Festival season is a great time for musicians and fans alike. For musicians, more decent paying shows are available. For fans, they get to see many of their favorite acts all on one stage.
If you’ve got a booking at one of these gigs, or if you want to perform at a music festival in future, you need to remember that these shows aren’t like regular gigs. There are additional things you need to think about to do well at them.
Here are 4 things you can do to have a better performance at a music festival. Be sure to put them into practice at your next booking.
P.S. When applying to perform at festivals, make sure you don’t do these things.
Don’t Just Perform Songs, Put On A Show
Due to the longer show times you often get at festivals, it won’t simply be a case of you showing up, performing a song or two and leaving. Instead, you’re normally booked for a 15 minute upwards time slot, and have to keep the crowd entertained throughout.
Playing your songs one after the other can get a bit samey, especially if all of your songs are in the same genre. It’s because of this that you should aim to put on more of a show.
What I mean by this is do more than just perform your songs. Maybe have a small quick competition in there, get someone up on stage to sings or rap a lyric or two, throw out goodies for your fans, bring in a guest which people weren’t expecting, have an interlude in your set where something different happens; whatever.
These kind of things will break up your set (in a good way) and make it memorable for fans. Anything that can bring excitement and make you stand out from the other acts on the day is a good thing, so think about how you can make your set more of a show.
Stage Dive Into The Crowd (If You’re Brave Enough)
Now, stag diving isn’t new. It’s been going on for a while, and many musicians still do this. If you don’t yet stage dive, you might want to start doing so when you perform at a music festival!
Not only can this be quite fun for you, fans generally love this too. People que up for hours to make sure they’re at the front of the stage so they can get as close to the acts as possible, so if you’re willing to let them hold and support you as part of the show, chances are you’ll leave a big impression on those fans!
If you’re not sure how to stage dive, it’s simple. Simply have your fans at the front hold their hands up, get above them and jump onto their hands. As a group they support your weight.
Note: If you’re going to stage dive at a festival, be sure to have either security or friends there to help you get back up after you’ve done it. While this isn’t always necessary, for safety reasons this should be in place.
Keep Crowds Interactive
This is a tip which applies both to performing at festivals and general gigs. Keeping fans interactive is all important. You want them to feel like they’re part of the experience rather than just a viewer, and this is the easiest way to do that.
So how do you keep them interactive? Some ways are:
Asking them how they feel
This is one you can do at the beginning of your show and once or twice during. A simple “How are you feeling, is everyone alright?” usually will give you back a cheer or screams from the crowd.
If you do it at the beginning of your show before the crowd is properly warmed up it might not be as loud or as enthusiastic as it could be. A simple way to get the crowd more alert is to say something along the lines of “I can barely hear you, I said how are you doing *area where the festival is*?”
Or “I know you can do better than that, I ask again, how’re you doing?”
Asking them to perform the same action again is a widely used, simple yet effective trick to show the crowd they shouldn’t feel shy about getting involved. This repeating trick also work well with the below interaction tricks.
Doing popular chants
Some musicians use popular chants to get the crowd interactive. For example, some use ‘oli oli oli’ to provoke the response ‘oi oi oi’ from the crowd. I’m not sure if that’s a chant done in America, but in the UK and many European destinations it goes down very well. If you have any American chants which do well (or others in other areas of the world) let us know them in the comments.
Asking them to repeat after you
Finally, asking them to repeat after you is also a great way to have them get involved. It’s simple, yet allows them to feel like they’re part of the music making process.
There are other ways to keep fans interactive, some of which are mentioned in the first section of this guide (under the section ‘Don’t Just Perform Songs, Put On A Show’). Have a look at other gigs on Youtube which have gone down well for addition ideas, or think of your own unique ways to get crowds involved.
Interact With Fans After
If you really want your fans to feel special, you might want to mingle with them after the show. Most festivals have ‘VIP’ type areas where performers of the gig can hang out before and after their performance. Most acts stick to this area for the whole gig, not really traveling in the main places where all their fans are.
While it’s probably not the best idea to do it too soon before your show time, after your performance is done, you could always walk out among fans and talk to any who approach you.
This will make them feel really special if you’re seen to be spending time with them and enjoying the day like everyone else, so if you’ve got the time and don’t have to rush off, spend at least half an hour or so watching other acts with your fans.
Get any fans who take pictures with you to tag you in them. This will lead to their friends seeing the pictures and some of them following back and liking your page / profile.
If you’ve a gig coming up at a festival, be sure to perform it right. Don’t be just another act who comes along and performs song after song, make a real show of it so people really take a liking to what you do.
Have you ever performed at festivals? Do you have any additional tips you can add? If so, please leave a comment below.