Guest Post: How to book your band.


I’ve posted advice for existing and aspiring bands before, and I thought this email from a pro would be useful.  It was sparked when I saw his Facebook status the other day: “Great way to start the day: my favorite venue in the country complimented my email skills in contacting them to booking a date. It’s the highest praise I could hope for.”

The status went on to some comments & basically the author said he’d share the knowledge with those who cared to learn.  I asked if I could post it in a blog, and here we have it.  If you’re in a band on any level, pay heed to the advice below.

As far as background on Bengt, he’s in a band (& been in many), he records bands, he’s booked bands, and he’s generally been in every part of the scene.  He knows what he’s talking about.

Action Camp

Action Camp

On to the advice & the guest part of this guest post:

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Alright, so here is what we usually send like 99% of the time. There always a bit of customization but this is the basic format:

1. Greeting, name the booker if you know it (usually listed on indieonthemove.com or their website)

2. Band name (with a link to the website), genre, location.

3. Date(s) requested in bold. They love that, it makes it easier read. If you can swing 3-5 dates that’s best, it gives them room. Do them a favor and check the website for those dates first, they appreciate that a ton. Also make sure to follow their booking procedure to the T. A lot of places have a specific way they like to work (Facebook message, Sonicbids, email format, etc). If you do it right it shows you listened so you’re already at the top of the pile.

Also, if another band that’s played there before suggested it, tell them so. It’s like introducing yourself to anyone else and starting with saying you have a mutual friend. It’s a job reference.

4. Links to music, video, press – let them decide if they want to book you. The more you talk about how awesome you are and why you should be booked, the more they think you probably suck and are trying to gloss over it. It’s like handing someone your demo and saying it’s not your best work.

5. If you played there or in the city before tell them. If you know what you drew and stuff be honest, they love that.

6. Offer to help build the bill, and specifically name bands you know or have contacted already.

7. Thanks in advance, Thanks for your time, etc.

8. ALL of your contact info including phone numbers. It shows you are easy to reach and you have your shit together.

One final thing: DON’T say someone famous produced your record, quote random blog reviews, list facebook or twitter numbers, anything like that. No one cares about that if they know what their doing in the working touring circuit. Steve Albini producing your record won’t make 100 people come out in Dayton on a Monday night, and facebook and twitter followers are ostensibly your imaginary friends that only you can see. Plus, even you have 4,000 people odds are only 10 of them are near the venue you are trying to book.

Here is exactly what I sent to Southgate House:

Hello Morrella,

We are Action Camp, an art rock duo from Pittsburgh, PA.

We’re looking to see if you have Friday February 15th or Saturday the 16th available to book in the Revival Room – both look open on your calendar but I wasn’t sure if you would do a full house those nights. Our music is pretty different from what’s going on those nights so I’m not concerned about audience bleed over. This would be our 4th time to Southgate, 7th time in 3 years in the Cininnati/Newport scene. We know plenty of bands so we’d throw a bill together with 2 or 3 locals to help support.

– You can hear our music at actioncamp.bandcamp.com or at our website below.
– Here is a recent video from our 2012 summer tour
– And some press from our Winter tour just a couple weeks ago.

If these are unavailable I’d love to work something out in the future. Southgate was/is by far our favorite venue on tour, I can only assume the new house is great. Sincerely, I (Bengt) booked a venue in Pittsburgh, and based many of my practices on the way SGH was run by Rick and his crew.

Previous dates:

Parlour 10/1/2010 (Gallery Opening, free show, 100+ attending)
Parlour 1/2/2010 (w/ Duppy a Jamba, 97 paid)
Parlour Summer 2009 (Flux Capacitors last show, well attended, don’t have stats)

Our most recent dates in the area were both in Cincinnati:

12/8/2012 The Comet Cincinnati, OH (100+, free show)
7/5/2012 Sitwells Coffeehouse Cincinnati, OH (smaller acoustic show, last minute add on tour)

Thanks in advance, can’t wait to see the new place,

– Maura + Bengt (Action Camp)
http://www.action-camp.com
actioncamp@gmail.com
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So that’s it, pretty simple. Just be honest and to the point. I also should point out that this was 1 of 10 venues we emailed on Christmas, and he got back just a day later with this response:

“Thanks for writing. Those dates aren’t announced yet, but they are spoken for. How about Wed Feb 13, or Sun Feb 17?

“PS – very well done email, especially listing previous show turnouts. You’re way ahead of the curve on that one, and it did persuade me to jump on this, and get you in!”

I always email every venue that would work for us in a city, it’s better to have choices than no show at all.

Hope this all helps,

– Maura + Bengt (Action Camp)
http://www.action-camp.com
actioncamp@gmail.com
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So, there you have it.  Got it?  Good.  Doing research in advance before you ask for dates seems like a no-brainer, but apparently it needs to be said.  I guess some bands naturally put more thought into stuff.

I’m not sure how you’d approach this if you had no previous gigs in an area… perhaps we can get Bengt to comment further for new bands, first time tours, etc.?

Check out the Action Camp video here:

You ought to come see some of these shows.


I’m sure you know I’m one of the Berts in Ernie and the Berts.  I’m sure you know we play shows.  I’m sure you’d have fun at one (or two or three or four).  Come rock out with us some time…

Tue. 06/05/2012 @ Altar Bar - Real McKenzies, Goddamn Gallows, Bloody Seamen, Ernie and the Berts

✟ The Real McKenzies ✟ The Goddamn Gallows ✟ The Bloody Seamen ✟ Ernie and the Berts ✟

Tuesday June 5th, 2012 at the Altar Bar (Also, win Ernie’s Pants!)

Fri. 06/22 @ Ozzie's - Nervous Aggression, Don't Wake the Dead, Ernie and the Berts

☠ Nervous Aggression ☠ Don’t Wake the Dead ☠ Ernie and the Berts ☠

Friday June 22nd, 2012 at Ozzie’s Bar & Grill

Fri. 06/23/2012 @ The Fallout Shelter: Ernie and the Berts, Johnnie Lee Jordan, Alex Payne, Joey Molinaro

☢ Ernie and the Berts ☢ Johnnie Lee Jordan ☢ Alex Payne ☢ Joey Molinaro ☢

Saturday June 23rd, 2012 at the Fallout Shelter

Fri. 07/20/2012 @ The Fallout Shelter: OTiS, Scratch n' Sniffs, Ernie and the Berts

☢ OTiS ☢ Scratch n’ Sniffs ☢ Ernie and the Berts ☢

Friday July 20th, 2012 at the Fallout Shelter

As you can see we have a bunch of stuff coming up.  We generally try to be all kinds of fun.  We’re playing with some exciting bands & artists.  We’re playing some new venues & some old favorites.  We’re playing with bands we love & bands we’ve never met.  Each show is an adventure.  Join us!

Feb. 4th. 2012 – Come to this show! (Check out video of all the bands here…)


One week from tonight, this is where you need to be!

Ernie and the Berts

The Bands:

The Place:

The Details:

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It would be beyond super-awesome…


Cover of "Don't Make Me Wait"

Don't Make Me Wait

It would be beyond super-awesome if you could come out to this show. Why? Ernie worked hard to bring Locksley to town.  They just got back from Japan, and they’re rocking selected cities around the U.S. You can’t deny their incredibly poppy sound & we can tell you that they put on one hell of a show.  Go to their site, check out the free EP, look ’em up on YouTube, hear ’em on TV, then come see ’em live next week with us at the Smiling Moose.

Original post here: I’ll take Locksley for $10, Alex!

Reposting below:

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You’ve heard their songs. You know Locksley even if you don’t know it. They’re the next big thing, and you have the chance to see them now! Ernie and one of the Berts saw them open for Fountains of Wayne in Philadelphia, and they dug it so much that Ernie decided to set up a show to bring these guys to the ‘Burgh!

Locksley

From Wikipedia:

Television, Press and Placements

Locksley performed “Don’t Make Me Wait”, “Let Me Know” and “She Does” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! March 2, 2007. They performed “Let Me Know” on Late Night With Conan O’Brien on August 13, 2007. MTV made Locksley their “Featured Artist of the Week” for two weeks straight on September 8–22, 2008.

After the release of Don’t Make Me Wait, Locksley were featured in multiple magazine spreads, notably SPIN Magazine’s “Breaking Out”, Rolling Stone‘s “6 Breakout Bands to Watch”, Alternative Press‘s “100 Bands You Need To Know” and in ELLE Magazine with an 8 page fashion spread in their March 2007 issue.

Many of the songs off of Don’t Make Me Wait were licensed for TV, commercials and movies, notably: “She Does” as the theme to HLN‘s Morning Express with Robin Meade, placement in the Friday the 13th remake, “Don’t Make Me Wait” as the trailer music to the Paul Rudd and Eva Longoria movie Over Her Dead Body and “My Kind of Lover” in the J.J. Abrams-produced Cloverfield.

On August 24, 2008, “All Over Again,” “Don’t Make Me Wait,” and “She Does” were made available as downloadable content for the popular Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game series Rock Band. The songs have been downloaded over 60,000 times to date. Locksley credits licenses with keeping the band going.[3]

Locksley wrote the song “Slink (A Hymn)” for use as the theme song to FOX’s TV show The Good Guys.

The ECHL hockey team the Toledo Walleye plays the chorus of “The Whip” whenever the team scores a goal at home.

Owens Community College uses “The Whip” in a number of radio and TV commercials. “The Whip” is also used in an American Family Insurance commercial, and has been used by the Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Dallas Stars as their goal song since 2011-12.

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You can buy your tickets now to make sure you get them in your music-loving hands in time for the show. You can also buy at the door. Really though… It’s 2011. Try buying something online. It’s quick. Convenient. Easy.

❧ LOCKSLEY w/ Ernie and the Berts & The Mondaze - Tue. Nov. 15th 2011 @ The Smiling Moose (Pittsburgh, PA - South Side)

❧ LOCKSLEY w/ Ernie and the Berts & The Mondaze - Tue. Nov. 15th 2011 @ The Smiling Moose (Pittsburgh, PA - South Side)

Here are the show details, stay tuned for videos after the details:

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The Bands:

The Venue:

The Details:

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http://twitter.com/#!/LocksleyMusic/status/128484733981179904

http://twitter.com/#!/LocksleyMusic/status/131161295209775104

http://twitter.com/#!/LocksleyMusic/status/131144967140814849

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Ernie and the Berts – November Shows


We have some shows coming up.  You ought to attend.  We’re a good time.  I promise.

The Punk Rock Sock Hop Invades Pittsburgh! Sat.11/05/2011

The Punk Rock Sock Hop Invades Pittsburgh! Sat.11/05/2011

This is going to be one crazy show… bands, magic, a DJ spinning 50’s tunes, zombies, contests, prizes, and probably even drunk chicks.  You can get free admission and some other goodies from Pittsburgh Punk Rock with very minimal effort (if he extends the contest).  This benefits Free Ride Pittsburgh, and is a Pittsburgh City Paper Critic’s Pick for this weekend!  Click the flyer for details, links to all the other bands & entertainment!

Locksley, Ernie and the Berts, & The Mondze! 11/15/2011 @ The Smiling Moose!

Locksley, Ernie and the Berts, & The Mondze! 11/15/2011 @ The Smiling Moose!

Click the flyer for details, to see videos from all 3 bands, the link to buy tickets, and check the comments for the link to a free EP called Ghosts from Locksley with a fun Halloween theme!  Erin saw these guys in concert, and wanted to bring ’em here to the ‘Burgh.  You’ve heard the song “The Whip”.  Lets show them some love!  Help spread the word.