Bands know that it can be hard to get a show, especially in a town with a limited number of venues. However, if you look hard enough, there’s a couple places to play in every town, even if some of them aren’t inherently obvious.
Here’s a look at a few places that book bands that aren’t typically thought of as music venues.
1. Casinos – Casinos try to keep everyone happy–it means that the people there will throw more money away. Of course, there are some people at casinos who don’t gamble, usually spouses and friends of the gamblers, and if they’re not entertained, they’ll drag the gamblers out of the casino. Therefore, it’s worth it for riverboats and gaming establishments to provide bands and other sources of entertainment for nongamblers. Land one of these gigs and you’ll likely make some pretty decent bank, upwards of $1,000. Contact a gambling boat’s director of activities for the best shot.
2. Libraries – Yes, libraries occasionally book acoustic performers. Pay isn’t high, but it’s a good opportunity to sell a few CDs and get some experience, and as library audiences are used to being quiet, you’re virtually guaranteed an attentive audience. Mind your P’s and Q’s, though, as libraries often have small children and a low tolerance for obscenity. To book a show at a library, see if they have a manager or coordinator that you can speak to and make your pitch. Again, don’t be expecting a whole lot of money.
3. Colleges – Even if your local college doesn’t have a venue on campus (and a growing number of campuses do), there may be performance opportunities that pay well. Contact the student activities chairperson or anyone associated with the student activities to find out whether your band or solo act can play on campus. Often, the pay will be fairly decent, $300 or even more. The crowd varies in receptiveness, but a good band can make a great profit at a college gig.
4. Bars and Restaurants That Haven’t Booked Bands Before – Many bands are shy about contacting bars and other potential venues simply because they know that those locations haven’t hosted musicians before. However, often this is simply because nobody’s ever asked. Call a local pub or restaurant and ask to speak to the owner, and once you get a hold of him, make your pitch. Really extol the virtues of live music. You might be surprised with his reaction.
Do you know of any lesser-known music venues in your town? Post in our comments section below.