Hello and welcome to The Definitive Guide To Gigging, this is the first installment of a series of articles, over the course of the articles written I am going to try to put to you; the reader, the point how important gigs are and how to make every single gig count covering the topics of promoters, technical equipment, the do's, the don'ts, and so on.
Part One: When Am I Ready To Start Gigging?
The all important question that many people will ask themselves is, when am I actually ready to start gigging? Well the answer is simply whenever you deem ready. When you feel the time is right to take the songs you've rehearsed and find somewhere to play to showcase these songs. Wether it be in a pub, a club or a concert venue, a gig is a gig and wether you play to ten people in a smelly pub, or a thousand people in a bouncing concert venue, you have no idea who is watching you, there maybe an influential A&R person in the pub and nobody of music industry contacts in the concert venue, so always play every gig to 1 person like it's to 100, 000 people.
Okay, let's answer this question in regards to what is neccessary to gig. You will need a setlist that covers at least 20 minutes. Usually 30 minutes with talking is preferred and is what most promoters will accept. You will also need a venue to play, and an organiser to put you on. At this point I will firmly play this point down. Don't ever, ever, ever pay to play, people like that aren't interested in the music, they're after your cash. The most efficient way to find that important guy who's going to put you on their night is through social networking sites such as Myspace. Just do a bit of googling of your location and then 'unsigned band promotion' and it should throw up some of them key guys for you. If that doesn't work, ask some of the bigger bands in your area through Myspace how they get there gigs, they'll point you in the right direction for promoters.
Another way is to send demos out to venues. I know of a band in the area of which I live which spent a Saturday afternoon walking through the town going into all the pubs and clubs with their demo, making them play it whilst they were there and then telling them right on the spot wether or not they would book them. They got 15 gigs out of this method. It's more work, but it can prove to be more efficient. My band actually got a gig supporting a Major label band this way, they key is to when they say no, tell them how much you want to play at there venue and you're almost sure to make a good impression on them.
The last way I'll talk about is through other local bands. Networking is a key factor in making valueable contacts and the best way to do it is to go to local unsigned band's gigs in your area and simply talk to them after they've played, tell them what you thought of there performance (usually helps if you liked it! ) and ask if they'd consider putting your band on a couple of gigs opening up for them. It is much easier through social networking sites Myspace, Facebook, Bebo etc... But actually showing up to there shows gives them the feel that you've actually made a good effort to show up.
Thanks for reading my column, I hope you found it a good read and took in and understood everything that is written above, if you have any questions don't hesitate but to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Part Two will follow soon, How Can I Get People To My Gig?