Playing in a new town can be intimidating, particularly for those of us who have yet to become household names. Luckily, Jeremy Young sat down with a host of great bands to find out how they go about attracting audiences for our (free!) course, Touring on a Shoestring. Here are some of the things they had to say:
1. Contact local blogs and radio stations.
A few of of the guys from Evolfo recommended contacting every radio station and blog in the area ahead of time… Every. Last. One.
2. Find the right promoter.
Jared Bell from Lymbyc Systym stressed the importance of getting hooked up with a good promoter. And not just a good promoter, but the right promoter for your band and style of music. Research who similar bands have used when touring through each town on your route.
3. Explore the local music discovery sources.
Amirtha Kidambi encouraged us to investigate where people in each city go to look for shows. Think outside the box! It might be the local radio station, or it could be someone’s killer personal email list, a private Facebook group, or a really trusted coffee shop bulletin board. Use social media to ask locals how they discover touring bands in their area.
4. Partner up with local acts.
Charles Burchell and Kim Mayo from The Love Experiment recommended reaching out to bands from the area in hopes that they might be willing to share the bill and bring their fanbase. If you’ve got a venue booked already, local acts will often jump at the chance to play a show they don’t have to do any of the legwork to book!
5. Consider unconventional venues.
Great Caesar’s John-Michael Parker recommended trying to play some non-traditional venues in between gigs. If you have a show in the evening, don’t waste the whole day — reach out to a local high school, corporate office, park, library, or bookstore and ask about playing a daytime show. It may even help you drum up an audience for your late night gig! Great Caesar played a show at the Google campus one afternoon to help bring people out to their gig that night in San Francisco. You’re going on tour to play music, why not try and fit in all the shows you can!
As Jeremy points out, touring is an investment into the future of your band. Even if you don’t sell out your first show in a new city, if you give it your all and put on a good show, the small audience will remember you. And the next time you come through town, you’ll have a group of fans there already who will bring their friends.
If you have any additional tips, tricks, and ideas, please share them in the comments and if you’d like to learn more about DIY touring, check out our FREE course, Touring on a Shoestring.