Essential advice on how to make the most of your festival slot!
Blog by Louise Dodgson under Live
So, you've got some exciting festival slots booked for your band this summer! Amazing!
Performing at a music festival is a superb platform for you to show off what you do best to a new audience and, hopefully a quite decently sized one at that. 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 at a particular festival or for a certain 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.
Get 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!
SPREAD THE WORD!
It goes without saying that you need to shout about your festival slot wherever you can - on your website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. 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
Make friends with the other bands playing on your bill. Festivals can provide a great networking opportunity. Hitting it off with bands and artists at a similar level to you can be priceless. They’ll be the ones that encourage fans to stick around after their slot to check out another great band…i.e. YOURS!
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.
The first question any festival reveller will be asked by their mates when they return is inevitably “Who was the best band you saw?” They'll be telling friends, colleagues and the family dog about the band that blew them away for days afterwards. So if you want festival goers to walk away from your gig and tell all their mates to check you out when they get back home, then you’re going to have to be pretty 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 to get the crowd involved?
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 or day and then share on your blog or social media afterwards. Whilst there will be professional photographers across the main stages, the smaller, unsigned stages can sometimes be overlooked so arrange some photo or video footage in advance courtesy of a friend with a steady hand.
EXPAND YOUR MAILING LIST & SELL SOME MERCH
Hang about at the end of your slot so any new fans have the opportunity to come over and say hello. Find out in advance from the organisers if there are any opportunities to sell merch. And take this opportunity to grab as many email addresses for your mailing list as possible. Make sure you drop a line to any new additions to your mailing list within a few days of the festival, whilst you're still fresh in their minds. You could even link them to a free, exclusive track to further plant in their heads how great your music is once they’re back to reality and their daily routine.
DON'T GET TOOOO 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 over to your stage mid-way through your performance, 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!
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. Make sure you enjoy it to the max!
Tips for unsigned bands and artists playing music festival slots