Pay It Forward: What I have Learned from DIY Booking


   During the next 5 to 10 weeks I will be writing a blog series called "Pay It Forward." It is my goal to help artists succeed based on my successes and failures as an independent artist.  



1) Attend as many shows as you can 

This one can be a hard pill to swallow, but attending shows allows you to make acquaintances in your community. It may help you find fellow band members, it may help you get gigs. Granted there are many Facebook pages out there, people are more likely to respond to you if you have a face to face interaction with people. It is more memorable and allows you as the artist/ band to engage . Always remember use the computer to contact in long distance areas, and attend a show to make real bonds, connections and friends in the community. 

2) Meet the person who runs the show or venue

Whether you are in a house, venue, or bar knowing the people who run the show is the best way to go about things.  Even if you go to a show where not a single soul wants to talk to you, as long as you make nice with the person who runs the show, you can set up your own show. 

Secondly sometimes the sound guy may be the person who is running the show or books their own shows , so make sure you do that. 

3) Be Honest 

Sometimes people tend to run around the bush about what they want. If you can develop a 30 second pitch about your band/ project and what you want to do at a person's space then you are already ahead of the road. Think of yourself like a commercial, don't come off too strong, or too weird, but just let the person that you would want to be able to play a show or host something in their space. 

4) Listen to Bands 

Many times people say that you should only sit in your own circle and listen to bands like you. The reality is , you should simply listen to as many bands as possible and follow what they are doing. This may lead you to be able to do more than just play shows with these bands, these bands may turn to your fans, or even more fun they may want to record a record with you and you guys and do a split together. 

5) Be Flexible

Whether you are booking a tour, a local show, or a weekend run, always be sure to be flexible. Most of the times when you are playing a DIY show, you are playing someone's house , place of business, and sometimes a bar. Keep in mind, it doesn't matter what you have accomplished at home, or what a journalist may have written about you. You are never entitled to a show and you should always be willing to be open to expect anything and be flexible. All shows are good shows, and always be sure to be flexible in every aspect when booking a show with people. Whether it be dates, payment, set times, etc. 



6) Don't be the Asshole 

Being the person who thinks they own everything won't get you far. Don't be the person who is overly impatient and thinks that you need to get a response ASAP. People do spread the word and simply that could get you "blacklisted" Its not really fair, but always stay humble and keep in mind, no one owes you anything. 

7) Don't talk shit on Anyone

Leave the reporting to the journalists, there's no need to offer your opinion good or bad, unless its asked of course. It's always best to keep your opinions to a minimum and treat people fairly. I have learned personally that sometimes you will be seen in a negative light, even when joking. And if you do offend someone, do your best to apologize and take accountability. 

8) Don't Destroy or Steal Gear 

Gear sharing happens often in DIY tours and shows, this doesn't really need to be explained, but don't be that person who destroys another bands gear, and most of all don't steal gear either. If anything think of yourself as a security guard and protect bands gear from being stolen. 

9) Don't be a bigot

Regardless of your beliefs, cultivate behaviors of understanding. It's sad to say that we still live in a world where people of different cultures, genders, and sexualities are treated poorly. But no matter what you are or how you identify yourself, be sure that you don't treat people especially ones who listen to your music, like a bigot. No one likes that person, and it won't help you get booked either. 

10) Don't expect anything from anyone

Always keep in mind, when you reach out to someone, what you may have heard about them may not be true. Simply adding people on Facebook thinking it may get you a show won't guarantee you a show. Most likely the only two things that help you get a show, is your music and the way you treat others(image). It wastes your time as well as the person's time when you communicate to people as if you are owed something. You don't no one owes you anything , work hard, and stay humble. 


Thank you for reading the first edition of Pay It Forward feel free to comment or share.  


Brian WalkerComment