Getting Return Gigs

© 2011 Vinny Ribas

Have you ever wondered why there are many bands that, in your opinion, may not be the absolute best at their craft, but are always working? How about the many acts that are amazing on stage but never get called back for return gigs? While the actual stage show is important, there are many other factors that play in the decision of whether or not to re-hire an act. Here is a look at some factors on both side of the equation:

Why some acts are re-hired:


  • They are completely professional at all times.
  • They get along with everyone.
  • They build relationships with the management, the staff and the customers.
  • They never misrepresent themselves.
  • They strive to please the management first, the customer 2nd and themselves last.
  • They show up on time, perform on time, and wrap up at the right time.
  • They know why they are hired and they fill that role to a tee.
  • They are priced appropriately.
  • They do their homework and only pursue gigs that they are appropriate for.
  • They are ‘on’ from the minute they walk through the door, never bringing their personal problems to work with them.
  • They are predictably consistent.
  • They ask for the gig, or the return engagement.
  • They know how to sell their act.
  • They are good at marketing themselves both to the venues and to customers.
  • They bring fans to the gig.
  • They make the management’s job easy, and make the manager look good.
  • They are respectful to everyone.

Why some acts are not called back:

  • They insist on doing things their way instead of the how the venue’s management wants it done.
  • They are unprofessional or difficult to work with.
  • They misrepresent how many people they can bring in the door.
  • They don’t strive to please the venue’s customers.
  • They show up late for the gig or for sound check.
  • They take longer than acceptable breaks.
  • They are not as good as their EPK or press kit leads buyers to believe they are.
  • They are not nearly as good as their well-produced, auto-tuned, studio musician-filled CD.
  • They have little or no charisma or personality on stage.
  • Their equipment keeps breaking.
  • The act is not ‘tight’ or well-rehearsed. They make too many obvious or careless mistakes on stage
  • They hit on the customers or the staff.
  • They quit early or refuse to play late when asked.
  • They price themselves out of the ballpark.
  • They ask for too little money, which can lead the buyer to believe they are not up to par with the other acts they hire.
  • They never ask to be booked back. Some managers feel this is a sign that that the act didn’t enjoy the gig and doesn’t want to come back!
  • They are not good at selling their act.
  • They take any gig regardless of whether or not it is a good fit for them.
  • They show up looking bored, apathetic, angry, moody or mad. They bring their personal challenges to the job.
  • They are inconsistent, so the management never knows what they are going to get.
  • They do not market themselves, or at least not effectively.
  • They make the management’s job a challenge.
  • They are disresctful, such as using foul language.
  • They dress inappropriately either before during or after the show.

These are just some of the factors that play into how booked an act stays. But it should be obvious that it is not only about the quality of the show itself. It’s about your good or bad reputation. It’s about building solid relationships and fulfilling your commitments. It’s also about pleasing the management first, customers 2nd and yourself last![/private_member]

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.