How to make sure you will never get booked for a live show

Eager Booking Awhile back an email dropped into Sliotar‘s mail box. I do most of the bookings and management duties for Sliotar as well as my solo stuff. This was and Email sent from someone I once met briefly over some other business and we ended up talking about him playing gigs around Dublin and me playing in Sliotar, a band he knew.

Over the years I have built a nice network of contacts, pubs, venues and festivals. I have a personal relationship with every one of these contacts. Due to this fact if I do recommend a band or an act, they will at least check them out. But with this connection comes responsibility. If I send a bad, or even average band, it is my reputation on the line. It took me a decade and a half to build these relationships, so I am sorry but I will not recommend anybody just because you ask me to… If I think some act is the perfect match for a venue or an event, I will do whatever it takes to get them on the bill. But just because you think your band is brilliant and even your friends think you’re brilliant, does not mean your band will suit any of my contacts. Besides, I never recommend anyone unless I’ve seen them live. Made that mistake once and never going back there again.

So back to the Email. I get these emails once in a while asking if I could get their band to play at so and so festival, or even worse, ask me to help them get some festivals… I know not getting a reply to your Emails is a disheartening thing in this business, but I get on a good day around hundred Emails, so I got to pick my battles and if your approach to me already shows unprofessionalism, I’m sorry, but your Email will not get an answer. My time is very valuable to me. I could be writing songs, or even blog posts instead answering “sorry but no” over and over again. But this one was a special one… They made a cardinal mistake, or two. The email went somewhere along these lines:

“Please find press pack for “So and so” attached. Could you please pass it on to whoever organises your bookings.
You can contact us through this email address or through “So and so” website to make bookings for 2014 or 2015.”

The attachment was a Zip folder.

The message itself is… well… not very personal, to say the least. And I never ever would send an attachment in an email, unless I was asked for it. This message was sent to a bands Email address… not even a venue or a festival. But the worst mistake of all was the fact that this was sent to 157 email addresses in the address line, not in the Cc line. So my friend, you just shared my Email with 156 people… This is pretty much the worst mistake you can do, and I am pretty sure most of the people on that chain mail are not too happy either. I wrote in my past blog post “How to tour abroad with your band part 3” that for the very first Sliotar tour I booked, I sent out about 2000 Emails. All of them directly to venues, pubs and festival organisers or booking agencies. And every one of those emails was sent individually and customised to a person who it was sent to. Yes it is a lot of work and yes that is what it takes!

Over the years I have asked many of my contacts what it was that made them to book Sliotar for the first time. Usually the answer is they had seen us live, someone recommended us highly, or they had heard good things about the band. But also few have mentioned the how personal my first contact Email was, how they knew straight away I had checked out their venue’s website and I was genuinely interested playing there. In the world we live in, so many things get automated and we seem to lose a lot of the personal touch. Don’t ever underestimate the power of being yourself, honestly you. There is no professional script that will get you the booking. It comes down to the quality of your bands live show, your ability attract a crowd and last but not least, the personal contact.


The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get two of his free songs go HERE and click Download