How To Book Show As An Independent Artist

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As an independent artist, one of the biggest challenges you face is booking shows. Without a manager or booking agent, it can be difficult to know where to start and how to get your foot in the door. In this article, we’ll take you through the process of booking shows as an independent artist, from building your network and creating a killer press kit to reaching out to venues and negotiating contracts.

1. Building Your Network

The first step in booking shows as an independent artist is to build your network. Networking is essential to getting your foot in the door and making connections with venue owners and promoters.
Here are some tips for building your network:

Networking in Your Local Music Scene

Start by getting involved in your local music scene. Attend shows, open mics, and other events where you can meet other musicians, venue owners, and promoters. Be friendly and approachable, and make sure to introduce yourself to people.

Using Social Media to Build Connections

Social media is another great way to build your network. Follow venues, promoters, and other musicians on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Engage with their content by commenting and sharing their posts. This will help you get on their radar and establish a connection.

2. Creating a Killer Press Kit

Once you’ve built your network, the next step is to create a killer press kit. A press kit is essentially your music resume and should showcase your music, accomplishments, and experience. Here are the key components of a killer press kit:

Writing a Compelling Bio

Your bio should be short, sweet, and to the point. It should highlight your musical background and accomplishments, as well as what makes you unique.

Creating Professional Promo Photos and Videos

Professional promo photos and videos are essential to making a good first impression. Invest in high-quality photos and videos that showcase your music and personality.

Crafting a Strong EPK

Your electronic press kit (EPK) is your one-stop-shop for all your promotional materials. It should include your bio, promo photos and videos, music samples, press clippings, and contact information.

3. Researching Venues and Festivals

Once you have your press kit ready, it’s time to start researching venues and festivals. Here’s what to consider:

Finding the Right Venues for Your Music

Research venues that are a good fit for your genre and style. Look for venues that regularly book independent artists and have a good reputation in your local music scene.

Identifying Relevant Festivals

Festivals are a great way to get exposure and build your fan base. Research festivals in your area and identify the ones that are a good fit for your music.

4. Reaching Out to Venues

Once you’ve identified the venues and festivals you want to play, it’s time to start reaching out. Here are some tips for writing effective booking emails:

Writing Effective Booking Emails

When reaching out to venues, it’s important to make a good impression right off the bat. Your booking email should be professional, concise, and compelling. Here are some tips to help you craft an effective booking email:

  1. Personalize your email: Address the venue owner or promoter by name, and mention why you’re reaching out to them specifically.
  2. Introduce yourself: Briefly introduce yourself and your music. Mention any accolades or accomplishments that may pique their interest.
  3. Be specific: Let them know what dates you’re available and what kind of performance you’re offering (e.g. solo, duo, band).
  4. Provide links to your music: Include links to your music and EPK so they can get a sense of your sound and style.
  5. Express enthusiasm: Let them know how excited you are to play at their venue and why you think your music would be a good fit.
  6. Follow up: If you don’t hear back within a week or two, follow up with a polite reminder email.

5. Negotiating Contracts

Once you’ve secured a gig, it’s important to understand the contract and negotiate the terms to ensure that you’re being fairly compensated. Here’s what to keep in mind:

Understanding the Contract

Read the contract carefully and make sure you understand all the terms and conditions. Pay attention to the performance fee, sound and lighting equipment, load-in and load-out times, and any other special requests or requirements.

Negotiating the Terms

If there’s something in the contract that you’re not comfortable with, don’t be afraid to negotiate. For example, you may want to negotiate a higher performance fee or request additional equipment. Be polite but firm, and always make sure to get any changes in writing.

6. Promoting Your Shows

Once you’ve booked a gig, it’s important to promote it effectively to ensure a good turnout. Here are some tips for promoting your shows:

Creating a Promotion Plan

Create a detailed promotion plan that includes social media posts, email newsletters, and targeted advertising. Make sure to promote your show consistently in the weeks leading up to the event.

Using Social Media to Promote Your Shows

Social media is a powerful tool for promoting your shows. Use platforms like Facebook and Instagram to create event pages, post updates about the show, and share behind-the-scenes content.


Booking shows as an independent artist can be a challenging process, but it’s not impossible. By building your network, creating a killer press kit, and reaching out to venues and festivals, you can start booking gigs and building your fan base. Remember to negotiate the terms of your contracts and promote your shows effectively to ensure a successful event. Good luck!

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