Gigging "outside the box" - For folks not fond of bar gigs
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Author:  paulrace [ Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Gigging "outside the box" - For folks not fond of bar gigs

Thinking of starting a list of places to play that don't involve belligerent drunks. True, some restaurants that serve alcohol are actually fairly family-friendly. And sometimes you can show up for a place that should be all about music and crafts and discover the stage is next to the microbrewery booth or some such. So there's never a guarantee. But if you'd rather play places that are "family friendly," here are some places to think about.

One problem is that the majority of the places I'm listing book six months to a year ahead. And often the person booking next year's talent isn't the same person who did it for this year. This is especially true of organizations the depend heavily on volunteers. So you may find yourself making multiple phone calls, even sending multiple letters and press kits. Or finding out three weeks before a gig that you arranged for last year that the person in charge of live music has given her boyfriend your slot without even bothering to tell you.

In addition, these gigs aren't promoted in the usual way, say the "entertainment section" of your newspaper. You have to keep your eyes open, check web pages, etc. And you will always have to make the first contact, even if you see something in the paper. Such and such a plant nursery has live music at their open house every spring. So you see that and see if they're fully booked for this year; if they are, ask who you could contact about next year's event, and how far ahead.

They also pay very little, if anything. And they may claim to give you "exposure," but they don't really. The main value of these gigs is to give you practice performing in front of people in a bunch of different situations. If you have merchandise to sell, they'll usually let you sell it and not demand a share. And if you can get folks who are interested signing up for your mailing list, you'll be on your way to making "superfans" out of them.

So here's the start of the list, just based on what I've seen in my part of the world:

House concerts (a rapidly growing phenomenon we address elsewhere)
Zoos (often special family days, etc., will feature live music. Again these are booked by volunteers several months ahead, so getting on the list is hard, but rewarding)
Flea markets (yes, some have live entertainment. Some would appreciate it if you bring it up.)
County fairs (they often have multiple stages that they appreciate you filling during the "off hours)
Methodist churches (some have a predetermined fund for sponsoring a certain number of concerts a year, and most welcome any family-friendly presentation, even if you're not evangelical. Some prefer if you're not evangelical.)
Libraries (some have a concert series every year. Others are pretty good about scheduling people who want to plan a concert far enough out for them to get it on their calendar, so it looks like the library is having more activities).
Historical recreations (if you don't mind dressing like a pioneer or something and carrying an old-fashioned instrument around. Your regional historical societies will have schedules of events you might be able to participate in.)
Street fairs
Farmers' Markets
Summer arts festivals in area communities
Big plant nurseries that hold special events

I'll add to this list as I think of other things or as you log in and add or contact me through the contact page. ( )

In the greater Dayton area, going down every business, church, facility, and volunteer organization that falls into the above categories, you'd probably get up to about 200 without even trying. Before you contact them, check out their web pages and see if they've had live music in the past, or if they have events where your kind of music might be appropriate. That will give you a short list to work. It will start off slowly - as I said, many of these things are planned nearly a year in advance. It will also be frustrating, because you'll be working with volunteers who might not have the same sense of urgency or follow-through as you do. But once you get on the "fried chicken circuit" or whatever you want to call it, it will be easier to get more gigs, and to get gigs farther away from home, and to start getting paid for at least some of them.

No, you won't get rich, but are you getting rich now?

Have a great spring!


Author:  paulrace [ Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Gigging "outside the box" - For folks not fond of bar gi

Here are two more:

Big Arts & Craft Shows - Sometimes they have stages for demonstrations, etc., and live music would be welcome in between, as long as it's not too loud.
Public parks, nature preserves, etc. - Many have seasonal celebrations, with food, speakers, etc.

Have you noticed that the word "seasonal" keeps coming up? One reason to plan ahead - a lot of this activity happens between May 1 and September 30, so if you 're not on board by, say, January, you may have to wait until next year.

Shopping centers - some malls welcome music groups, especially if you come midweek and bring friends who will shop before and after your concerts. Some malls deliberately book musicians (including high school choirs, etc.) during the Christmas season.

Author:  paulrace [ Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Gigging "outside the box" - For folks not fond of bar gi

"First Fridays." Some communities have a sort of informal "street fair" on the first Friday of every warm-weather month. Sometimes small bistros, etc., that don't usually have live music will feature live musicians. In some communities, the musicians are outside - virtually busking, but in assigned places and schedules.

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