If you’re a musician or band looking for venues to play music at, you’re in luck. Today I’m going to show you how to find shows to play, whether you’re looking for a one off gig or to book a tour.
You should also check my guide on how to get gigs as the below information will show you where to find the venues. The other one I linked to will show you how to secure that gig spot. So read this one first, then check the other for the next steps.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
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First And Foremost, Make Good Music
Before you look for venues for your band to perform at, you need to make sure your talent is at a good level. You could find 100 venues looking for musicians to perform, but if you’re not good enough for them to showcase to their audience, you won’t get any gigs.
So make sure your talent is at a good level before you start looking for venues. If you don’t, you’ll only be wasting your time.
Look For Venues And Events Similar Musicians Have Performed
One of the first things you should do to find gigs, is look at where similar acts have previously played at. If they managed to perform at a certain venue or event, there’s a chance you’ll be able to perform there too. It’s a proven venue.
You’ll first want to draw up a list of say 10 acts who are similar to you. In terms of:
- Style of music played,
- Talent levels,
- Fanbase size, and
- Area based.
Once you have this list, load up your internet and look into venues they’ve performed at. This should give you a list of places you can note down to approach in future. They’ve essentially done a lot of your homework for you. Once you find all the venues these 10 have performed at, try it with another group of 10 musicians.
This is a similar strategy to one musicians can use to get more press. While it sounds obvious now you know it, many often over look this strategy, even though it’s a very powerful one. Don’t be that person.
Which Local Venues Are Actively Looking For Acts?
Next up, you should try and find local venues who are actively looking for people to play shows for them. Getting someone to book you who is already looking for acts is usually easier than trying to convince a venue who doesn’t have live acts to let you perform. The former will already have systems set up to make you performance happen, while it’ll be an effort for the latter to put in place a show for you.
So have a look at local venues, and see which ones have live acts. You’ll find there are some which do, but not all of them will play your genre of music. So weed them down until you have some that are suitable.
For some areas, you’ll find there are none suitable. If this is the case, still use the other strategies mentioned in this guide.
Use Both Online And Offline Resources To Find Venues
A big mistake many musicians make is only looking online to find venues to play at. Yes it’s the easy and comfortable option; you can do everything from the comfort of your home in your pajamas if you like. But remember, in music it’s often easier to built up relationships and get a feel for things when done in person.
By going to a venue you feel might be good for you, you can get a feel for whether or not it really is, and maybe even meet the owners. If you emailed them without meeting, they may no get back to your questions. But if you go and ask them in person (or ring them if the venue’s too far for you to travel), people can be a lot more responsive.
This isn’t to say you’ll get to talk to everyone you try and talk to, but it does often increase your chances. Furthermore, they might also be able to let you know more suitable venues if theirs isn’t right for you. So don’t keep all your venue searching online.
Get Recommendations From Those In the Know
Instead of just relying on looking for venues which others have performed at, it’s a good idea to ask others in the music industry for their recommendations. See if they know anywhere you could potentially perform.
The reason this is different from the other methods of finding venues, is because you don’t have to only look into where other musicians have performed. You could even go to fans and ask where they go for live music, or ask sound engineers if they know anywhere which will suit your performance style.
This is where all the networking you’ve been doing will come in handy. Make a few calls, send a few emails, and see what ideas come back to you.
Expect To Be Rejected…
Lastly, it’s important to know this won’t all be plain sailing. You will face rejection along the way, but don’t let it stop you from looking. The truth is, when you’re searching for venues to gig at, you will face rejection. Venue owners and event organizers will ignore your messages, people won’t give you information (or search for it longer than needed), and you’ll perform some searches which turn out to be dead ends.
But it’s ok. This is just the way it is, but it’s not a reason to get demotivated by things.
The fact is, there are venues out there which play your kind of music. If you look hard enough, you will find them. When you do, make a note of their contact details, then go on to contact them once you’re ready.
There you go, over 1000 words on how to find a venue to play music at. Now of course, this is just the first step. If you want to know how to approach these venues you find and get them to book you, you’ll want to read this guide.
So, how have you gone about looking for venues so far? And what has or hasn’t worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.