Wednesday, August 17, 2011

School of Hard Rocks Lesson 7: Out of town shows

We all love playing out of town shows. I'm in the process of booking some out of town shows for us now for the first time in a couple years.
However, some bands don't do their research before they jump on an out of town show and research is really just common sense. Even when you're planning a tour you should be PLANNING it not just doing it.

The first step should be finding some bands in the town you're looking to play in that are similar to your band in sound. Facebook, Craigslist, and are great resources. Once you start sending out messages make sure you offer to trade, that means you'll hook them up in your town when they need it.
It's best to find a band to work with that has a draw obviously. You'll want a band with experience in the scene, not a band that just formed a few weeks ago and is booking their second show.

With most shows featuring four or five bands, you'll be better off being the only out of town on the bill if you can help it. A lot of bands like to take their friend's bands with them to help split costs and have hometown support but it's harder to get people to see more than one unknown band on a single bill.

Most tours have show dates that fall on a week day and in any town those are hard dates to get people to come out. Try playing in coffee shops or smaller clubs when you know you have a weekday.
Be realistic about your estimated draw on a Monday. Even with the local bands on the show, the draw isn't going to be huge on a Monday no matter where you are. A smaller club with a capacity of 80 packed with only 30 people is much better than a huge club of like 400 capacity. You'll have a better chance of a SOLD OUT show the smaller the venue is. And who doesn't love the words SOLD OUT on a show? It helps your resume and it makes the venue and local bands want to bring you back out.

Don't just depend on the local bands to promote the show. Make sure your blasting your social networks and posting ads on craigslist. The day of the show you can flyer in the town as well. Talk to people the fast food places, gas stations, etc and try to get them to come out. Before you play the town look for local music stores on Google you can hit up.

Make sure you have merch. You can't grow your fan base if you don't have things to leave behind. Even business cards with your websites on them are better than nothing.
If you have shirts and cds they help pay for your gas, food, hotels etc...again common sense.
I'm surprised how many bands come to Vegas empty handed.


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