Getting booked for a musical performance at a festival could be the big hit that your band needs. It is one of the best ways to gain attention and increase your fan following.
How do you get your band booked for festivals?
Having good rapport on social media in conjunction with original and irresistible music is the first priority to getting booked. Then, the next step is extensive outreach. Contacting the right people provides credibility that can push your band well beyond others.
If you get selected, that is a sign that your band has talent and is recognized. It also shows that you’re more dedicated than other bands who don’t take outreach as seriously. But don’t fall into the false hope that getting booked for a festival is easy.
But just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile. Read on to discover competitive strategies that’ll get people to notice your band.
No matter how good or popular your band is, it is essential to know how to gain the attention of those who have the liberty of granting you opportunities to perform.
We’ve researched what other bands have done to get booked successfully. In doing so, the following points have come up extensively. While there’s no one path to successfully entering a festival, the following steps are nearly universally applicable.
Gaining exposure is one of the crucial steps towards the success of your enthusiastic band. However, originality is more important than ever. If your audiences confuse you with another band on the setlist, it’s a sign that you need to distinguish your musical image.
Putting on some great and unique live shows is a great way to get your band recognized and booked.
Your live shows are where you have the most creative liberty to develop a one-of-a-kind musical brand. Not only can you wow audiences through how your music sounds, but you can impress them with how you express yourself on stage.
Thus, performing unique live shows isn’t just a good idea – it’s a must-do. Making people say, “I gotta see them,” is how you’ll position your band to thrive in today’s world. That’s not the only benefit, though.
Live shows are an opportunity to let you meet people and make links. Popular bands always have a history of starting through live shows where they gain confidence to appear on stage and find the right people to flourish with. A like-minded mentality helps to grow with your talent more than anything else.
The people you would want to keep an eye on are the music directors, talent promoters, etc., but you must polish your skills and give your best on the stage to get what you want. Remember that only the best ones get the chance, so make sure you are one of them.
If you’re unsure how to improve your live shows, you should see how to create the perfect live show for some tips.
Not all festivals all suitable for all types of music. Keep reading – you’ll quickly learn which ones are the most suitable for your band.
Alas, many bands reach a stage of desperation. They believe that applying or playing at every festival is better than nothing. But at times, being selective with your options can be more beneficial.
Just like your band’s time is valuable, so is the director’s time, so you should consider all factors before applying.
It’s best to research months in advance. This way you’ll know which festivals would be looking for a band like yours. Then, you can follow similar bands and track the festival directories for multiple chances to perform.
When you identify some suitable festivals, look at the trends. For example, consider which bands they selected and why. Afterward, you’ll have a better idea if you should apply or if the bar to entry is simply too high.
Here’s another idea — create a spreadsheet to keep track of the festivals and their details. You should note down things like:
Don’t forget to add the important dates to your calendar so that your band will be prepared!
We cannot stress enough the importance of a solid, brief, and attractive press kit.
Need a reminder? A press kit is a concise set of promotional materials in the form of a page, folder, online document, etcetera.
A well-designed press kit offers endless options to express your band’s creativity. For example, you may make a very brief video or a document that you can post on different platforms. And you can keep a copy with yourself and provide it to the client whenever you need.
Remember that there will be press kits by other bands. While obvious, we feel it’s important to lay it out on the table. You must ensure that your press kit stands out and, most importantly, is persuasive.
Imagine yourself as a festival director and consider, “Would I book my band?”
Here are some points to keep in mind while making a press kit:
An introduction or bio is necessary for a musician to let the client get to know you better. A good biography will always include:
- Your name
- Contact details
- The places where you have performed
- Any other important information that you would like to add
Think of this part as your band’s resume. It’s not enough to state the superficial facts of when and where you performed (unless where you performed is exceptionally well-known and lucrative – in which case, say no more).
Instead, like with a resume, you need to qualify what you did. Let festival promoters know that what you’ve accomplished is significant. Furthermore, talk about your fans. Fans reveal more about a band than anyone else – even you.
And, ultimately, it’s the audience that festivals want to see made happy. If you let the people in charge know that you’ll please the crowds, they’ll silently exclaim, “More money for us!”
A picture is worth a thousand bucks. Or maybe it’s a thousand words…
Anyhow, a great photo of your band goes a long way in telling festival administrators about your musical image. And yes, this translates to more money.
Nowadays, people attend festivals to see and feel the music. If they only wanted to hear it, YouTube is still kind of free — of charge and nightmarish parking conditions. A picture of your band, such as a candid performance photo, gives recruiters more information about your band.
At the end of the night, festival directors aren’t going to waste time with bands they know little to nothing about.
List Social Media Handles and Have a Digital Presence
In 2020, digital music and streaming created over $10 billion in the United States alone.
Today, almost everyone is on social media. Utilizing this opportunity to create a social media profile and a digital presence can help you capture a fair chunk of this multi-billion-dollar market.
By linking your account with the press kit, recruiters would be able to know more about you and your accomplishments. Remember, they won’t pick you if they don’t know you. So don’t be a stranger!
Photos are invaluable tools for showing your colors to festival directors. Videos show everything — how you dress, how you sound, how you interact with your audience, and more.
When promoting your band, it’s vital that all videos you share are of excellent quality. It will undoubtedly catch the attention of your viewers and portray the effort you’re putting into your music.
Mention Prior Reviews and Feedback
If you’ve gathered largely positive reviews from prior performances, go ahead and brag about it! Your positive feedback will add to your credibility and increase your chances of getting the gig you want.
Once your press kit is ready, you can move on to the next step: applying to the shortlisted festivals.
Creating a list of the festivals that suit your genre and style would help you stay on track and increase the chances of delivering a successful performance.
Make sure that you’re familiar with every festival’s application requirement. Some festivals may require an email, whereas others need you to fill out a classic paper form. Sometimes there might be a fee you’d need to pay beforehand.
The point is that the requirements will vary for every festival, and you must keep these in mind before applying.
If you are prepared beforehand, you become far less likely to miss a grand opportunity. Do not delay!
Once you’ve applied, don’t forget about it. Signing up for a festival is a big deal, after all.
We understand that it’s ridiculously easy to get distracted. But stay vigilant — litter your walls with post-it notes if that’s what it takes.
Furthermore, be patient. If you applied early as you should have, it may take months before festival directors get around to responding to you.
However, sometimes things don’t go as expected, and your band might not get selected. In such circumstances, it’s best to remind your band that the competition is tough. Facing rejection does not mean your band is not talented.
Instead, treat it as an opportunity to evaluate your mistakes. There are plenty more opportunities, so stay persistent.
Applying to a festival is a lengthy process with high competition. You might not be able to perform your dream gig immediately.
If you have already faced some rejections, then maybe you need to work on improving your live performance. Every crowd likes good energy, and you need to bring it to them.
Fortunately, by following the steps we’ve outlined, you are a step ahead of many other applicants. Spend the time it takes to hear back on expanding your setlist, perfecting new songs, and making your press kit irresistible.
If you spend your efforts wisely, the chances of you getting to perform at a festival go from a pipe dream to a dream within reach.