Singers and musicians like to perform, so the next step is getting your music heard! If you have read our section on Perfecting Your Act you will already have gained some confidence and experience at all the local open mic/singers, jam nights or relevant groups and produced a Publicity Pack to send out to prospective bookers and agents plus a Press Pack for the media.
If you don’t know of a local venue you can approach, the best place to start is the local newspapers, yellow pages or trade papers or our Gig Guides.
Make a list of any venue advertising live music, dj’s, karaoke nights or relevant acts in your area. It pays to do some research, going to the venue enables you to see where you would have to set up, the audience capacity & style of music prefered. Alternatively you can telephone to find out what size of act is booked, the nights they perform and musical preferance, before approaching the publican or manager.
Always ensure you carry your business card and if possible, a couple of publicity packs or a tape with you at all times. This gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your abilities to the prospective booker and enable you to supply the venue with publicity material.
Original acts, may have difficulties getting gigs in venues used to covers. Always ensure that any original compositions are ‘Copyrighted‘ before public performance or sending out demo’s and the band, orchestra, group name chosen is not already in use. Information on band name registration, copyright and links to relevant sources are available plus other relevant resources can be found in the Songwriting Advice & Resources and Essential Resources Sections of this site.
Approach a variety of venues like:
Art Centers & Galleries
Owners & Organisers often book live music, instrumentalists, bands, poets and singers for their Openings and Art Shows.
Banqueting Suites, Function Rooms & Halls
May not hire entertainment themselves but do keep a record of available acts for clients using the rooms for Conferences, Weddings & Corporate Events. Contact the Manager for details & requirements.
Strangely enough occassionally have live entertainment. Nearly always booked through Head Office via an Entertainments Agency. Contact the local manager for procedure, details & contact numbers. (Covers Only)
There are still a few of these around who concentrate on live music, mainly established acts, tribute artists and covers bands. Contact the Manager who usually hires via Entertainment Agencies.
Often use live music, dj’s & karaoke entertainers for waterway trips, parties and corporate events by party organisers or run by the boat owner.
The larger sites book entertainers either via the Entertainments Manager or local Entertainments Agency.
Carnivals, Fete’s, Fairs
Usually run by local groups on a Charitable/Non-Profit basis. Contact the Carnival or Fete Organiser.
Churches – Mainly Choral/Gospel/Christian
(dependant on nomination) and often have their own ‘in-house’ group, however, many parishes will do swap concerts and some vicars encourage most forms of live music by allowing their halls to be used for band practice, talent shows, battle of the bands, recitals etc. Contact the Vicar/Priest for information.
Corporate Events Organisers
Employ a wide range of entertainers depending on the theme of the night and type of client. Everything from Solo Instrumentalists, Ensembles, Bands, DJ’s and more! Advertise in Trade Papers and Annual Publications.
Colleges & Universities
Contact the Student Union, if they use an Agent ask for the details. In some cases the rooms and halls or grounds are used for private functions (Weddings/Conferences) which are organised by one of the Administrative Departments who hold a list of suitable Acts/Bands/Entertainers for their clients.
Advertise for Entertainers in ‘The Stage Newspaper’ (UK) and Trade Journals. Entertainment Agencies are also used and Auditions/Showcases are held.
Holiday Camps (Independent)
The majority have several forms of live entertainment for a variety of clientel. Bookings are arranged by their Entertainments Booker or an Agency.
Holiday Camps (Chains)
The larger groups like ‘Butlins’ hold Auditions for ‘Red Coats’, ‘Dancers’ and ‘Entertainers’ of all varieties. Advertisements can be found in ‘The Stage’ Newspaper.
Some book entertainment for themselves, others only provide information for clients using their function rooms. Contact Hotel Manager for details.
Occasionally host open evenings, poetry/writing workshops and live music, contact the head of department or local council for details/bookings.
The Recreation Department usually has an Events Organiser who co-ordinates any local council run or participated event and who recommends acts/artists/bands etc., for internal parties, council run halls & community centers etc,.
Entertaining the troops has been a entertainment tradition and still continues. Acts may be vetted and searched, contact the bases or Department of Defence for current policy and recommended agencies.
Not all of them just pump out DJ music – some have Live Acts and Bands, Talent Shows and Theme Nights. Contact the Manager or Entertainment Manager for details.
Tend to use Karaoke, DJ’s, Solo’s & Duo’s unless they have a Music Licence. Contact the Proprietor or Manager for their booking arrangements. (Some use Entertainment Agencies).
Acts range from novices to pro buskers, who are invited to fill in a form, send two photographs and attend an audition after which successful applicants are issued a busking licence. This allows users to book slots and perform at designated stations/spots on the London Underground. There are 1200 slots a week available so zap over now to fill in the Busking Application Form and get Busking! For more information on Busking plus links to various Countries Busking Licence requirements and application forms visit our new ‘Buskers Page.
Restaurant Manager or Head Office if its part of a major chain, i.e., Pizza Express. Contact Public Relations Department for the name and number of their Agency or internal Entertainments Co-ordinator.
In recent years local schools have started to book new ‘teen’ acts, organise music workshops and/or allow their music students to participate in local events. Qualified or Experienced Musicians are sometimes required for particular programs. Contact the Music Department or Principal for information on current policy.
Shops & Shopping Centers
Busking is allowed in some but you require permission. Shop Openings & Charity Events often use live music to enhance their event, bookings are usually arranged by the Shop Manager, Head Office or Town Center Managers.
Usually a Pub or converted Club that specialises in promoting new and unsigned acts/bands. Contact their Organiser or Promoter for details but don’t expect to get paid!! Look in our ‘Venues Listings’, the ‘NME’, ‘Melody Maker’, ‘Time Out’ and ‘Teletext’.
Jazz, Blues, Country, Rock, Rock n Roll? Whatever your style of music there are clubs who book acts & bands on a regular basis. Find them in Yellow Pages, Teletext or Specialist Trade Magazines.
Tend to stick to Established Artists or Tribute Acts but occassionally known to run Band & Talent Competitions or use local artists to support larger acts.
Town Shows and Festivals
Contact the Local Councils Recreation or Health & Safety Department for the Public Events Organiser or details of the company organising the event.
Proprietor or Manager usually arranges bookings although major chains book via Head Office. Contact Public Relations Department for the name and number of their Agency or internal Entertainment Booker.
Working Mens Clubs, CIU Clubs, Political Parties Clubs
Nearly always book covers artists, bands, tribute acts, karaoke and disco’s but occassionally get brave and let a local original band have a go. Contact the Entertainments Manager or Booking Agent.
Youth and Community Centres
Contact the Centre Manager and ask who books the entertainment or if there are any future events planned suitable for you to participate in.
Any PUBLIC event must apply for permission from their Local Council for a public entertainments and/or music licence which is issued by the Health & Safety Department. This is done months in advance so request a list of current events under application for the Organisers details. Many Councils have a community newspaper and local newspapers are used by the organisers to advertise their forthcoming event.
Always keep notes on the meetings and telephone conversations you have, who you spoke to, what the outcome was, if you need to send further details and when you need to recontact.
There are no real hard and fast rules for the type and style of music or entertainment a booker or venue will use and you will have to check your local listings, newspapers and trade magazines to get an idea of the preferred style. Having said this it also depends on what is going on in the area and the types of events planned. Some places may be orientated to one style of music but hold the occasional themed event, party or talent show and even the most die hard Nightclub has been known to open its doors to an original band if they have a following and can negotiate a reasonable arrangement. You’ll never know unless you try, so go on – what better excuse for a night on the Town than ‘Researching’ the local venues & guess what? Its considered a legitimate expense – that means Tax Deductable Folks!!!!
Check out the Electric Blues Club sections covering the latest jam nights, floor spots, events, clinics, workshops & demonstrations and venues listings.
Finally, you have gained your stage experience, are getting paid bookings and possibly a following. What next? – go for it – record an album of your best material. Choose two or three tracks and then the marketing starts again!! To help you in your quest there is information on recording demos, approaching radio stations for Radio Airplay, some helpful advice on How to get Published and How to Get a Record Deal plus tips on how to get the press and media to feature your act in the Media Coverage section.
Want to know how the top managers and bands get noticed? Read our ‘How To’s and Articles for the inside info on the biz from the best in the biz!
Building a webpage or website is a great marketing tool – adding photo’s, soundbites or even video gives fans, bookers and A & R men the chance to catch up on your act. Contact details should be available on the page (preferably an email address or work number). Sell your new album and merchandising via your site and at live gigs, you may even decide you don’t need a record company!!
For those of you who want to go the DIY route but lack the computer facilities or know how there are a host of music websites who will allow you to upload tracks to promote or sell your music worldwide.
Agents & Promoters
Advice on becoming your own agent or finding an agent, information, example contract and contact addresses.
Articles & How To’s
On Marketing, Advertising and Promoting your act or band with information and advice on recording demos, getting media coverage, radio airplay and free publicity.
Artist & Band Management
Advice on self management, information on finding a manager, example contract and contact addresses.
Gig Guide at Vocalist
For Jam Nights, Open Mic Nights, Singing, Band & Songwriting Competitions and to Advertise your Gigs/Concerts/Recitals & Events Free Online
Music Industry Job Listings
A&R, Publishers, TV, Managers, Producers seeking Artists, Bands, Musicians, Programmers, Songwriters, Vocalists.
Singing, Talent & Band Competitions
Listings & links for National, International & Online Beginners to Advanced Competitions