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Leonard Smalls

Which gig would you take?

Which gig would you take?  

58 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of these gigs would you take?

    • Headline 20 minutes away, decent venue and crowd who know and appreciate you, but only a couple of pints in it for you
      37
    • Headline 1.5 hours away, decent venue but nobody there knows your band so who knows if there's an audience, fee covers fuel plus a couple of beers
      2
    • Supporting band with a good crowd at decent venue 2+ hours away, fee doesn't cover fuel
      19


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Imagine you're in a relatively new originals band... Many will know there's very little (if any!) money in it when you're just starting out. Not only that but audiences can be very hard to come by.

So which is best?

a)  a headline gig quite locally at a venue you've played before and know there'll be a bit of an appreciative crowd, but there's virtually no money in it apart from a few free beers

b) a headline gig at a good venue 1.5 hours drive away where you've never played or even been to, so you've got no idea if any punters will turn up to see a band they've never heard of, fee covers your fuel plus a few beers

c) a support at a good venue more than 2 hours drive away, you know the headline band will pull in a large crowd but the fee barely covers your fuel cost

Is it better to try and get your self known by plugging away purely locally, or cast the net a bit wider in the hope that someone will turn up, or hope that someone else's audience will like you and spread the word?

 

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A). 

I’m in this fir the enjoyment, not financial gain. 

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I've done quite a few of all of them, including a few B)s where after a 2 hour drive you do the gig in front of 4 punters, then you drive home having pocketed £50, all of which goes into the petrol tank... Does playing this type of gig actually harm the band, in that it (perhaps subconsciously) makes the promoter think " this band won't bring in a crowd, I won't book them again!"?

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c) If you're in an originals band then you want to be sharing your music, building a fanbase and widening your appeal. With that in mind it is always good to pick up support slots to established acts and build your network of venues, fans, potential supports etc.

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For a new originals band, I'd vote C. To me, the word "headline" is code for "on at 11pm after most of the people have left". I mean, A does sound like good fun, but it's not going to help your band grow. B sounds like it's going to be one of those nightmare gigs where each band brings their own little fan club, and most of them will go home when their band of choice finishes. C, however, sounds like a good opportunity to win some new fans. I wouldn't want to do it every weekend, as it's going to be hard work, but if you put on a good show then you could really make a big impact.

S.P.

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Actually the best strategy is to do what The Terrortones did.

Organise gigs in your home town. Put on reasonably well known bands who are doing a similar style of music to your band and who will play for less than £150, and get your band to open for them.

Do this on a regular basis - every 4 to 6 weeks, make it into a decent evening with DJs playing appropriate music between the bands, promote the hell out of it.

You'll learn lots from watching the more established bands go about their business (both what's good and what to avoid) and unless your band is dreadfully dull you should start building a decent local following. It also looks good on your band's "CV" for getting decent out of town gigs, when you've got a long list of impressive support gigs.

Edited by BigRedX
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Which is the better gig to get you known and generate more gigs for the future? That's the one I'd do.

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If it’s offered and I’m free, I’ll do the gig. Not particularly in it for the money, but I am very wary of others profiting greatly from gigs where I’m not. There has to be some parity or I’ll politely decline. 

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I'd take c). Genuinely good experience and a chance to build a following. You are close to breaking even and, if you travel together, quite possibly a good laugh (which may come in handy if you end up being together on the road a lot).

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I would do all of them. If the question was ...which would you prefer then c ...I enjoyed the few that I have done over the years.

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C. Always. If you are an originals band constantly playing in front of an audience that knows you will not expand your audience by any significant amount. No cash in it but playing to a big crowd pulled in by another band might be just the spark that gets you noticed.

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1 hour ago, BigRedX said:

Organise gigs in your home town.

I tried that with a previous band...

But as our home"town" is less than 2000 people there's not an enormous audience pool. Add to that the fact that for a large number of those who do go out the ideal gig is The Wurzels meant that about 50 people turned up, at £3 each, for a gig that cost nearer to £600 to put on. I can see it working as a strategy in a bigger town though!

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2 hours ago, ped said:

A). 

I’m in this fir the enjoyment, not financial gain. 

Yep, me too.

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Always determined by the wider aims of the band.  For an originals band looking to build a following it's got to be C, even if you're not covering costs.  Doesn't sound like there is a big earner on the list anyway, so the difference between covering fuel and a couple of beers and not covering fuel probably isn't huge. 

While it may not be as much fun as A right now, I see it as an investment that might pay off with bigger crowds, better gigs and more fun in the future

But this assumes it's a direct clash (and the OP doesn't say as much, just which is better for the band). 

Personally I'd be happy to do all three if they didn't clash.

A for fun and to keep the local crowd happy, and I've done plenty of those.  Can't survive on them, but they are brilliant to do

B to play a good venue that's new to the band and see if there's a crowd, and you can do a bit of promotion around it yourselves.  Having done a few B type gigs with an originals band there can also be a positive effect even if it's empty if the venue or promoters see that you are a band worth having back for a better slot - say a more C type gig supporting a band who's fans will enjoy what you're doing.  If it doesn't work out, nobody comes and the promoters don't ask you back, there's no harm done

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what about an option d)  any gig type but an endless supply  of beer and possibly of munchies.

of the others it's an (a) easily.  Not that bothered about the money as I'm not a pro musician and I'd be more interested in getting a strong local following than owt else

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5 hours ago, cetera said:

c) If you're in an originals band then you want to be sharing your music, building a fanbase and widening your appeal. With that in mind it is always good to pick up support slots to established acts and build your network of venues, fans, potential supports etc.

Agree, if trying to establish yourself do exactly that to the biggest audiences possible. Take the hit financially for a while, once the name is out there the bigger fees and greater merch sales come in. It’s how we’ve worked from the start and we’ve progressed it fairly well.

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Another vote for Option C - getting in with some good bands in other towns and cities is the best way to spread awareness of your existence. And you can return the favour by hosting them in your own home town with a variant on Option A. Option B depends far too much on how diligent and understanding the promoter/venue is, as some might get the hump with you if you haven't packed the place to the rafters, irrespective of the fact that you're not in the least bit local.

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I voted 1.

However, if I was in an originals band, I would be far more prepared to take a punt on gigs that involved more effort at good venues.

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None of them, I don’t drink on gigs, so it would be a couple of diet Cokes.

Although I’m not into gigging for the money, I usually come away with £60 in my pocket, taking a loss or getting a couple of drinks is taking the p*ss, the only folks taking money are the promotors or venue.

If you are an originals band I can see the point of taking these type of gigs to get the band exposure.

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B - but quite honestly wouldn't be happy with any of the options suggested.

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13 hours ago, ped said:

A). 

I’m in this fir the enjoyment, not financial gain. 

Sorry guys, I'd have to pass on all 3. I always have fun and enjoy my gigs, thats a given. However, this  is a business for me I play for a set fee. 

If I was. 40 years younger it would be a different story.

Blue

 

 

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A, but depends on where you are. If you live in the middle of London why would you drive an hour and an half to go to a village in Norfolk? The other way around makes sense.

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1 hour ago, FinnDave said:

B - but quite honestly wouldn't be happy with any of the options suggested.

Dave , we're in the same boat.

Like I said if I were 40 years younger my position would be completely different.

Blue

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Just now, T-Bay said:

A, but depends on where you are. If you live in the middle of London why would you drive an hour and an half to go to a village in Norfolk? The other way around makes sense.

*My dream is to play anywhere in the UK. Wish I were on better terms with my ex-wife she lives a little North of London.

One thing, from all I heard from you guys , on average you have to drive a lot further to gigs than me.

Blue

*If I ever make it across the pond , I hope it's 1972 when I get there.

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