How to be awesome at booking a gig

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The Beatles didn't start their career at Shea Stadium, Jimi Hendrix didn't go right from his first electric guitar to Woodstock, and even Kenny G had to play behind Barry White before he could start pushing his soprano sax balladry on TV. In other words, even the biggest acts started with small gigs, be it a Hamburg dive or, in Hendrix's case, the basement of a synagogue.

No matter what your ultimate aspirations are, booking gigs for your band requires some research and, above all, determination. Here are a few tips to get things moving.

1. Dish out the demo

Create a solid demo. Include a few songs that capture the band's sound. There's no need to go overboard, just make sure the production quality is decent. And don't be shy about distributing the music. Pass it out to any and every possible venue that comes to mind. At the end of the day, the more establishments that have the demo, the greater the chance of a call back.

2. Make friends

Establishing relationships with other bands is a great way to network and ultimately share bills. Word of mouth is sometimes the best way to get noticed. The next Kings of Leon could be playing right down the street. Who wants to open up for them next summer on their tour through Europe?

3. Know the venue

Hip-hop clubs probably aren't interested in a Slayer cover band, as a spot known for drawing a punk crowd won't have any need for some acoustic frat jams. Having knowledge of what a particular bar is looking for will help narrow your target list. Spend your time concentrating on these places.

4. Keep on keepin' on

Persistence is paramount. Any band that has had success in the music industry has had to be relentless at some point in their career. Rejection letters will be a welcome sight, as most venues won't even bother to respond. Stay determined and good things will come.