How to Get Your First Gig


Every now and then we all here a certain kind of story. Someone uploaded a couple of videos of their songs to YouTube or SoundCloud or whatever, they got discovered, and they were offered a record deal and an amazing gig at a huge venue. And sure, that happens once in a blue moon, but it’s not really something musicians should aspire to.

Getting your music out there requires work, finding a venue that will have you requires work, getting to open for another act requires work, and, of course, being paid to play a party, requires work. The probability of some random person coming up to you and asking you to play a venue out of nowhere is pretty slim. At the very least, you have to have your music available online and do a little bit of promotion before something like that can even happen. What we’re saying is that getting your first gig will depend a lot on you and your strategy, rather than the “universe”, or “chance”, or whatever you want to call it. If you’re ready to play live, let’s talk strategy and what you should be doing to get what you want:

Try Cold Calling

Cold calling is annoying, and if you’re a shy person, it feels like a nightmare, but there’s a reason why telemarketers have been cold calling like crazy for decades. It’s because every now and then it works. What you can do is make a list of all the clubs that allow bands like yours and then contact them. Just ask them if they have any openings for a new band and send them a link to your music. It won’t be a walk in the park, lots of them will say no, others will not even bother with a reply, but, if you’re lucky and persistent, a few of them will be interested in your music and offer you a gig or at least keep you in mind of future openings.

Trust Word of Mouth

Everyone knows someone that knows someone that knows someone that can help you. So all your friends and family should know you’re in a band. This is not a license to spam them through every social network. Just let them know, while talking to them or every now and then drop a link to your music somewhere they can see it. Be sure that those closest to you know about your band. You can rest assured that if they hear about opportunities for bands, they’ll keep you in mind. And, if you’re close enough, you can outright ask them if they know about any upcoming projects you guys can be a part of.

Check Local Festivals

Most cities have local festivals for new bands. They’re usually organized by other bands and they’re welcoming to bands that don’t have lots of experience. Get in touch! These types of festivals have comprehensive requirements to get in, and chances are even a new band might be able to do it. Always keep in mind that if you put in the work, things will happen. Put your name out there and don’t be afraid to do a little marketing for your music. However successful you manage to be will depend on how hard you and your bandmates are willing to work.