As an emerging band or solo musician you will have been wracking your brains to get more exposure in the industry; you have your Facebook page, Twitter profile and YouTube channel sorted. I’m sure you’ll be trying to secure gigs at pubs, small venues and even attempting to land that gig as a supporting act, but one of the most beneficial things you can do is try to land a spot at a festival. It doesn’t need to be Glastonbury or Coachella; it can be at a local festival. There are hundreds across the UK and abroad that still attract a good number of people and are given a good deal of attention, maybe not in the mainstream media, but definitely by many local and indie music sites.

Having always been a major platform for artists to step up on the career ladder, festivals today have increased in popularity, particularly with the digital savvy Millennial generation. So, with festival culture growing exponentially in the last 15 to 20 years, becoming more tech centric with each passing year, this is a new and exciting transformation that gives artists numerous ways to capitalise on the experience and gain more visibility in the process. If you have your social media platforms in order, you could manage to be the star of the festival.

The importance of preparation

Playing a festival is all about increasing an artist’s interaction with their fans first and foremost. With the explosion in tech innovation, an artist can easily make their mark, but only if they’re savvy about it. In Help for Bands article, The Importance of Festivals for New Bands, artists need to be at their most active online before taking their slot : “The planning for music festivals for bands and artists should start right at the beginning of the year. Make sure you have a press pack put together ready to send.  Make sure you are actively gigging few festival bookers will book a band that is seen to be inactive a lot of smaller festivals rely on word of mouth and recommendations from others so it’s important to be seen even if it is just on a local scale.  Make sure you are also active online and have a social media presence which you keep up to date. It’s becoming more and more that promoters and festival bookers first port of call when they look you up will be your Facebook or Twitter page so try and update these once a day at least. Looking you up online will be more than likely what any new potential fans will do also so it’s vitally important.”

Atmospheric photo at a convert

Help for Bands talk specifically about the importance of local festivals. Being too snobby is never a good way to be when it comes to promoting yourself, the procedure is quite simple: “Target all the festivals in your local and wider area find out who is putting them on and get in contact and make sure they are aware of who you are. Make sure your music will fit in with the other bands at the festival.  If you have to enter some sort of competition, which is becoming more common with a lot of festivals then you should do it simply for the experience and it will help get your name out there and make more connections with the right people who could perhaps help you in the future.  It is also worth exploring the possibility of playing one of the many festivals overseas and across Europe.  However, there are several more factors involved in performing overseas such as insurance for yourselves and your instruments costs of flights and accommodation and mostly importantly having the correct paperwork such as a carnet which is an essential document that lists equipment like instruments and amplifiers.  In effect a carnet signifies the intention of people transporting it to use for a performance but also affirms they will return it to its original point of departure without selling it or disposing of it along the way.  Having a carnet makes travelling from country to country with instruments and other equipment a lot easier.”

So remember, it all starts with getting your online presence sorted first, then approaching festivals. From there it’s up to the fans to decide, but with good preparation, it won’t be too hard to gain some online hype prior to your performance.

Images by Osterberg

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