Before the Stage: The Basics

Bands, Bars, & Gigs was designed to explore and bring awareness to local bands and venues around the nation.  However, at the outset, we believe it’s valuable to the reader that the next several posts should center on the foundational aspects of planning a gig.  That creates context for understanding the dynamics of bands and venues.  The amount of time, energy, and effort that goes into planning a live local gig…well, it’s a lot.   

Putting together a local live gig sounds fairly easy.  But there are many facets that need to be accounted for before the band can even take the stage.  It’s an undertaking of coordination, from getting approved to perform at a venue, to jiving calendars, and so much more!  That’s a job on its own.  Never mind learning the lyrics, chords, patterns, and riffs of songs!

Photo:  Courtesy

Some bar bands choose to work through a booking agent to secure gig dates.  Other local bands self-manage and work the bookings on their own.  There are pros and cons to both.  And in a future blog we’ll get into that.  The point is, the mundane part is generally the front-end work.  Sometimes there is added pressure on the band because the risk they may have to take with certain venues.  As an example, there could be metrics/benchmarks that the band needs to achieve in order to get paid, such as crowd draw, register sales, cover charge, number of table reservations, etc.  This is particularly unnerving for newer bands who don’t have a following.   

For those of you who read this and may not play with a band, hopefully you’ll learn a little something you didn’t know.  Like anything in life, success as a result of hard work is so satisfying!  For those of you who do perform live, it would be great to get a reply about things you deem important in putting a gig together. 

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