenges. It actually works. I’m going to learn tiktok if I ever have something to promote lol.

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