You got the gig: You messed it up.

12th July 2013 by Emma Scott

Sorry if that title comes across as a little negative, but I am here to assist, really I am;-)

I’ve been putting on gigs since 2005 and I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve dealt with hundreds of bands over the years. Out of these hundreds of bands, there are only a handful that I’d work with time and time again. Maybe 5%.

All the others have messed up in some way and they’ll not get another shot.

There are many ways to “mess up” where gigs and dealing with promoters and venues are concerned. If you have a read you may find that you’ve actually done similar things along the way. Maybe these “mess ups” have meant your band don’t get offered as many gigs.  Maybe it’s not too late to turn it around though?

Here goes:

1)  One of the most common mess up’s is not having anyone interested in seeing your band. Maybe you promised the earth to the promoter at the time of booking and then on gig day only your girlfriend came to see you. And she didn’t even pay to get in.   You just messed up.  Headline bands with 6 people in the audience to see them is an epic fail too. Build your audience.

2)  Have you got an attitude problem? Do you think everyone is beneath you and your band? Did you walk around the venue acting like a dick? Were you mouthy with the sound guy or the promoter or bar staff or the venue staff in some way? Did your attitude perhaps stink a little? Did your ego get the better of you?  Chances are you messed up if you’ve said “yes” to any of these!

3)  Are you a band that doesn’t have a proper band diary or shared spreadsheet? Does the drummer deal with bookings but never talk to the guitarist before booking shows?  Does the guitarist go on holiday a lot or have work commitments to deal with?  Do you book shows that you can’t actually play and end up pulling out a lot?  Chances are you’re a bit of a logistical nightmare… and you messed up.

4)  Are you in a band that’s keen to take as many gigs as you can? Do you play in your home town every week? Chances are, all your friends and family have already been to see you a few times before and are a bit fed up with the same set every time. Even people that you could say were “fans” of yours will also get fed up of seeing you every week – even every month… and your audience will dwindle because of over-playing. You therefore will appear in section 1) And you just messed up.

5)  Do you have a manager that maybe a little over-bearing?  Annoying perhaps? A manager that demands beer, water, towels, food and no other bands to be in the dressing room?  A manager that takes over sound checks and makes sure yours is SO perfect, that no one else gets one? Does your manager demand loads of guest list places, even though he knows no one is gonna pay to come and see you? Does your manager hang about the dressing room drinking everyone else’s beer and water? Mmmm, sounds like a mess up to me.  Let’s move on…

6)  Have you ever drawn on a dressing room wall or door? Smashed a mirror? Ripped something off a wall? Made unreasonable mess in the dressing room for the sake of it? Broken something? Stolen something? Slapped band stickers all over the dressing room or venue itself?  Are you a venue- wrecker of any description? Chances are you just messed up.

7)  Is your time-keeping poor? Did you roll up to load in two hours late and hold up all the sound checks? Did you take forever sound checking? Were you out having a curry when you were due on stage?  Come on… get a watch, know the timing of the night and be on time, mess up;-)

8)  Other top mess up’s include: Lying, being unprofessional, being a rubbish live band, acting like a diva, getting too drunk to play, assuming everyone else would bring people, losing tickets, sneaking people in through fire doors, breaking gear on stage, poor communication before the gig, leaving before the end of the night…. bla bla bla.

Stop messing up, start getting more gigs. It’s not that hard is it?