Live & Touring

How To Book Your Band On A Festival This Summer

This guest post comes from Lou Plaia, the co-founder and EVP of Music Industry Relations at ReverbNation, a top provider of digital marketing and promotion tools for artists and venues.

image from Many bands and performers are anxious to get on the summer festival scene each year and the shocking truth is that the great majority of them submit their press kits without music or documentation of their fanbase.  These artists have a 99% chance of being rejected because the promoter won’t go to another website to find the band’s music and won’t think they have a following.  In response to this problem, I asked many of the 200 promoters (talent buyers, booking agents, festival and conference operators) we’ve worked with for some tips on how artists can get noticed.

  • First of all, to play at a festival, a conference or open for a national act at a club, you usually need to have experience under your belt.  If you are a new band, start small at your local clubs and make sure the venue makes sense for you.
  • Make sure your online profiles pages are updated so the promoter is not misinformed.  Don’t forget to sync everything to your online profile pages so the promoter sees how many fans you have.  Before you submit your press kit you should make sure your best song is listed first.  You probably have 15 seconds to capture a promoter’s attention. Make sure it is not solely instrumental (unless that is who you are) or an introduction from a radio station.  Also, make sure it is not exclusive to your fans because chances are the promoter is not your fan (yet). Lastly, make sure the quality is good enough so the listener doesn’t have to adjust the volume and equalizer.  
  • Include a live video if you have one.  Make sure it is the first video on your press kit.  If you owned a club or festival wouldn’t you want to see who you are booking?Stay away from using the “Other” or “Classic” genre as the first Genre field in your profile.  Sometimes a promoter is looking for an artist that fits a specific genre and I doubt they are looking at these first.
  • Keep your shows updated.  A promoter wants to see you are a working band!  If you can, add the attendance to past shows.    Don’t lie about it because promoters all know each other and if you say you had 100 people in attendance and they find out that you had 20, don’t expect to play at either place again.  Venues can also trump your attendance amount, so be really careful of putting in exaggerated numbers here.
  • It is extremely important that promoters understand where your fans live, since they need to fill their clubs so be sure to connect them to a place that showcases your fanbase. Popular festivals and conferences don’t necessarily care as much about a big fan base in their particular market because they usually have bigger artists on board to fill the venue or can rely on the aggregate of all the fans from all the artists that are playing.
  • Do not submit to something if they are not looking for your genre.  It is annoying to the promoter and it is a waste of your time and money. 

Here’s the deal.  Take the time to update your online profiles and sync everything to give you the most competitive press kit.  A promoter is going to think if you took the time to do that, you’ll take the time to publicize the show you may be booked for.   Always respect the promoter’s decision and don’t take it personally if they do not select you. While you may not be a good fit for their particular opportunity, it does not mean that you will not be a perfect fit for a future opening!  Promoters all know each other and talk.  The last thing you want is having word travel among the promoter community that your band is unprofessional which can lead to lost future opportunities.  

The same tips work when submitting to A&R execs, labels, managers, licensing companies, award shows, etc. 

And remember, even Led Zeppelin was a local band at one time!

Disclosure: ReverbNation is a Hypebot sponsor.

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  1. Mmmm – fair points but would have been applicable in January – March. Odds of getting on a Festival if you start now = 0

  2. Led Zeppelin were never a local band, their first shows were a Scandanvian tour when they were billed as The New Yardbirds.
    OK now I look like a smart ass 🙂

  3. Great points Lou also most festivals are thrown by clubs for Example Wakarusa, Coachella, All Good just to name a few so if you want to play the festival bring at least 300 fans to the clubs and they will ask you too play the festival so whenever you are booked so give it your all

  4. Though this year’s summer festivals will already be booked, many Early Bird submissions have started opening for next the festival season. So, this is great advice to come out at any time of year 🙂 Thanks for posting!
    Meghan Morrison

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