How To Play At A Festival – How, Where and Mud… Lots Of Mud

This guest blog is written by Lucas Iliev from Music Gateway: connecting music industry professionals through targeted project opportunities.

So you have done a tour, your fan base is growing and it’s going well, but you want to take your live shows that one step further – the big artists, thousands of jumping and screaming people in the crowd and the air buzzing with excitement… you want to play at a festival.

But… are you ready?

How To Play At A Festival

First and foremost it is important that you as an artist/band are at the right stage, you should be actively gigging, have some exciting press coverage and make sure all of the information about you is easily accessible. This could be done by using Electronic Press Kit services such as

The key elements included in a press kit should be:
* A short and clear Bio outlining what your musical achievements are so far
* Professional quality photos
* Good quality recordings – don’t be afraid to spend money on a producer
* A video of you performing live – if the festival promoters decide they like your music they would like to see the quality of your live shows.

It is of key importance that there is some interest around you as a band/artist already, seeing that Festivals are currently reluctant to risks, even when it comes to big established bands. They would want to see that there is a reason why they should book you and not someone else.
Once you decide you are ready to target festival promoters, it is important you start by doing your homework.

Make sure you’re targeting the right festivals and the right people
You should research all the festivals around you that put on artists similar to you and then decide if their audience is right for you. Afterwards find the right way to apply by looking at their websites and researching if there are any competitions to play at any of the stages. Often some of the stages at a festival will be sponsored by brands which would have a say on who plays there. They will sometimes organise competitions, with playing on their stage being one of the prizes so keep an eye out for such competitions.

Be Organised
Create a target list showing all the needed information about the festivals you want to target. Make some notes saying the best approach, the best person to contact, their contact details, website competition links etc. This way you will be able to go back to your notes and have a clear plan of action.

The Right Time
Festival slots are booked months in advance, so if this year’s festival has already passed, you should start proactively looking for a way to get on next year’s one and regularly checking if there are any news about the festivals on your target list. Keep track of your progress showing what stage you are at with applying for each festival.

Getting booked
If you do succeed to get booked to a festival (or in any other music industry situation) make sure you don’t sign any contract you’re not sure about. Contract terms can be negotiable and you have to understand what exactly is required from you and what the organisers will do for you in return. You might not need it for smaller agreements but for more-complex contracts it is always good to seek independent legal advice just to be clear with everything.

Once you get there
You are at a festival, a place where you can meet artists like yourself and artists you’re a fan of, people that can help further your career in one way or another so make sure you always make a good impression. Meet new people, create connections, make friends!

Make sure you document your experience – record videos, make pictures, post on your social media platforms talking about the great time you’re having at the festival! Your current fans will be excited about it and it would bring your band profile and image up, and who knows your post could get a few shares and be a conversation starter.

On Stage
Put yourself in the shoes (wellies) of the crowd – they have paid for their ticket maybe with camping and travelled from around the country/world to be here, they have gone through mud and rain, slept in a tent and have been eating canned beans but they are there excited about listening to the next live band! So give them a show they will remember and talk about afterwards, make them tell their friends about you, convert them into a fan, give them a show!

After The Festival
Make sure you edit and upload all the content recorded on the festival, and answer to all the people who have engaged with you through social platforms. This will carry on the buzz you have created with the performance and make the new fans feel special. Add the festival to your bio mentioning some of the artists you have played alongside with and don’t forget to keep in touch with everyone you have met at the festival, as these contacts could lead to further exciting opportunities.

Music Gateway

POSTED: Wednesday 5th March 2014

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