How Independent Bands Can Start Booking Shows

By Noe Pacheco

Touring Indie BandsAn independent band is ready to market themselves by touring after: putting a core band together, rehearsing new music, and recording music for a CD, or an EP. Selling products during a tour such as t-shirts, CD’s, stickers and other marketable products are essential for a band to do to fund the project.

Booking shows can be an impossible thing for an indie band to do if the band do not know the best way to grab a club promoter’s attention. Promoters and club owners generally book in advance, so it is imperative that a band contacts them months, maybe a year before touring.

Bands need to create flyers/postcards, and send them out constantly. Not just to different promoters, but repeatedly to the same promoters. Sending a flyer to the same promoter should be done every month or so to let them know you are serious about the opportunity, and to get them to remember your band.

A high quality color flyer does make a difference when promoting your band. Obviously, it receives more interest with solid content listed on the flyer.

  1. Performance based photo
  2. The genre of music your band plays
  3. Contact information in bold
  4. The band’s price range to do a show
  5. A couple lines of reviews from media outlets who covered past shows

Besides clubs, colleges are another alternative venue for bands to play their music live.

The popular way to grab a college representative’s attention is by sending your flyer/postcard with a CD, and placing phones calls to the student activity director who handles live entertainment.

Sending your CD and press release to college radio stations and newspapers is also a good way to make your name known on various campuses. Getting early recognition could help your chances of the student activity director hearing about your band before you inquire about doing shows.

An alternative way to book shows at colleges is by performing at the National Association for Campus Activities Showcase.

Each February NACA hosts the National Convention which brings together artists, music agencies and university entertainment buyers. The National Convention allows college representatives to see live showcases and organize co-op buying with neighboring universities.

Bands such as Dave Matthews Band and O.A.R. have been success stories through the association.

Performing at the convention may be costly, but can be worth it in the long run for the band. In order to be on the showcase, a band must first become a member of the association. Several other costs come into play in order to buy a booth, register and then submit the band. An acceptance fee is also charged if your band is chosen to play.

Networking is key for indie bands even if they do not get chosen to play college shows at the conference. There are other businesses such as bar owners, entertainment venue promoters and organizations in attendance at the showcase.

Social networks can also be key to landing gigs for a band. My suggestion is to check out what venues are popular within the indie band world. Check other indie bands’ pages and see what venues they are playing at in certain cities.

Send them a message and ask about the promoter of a certain venue, or just utilize the print marketing that was previously mentioned.

Visit to view more information about the association and their fees.

Noe Pacheco

Gighive Editor

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