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black_matter

Setting up a small run of gigs?

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Is there any set process that the more experienced touring bands of aberdeen use to book themselves a small run of gigs.

For example do you

  • look for the simplest geographical route
  • take whatever slot in whatever venue is offered
  • do you book these gigs all yourself?
  • Have you ever used an agent?

I've previously tried to set up just a small run of say five gigs around Scotland and found it increasingly hard to have all the gigs tie in comfortably. How long should a band plan ahead for such a thing?

It's not something i'd be madly into doing right now, but again it's always interesting to hear some feedback. :up:

austin

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yep. Also, now especially, you really have to question whether it is actually worth touring for a more than a few days unless you have some national press coverage or some sort of big release to promote. All the stories of touring being the most fun you can have are true, but turning up to play an empty gig in blackpool filled with weird bands (i can't even be arsed describing how bizarre this one gig was) and not being paid and then the accomodation you were supposed to have doesn't exist and then having to drive somewhere whilst knackered, angry, cold and demoralised happens a lot. Unless you book properly. Playing empty gigs when you aren't getting a guaranteed payment is stupid, make sure you only play venues where you get contracts signed before so you can afford to stay on the road for mroe than a few days! You do pretty much have to take whatever you can get. Unless of course one of your mates happens to work for some music industry people and then they get you ridiculous touring support slots when you aren't very good at all. That makes it much easier!

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Yeah, hoping for gigs that 'tie in comfortably' is an utter long shot and barely worth dreaming about until you're somewhat established.

Driving around playing gigs with your friends all over the UK is great fun though. I'd recommend trying it, as long as you've got money to burn, a really neat haircut or something seriously good to flog musically (although even then, that takes a lot of work).

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JJ, I like you and I like your band, but honestly, I really disagree with everything you have said here

yep. Also, now especially, you really have to question whether it is actually worth touring for a more than a few days unless you have some national press coverage or some sort of big release to promote.

:laughing:

All the stories of touring being the most fun you can have are true, but turning up to play an empty gig in blackpool filled with weird bands (i can't even be arsed describing how bizarre this one gig was) and not being paid and then the accomodation you were supposed to have doesn't exist and then having to drive somewhere whilst knackered, angry, cold and demoralised happens a lot.

Playing empty gigs when you aren't getting a guaranteed payment is stupid, make sure you only play venues where you get contracts signed before so you can afford to stay on the road for mroe than a few days! You do pretty much have to take whatever you can get. Unless of course one of your mates happens to work for some music industry people and then they get you ridiculous touring support slots when you aren't very good at all. That makes it much easier!

I disagree with most of that, seems like part and parcel of touring as a small band. again, Im not having a go, but, is your manager feeding these excuses because he couldnt book you a good tour??

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See i'd abseloutely love to go on a small run of gigs around scotland. Maybe even a little further south, maybe even a few gigs in Ireland or something. It would definintly be in a fun high spirited kinda way too but I obviously understand the hardships that can be faced.

Are many venues generally recipient of contractually signing you if your a small touring band? On that matter how many of you guys have played a gig in Aberdeen contractually? I've never actually played one, it's always been the paul kef way of "here's some tickets, go make money for me".

I'd really like to get in to contractually signing agreements with venues.

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Is there any set process that the more experienced touring bands of aberdeen use to book themselves a small run of gigs.

For example do you

  • look for the simplest geographical route
  • take whatever slot in whatever venue is offered
  • do you book these gigs all yourself?
  • Have you ever used an agent?

I've previously tried to set up just a small run of say five gigs around Scotland and found it increasingly hard to have all the gigs tie in comfortably. How long should a band plan ahead for such a thing?

It's not something i'd be madly into doing right now, but again it's always interesting to hear some feedback. :up:

austin

If the gigs are in Scotland, does it really matter about geographical route, etc? It's not like it's too long a drive to any city in this country, so splitting them up over a period of time isn't going to dent the finances too much.

Good luck trying to find a (good) booking agent with no previous touring experience/label backing, etc.

Also, I think most venues would tell you to fuck off if you asked for a contract in advance of a gig, if it's your first out of town shows, playing in (presumably) small venues to small crowds. Just ask for a guaranteed fee to cover petrol, take a print off of the email with you if you like. Never had any trouble with getting money when a guarantee has been agreed upon.

I think you're maybe reading too much into touring, being that you're looking to play some shows in Scotland. I mean, playing in Dundee for example, you can be up the road in less than an hour after the gig, petrol costing 30ish. Even if you didn't get paid somehow, it's not really too much of a loss.

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Are many venues generally recipient of contractually signing you if your a small touring band? On that matter how many of you guys have played a gig in Aberdeen contractually? I've never actually played one, it's always been the paul kef way of "here's some tickets, go make money for me".

I'd really like to get in to contractually signing agreements with venues.

It definitely wouldn't hurt for contracts to be agreed upon - but I've heard of examples where bands have been expected to sign ridiculous contracts with huge fees if a band cancels, so you have to be really careful in what you're agreeing to.

The problem (as I see it) is that a lot of gigs are done as a hobby - any inspection by the taxman may see written contracts as proof of trade and therefore nail the promoter for taxes. If you notice, there's often very little in the way of a paper trail with small gigs - and I think this is somewhat deliberate.

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in all honesty, i find it easier to get gigs in sweden than in england...

i wish there were more Moorings style "everything provoded, just bring yourseleves" style venues in the UK, where you're guaranteed a crowd, cash, bed, cheap beer, pizza and (if you're a Tyrant Lizard King) groupie slut...

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yep. Also, now especially, you really have to question whether it is actually worth touring for a more than a few days unless you have some national press coverage or some sort of big release to promote.

I dont agree with this, bands manage to tour and play in front of decent crowds without any media coverage all the time. Probably down to usually networking and getting to know people who put on shows in different areas. A good way is joining nationwide forums.

I do think weekender's are a great way of arranging out of town gigs though, ie arranging gigs over friday, saturday and sunday to minimise the amount of days off work etc. It helps to do this with another band say from england so you arrange a few gigs up here and then they do the same for you down south.

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I always say the same thing, GIG SWAPS!!

team up with a band in a similar position in say glasgow or edinburgh. To begin with, arrange a gig in aberdeen, they arrange one in edinburgh/glasgow one weekend and see how that goes. If you hit it off with the other band you will begin a good relationship where you help each other out, eventually what will happen is that people will see your band name and posts on forums/posters/listings, which is far more productive going to play an unadvertised gig to uninterested people (if you are lucky) in bannermans or something

In advance of these gigs try sending your cds to some zines, distros, radio people, listings mags etc and see if you can get a plug, if you dont ask you (when starting out) will usually never get. that is the same for gigs too, if you are really keen get an eye on line ups when they are announced, get in touch with the promoter and offer your services, anytime a band pulls out, offer your services. You may find that you may not get paid, however if you all chip in a 20 bucks each that should more than cover things.

i cant be arsed typing out a long list of things you should be thinking about, but if you do a search on google, there are heaps of guides for local bands

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I always say the same thing, GIG SWAPS!!

team up with a band in a similar position in say glasgow or edinburgh. To begin with, arrange a gig in aberdeen, they arrange one in edinburgh/glasgow one weekend and see how that goes. If you hit it off with the other band you will begin a good relationship where you help each other out, eventually what will happen is that people will see your band name and posts on forums/posters/listings, which is far more productive going to play an unadvertised gig to uninterested people (if you are lucky) in bannermans or something

In advance of these gigs try sending your cds to some zines, distros, radio people, listings mags etc and see if you can get a plug, if you dont ask you (when starting out) will usually never get. that is the same for gigs too, if you are really keen get an eye on line ups when they are announced, get in touch with the promoter and offer your services, anytime a band pulls out, offer your services. You may find that you may not get paid, however if you all chip in a 20 bucks each that should more than cover things.

i cant be arsed typing out a long list of things you should be thinking about, but if you do a search on google, there are heaps of guides for local bands

Spoken like gospel and is indeed so. Make friends and enjoy yourselves with other bands and it'll only serve to help you out in the long run.

Doing something like this is only as hard as you make it yourself. Yeah, i guess there will be shit points but at the end of the day it's all part and parcel of the experience. You aren't playing to make money at this level, it's all about the experience and having fun together.

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All of this is great feedback by the way, just like to thank use for that.

The only other question I have is, is it possible to tour with 3 or 4 small cars and meeting up or would a van be easier? Also is van rental cheap? Would it be advisable to bring along your own van driver?

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All of this is great feedback by the way, just like to thank use for that.

The only other question I have is, is it possible to tour with 3 or 4 small cars and meeting up or would a van be easier? Also is van rental cheap? Would it be advisable to bring along your own van driver?

If you're taking a convoy of 3/4 cars (why would you need that many, anyway? One car with people, one car with equipment?), a van would obviously be easier, as it's just the one vehicle. You can get van rental for about 40/50 a day, more if you have to hire a driver from the company too. If you're renting a van and getting your own driver, however in this case they'll have age restrictions for the driver (21 or 25 ring a bell). So you'll probably lose money renting a van, etc for first out of town shows, but then again, you'll definitely lose money with petrol for 4 cars. You'd also probably lose money somehow if you walked to the venue, so not really worth fretting about.

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I knew there would be age restrictions on hiring a driver. I also knew that it'd pretty much be a loss of money for our first run of gigs.

How much money is a decent amount to save up before setting off?

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I knew there would be age restrictions on hiring a driver. I also knew that it'd pretty much be a loss of money for our first run of gigs.

How much money is a decent amount to save up before setting off?

How long is a piece of string?

Theres so many factors to take into consideration ie, miles to be covered?, how many folk?, how much for driver?, etc.

Best coming up with a budget.

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