So you’ve now been playing with your new band a few weeks. You’ve figured out what your style is, you’ve learned to play a bunch of covers and you’ve even written a handful of your own original songs. The next step is to start playing some gigs.
You might want to contact other bands to see if you can get added to their bill, this will help you become familiar with the work and logistics involved with playing a live gig, but will give you exposure to a potential fan base which is already interested in going to gigs. Once you’ve got a few of these under your belts, by the time the summer comes around, you might decide you want to play an outdoor gig. Well here’s what you do:
Firstly, you need a place to play. Contact farmers, landowners, schools, churches and other places to ask about the availability of using their land and facilities. You could be lucky enough to land a sports arena with seating, toilets and PA already set up. On the other hand, you might just get offered a corner in a field. In either case, make sure there’s enough room for people to park their cars nearby. Don’t forget that you’ll need transportation, too. A good idea is to buy an old van or minibus and use it as your gig bus.
Even if it’s a folk gig, chances are you’ll need power to amplify your instruments, light up the stage, keep the refreshments cool etc. so you ought to buy perhaps a couple of portable generators.
If you want to make money, you could sell tickets in advance, charge on the door or make a profit on drinks and food. Perhaps get some band t-shirts made up and sell them at a huge mark-up. Always be aware of the legal and tax regulations before doing so, though.
You’ll have to organize people to set up the PA, any seating, portable toilets and bars. You might even need to employ people to take care of these for you. Don’t forget to factor this into your tickets prices. Another expense could be for security. If there’s going to be alcohol and young people getting excited and thrashing about, it might be wise to hire a few enforcers who can spot trouble in the blink of an eye and stamp it out immediately with unquestioned authority.
If Public Liability Insurance is not included with the use of land, you might have to negotiate this, too. You can offer advertising space and promotions to companies, plus sell your own CDs in order to offset such expenses.
Now get together with the other bands on the line up and get ready to rock out. This is going to be the best outdoor gig ever!