Most artists face a lot of challenges when it comes to getting gigs, especially as up and coming artists, it can be very hard and frustrating. There you are very talented and skilled yet there’s no gigs coming in, but to be honest artists get bookings because of popularity and being connected to event promoters so you need to work on getting your name out there and building those connections with promoters and club owners.
Although building connections is not that easy especially if you’re still starting out. So you need to start building up your reputation on the streets, start organizing events of your own. That way you will now be visible to other promoters and you’ll soon start working with most of them or at least know each other.
Benefits of organizing your own events as an up and coming
- You get to book yourself , you’ve now created your own gigs
- Playing at your own Event will give you way more branding than being an extra in some else‘s event, people will take you more seriously than when you were just opening up for someone. With your own events you can allocate yourself the peak time slot and have other guys opening up for you. And when people talk about your event, they will refer to it as DJ XXX‘s event that way your brand is starts growing even further.
- You start building relationships with a lot of other artists , DJs , promoters and club owners
How to get into organizing events
Organizing events can a stressful and expensive task at times, so you need to be prepared to work extra hard and be able to plan everything in time. My advice if you’re new at organizing events is to start small and work your way up. Approach local pubs and entertainment spot and propose what you intend to do, convince them that the event will be both beneficial to both parties , target mostly places that don’t host events a lot , you’ll have a better chance of getting the place for free. However you will need to work hard on your marketing, you need to ensure a reasonable turn out so the club owner can continue letting you host there for free.
For the first few shows , you may not even make a cent so make sure your brand benefits by all means , name your events in a way that benefits you e.g. ‘ Friday Nights with *DJ/Artist Name* ’ . Then as your events start gaining momentum, you can start negotiating with the owner to get paid or start introducing a cover charge at the door.
Make sure you put on a good show, there’s nothing as bad as having a poor performance at your own show especially when you’ve given yourself a peak slot. An example of an up and coming artist who was able to successfully do this is Groove Africa , A DJ Dou based in Cape Town , Through the events they’ve been hosting , they are now the most booked local act and have a great fan base in Cape Town.
Other ways to increase your bookings:
When the events you host start becoming popular, a lot of the popular local DJs will want to become part of the events, hook them up and ask them to hook you up when they have events as well.
Most of these gigs you get from friends won’t be paying gigs so make sure you accept gigs that will be beneficial for your brand and increase your follower ship.
In this way you will start gigging more which will expose your brand to large audiences, and will eventually result in paying gigs. Remember the true value of an artist is the number of followers they have, the more followers you have the more your value increases in the eyes of an event promoter.
One last method for getting gigs is calling and calling and calling even more. Although be prepared to be turned down a lot but if you call about 5 promoters/club owners each day for a week , there’s no way you cannot secure at least one or two gigs. The key with this method is not to lose hope, just keep on calling and emailing your demo tapes and videos of previous performances. So they see that you can actually move a crowd.