Tips to make the most of your music festival slot

Blog by Louise Dodgson under Artist Managers, Live

If you’ve managed to get some music festival slots booked for your band over the coming months, then first up…congrats! This is a great platform for you to show off what you do best to a new audience and hopefully a quite decently sized one at that. So with this in mind, you need to make that festival slot count!

Check out our top tips to ensure you nail that festival performance and walk off with plenty of new fans.

Allow plenty of time for rehearsals
If this is the first time you'll be playing for a particular festival organiser, you want to impress. Not to mention the whole load of new faces and potential fans in the making who'll be watching. You need to blow them away so it's imperative that your performance is polished and highlights your strengths. Fit all your best songs into the set - there's no room for filler, it needs to be all killer. First impressions count so put some time and thought in...and practice, practice, practice.


Promote the heck out of it!
Of course, it goes without saying that you need to shout across social media, your mailing list, and every other channel you have available to you about your festival slot. If you’re going to be at the festival for the whole weekend or just earlier on in the day of your slot, why not get some cheap and cheerful flyers made up with your band name, website & other contact details, but most importantly the stage you’ll be playing on and time of your slot, so you can have a chat with folk on the festival site and spread the word to anyone who may be interested. The personal touch can go a long way. 

Make new contacts
Festivals can provide a great networking opportunity so why not find out who else will be on the same stage/bill as you and reach out. Hitting it off with bands and artists at your level can be priceless; they’ll be the ones encouraging fans to stick around after their slot to check your band out. Festivals bring together musicians from around the country or even overseas, and in the future these contacts could be invaluable if you want to create a buzz in another city, or even a different country.

Be entertaining
What’s the first question you’re inevitably asked when you return from a festival? “Who was the best band you saw?” The bands and artists that blew you away will be all you’ll be telling your friends, colleagues and the family dog about for days afterwards.

In amongst a festival weekend full of hedonism and loads of fantastic music, you'll have to make an impact and be memorable. If you can stand-out from the other acts, then you massively up your odds of getting booked again and getting people talking about you. 

Focus on how you can show off what is unique about your music and get the crowd going. Think of visual aspects of your performance that could be expanded upon. Are there any stage props you could incorporate to make your mark? Have you got any unusual songs or quirky covers you could add into your set that are crowd pleasers?


Photographic evidence
Ask a mate in the crowd to get some snaps or video footage of you whilst you’re playing. It’s great to document your performance and share on social media afterwards. Whilst there will be professional photographers at some of the main stages at festivals, sometimes the smaller, unsigned stages can be overlooked so arrange some photo or video footage in advance courtesy of a friend with a steady hand.

Expand that mailing list & sell some merch
Announce at the end of your slot that you’ll be hanging about down front of the stage for the next 30 minutes after you’ve played if anyone wants to come over and say hello and pick up some merch.Take this opportunity to grab as many email addresses for your mailing list as possible.

You could even offer some freebies – a badge, a keyring or send over an exclusive track in exchange for an email address, to further plant in their heads how amazing your music is once they’re back to reality and their daily routine.

Don’t get tooooooo wasted!
It’s easy to get into the spirit of things as soon as you step foot in those muddy fields. But seriously... try not to get too drunk/mashed before you play. You don’t want to mess up a 20 minute slot you’ve been keen to play for months because you got a bit carried away. There’ll be plenty of time for drunken debauchery once you’re off stage.

Who are ya? 
There’s a strong chance at music festivals that stage slots will run late, get switched around or punters will wander up to your stage mid-way through your show, meaning they have no idea which awesome band it is they’ve just witnessed. Make sure you announce who you are at some point early on in the set, then again at the end. Speak clearly too…your mumblings can easily be lost amongst booming basslines from other stages and unfeasibly loud fairground rides!

Enjoy yourself!
This one goes without saying! Yes, a good deal of preparation and practice will be needed to make your festival slot amazing, but this should be a brilliant and memorable experience from start to finish so make sure you enjoy it to the max.


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