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How to Get Gigs – My 5 Tips

Landing Your First Gigs

Feeling lost when it comes to booking gigs? Don’t worry, I’ve been there. In this post I’m sharing 5 tips that helped me land gigs and build a presence as a musician.

#1: Take Control – Host Your Own Show

This tip was a game-changer for me. I started a monthly event at a bar and another called “New Path,” a more experimental space. Running these events gave me tons of experience: promotion, dealing with venues, booking bands. As the events grew, we even took “New Path” to Manchester!

Benefits of Hosting Your Own Show:

  • Guaranteed gig
  • Control over everything (bands, sound engineer, etc.)
  • Perfect platform to approach smaller venues in your area (often with lower costs involved)

#2: Gig Swaps – Expand Your Reach

With your own event established, you can leverage it to approach bands for gig swaps. Interested in playing in London but live in Liverpool? Find a band there and propose a swap! This strategy worked wonders for me, helping me build relationships and reach new audiences.


  • Ensure the bands complement each other musically.
  • Always return the favor – gig swaps are a two-way street!

#3: Network with Promoters and Bands

Don’t feel like hosting your own event? Contact promoters directly! But be strategic – target promoters whose events align with your music. For detailed tips on emailing promoters, check out my previous video or the link below.

Network with Other Bands Too!

Many bands have social media pages – use them to your advantage! I once received a message from a musician interested in my event. We connected, became friends, and I ended up booking him for a show, and he returned the favor! It’s all about building connections.

#4: Local Gig Listings – Stay Informed

Many cities have Facebook groups or websites listing local gigs. Keep an eye on these! They often advertise gig swaps, open mic nights, or potential gigs. You can even message the page admins directly about what you’re looking for (but avoid spamming!).

#5: Don’t Miss Local Festivals

While applying for festivals can be competitive, it’s definitely worth a shot. Being active on social media is crucial here – festivals want to see you can attract a local audience. It might be tough initially, but landing a festival gig can significantly boost your credibility.

Bonus Tip: Embrace Online Gigs

Online gigs offer ultimate control over date, time, and setting. While building an audience takes time, platforms like Facebook event pages, Songkick listings, etc., allow you to showcase your performance in a modern way.

There you have it! I hope these tips help you land those first gigs. Let me know in the comments if you found this helpful! Got any questions or video ideas? Hit me up! Don’t forget to subscribe for more content from the DIY Musicians Guide. Thanks for watching!