At a previous Bandcamp we heard from Gretchen Schmaltz of Western Civilization and Sara Winter of Warehouse Live talk about how to book and promote a show outside of your local market. Still, few bands have taken that knowledge and applied it to booking shows. In speaking with bands we’ve received the same answer: they’re uncomfortable with the process of contacting venues and securing a show. Taken at face value this makes sense. It’s much easier to contact a friend venue owner or a known local booker to get put onto a show. Contacting a stranger and asking something from them can be a difficult proposition and is not something that artists are comfortable with. Another challenge is having a process partitioning the time to contact venues and get ahold of a decision maker.
The fact remains: Overplaying your local audience is not the way to improve your performance skills or increase your income. It IS however a good way to exhaust your audience and decrease your popularity. Bands who are looking to improve their performance skills and expand their audience reach should be playing regularly outside of their local community. Playing in different markets in your surrounding geographical area will expose new audiences to their music and can create an additional revenue stream.
While most bands acknowledge the importance of playing outside their town there seems to be a lack of the practical knowledge on exactly how to secure shows in a region where they have no contacts. Until those contacts are secured and cultured, one tried and true manner of securing a show is contacting venues or other bands. This month we’ll tackle the first method in a way that will not just teach bands how to do it but show them.
Bandcamp: BOOKING PARTY will be a workshop where bands will work together to contact venues to book gigs in cities within a four hour drive of Houston.
Here’s how Bandcamp: BOOKING PARTY will work: We’ll start with a brief overview talk about how to contact a venue about a show, what information to include, what to say, persistence vs. annoyance, and tips to keep in mind. A whiteboard will be gridded out with a list of Houston’s major surrounding cities and dates that bands will select from. Bands will then be given a form email to fill out that helps to describe their sound, their accolades and what they’re asking for. Then bands will be given a printout of venues that match their city for them to email. They will then contact all the relevant venues in that date range and ask for show availability to secure themselves a show. Later in the week, using the to-do list for contacting venues, they’ll follow up via email or contact the venues by phone to further contact between the venue/venue booker and the artist.
WHAT: Bandcamp: BOOKING PARTY
WHEN: July 12, 2009, 2-4pm
WHERE: Caroline Collective, 4820 Caroline, Houston TX 77004
WHY: Book your band to play in Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and more
HOW MUCH: Bandcamp sessions are now $5/person, $8/band
Things bands will need:
a tentative list of dates that you are available to play
a laptop (notify us if you don’t have one)
a press kit (not a dealbreaker, can be constructed at the workshop)
Bands will be given:
A mad-libs style form email to tailor to their band
A printout of venues for the city that corresponds to their block on the grid
A to-do list for contacting venues to get a show at that venue.
Regular BandCamp sessions are (mostly) held on the First Sunday of every month at Caroline Collective sometime between the hours of 1pm and 5pm. Please mark your calendar accordingly for future events where we’ll all educate specific skills to musical artists such as, online/offline promotion, tour booking, financials, and recording. Please speak about this event to your colleagues, band members and other interested members of the Houston Music Community.