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Advice For Getting Gigs

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Hello, I'm a musician from the UK (Northern Ireland) to be specific. I play in a blues trio. We've not done any gigs yet and we're new but we've been practicing lots in the past. We'd mainly like to play pub gigs and small gigs. How do we get these gigs, do we advertise or do we ask? Also, please give any other advice :D

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It's a tough time for all bands, but tougher for a new band with no gigs in the bag.

Advertising will do no good at all.  You really need to approach bar owners and club members for gigs.  They'll ask you if you have a CD or something on youtube etc.

They then won't listen to your CD or watch your vidoes. :(

You just need to be persistent until someone gives you a gig.  In all honesty, it's an uphill struggle.  Do try to record a few tracks anyway, just in case.

If you want to get some experience playing live to an appreciative audience, then you could go to the monthly Sunday afternoon blues jam at the Enler Delta Blues Club in Comber. (When it resumes, post covid.)  You will be given a slot to play a few songs and jam with other players if you want to.  It's always an enjoyable day and the beer is cheap.

Plus, you'll make good contacts in the music scene and could even end up with a Saturday night gig at the club. (PM me if you're interested in this.)

Anyway, I hope you have a lot of success with the new band.

Frank.

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Is there still a decent blues scene in NI? I play around London and blues is a commercial disaster in this area ... there are very few decent blues gigs and some of the bands competing for those gigs are unbelievably good.

 

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1 hour ago, Happy Jack said:

Is there still a decent blues scene in NI? I play around London and blues is a commercial disaster in this area ... there are very few decent blues gigs and some of the bands competing for those gigs are unbelievably good.

 

There's a decent blues scene in N. Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.  Mind you, there are quite a few good bands too, so competition for gigs is fairly high.  (That's part of the reason that I also play in a covers band doing the usual pubs/clubs/private parties/weddings.)

There are a few summer annual blues festivals too, all popular and well attended.

Frank.

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my mate knows the owner of a pub I wanted our band to play at. So we went one night, and when it thinned out near closing time we had a chat. It went like this

My mate introduced us,told him we want to play there.

"SURE, SEND US AN EMAIL"

that's what all the bookers here do now, lazy sods.

SOOOO ring all the pubs, get their booker's email addy and send them links to your FB page, Soundcloud recordings etc.. Or look em up on FB and send a message.

Don't have any digital media?? THAT'S your first task then.

A poor quality rehearsal recording may not get you far but if that is all you can get together it's better than nothing.

GO SEE OTHER BLUES BANDS , get to know the musicians,bar owners, fans. Eventually you can ask to open for one of the bands.

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To add to what Frank has said - also get to know some of the other bands in the venues you want to play in. You'd be surprised how often 'things come up' and a venue is left stuck without a band at the last minute. That's when frantic calls are made and dashing heroes step into the breach. The scenario of singer/band A has to cancel at last minute and then calls singer/band B through to Z until someone is available happens more than you'd think. Being super flexible helps here. It also happens this way as an individual musician - the same calls get made looking drummers, bassists, etc. Your singer might have to cancel at the last minute, so rather than replace the whole band you just replace the singer and wing it. Again, this happens a lot and you just go with it. And when this does happen, and presuming you do a good job, you'll find bar managers a little more receptive to taking your number.

A little.

Ish.

Edited by Gareth Hughes
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6 hours ago, Gareth Hughes said:

To add to what Frank has said - also get to know some of the other bands in the venues you want to play in. You'd be surprised how often 'things come up' and a venue is left stuck without a band at the last minute. That's when frantic calls are made and dashing heroes step into the breach. The scenario of singer/band A has to cancel at last minute and then calls singer/band B through to Z until someone is available happens more than you'd think. Being super flexible helps here. It also happens this way as an individual musician - the same calls get made looking drummers, bassists, etc. Your singer might have to cancel at the last minute, so rather than replace the whole band you just replace the singer and wing it. Again, this happens a lot and you just go with it. And when this does happen, and presuming you do a good job, you'll find bar managers a little more receptive to taking your number.

A little.

Ish.

Great advice Gareth.  Like yourself, I get (used to get :( ) a fair number of gigs replacing the bass player at short notice.  The contacts are always valuable and the experience of "busking" with a new band is priceless, and sometimes humbling.
Like yourself, my only earning is from music.  I hope you're surviving as well as possible.

Frank.

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Look up all the up-coming beer festivals in a 20 mile radius over the summer and ask for a slot. If you are new, go for an afternoon slot; if they like you then you will be invited back and probably given a later slot in the evening. Many will be fund-raisers at football/rugby clubs and schools so they don't pay you but will give you a couple of free beers each. You get to play in front of a large appreciative crowd for about 50 mins and will meet many other bands. There is a PA all set up and a sound engineer so usually you just plug and play if it's well run. Great experience and good to get your band known. Make sure your friends take loads of photos of you and see if you can get some full-length video clips of your best songs to put on You Tube. This will help you develop your 'brand' and also review the material you are playing; you will know straight away what is most popular. Then set up a band page on Facebook and put all your photos and video clips on it. Once you start adding photos of gigs in pubs and private parties, you will have all the promo material you need to then approach more pubs and clubs.

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On 15/12/2020 at 18:52, Happy Jack said:

Is there still a decent blues scene in NI? I play around London and blues is a commercial disaster in this area ... there are very few decent blues gigs and some of the bands competing for those gigs are unbelievably good.

 

The audiences are slowly kicking the bucket.

I've been playing in Blues bands for years and have noticed the audiences getting older and fewer. I call them the grey hairs and the nae hairs.

My band are thinking of getting gigs in care homes :)

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