In the last blog, we discussed 5 items to help you get ready to pitch yourself to perform BEFORE the 2022. In review: You need a good live performance video; update or form a music website; get current on social media (including Facebook); set up ways to promote your shows (i.e. collecting emails) and, most important, rehearse your one hour show.
This week we talk about the venues that may open this summer and how find the direct booking contact and how to pitch your music to get the booking.
The 500+ seat theaters will probably take their time opening because the CBC requirements are 17 pages long. In these concert halls, 2 to 4 people will need to come & sit together, scan their own tickets, may not be able to eat or drink during the event, will NOT be able to approach a merch table and may have to show a clear COVID test one week before the event or proof of vaccination. Of course, masks will be required. This will take awhile to make all of this happen.
SO, you may want to wait until the end of the summer to see how larger events have opened in your area and then try to approach the venue in late October and think about booking January events. I am just trying to be realistic! But the time is NOW to start researching possible performances that may happen from now until the end of December 2021. Wouldn’t be great if you could book one or two gigs by September and 2 more before the end of the year?
HOW DO WE START?
Research live outdoor events in & around your city back in 2019. Just be specific like: “Live jazz events in Southern California 2019” or “2019 Summer festivals near Detroit.” Mr. Google is truly our first research source. We do have others like Festivals.net or musicfestivalwizard.com. Don’t forget about check out your city website. Google “The City of XXXX(Your City)” and look for the department of recreation. They are the people who plan the outdoor events in your area. One more for you: check out the ‘Department of tourism” for your state. This is the place that vacationers look for ‘Things to do’ when they travel. Here in California, “SeeCalifornia.com” has a list of all kinds of events including: Art events, Beer & Wine Festivals, Food & Fruit Festivals & ‘Taste of your City’ events.
SHOULD WE OFFER A VIRTUAL PERFORMANCE?
Some of the festivals have been doing virtual throughout 2020, so yes, it is time for you to think about what you need to do be able to perform a vitual concert if for some reason the venue is not given permission to do a in-person 2021 event.
Start exploring a possible rehearsal hall in your area that had a stage and some lighting and, of course, a sound board. Find some simple cameras OR position 2 iPhones that can send your performance virtual.
Below are suggestions how to approach the bookers for specific venues.
FESTIVALS AND OUTDOOR MUSIC EVENTS
Start with researching the bigger events like Winery Festivals, Food Festivals, Music Festivals and larger outdoor events that happened in 2019. Most of those were COVID cancelled in 2020, and others are waiting to get approval that they meet the safety requirements. Make a list the websites and take the time to explore to see if it looks like a 2021 date is announced. Look for “Perform For Us” or and “Entertainment” dropdown. If you can’t find a contact, look around at the contact us, Volunteer section or hit the facebook link and write a quick note asking to be connected with the Entertainment Coordinator. You don’t have to share any music or links at this point; just remember to add your name and email. Should you fill out the contact us form? Only if you can’t find another email contact!
Many bigger events like the Monterey Jazz Festival or Gilroy Garlic Festival will have you fill out an application. I suggest you start a file that has a brief bio (50 to 75 words), all your music, website and social media links, a list of a few bigger events you have performed already. If they ask you about a price and have never played a bigger venue like you are applying for, I usually quote $600 to $750 for one set of music. Most festivals will pay between $600 to $3000 for a performance depending on their budgets. (Make sure you have a live performance video ready to send with your application or email.)
For instance, I just found out that the Hollywood Bowl (outdoor venue) is opening in May with, of course, limited seating but the Rose Bowl is only doing special events like a Drive Thru Foodie Fest. Each of these larger venues will probably announce, around May, if they are doing an event this year.
Don’t forget about the County Fairs, but all of these will have different results. Our Orange County Fair announced their July dates but the Ventura County Fair will not have an event in 2021. County Fairs usually have events for a week or longer and fill their stages every day with local entertainers. Do you get paid? Of course! Any event that shows sponsors, have money to pay for your performance. Payment average $600 to $1500 for an hour of music.
DON’T DO ANYTHING FOR FREE UNLESS IT IS FOR A CHARITY!
EXPECT MOST LARGER VENUES TO OFFER A LIMITED IN-PERSON TICKET and A VIRTUAL TICKET. Live Nation has already announced teaming up with Stage-it and getting a number of venues ready to provide a virtual event! Expect the in-person ticket to cost a bundle. But what that does is guarantee the artists to be paid well for their performances!
CITY SPONSORED EVENTS
I mentioned City Events before in this blog but it gets mentioned again because there are many outdoor events sponsored by the city like: street fairs, art walks, farmers markets and “Taste of your city” or a city anniversary party. The largest amount of events happen in the summer. In California, we have over 200 cities host summer concerts in the park or pier from mid June to mid September. I bet your nearby cities are considering summer events right now!
THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO. Explore your city, or the cities within a 1 hour drive, to see if they are open to perform. Google the CITY of XXX and/or your Chamber of Commerce, and find an email or phone contact to find out what is happening this summer AND who you can send your music & video to for performance consideration.
Are you living close to a college or university? Many colleges are planning on coming back to school in the fall. So this is the time to contact them, and throw your hat in the ring, to be one of the first musicians to perform on campus in more that a year and half!
Here are some things you need to know about the college market:
Most colleges include a Student Activities Fee as part of each student’s tuition. That money is to be used for entertainment activities FOR THE STUDENTS. So yes, they have a budget to pay you. Go to any college website and in the search bar put “Student Activities” or “Associated Students”. This will get you into the office that books and pays for entertainment for their campus. There will be a student that volunteers to be in charge of the program. This means you only have to get the student volunteer to like your music and you are in!
Expect to get paid $500 to $2500 for a one-hour event, lower for the west coast and higher for the east coast. Colleges usually will want you to do at least a 1 hour concert (& maybe even 2 sets of music). All of this is negotiable. Remember to always ask to be feed and ask for a lodging. More and more colleges are connecting you with a close by hotel, where they have a discount. The Activities Advisor is the adult makes sure the volunteer students do the booking correct. That great live video will win the student programmer every time!
Remember to contact the college radio & TV station and college newspaper for a possible press review.
I try to stay away from regular CLUBS because you usually have to guarantee a certain number of people will buy tickets, unless we know we can draw. Clubs usually book about 6 weeks in advance. If you are sure 30 to 50 people will buy a ticket to see you …then go and do those gigs! If you can’t draw at least 30, you need to play at smaller places before you play at the club where you have to draw. Every club I know has a website….check for an email and send a SHORT email introducing yourself and send a live video plus pick an open date on their calendar you want to play.
Most BARS and LOUNGES will either pay you based on how much the bar takes in OR will give you money collected at the door…or maybe both. Also most bars have a website or at least a facebook page. Check it out to see if they have a live calendar. Message them that you would like to perform and ask to be connected their entertainment coordinator. Most bars will want you to play at least two 45 minute sets. The money? Again sometimes you get a flat fee and other times part of the bar/food.
WINERIES AND BREWERIES are really fun performance venues. Most may want you to at least do some cover songs and play 2 to 3 sets of music. Some wineries have special nights where the customers pay $75 to enter…if that is the case, you really need to give the venue a price per set price! I have found a solo or trio may get only $300 for the night, but these consumers have money, so you can come away with some good tips and develop a good email list of people who will follow you from venue to venue. Check out each website and if you can’t find booking information, see if there is information on the owners. Most times the owners are the actual bookers.
Whatever venues you think you would like to play, if you have a website, live performance video, as least one social media active AND you have a rehearsed show. You can start booking NOW!
If you are having trouble reaching a venue, get the phone number and call a few hours before the venue is opening….someone will answer the phone and then ask how to you get in touch with the booker. Also, if you need a sample of an introductory email, let us know at MusicBizMentors@gmail.com.