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How to break into festival circuit?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Marc Morfei, Apr 21, 2021.

  1. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I know how to book gigs at bars/clubs/restaurants. You walk in the door and talk to them in person. At the very least, you will find out who handles their bookings. But I am having a hard time figuring out how to break into the festival market. Cannot seem to figure out how to find the organizers and decision-makers for these things. Those events occasionally (rarely, really) have websites, but nobody ever responds when I send them emails. Any advice? Are those types of gigs usually handled by booking agents? We really want to get more event gigs. We're not real crazy about staying up until 2:00am for bar gigs.
     
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  2. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    Friends who have friends who have friends in there.
     
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  3. dannyh

    dannyh Tele-Afflicted

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    IME there is usually an agent that books festivals. Some of the ones around here run through the AFM; the union has an agent that books the acts. May take some digging to track down the agent. If you know any other musicians that have played the festivals you're interested in, you might try to get a contact through them. Or do a web search of a local band you know of that has played the festival. A lot of times agents have band pages for the bands they book, which will be a totally separate page from the band's own website. You might gain some backdoor info through some agent websites that way. Good luck.
     
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  4. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

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    These things don't just happen, there is always someone in charge - and often a group of people involved. Due diligence will unveil the contact info.

    When people change at an organization, the email addresses often come abandoned. Try to find a general email (info, bookings, etc... etc...) then understand it likely won't be monitored until the event is actually in it's organization stage.


    Yes, small ones will be. Nobody in the organization will have the experience and will outsource the entertainment - quite often to the most hated agent (by musicians) in the area :cry:.

    Larger festival are "buyers"... they know what they want and they go after it. If agents are involved it's often because of an agreement with the artist, not the festival site. You won't get far cold calling those people.... they will come to you when they see/hear something they like!
     
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  5. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    Usually there is a local person who is a fixer for the smaller regional festivals.. we know who they are around here. ....Network, network, network.

    There are facebook groups too here we use where invites appear.

    Beyond that, agents and sleuthing the organisers from websites and contacts to get an intro.
     
  6. noname_dragon

    noname_dragon Tele-Holic

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    All the aforementioned are correct. One thing you need are live videos of your band in front of people. The sound must be pretty good. A website helps a lot and means you are serious about your "service". Studio recordings don't usually work because anyone can craft one of those, and bookers see thru it.
     
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  7. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    There are digital agent sites like this too if you want corporate events and weddings, etc.

    https://www.alivenetwork.com/bandsearch.asp?style=Rock and Pop

    You need to invest in marketing as much as practice.

    The live audience video is a great recommend. We have a new line up for a while but only just been able to get together to shoot fresh video in past few days. So first big audience gig we can sort, we will have a multi camera setup and multitrack off the desk from promo videos.
     
  8. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    Agencies.

    Most festival acts that I've known book through agencies.

    Good luck!
     
  9. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Friend of Leo's

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    Have you considered civic events? These aren't the same as music festivals, but they are an alternative to the bar gigs. Around here almost every town/county/municipality hosts them...e.g. Thursday Night Summer Concert Series. Once you get in the rotation (and if people like the band) then you're pretty much good to go every year. They are often booked by someone at the county parks & rec department (or equivalent). In my case, I coached (volunteer) youth sports for the city, and they were happy to give me some gigs at the various events throughout the year. They are easy gigs in that 1) you don't have to promote them, 2) pro sound/stage/lights is all contracted out, 3) better pay than bars, 4) you get paid in the event of rain/cancellation, and 5) reasonable start/end time.
     
  10. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    1) Get a hit record
    2) Refer to 1
     
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  11. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Good question, and I appreciate the info here, too.

    We've had some luck with smaller, out-in-the country festivals that want our type of music. Locally there's an annual charity event that is a great place to meet/hear other bands and easy to get into. (Newer/less experienced acts come earlier in the day.) And one of our band members helps organize a small 'festival'-like event at a local winery that has an outdoor stage.
     
  12. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yep.. don’t discount setting something up with other bands locally or with local business/community groups.

    We did some summer street gigs in town centres to help local businesses when our lockdowns eased to allow outdoor socialising last summer. Shops served food and drink to the pavements and distanced seating for families was set out... really nice and loads danced and others brought seats from home to watch.

    Might be unique and welcome opportunities to be made with new restrictions or behaviour changes.
     
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  13. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    OK, I'll give a real answer. :lol:
    -Small local festivals, street fairs etc are fun. It's work getting into them though.
    -First, You better be booking it in the fall before next spring or by January sometimes. Otherwise it'll be a year away.
    -Chamber of Commerce is a good source for city events. If they aren't doing it, they know who at the city is.
    -Knowing the right person who has happened to see you live helps get things going.

    -This year is weird due to covid, but one contact I made in March the reply was: "I already have 80 bands asking and haven't decided who will be on the list yet"

    -The bottom line is you have to dig, dig, dig and find out who the real mover and shaker is for each event. You may get bounced around a bit. Some will say "I will give her your info, If she is booking any more bands she'll reach out to you "
     
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