Usually taking place on the weekends, the weekly paid gig is coveted by many musicians. Your dreams of having a confirmed show every week in a great place with patrons pouring in the door and selling tons of merchandise would be awesome to have become reality. Regulars coming back every week, a national tour much more within your grasp because of local prowess, and tons more fans could potentially await you. If your skill is in the DJ realm, this is also just as valuable; weddings and other events that will park you in front of other future clients, and help steady your stream of ever-needed cash. Especially as valuable in the winter months, these steady gigs can account for your “base” income, what you need to stay gigging, fresh, and keep your gear updated. And once you really prove your skill set, the owner of the venue sees it as a win win opportunity because he has a solid act that he knows he can count on to sell alcohol, get people inside, and cross promote the venue. Here we will take a look at some great tactics to use for finding a weekly paying gig.
Frequent contact with other bands you like
After speaking with an agent out in LA who is still very successful in promotion, he told us one thing to keep in mind: booking agents and bar personnel get demo CD’s and requests all the time, but how many do other bands really get? We know that since social media really blew up and bands started contacting each other the number has moved up a bit, but contacting other bands has one main edge on other methods: sometimes they have their hands so full that they may be able to offer up prime gigs. Yep! It’s true; the biggest show I have ever played in my life was done using this route. The band was not even from my town, and on their schedule it did not even appear that they were playing there in the future. I sent them a message telling them that I was booking shows in one of the premiere venues in town and thought that they sounded similar to us, and it just so happened 6 weeks down the road they were in fact coming through and on a Saturday night no less.
Direct contact with booking folks
In many towns like Athens, Georgia or Austin, Texas, there is an area that you can really target where almost all the hot venues lie. Having a well recorded demo and or/press packet should be dropped off at all these venues. Yes, you can leave the material with the bartender if you really wish, but the owner/booking individual is best. Never seem too eager, just convey the idea that you really want them to hear your sounds, and don’t expect the weekend residency up front. You may have to play on an earlier weekday to get the ball rolling, but that’s not all bad. If ten or twenty people show up and you act is if it’s 100, don’t apologize on the mic for low turnout, and plain rock hard, they will be able to envision your performance on a weekend night. Social media contact can work for this purpose, but a face to face is so much better; and if your press packet has photos of you playing crowded houses, all the better.
Respecting perks of the venue
While you are playing your way up to the point at which you could be ready for steady paying gigs, do not abuse the privileges the venue will give to you. How you act during a Wednesday night crowd will reflect on how you may very well act if offered a weekly paying spot. Yes, rock and rollers are known for alcohol and drug use, but only a few beers and maybe a shot should be consumed on stage. Once a band starts to gain some local momentum, it’s easy for them to start to abuse the freebies that come their way. Keep in mind that the club owners have dealt with huge acts coming through town, and you as a local band needs to be low maintenance.
Put yourself in their shoes and realize that for all the people that want to act fussy when they play the club, there are brand new bands that may have a very hip sound that could easily bring more people in the door. One misconception about bands just getting started is that they won’t have a following, and so don’t be surprised if when you abuse the guest list or other freebies if your spot is bumped for a newer act who is hungry to play. If you follow these pointers and are able to land a weekly paying gig, the residency will reward you in many ways; it is 100 percent worth the patience, finesse, and good manners to get to that coveted spot.