Last week, I published the Guide to Booking Your Band in Texas ebook to lower the barriers for local musicians to start playing venues outside of their home market. Bands have already begun to write to say that they were able to book shows immediately after using the ebook. They’ve already started to ask questions about what to do next: should they worry about the venue they play at, how do they maximize their trip to a city. These are exactly the type of questions bands should be asking in considering how to maximize a live show, even in their home market. While last week the discussion on this site was how to start playing live more often, bands need to understand, it’s not just about playing live.

Every show is an opportunity to build your career. That opportunity spans the entire day, not just the 45 minutes where you’re on stage.

Assuming that you’ve been able to book yourself a one-off show in a surrounding city you have a great reason to spend the entire day in that town maximizing the impact and making it into an event. There are a number of things you can do over the course of the day that will help your show and contribute to creating/solidifying an audience in that market down the road. Below are some preliminary notes of some career building activities for day of show. Some of these ideas require very little planning, some of the ideas build off of each other. Notice not one of them mentions playing the show itself. This list is for all the other time you have, outside of the setup through the break down.  I’ve separated them into four categories and I recommend  you try and do one from each category each time you visit a city to play a show. Over the next several days I’ll dive into the specifics of how and why these actions can be beneficial in both the short and long term for your band’s financial solvency, audience size, and presence in any city.

Day of Show Career Building Activities for Your Band:

  1. Increase Attendance for that day’s show
  • Play an impromptu  live set
    • Outside a Coffee Shop
    • On a Street Corner
    • On a College Campus/College Radio
    • Outside a Thrift Shop
  • Promote
    • Pass out flyers on a college campus/coffee shop/thrift store/record store
    • Drop in a college radio station
    • Drop by a college campus
    • Drop in local taste maker locations (in Houston I’m talking about Coffee Groundz and Caroline Collective)

2. Grow Your Audience

  • DJ an afterparty
  • Hold a happy hour for fans
  • Hang out with fans after the show

3. Solidify Your Presence

  • Take a music writer out for a drink before the show
  • Get a drink with other bands in the city
  • Visit another venue to get booked for the future
  • Pick up all the local publications

4. Make Money

  • Drop off your music/merch at a local Record Store
  • Sell music/merch @ a coffee shop
  • Sell merch/music while busking

What are some other things that bands can do day of show to help their careers?

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