My Blues Life
09/04/12 Getting Gigs:
Man getting steady gigs is one of the hardest and most frustrating things about playing music. There are actually a lot of venues around now but there are a lot more bands. When I first started playing in bands years ago in Vancouver, BC most places were booked through agents. For instance an agent would set up a tour through northern BC. Of course that had it's own set of problems like how new bands got an agent to take them on etc. But at least once you were in you had a stream of gigs.
It seems much different since I've started playing around Santa Cruz. I'm sure there are still agent/managers but that is for national acts and bigger venues. For local bands you basically have to go around to each club, find out who books the bands and then start the long process of trying to get a hold of that person. Often the people that book the bands just book for that club and don't make any money from it (well there just isn't that much money in local music anyway). The are often a musician or bartender themselves and they don't have much time for doing the booking so it can take a long time to make the connection and get a gig. The best thing is to have patience and respect their situation.
Often the person booking gets to know a bunch of bands that are reliable and play the kind of music that works at their bar so getting in as a new band takes a lot of time. The good news is that once you break into the lineup you are one of those bands. Well until the ownership of management changes :). Which has happened a lot the last while in Santa Cruz. Three of the places we had steady gigs at have all changed ownership or management and we now have to start all over again.
I have gotten a couple of gigs from a new agency Bandwagon Bros who seem very good. So maybe times are a changing and local upcoming bands won't have to do so much of the booking themselves. I sure hope that's the case because I love playing and would be nice to be able to focus on that part :).
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