#1
Hey everyone, I've been haunting these forums for quite a while and I need some serious help with something.

So I haven't played out in about a year but now I'm scheduled to play a local festival in about a month. I've NEVER played a festival before so I have no idea what to expect other than I know there will be a ton of bands and audience members. And I'm expected to play 30 minutes...

I'm a solo musician (just me and my guitar) and I'm kinda nervous because I'll probably the only solo act there. I want to play all originals . Another thing is that I only have 1 EP of sings to sell and no other merch to sell. For me, the goal is to make people curious enough about me to seek out my music.

Questions:
-Will I get a soundcheck?
- how can I keep it interesting for a whole 30 minutes?
- do you have any idea how I can "win the audience over"
#2
I was much in the same situation as you are in right now a few years ago. And yes, it is a tough challenge to play a festival not dedicated to solo performers and be "competing" against full bands... but then again it is not.

A 30 minute set sounds just about right for you. Here's a few tips:

As far as your setlist goes, choose uptempo songs that have a good groove. Try to avoid playing slow ballads as they are much harder to perform in a festival setting.

With a 30 minute set you'll usually get to play 5 to 8 songs, depending on how long they are and how much talking you do in between. Keep your gig "dynamic", start with uptempo grooves and, like I said before, don't play slow ballads, at least not more than one, which should be placed somewhere in the middle of the set.

Play your best song last and your second best song first in the setlist.

Do throw in a cover tune (one should do). Any audience appreciates it when they "know" a tune. It'll help winning them over. And it'll show your range and skill as a musician, beyond your own stuff.

You will get a soundcheck (if not it's your right to demand one), or at least a line-check. Try to keep it short though, and have your equipment ready for action. Be clear about your sound beforehand, so you can tell the guy at the FoH. Make sure you get a good sound from the monitors, this is key for your stage performance.

As far as "winning the audience over" is concerned, it usually helps to talk to them. Tell them a little bit about you and your music, your songs. Make it personal and throw in a bit humour - don't overplay it though, you are not a comedian :-) prepare what you are intending to say beforehand, not many are good at improvising stage-rants.

Most importantly: relax! Everybody in the audience is there to have a good time. There's nothing you can do wrong. Just have fun and like your audience as much as they like hearing the music.

Best of luck to you!
Tom

www.tomstrasser.com
#3
Hey awesome you landed a gig dude! Whatever happens you'll be super nervous so practice your ass off and conquer those nerves.

Quote by TS

Questions:
-Will I get a soundcheck?
- how can I keep it interesting for a whole 30 minutes?
- do you have any idea how I can "win the audience over"


Soundcheck? Don't be surprised if you don't get as much attention as other bands as you're just one man and his guitar. But yes, you'll at the very least get a line check. It's ok to ask for the foldback to go up/down during the gig if you want.

To keep it interesting? At this point just try to play the songs as best you can. You haven't played a gig for ages and you'll be pretty rusty. Lets not attempt too much.

How to win audience over? Play the songs well and don't be an asshole.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#4
I'm not a solo musician, so I can't really say any better advice than toast25 and AalnHB in regards to performance. However, I have been to and played many local festivals and gigs. For my band, the rule of thumb is to never expect a sound check. You should be able to get set up and read to go with just a line check and accept that your opening song may be hindered by bad levels and EQ. Especially if the sound guy is less than adept at his craft. Sound guys vary from gig to gig. If you rate the festival's sound guy then you're golden. From your 2nd song onwards you should be fine in terms of sound levels both on and off stage. If not, be sure to speak up. Don't let bad levels hinder your performance and put you off.

Also, if you're using any tempo based effects and/or looper pedals, you'll definitely be aided by setting them to tap tempo mode. Keep your signal output mid-volume on all equipment. It's better to need to turn up than down in volume. And always take spare cables/leads, strings and picks.

I will just say, I don't have anything against sound guys. It's just my own experience that just because someone's in charge of the FOH, doesn't mean they have any right to. Especially at local events. A mate who owns a van, mixing desk and PA is cheaper than hiring a proper technician.
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#5
^^^ I agree with G-Dogs statements above, but under no circumstance should you insult the sound guy or anyone else working/playing on the day.

It can be hard sometimes when it appears that a sound guy has ruined your gig, but believe me he is having a worse day than you.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#6
Yes, chances are you won't get a real sound check - you would be told to show up at ____ (such and such a time-before the fest starts) if there was one. Because of htat the soundman will be adjusting during yoru first song, so don't make that your strongest song, but make sure it is indicative of your normal sound (strum style + singing, etc).
Know your songs and have a copy of your set list so you don't forget what goes where, Have an extra song or two ready in case you speed through your songs too quickly or get called back for an encore.
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#7
Thanks a ton guys!! Some of this stuff I would've never even thought about. When you don't play for a while, you tend to forget how things go...Please don't hesitate to share any other advice you may have...