Lisa Occhino - How to Get Booked at Music Festivals // bandzoogle.comRN HomeRulesFAQ
Posted at Tue, 02/21/2017 - 11:46
Posts: 14
Lisa Occhino - How to Get Booked at Music Festivals //

Booking a music festival gig is one of the most effective ways to grow your fanbase and grab the attention of industry tastemakers. Earning a coveted slot on a festival lineup is a key indicator that you’re not only an extremely talented band, but also that you’re serious about putting in the work to take your music career to the next level.

However, there’s a lot of competition for festival slots that are open to independent bands, especially for the prominent résumé-builders like SXSW and Bonnaroo. You need to be realistic about the kind of opportunities that are attainable for your career level, because otherwise you’re going to waste a lot of time and money applying to festivals that you’re not ready for just yet.

If you’ve been regularly selling out your local and regional live shows, you feel confident enough in your stage presence to command a large crowd, and your online presence is up to par (i.e., you have a professional website and active social media profiles with a growing, engaged following), then you’re probably ready to start applying to music festivals.

Here’s everything you need to know about finding the best festivals for your band, putting together a killer application, and tactfully following up with promoters.

1. Target the right festivals for your music

“don’t make the common mistake of overlooking the smaller festivals and local fairs”

It may seem like blindly applying to every festival that’s accepting submissions will increase your chances of getting booked, but smart bands know that being selective is a much better approach.

Start your research several months in advance, and target festivals that are likely to book your genre of music. Find out where bands similar to yours have performed, and search festival directories like Indie on the MoveFestivalNetJamBaseMusic Festival Wizard, and Sonicbids.

When you’re first starting out, don’t make the common mistake of overlooking the smaller festivals and local fairs. They may not have the name recognition of Coachella, but they’re invaluable for gaining experience and building up your gig résumé. With a few small fests under your belt, you’ll be in a much stronger position to earn slots at the bigger ones down the road.

Once you find a few festivals that seem promising, check out which headliners have been announced, and do some digging on indie acts that have been selected in the last couple of years. Are they based in the same area as the festival with a solid local draw? Did they tour regionally or nationally prior to playing the festival? How strong is their social media presence? Have they gotten press mentions? Are they represented by an indie or major label, or are they completely DIY?

Try to identify any trends among previously selected bands for your target festivals, and see how your band stacks up in comparison to help determine if it makes sense to submit an application.

Use a spreadsheet or artist management software to keep your research organized and track progress on your target festival submissions. Feel free to customize it to your needs, but we’d recommend including at least the following information for each festival you’re interested in:

  • Festival name

  • Festival date

  • Festival location

  • Festival website

  • Submission URL/contact info

  • Submission deadline

  • Submission fee (note that some festivals increase the fee as the deadline approaches)

  • Accepted/rejected notification date

  • Submitted [yes/no]

  • Accepted [yes/no]

  • Additional notes

Remember to add all of the important deadlines to your calendar and set reminders so that you don’t miss out on any opportunities!

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