HOW TO FIND GIGS IN LOCAL BARS AND PUBS
Updated: May 30, 2020
A guide to getting started in your local music scene, finding gigs and getting paid to play music.
By Luke McColl
2019 Venue Round Up video - Filmed and edited by Luke McColl
BLOG AIM - TO BE A GUIDE TO MUSICIANS LOOKING TO BREAK INTO THEIR LOCAL MUSIC SCENE.
I'd like to help those artists getting started, with a how to guide on getting lots of bookings, dates in the diary and money in your pocket!
How i got started
Buying a PA
Joining Facebook groups
HOW I GOT STARTED
In 2018, I was asked to play at a cocktail bar in Bolton, for a brand new bar on their opening night down in the newly refurbished Vaults, only problem was that i hadn't played guitar or sang in-front of people for years, and i had no PA.
Luckily convinced by my wife and my mother in law, i took it on and long story short, since that day, I've been getting paid to play Live Music.
To begin gigging i needed;
A new PA
A new guitar
I learned how important it is to ask for advice, copy what is working for others and add your own personality, start by speaking to other artists, that musically are just like yourself and get advice! When i first started a friend who gigs in a blues trio band gave me lots of invaluable guidance, he explained that i should find performers just like me, find out the the venues they play at and then message the venue with my info. I did that! and it worked, but only sometimes.
My original message was a mammoth text, too many words, all sorts of useful information however it was info overload and likely the venue owner skimmed through or didn't bother to read it! I've purposely and consciously cut away text, so this paragraph is the same, easy to read and with only some some key-points and not info overload!
Buying a PA or BORROWING!
Go and buy a PA from HW Audio or PMT!
If someone has already paid you ££'s for a gig then you are ready to get a PA, to be confident enough to perform you should have reliable equipment, good quality sound can be achieved at an affordable price or with credit. BORROWING is a great option when you first get started and i've lent my second PA to performers until they have made the leap and got there own.
BUYING - if you are worried about the cost, get it on finance, invest in yourself. Buy it now, get bookings for more gigs and pay it off as you play.
I got a great 0% finance deal from HW Audio Bolton and bought;
2 x Electro Voice ELX200-12P
1 x Electro-Voice ELX200-18SP 18" Active Subwoofer
1 x Yamaha MG12XU
The total amount to pay: £2440
The total amount of credit: £1940
The rate of interest: 0.00% APR
12 monthly payments of £161.67
I would recommend buying new, you then receive a warranty from the store, and if you have any questions the guys at HW audio & PMT are on hand to answer them and talk you through setup.
ON A BUDGET?
The Roland Cube-Street EX costs only £439 and has effects for guitar and vocals, it sounds great and can be battery powered too! It's a great starting amp and is the second PA that i would lend to other performers.
FINDING VENUES AND OTHER MUSICIANS
Join as many Facebook music groups as you can!
From Facebook i have found most of my gigs, it's an amazing tool for finding venues and what kind of performers they are looking for. Its a great place to find other musicians and see whats working for them.
Joining Facebook music groups is essential as this is where lots of gigs can be found!
NOW THAT YOU HAVE JOINED SOME MUSIC GROUPS -
Venue owners will post a group message requesting a performer for a certain date, wanting to know who is available and offering a fee to play! If you are happy to play for the fee offered, you will need to send a direct message to the owner with an introduction and your details.
LOTS OF MUSICIANS AND COMPETITION FOR WORK -
It is very competitive and can be overwhelming to see so many musicians messaging the same venue. HOWEVER venues are always looking for new performers and have lots of weekends in the year to fill.
SENDING A MESSAGE TO A VENUE OWNER
I would advise that you only send a small amount of information, just the right info to get you noticed. I've written below the template i use, I include a good live video performing a popular song, the crowd singing and dancing along, a link to my upcoming gigs, my favorite review and a list of available dates.
A friendly introduction
A video of a crowd pleasing performance
Using an agent is a fantastic way to quickly find gigs, however an agent will need a top quality video of your performance and also usually takes a cut of the agreed fee for finding gigs.
I would recommend contacting an agent once you've successfully booked your own gigs, that way you will have a video to send to the agent and have built up confidence in your performance.
Here to help you get started and find gigs!