WORDS: Alison Pitcairn
Being in a band has always required time, effort and dedication. What some bands these days tend to forget is that it also requires networking and the build-up of a good reputation.
If you’re new to the scene and are ready to start booking your own gigs, you’ll probably reach out to bands who have a similar sound, somewhat of an established fan base and often a location near to the venue. Still, deciding what bands to reach out to can be difficult, which is why proper gig sharing etiquette is encouraged. Chances are if you’re rude or flaky to a promoter, venue staff or other band members, word will get around that you and your band aren’t favourites and therefore should probably not be booked as the opening act or even headliner for the next gig.
Facebook and other social media sites have become an incredible platform for bands to connect with venues, organizers and each other. A simple email to a promoter 200 miles away can land you a slot at their next show and if you’re thinking of organising a gig yourself, with a simple message to the bookings manager you can hire yourself a venue. Once the date and venue is set in stone and all the bands are 100% onboard, you want to get the word out as much as possible because without a good crowd turnout you’re just practising on a stage. Again, social media makes this extremely easy but if only one band is spreading the word and inviting people to join the event page, recognition of the gig suffers and ultimately affects the attendance. Hey, if people don’t know, they won’t go. If you’re able to commit to a show, surely you can commit to posting a few words about it on your page or handing out a few flyers. Show people that you’re excited and that will get them excited. At the end of the day, this helps you and shows the other bands that you’re dedicated which is something that does not go unnoticed.
Preparing for a gig usually takes a full day including that last practice and travel. Obviously, the most important aspect of a gig besides the attendance of the band members, are their instruments and all the gear it takes to play a show. Most venues are hired unequipped so figuring out who needs to bring what is information that needs to be established as soon as possible. Some bands are lucky enough to own their own transport, if you are not one of those bands it’s up to you to let the others know so they know they will be responsible for bringing most of the gear. It’s usually not a problem as long as you let them know in advance. Same goes for bands who may not have proper equipment. Think of it this way: if you show up expecting everything to be set up and find out the other bands had the same thought, you’ll end up playing a full acoustic set and let’s face it, you’re not Paul Simon.
So you made it to the venue, you’ve got the right gear, everything is set up and all that’s left to do is have a pint and hang out with gig goers and the other bands before you start your sets. You’ve all committed to the gig, you all share common goals, so why wouldn’t you stick around to show support to the others during their sets? Maybe you’re on first, maybe you’re headlining, but either way you are sharing that stage and acting disinterested in the music of people who are fighting for the same thing as you lacks courtesy and is unprofessional. So the next time you’re gig sharing, make the effort and bang your head to the music of the people who share your passion.