BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS: How to book your own show

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First Posted: 8/19/2013

I realize I often reference things throughout my writings that may not make complete sense to everyone. To the readers whose heads I have gone over, I apologize, but today we are going to take the time to clarify something that I have mentioned several times that I feel needs a little explanation: booking shows.

I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve had conversations about the importance of taking responsibilities into your own hands, and for us in the music scene, that means starting your own bands, booking your own shows, releasing your own records, and so on and so on. How can someone with limited or no knowledge of the “music business” be able to take on such daunting tasks? Well, now you will know how.

To be honest, you don’t need any knowledge of any sort of business to book a good show. All you will need is the ability to communicate with others – and if you don’t like that, then just ask a friend to help. I will use a recent example to illustrate my point.

My friends in the band Intent asked me to book a show for them on a tour they are doing with Demolition. They asked me for a specific date (Monday, Oct. 28) and I said I would love to have the bands back in town. So the first thing one needs to do when booking a show (aside from determining a date) is to secure a venue. Now in our area, there are limited options, but there are still options. You can call around and try a new location, or you can just see if one of your favorite spots is available for the day you like.

Now what if you don’t know how to contact these places? Next time you are at a show at one of those places, just ask one of the friendly faces stamping hands at the door; they will be able to tell you who to contact about renting the venue.

Now that we have the venue locked in, you should figure out what bands you would like to play if you don’t already have that in mind. In this day and age, and especially in our area, contacting bands is a breeze. You can simply look someone up on any social media site and chances are you should hear from them in a second. So I asked my fellow bandmates in Disengage and Zoom and Stand Clear from Washington, D.C., to fill up the show. All parties agreed, and the show was essentially done. It may not be this simple, but if a band is unavailable, just have some other options planned out.

Now that you have a venue and bands, you have to sort out the hardest part: money. You need to be able to cover the cost to rent the venue and pay the bands. According to your expenses and what you estimate the attendance to be, set a door price that will be able to pay all of your costs.

And now that you have a date, venue, and bands, make a flyer and advertise your show to get people out. Go to other shows and hand out flyers, tell the bands to promote the show, do anything you can to get people interested and excited to come out and enjoy themselves.

There it is – all you need to know about booking a great show.