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Everything You Need to Know About Setting Up Live Shows


There’s always been a misconception for many newcomers to the live music scene no matter which genre you or your band/group participates in.

One of the most difficult aspects of the music scene is understanding how live shows work, whether in your local city/area or when touring.

I’ve seen so many groups and bands (myself included) build momentum when first embarking on the live music scene only to fizzle out within a year.

My suggestion is for every artist/band with wishes of succeeding in music is to build proper professional relationships with the most serious people of the booking/promotion world. In addition, make sure you seek proper management if you have desires of any type of longevity as a live performer.

Promoters, managers, and booking agents come and go and unless represented by a legitimate entity, they usually do more harm than good for up and coming acts. Of course, one can’t actively enter the live music realm without establishing a presence with these entities. So, you’re going to have to go through proper channels – working the scene, going through the ropes, and learning the steps it takes to book the best possible shows. Chances are you’re going to spend years opening for larger established local acts, then nationwide touring artists before you can effectively build an audience as a headliner.

Trust me, it’s every artists’ dream to sell-out a venue and rock out a packed crowd who showed up, and paid money to see you perform. I live in the live music capital of the world(Austin) and its been brutal the entire time I’ve been here.

There’s one definite guarantee, if you want to build a core fan-base that involves leaving your comfort zone and experiencing the live show scene in other cities around you.

I suggest not limiting yourself to less than 300 miles from your present residence for more opportunities for live shows. Build relationships with several promoters, venue owners, and local acts in every area you intend on extending your name in first. Remember nobody likes outsiders infringing on their turf, it can get ugly if not approached properly.

After one spends more than enough time polishing up their live show performance, make sure you’re accepting the right shows. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to advise fresh talent to eventually avoid being the act that believes any/every show counts, and never turn down a live show offer.

One can play-out their effectiveness if continuing to play the same material in front of the same type of crowds all too often. If you’ve gone 3 months straight performing the same exact set, learn when to take a break to work on new material. There’s only so many respected fans in your area that can listen you perform the same songs over and over for every event.

Eventually, once you’ve had dozens, if not hundreds of shows under your belt, you’ll realize what mistakes to avoid making twice as well as who you do and don’t want to work with.

The goal is to eventually eliminate the middle men of half a dozen promoters and build a name that sells itself, so no matter where you perform, you can at least bring in a crowd that will allow you break even if not bring in at least a little dough.

For the hundreds of shows I’ve done, I can’t even remember the names of half the acts that have shared the bill. As thousands have learned before, they’re here today and gone tomorrow.