What is the BIGGEST challenge You're facing booking gigs for your band?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Rockerfeller, Oct 18, 2019.

What is the BIGGEST challenge You're facing booking gigs for your band?

  1. There's nobody in the band that's really good at doing it

    23.8%
  2. We want to get out of bars and book better paying gigs (corporate, private party etc)

    11.9%
  3. Don't know who to contact or reach out to.

    19.0%
  4. Learning how to book more concert in the park type of events

    7.1%
  5. Some other issue...

    64.3%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think if anyone needs to make real money from gigs then I think there are about three possible pathways:

    1) Become an amazing classical musician and land a gig with an orchestra. My clarinet teacher told me about a sax player
    friend of his that got tired of the jazz life and so buckled down and woodshedded on bassoon until he got good enough
    to land a seat in a major orchestra. My clarinet teacher also made a great living as a multi-woodwind player who had his
    union card, graduated from Peabody Conservatory, and could play anything from classical to jazz. He would get pit gigs
    for Broadway shows, be asked to fill in on big orchestra gigs for TV specials or whatever,
    and also made a solid living teaching students like me.

    2) Be good enough to play with national caliber acts, preferably as the actual star, but get by financially (maybe)
    as a side man.

    3) Create/join a band that is specifically created and designed to target the corporate/wedding band market. This typically
    means a very professional package both in reality and on the Internet, pretty massive song lists that can cover almost anything
    and do it well, and very high level musicianship. I have an in-law that makes his living this way and a few months ago we got together
    and he told me all about it. It seemed like a hell of a lot of work for a very modest but viable living, but he likes it so there you go.

    Maybe there's a 4th pathway?-- Play in a really good Christian rock band and go on that circuit?
     
  2. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    I got in contact after about 8 volleys back and forth today with a new location for us. Booker offered the date, now I'm tracking down the band for availability. We're a semi-serious hobby. I know other bands that prioritize their hobby higher in the order and play more. He asked if we had a draw. Sorta, one guy brings 90% of the small crowd we do bring. I need to do a better job of reminding folks I know to come out. Of course most of the people I'd invite from my "friends list" are also musicians.


    I can't get anyone to use a common calendar to just drop things on the list without confirmation. I'll do that when I retire and do more of this. Maybe never. So I endure a bunch of extra work to do the little amount of gigging we do.

    I could use subs, we play well worn covers, but that's a whole level of stress I don't feel like taking on.

    Around here, it's kind weird. We have a lot of bar and grill places in strip malls that have bands. There are also a lot of breweries in an office park or giant building. We have a few "clubs" as I understand it, but those seem to draw larger bands. The "old movie theatre" places will book things like pro tribute bands and 90's bands on their lap around America. One did have Buddy Guy recently at $90/ticket. But here in the 'Burbs we don't seem to have clubs where it's just a stage and bar.
     
  3. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Flat6, it's about the same here minus the strip malls. Microbreweries and wineries seem to be the new gig spots. We have a few real, bigger clubs along the lines of DC's 9:30 Club, but that isn't
    for local acts for the most part. We do have a few older school restaurant/bars that have a stage and book bands on weekends, but those places are kind of faltering now that all the cool
    kids go to the new microbreweries. You can tell a lot just by looking at the demographics. At the old school places I don't see any customers under 45 years old. At the microbreweries I see lots
    of 20 and 30-somethings, but also lots of older people and kids, too, since they're set up to be family friendly. The vibe is way more fresh and fun, too. Give them 20 years and maybe they'll
    be downtrodden, too.
     
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  4. LunarSlingShot

    LunarSlingShot Tele-Meister

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    Our cover band plays monthly gigs at a couple local bars. There are actually two different locations for this bar in our city and we play each of them. Other than a festival gig we played last month we haven't really played anywhere else in the 8 months or so I have been in the band. Before I was in the band, they used to play a couple other places in nearby cities, but sadly both of them closed down. Which is shame and disappointment to me because one of them always looked like a fun place to play with crazy crowd response (college town) and I never had the chance to play one of those gigs.

    It seems there are less and less places in our city that want to book cover bands. Because of this our singer is really interested in writing more original music and booking more of those gigs to do both kinds of shows.

    I would honestly be more interested in expanding our list of covers by quite a bit to look into special event or even casino shows, but I think they are tired of having to learn cover songs...so maybe difference of direction is what is slightly holding us back. I feel that if we were able to book one of those shows and them money was good enough it would sway their opinion though.
     
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  5. Rockerfeller

    Rockerfeller Tele-Meister

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    The thing about being a cover band is that there are ALL kinds of gigs out there for you that are NOT clubs. When we switched from bars to private parties / weddings /corporate we went from $75 per man to $250 per man over night. You're done by 10pm, there's no bar owner demanding you bring the crowd. The Client brings their crowd. They feed you. On top of that, the bar is often an open bar and people get crazy when that's the case. We just did a wedding where they had an open Whiskey bar with 7 different kinds of whiskey. We could have played TV commercials to that crowd and they would have danced.

    Lunar there are good cover band gigs all around you. You just have to want them bad enough to learn how to land them.
     
  6. Rockerfeller

    Rockerfeller Tele-Meister

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    People make very good living as a cover band artist and there are lots of ways to do it. But #3 is a top one for me. If you're good enough to play in a bar cover band, you're good enough to play in that scene. You don't need better musical chops but you DO need to learn how that environment works. I would say you have to learn what a professional looks like in that scene and you have to learn the business side of it.
     
  7. omahaaudio

    omahaaudio Friend of Leo's

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    No band.
     
  8. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I can't say we do a lot of them. But done quite a few. Wedding stuff can be a bit better. ... some times.
    I find:
    * people don't want to cut loose in front of the bosses.
    *Often it's a mix of reserved exec types and some party people.
    *Everything is too loud for non music types. They want to talk.
    *Plenty of interruptions giving away "Salesman of the year" stuff. You can't get a groove going.
    *etc etc.

    We got chastised at a wedding once for playing "too raunchy, suggestive" stuff. It was Creedence Clearwater!

    We played one corporate thing in a very large venue a few years back. (in fact the same venue I saw Santana in that year) They were picky about setting up very early etc. Pay was great though. We played maybe 1-1.5 hours total.. Stood/sat around at their direction for many hours. The place was like a graveyard interaction wise!
     
  9. LunarSlingShot

    LunarSlingShot Tele-Meister

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    Definitely interested. Any advice on how you started finding gigs at private parties/ weddings/corporate events?
     
  10. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    Bang, nailed it.
     
  11. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    Sounds great. How do I find these gigs? Booking agent?
     
  12. Rockerfeller

    Rockerfeller Tele-Meister

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    Everything you mention is true. They pay better than bar gigs AND they're different than bar gigs. Some company parties are like that. Conventions and things like that are a totally different story. Most of the time, it's one hell of a party!

    They do want you set up before the party starts, so you do wait around a lot. But your not humping gear at 2am, which I think is better.
     
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  13. billgwx

    billgwx Tele-Meister

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    Finding the time to make things happen is difficult. The band I'm in once opened for national acts including one particular bunch of RnRHoFamers, I missed that big wave, now another is building, we have another record and are close to our A game performance-wise, and looking to make some new glory days never mind the old ones. Not easy!! So many contacts to make and track, relationships to re-establish, a resume of good appearances to build, etc. Headed in the right direction but it just can't happen fast enough. Working toward that is a full time plus job, meanwhile got to be present at home and at work too otherwise not worth it.
     
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  14. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    tip for those wanting private gigs, though it might seem obvious:

    if you want to make any money, you first have to find a big pile of it

    then, go stand next it. if you don't, chances are small that any of it will blow your way
     
  15. Rockerfeller

    Rockerfeller Tele-Meister

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    Finding private party gigs is different than finding club gigs in one major way: THEY find you, you don't find them, for the most part. So they have to be able to find you when they're searching for a band.
     
    LunarSlingShot likes this.
  16. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Holic

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    We have several issues, however we are as busy as we care to be. We are a country band in the Buffalo area and there are no real country bars. Some clubs have country nights and we have expanded our set list to include a fair amount of other music. You do have to fight for every gig, years ago when there were some actual bars that featured Country the clubs would book more in advance so you would play a night and book a couple more while you are there, the calendar was usually full. With no country bars the local agencies don't handle country acts on an exclusive basis, we do use agents for the local casinos and festivals but not with clubs. There are not a lot of corporate gigs around here and those go to a few popular cover bands that have earned the reputation as solid performers. The weird thing is there are at least a half dozen solid country acts, maybe more in the area.
    Great post Rockerfeller!
     
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  17. Rockerfeller

    Rockerfeller Tele-Meister

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    We're basically the same kind of band: A country / rock cover band. Which is a lot fun! What's keeping you guys from becoming one of those bands that get the corporate gigs? Is country not big in Buffalo?
     
  18. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Holic

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    We get our fair share of private parties, not many weddings have live bands and those that do will typically lean toward a traditional cover band, I think embroidered shirts and boots scare them off :). We probably neglect the marketing side of the business to a degree but there are only so many hours.
     
  19. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

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    The challenges will vary depending on the type of group you put together. An original group will have a hard time booking a night club while a party band will have a hard time booking a festival gig.
    1. Know the bands market!
    2. Get on the phone....
    3. If #2 is not natural, make a deal with the devil.... ahem.... I mean an agent.
     
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  20. Rockerfeller

    Rockerfeller Tele-Meister

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    We tell brides that we'll dress in nice stage clothing, hats and boots. When they hire us they're getting a country rock band not Lawrence Welk and they get that.

    It's hard NOT to neglect marketing when you're not that sure HOW to do it!
     
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