BandTools Ep 29 – Get your band support slots as an opening act with popular established artists that are touring to your city. This is not always as hard as it seems, and you will benefit from playing to bigger crowds and boosting your band’s resume. Networking and making a good impression has never been so important.
Exposure to the headlining band’s fanbase. Larger crowd size and new potential fans.
Networking, meeting touring musicians, promoters and industry professionals.
Good for the band resume. Something to add to your highlights list so industry folk take you more seriously.
Increased merch sales. Playing to huge crowds and people with money, more likely to sell stuff.
Learning curve for your band. Find out what it’s like to play on the big stage, what the sound and lighting guys do, be more prepared for next time and take your stage show to the next level.
Great experience, good fun, one for the memory bank.
Know your scene. Find out who the big promoters and booking agents are in your country. Watch what other bands do. Talk to people.
Build a good reputation. Play live in your scene and be sure your band is known as an upcoming standout band in the area. Word spreads, and when promoters think about who they will get as support bands, they sometimes have a good idea of the scene, and if not they will ask people who do. Your name needs to be top of mind. Work hard always.
Send promo kits. You can do this even when you don’t know of any tours are planned. Put together a good press kit, physical or electronic, and send it to relevant promoters. Tell them your goals and ask them to consider your band whenever they have an appropriate tour.
Keep an eye on tour announcements. Sign up to mailing lists of the right promoters and follow the right pages on social media. Be sure you know about upcoming tours in your area so you can apply for support slots. Snooze ya lose.
Apply for specific tours. Once you see a tour announcement, check if there are support bands on the lineup yet or not. If they are taking applications, follow their instructions and get in touch with them. If no specific guidelines, approach the promoter by email and tell them your interested. No need to follow up here, the more you annoy them the less inclined they want you on their show. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get the spot, there is always a next time.
Promote it. This is the perfect thing to share around. Now is the time to hammer your social media and email your mailing list. Give away free stickers at the gig and maybe even an email list sign up form so people can keep following your band.
Offer your help to the promoter. Hand out flyers at local gigs, add flyers to your merch orders, ask them what you can do to make it a great show.
Be punctual. Start on time and finish on time. Pack off the stage quickly and make room for the next band as quick as you can.
Be polite. Say hello and thank you to the people involved. Be a good person and people will notice.
Most importantly, perform well. Be at the top of your game and make the most of the opportunity.
You probably won’t get paid much, if at all. The payment here is exposure, but promoters should still at least give you a little bit of money. You can ask about payment, but don’t be demanding and remember you are not the main attraction. If you are asked to pay to play, don’t accept it without speaking to someone first who knows what they’re doing.
Sometimes you will get to sell tickets. Promoters may think you can help them out with that, if so you should get a cut. Don’t let them take advantage of you.
You might not get a long set time, depending on the lineup and how long the touring band needs to play.
You might not get a soundcheck. Have your band members ready at all times in case you only get a quick line check.
Backline might not be available. Some touring bands leave their gear on stage for the whole gig, and banners. You will have to set up in front of their stuff, prepare to be squashed.
The touring band will sometimes want to hang out with you and sometimes will not. Respect their wishes and don’t be a punisher.
The touring band can’t necessarily get your band a tour with them in another country. Whilst you can make a good impression to them, don’t expect that they can automatically put a good word in for you and get you too many favours.
You can sell merch and make the most of the big crowd. Sometimes touring bands make you price match so your stuff is not cheaper than theres, but not always.
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