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How to Research Venues and Festivals to Book Gigs for Your Band: The Hands-On Guide

Live gigs are a must when making your name in the industry. Careers rarely skyrocket overnight, and finding a suitable number of venues to play in is a tough task. One needs to master research, know-how, and street smarts. In this article, we share the best tips on how to do your research to actually succeed. But let's keep it real — relying solely on one tool won't magically land you more gigs. Instead, take a savvy approach, and amidst the hassle, do yourself a favor — create your own venue list and stash it somewhere safe! You never know when you’ll be adding to your database. Now, let’s focus on where to draw from to find new venues for your band.


1. Use a Music CRM Tool Designed for That Purpose

It’s always a good idea to start locally and identify the best places nearby. The main questions are: How much of a crowd can you bring in? Do you need a piano on stage? Which places operate in your genre? It’s crucial to do quality research to find venues that would actually be a match, including their set-up, stage size, vibe, and prestige rate.

One of the smartest and simplest ways to discover that is by using a music CRM tool. GigB, for example, allows you to research clubs, halls, and festivals on a map with all the filters needed to sift through the fuss. And if you are going on holidays and could book a few gigs as a tour, great! Head over to GigB and start researching clubs or music venues on your way.

The good news is that the app is free, and you can contact bookers and venue-owners from the app with your email-address straight away. We did all the background checks, so the contact info you need is provided and up-to-date.

Do you need a cozy jazz club in Germany? Or a larger festival stage? Find and save places that interest you, send gig applications in no time, and add these venues to your private list. At the moment, we have more than 2.000 places in Europe, mainly focusing on jazz, but our database is growing fast, and now is the best time to tap in and organize yourself there!


2. Check Out Band-Venue Matching Platforms

If you'd like to secure a festival slot, your live performance must be charismatic and powerful. Mesmerizing an audience and adapting to various scenarios require getting on stage whenever you can. As part of your gig booking strategy, check out all the band-venue matching platforms and choose the ones that rock it for you.

Here are some of the best-known matching platforms in the industry:

•    gigmit

•    Bands for Hire

•    Gigstarter

•    Sonicbids

•    GigSalad


The downside of this solution is that you can’t solely rely on it. With these kinds of platforms, the demand is always much higher than the supply, so the chances are you may get one or two gigs per year. Nevertheless, even if it’s a road well-traveled, it’s worth trying. By being widely set up and utilizing everything that's available, you can create an across-the-board gig strategy.


3. Explore Public Sources of Institutions in Your Genre

It wouldn’t hurt to go a step further and do some digging into the public sources available. For example, many musician unions, public organizations, and institutes openly share their databases. Depending on the union, some information might be reserved exclusively for members, so consider whether joining would be advantageous. If not, there are always hints and leads for you to follow, such as partnerships.

Pinpoint a few active unions or institutions in your genre and get a handle on what kind of venue data you can extract from them. When dealing with large public databases, always conduct a background check, as some or most of the contact info might be outdated. Head to a venue or festival website to see if they still operate, the kind of events they host, ticket prices, etc. Look for booker or promoter contact information, and if it's unavailable, simply call the venue. Sometimes, these phone calls pave the way and make you memorable! If the spot seems suitable, add it to your private Places list in GigB or your Excel doc.

These public organizations can be genre-specific, country-specific, or both, but since you're researching, explore everything that's available. A single link can provide new ideas and guide you to many places. Typically, unions have listed their members, so it’s another way to get to know more people from the scenes you’re after.


For example:

  • Jazzinstitut shares a free database for European Jazz Archives and a variety of jazz venues in Germany.

  • The Musicians’ Union provides a browsing list of fair play venues all over the UK.

  • The Finnish Musicians’ Union offers its members artistic residencies in various locations, along with audio equipment rental, The Musicians’ Sick Fund, and legal aid.

  • The International Music Council (IMC) lists international, national, regional, and specialized music organizations with their contact data, including phone, email, and website.

  • European Music Council mentions all partnering councils, unions, associations, federations, and foundations for a deeper dive in accordance with your genre and country.

  • Initiative Musik is a German institution for pop and jazz musicians, providing funding and grants.

  • American Guild of Musician Artists posts about auditions and job opportunities for opera singers, performing artists, and classical dancers.

  • Indie On the Move displays a vast list of genre-specific venues in Canada and the US.


4. Analyze Your Competitors and Follow Similar Bands

While googling public sources may lead you into a rabbit hole of endless search, there’s another way to pin down a substantial number of places.

Follow bands akin to yours, considering not only the genre but also popularity and standing in your careers. By examining even 20 or 30 musicians, you can already uncover a nice amount of venues matching your style and abilities.

Scan peer groups for tours plus upcoming and past events to see where they play. Pin these places to your GigB account or create a spreadsheet with names, contact info, artists who performed there, prestige, address, etc. You can focus on identifying spots that showcase fresh and unsigned talent if that’s your case.

It’s always a good idea to follow bands alike and build strong relationships. Perhaps someone on tour will need an opening or supportive act, or they might call you for an emergency last-minute replacement. Chances are, and they cost you nothing but will and a keen eye.

Besides, don’t limit your search to conventional music venues — consider community events, corporate parties, concept stores, and so on. In the early stages of your gigging journey, it pays off to seize every opportunity and master your stage performance, regardless of the context. Plus, some of these events are a fun fact to recall later.


5. Tap Into Databases of Concert Organizers

Massive databases, such as those on concert halls available on Wikipedia or ticket sellers like TicketPro, Ticketmaster, and Live Nation, list a surplus of music venues. Concert organizers partner with numerous places all over the world; however, in this case, quantity is easier to find than quality tailored to your needs.

While following major players in the live music field may initially sound out of reach, diving into the research opens new doors of perception and lands you with more leads. These ticket sellers produce multiple events for diverse groups of audiences, on both a bigger and smaller scale. Check out their calendars, and whenever you find something realistic or interesting, add it to your database.

To scan any new venue, look at its events, check the place's specs, and extract booking information. Keep in mind that many of these locations are booked well in advance, so reach out ahead of time with a polite and professional gig application. Doing so through GigB makes the process easier with smart and custom email templates, which add to your credibility as an artist who knows how to approach a venue. Another useful tip is that, while sending your offer, you can also suggest being added to their call list for potential cancellations.


6. Collaborate and Share Resources with Peers

Once you’ve crafted a nice database, consider swapping it with other musicians. Collaboration among like-minded artists, even from distant cities or countries, can be a powerful networking tool to double your exposure and fan base. So if you don’t know them already, look for similar bands willing to recommend venues and introduce you to their networks.

Networking is pretty much the smartest and proven way to amp up your relations and carve out gig opportunities, so don't hesitate to share links, connections, and support within your music community. Personal contacts remain the best way to secure bookings, so make sure to collaborate and keep expanding your network. In the music industry, it always pays off to know as many people as possible. You never know who does what now or whether an old pal has just met someone influential.


7. Always Build and Maintain Your Own List

To make sure your hard work doesn't vanish into the void of 'nah, I'll do it later,' store all the info about prospective venues you’ve come across straight away. This is essentially the most important part of the venue research strategy.

Choose GigB over Excel; that's what it's designed for. Whenever you interact with a venue through GigB, it creates your personal copy of that spot in My Network. You can also add your own places, and these are not visible to any other users, just the creator (that's you, your personal database). Find places, filter them out, and expand your list. Managing all of your gig booking operations and contacting venues at once is smooth and effortless in GigB.

The app is a breeze to use because, let's be honest, public sources and lists are static, probably outdated, and definitely not handy. They lack the features GigB offers, like maps, filters, genre sorting — and way more. Be savvy, use every tool in your kit, from platforms to open sources, and then organize it all neatly in a music CRM like GigB.


Rock GigB as a Part of Your Gig Booking Strategy

GigB app is the go-to tool for musicians, seamlessly organizing, saving, and managing every aspect of your music journey. It acts as the heartbeat for all your booking operations, easing the job of self-managing bands and artists. Within GigB, you can find and contact new venues, apply for gigs, communicate with your mates, run multiple projects, organize events, and manage your paperwork.

Sign up for free and check out all of our game-changing features! We’re constantly adding to the app and caring for our community.

Foto von Sam Marchenkov auf Unsplash

Foto von Efren Barahona auf Unsplash

41 views1 comment


Thats really the best guide I’ve found so far, thanks for the great research!

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