DIY Music Tips: Become a DIY Promoter
by Bret V of Music Zen
How to Become a DIY Promoter:
- Find a Venue: This is the important one, because without a venue, there is no show. This can be as simple as a garage, basement, pole barn, field-anything with power and room for a band. It also doesn't hurt if you can avoid getting noise complaints, so sound proofed or somewhat isolated are important factors.
- Find a Backup Venue: It's only a matter of time before you run into venue problems, so why not be prepared? Sometimes a venue will close for repairs or financial reasons. Sometimes they will get cold feet. Sometimes you don't have enough money for a deposit, so make sure you have a backup plan. There's nothing worse than having the bands booked only to find out that you don't have a place for them to play.
- Book a Headlining Band: You may want to start small with some local bands to get a feel for the process and pitfalls before you invite a touring band to play. Pick the band you think will have the biggest draw. Sometimes this doesn't necessarily mean they will be a good band, but they may have lots of friends or fans. The key is to get a good turnout. Remember, touring bands are often sleeping on floors, living on crap food and playing to small, unforgiving crowds, so think about how to entice them. Offer them a place to sleep, a nice, home-cooked meal and work your tail off to get them a good crowd. Also ask them how much they need to make for gas and expenses. And if you are cooking or providing food, make sure you know if they are vegetarians, vegans or omnivores. Some bands will want a guarantee, meaning they need to make x amount of dollars each show. Your best bet, if you are a small promoter, is to avoid such bands. Avoid contracts. Just promise you will work hard for them and deliver.
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