12 Keys To Getting Booked Back Into A Venue


© 2014 Vinny Ribas

Even if your act is far superior to and draws far more fans than other acts that perform at a particular venue, you need to give yourself every edge you possible can to ensure being booked back. Every manager has his own ideas of what he or she expects and needs from an act. Here are some tips for making sure that you get on the manager’s good side.

  1. Be sure you know before the gig starts exactly why they hire entertainment. Gigs vary tremendously. For example, in some cases it’s to get people dancing and to sell drinks. In some cases it’s to be background music only. In some cases it is just to set an atmosphere. In some places it may be to first draw people from the restaurant to the bar, and then to keep them drinking.
  2. Please the manager first because he signs your paycheck and can book you back. Recognize and please the staff second because they tell the manager how you did. The staff may love it when you encourage the audience to tip them. Lastly, please the audience. This may sound backwards because your instinct is to please the audience first. However, it’s good politics. What the audience wants may not be what the manager wants in his venue.
  3. Before the gig, ask the manager if there is anything specific that you need to know or do. For example, in some areas venues need a cabaret license to allow dancing. So for those venues you want to refrain from encouraging people to get up and dance.
  4. After a successful gig, call the manager and ask for multiple return dates. Do this on the first business day after the gig while the memory of how well the gig went is still fresh in his mind.
  5. Ask the manager what she would like you to do differently the next time you perform for her. Let hem know that your goal is to be and provide exactly what they want.
  6. Send a newsletter out to your fans in that local area immediately after the gig thanking them for showing up and asking them to request that the venue bring them back.
  7. Don’t rely on the venue to attract people. Be a marketing partner. Be sure to send the venue everything they request to promote you properly and effectively. Coordinate your marketing efforts with the manager, then show him exactly what you did to help promote the show locally.
  8. If you’re getting airplay in the town, ask the station if they’d like to interview you before the show. If you’re not getting airplay, contact the most appropriate stations, even if they are internet stations, and try to make that happen.In addition, try to get a review in a local newspaper or blog.
  9. Go above and beyond for the venue. Offer to help them in any way you can. For example, maybe they need you to break down quickly after the show so the staff can get out at a reasonable time.
  10. Show up on time for appointments, set-up, sound check, the gig, every set, and equipment breakdown.
  11. Ask the manager when and how long your breaks should be, and then stick to that schedule. This is vital because the timing of breaks is not arbitrary. Breaks are set very specifically to maximize the venue’s income.
  12. Before the last set, ask the manager if it’s OK to play later if the crowd wants it. If so, how much later. Venues need to comply with local laws.

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.