Faq performing with band

How do you start if you want to perform with your band? You can download the checklist 'Ten P's for plans', this approach helps you to formulate concrete goals. The specific points that are important for the performance of your band are highlighted in this text.

Plan: what do you want to achive

Before you start to think about performing it is wise to get all members of the band moving in the same direction. What is your goal for the next year and for the coming five years? How often do you want and are you able to perform? How often do you have to rehearse to achieve the goals? How much time do you and other members have besides the band, and is that acceptable? With these broad objectives you can effectively make a plan for performing.

Public: what kind of audience

Where you want to play has everything to do with the audience you want to reach. Do you want to perform for an audience that really listens, or do you prefer a busy festival? First think carefully about your band, what stage it needs and what people might come to see you. Do you need a fully equipped venue or can you perform on stage with little equipment?

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Place: where to play?

"Good artists copy, great artists steal," say Apple frontman Steve Jobs and painter Pablo Picasso. First check out where others play and visit jam sessions to get in touch with other musicians. Building and maintaining a network are very important. So make a list of venues, programmers and their contact information.

Try to get gigs in your own region first and make sure you build a solid basis there. Obviously with your fans, but also with other contacts in the industry such as programmers, technicians etc. Bar owners see bands as a guaranteed bar turnover. Programmers like regional acts as a supporting act. The band has less expenses close to home.

Pecunia: financial records and contracts

If you are just starting out, you usually work with a total fee statement form (gageverklaring in Dutch, part of the artiestenregeling). All band members fill in their personal details and give it together with copies of all IDs to the venue that you subsequently pays. It is handy to always bring a completed total fee statement form and copies of all IDs so you can be paid directly on the night itself. In some situations an artist/band can send invoices as well.

It is advisable to make up a small contract for a performance. What happens for example when the drummer is ill and you leave the venue owner, that already made a lot of costs on staff and technology, with a full house. The contract contains the logistical arrangements for the performance, as the place, date, time and financial commitments, such as the amount of the fee and payment method.

People: technique and bookings

Most beginning bands have no sound technician of their own. It is therefore important to prepare the house technician for your gig as thoroughly as you can. Send a technical rider in advance, a time list and a stageplot. Pay attention! Always make sure the riders form an integral part of the contract. In that way, you have the requirements that a location should meet, as well as what you bring yourself written down.

If your band is active beyond the local scene, then it is lucrative to hire a booker. A booker generally disposes of a larger network and can get you better deals. If your band has not yet been noticed by one of the booking offices, then turn to a motivated friend.

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Promotion: publicity and program

When you finally have a gig, how do you get that room full? Build on a good relationship with your audience and think about how you can reach each of them. Do you reach them with an invitation via Facebook? A poster hanging in the pub, canteen or on a lamppost? Maybe you can reach a lot of people by writing large letters on a large square? Consider your options and check how much time and money it would cost you.

Sometimes being the supporting act is an option: when a big act comes along that matches your band’s style, you can approach the program director of that specific location. The pay is often low, but you do reach a new audience within your musical style. You usually don't have to organize that much yourself. On top of that, it is a good experience to play for a big full house.

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