Whether you’re a signed or unsigned musician, getting a gig at a festival can massively raise your profile. In the UK, there are many opportunities for up and coming musicians to get booked at festivals, something that can launch your career to a new level.
An organised press kit, demo CD and social media presence are a must. If your press kit interests the booker, they then go online get a better feel for your music. When applying for festivals, you’ve got to match your music to the ‘feel’ of the event. If you don’t fit in with the genre of the festival, you’re unlikely to get booked.
Once you’ve sent off your press kit, be sure to follow it up with a phone call. Building your contact network like this is also valuable, and can put your music into the right hands. If you’re a signed band, getting a touring manager can help you to organise the logistics of getting gigs. Equally, going through a booking agent is the norm once your band has reached a certain level. The UK’s largest festivals (Reading festival and Leeds festival) for example, don’t mind dealing directly with musicians – but those that have reached the level to play there overwhelmingly use booking agents.
Find the Opportunities
The best way to get booked at major festivals is to take advantage of the opportunities for up and coming bands. One way of getting a foot on the ladder is by getting involved with BBC Introducing, which supports artists that fly ‘under the radar’. By uploading your material onto the BBC Introducing site, it could be played on local BBC Introducing shows – or even be broadcast nationally. Many artists have been booked on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading, Leeds, and Glastonbury through this process.
If your band is based in the North West, you can also enter the Futuresound competition. By showcasing local music talent through a battle of the bands style competition, this gives the opportunity for musicians to bring their material to a wider audience. The ultimate prize is a place on the Festival Republic Stage at Leeds and Reading festival. The five runners up will also perform on the BBC Introducing stage at both venues.
If you’re an up and coming artist, getting booked at a major festival is a real possibility – so long as you get organised, network and make the most of the opportunities available.
This guest post was written by Marcus Taylor, founder of TheMusiciansGuide.co.uk, a UK music promotion website that offers resources to help musicians succeed in the music business.