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Promotional Bands, Events Venue Circuit And The Festival, How To Become A Rock Star - Plan Your Business For Success

Updated on June 20, 2011

Promotional Bands & Events Venues

Presumably if you are reading this you are interested in getting ideas for an events venue. You have probably already got your band together, created a strategic business plan, gained an online presence and are ready to trawl the music circuit. In the last part of this article series on how to become a rock star, we focus on where to find gig venues, music festivals, band appearance and talent.  Promotion, again, strongly theme throughout this article. Promotional bands are successful bands. Do you think you can handle a life on the road, living in a van? Are you able to commit to rejection and poor audience turn out? Well, it takes a strong group of people to endure this but it seems to be part of the course when you first start!  Read on, if you dare!

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A Gigging Rock Band - Cool?

It isn’t easy for a promotional band. Accepting gigs from crappy, dingy dens from all over the country, however, is a must. Living in van, going from one end of the country to another is a hard life for another flea pit of an event venue. Aren’t you prepared to go to any lengths to achieve Rock Stardom? It doesn’t sound glamorous does it? Well, it isn’t and it can push your inter-band friendships to distraction. Don’t let it. Once band members start tantruming, then it starts to show cracks in the band. The danger here is that such familiarity can breed contempt. To be aware of this can pull the band back into the main focus in achieving Rock Band Stardom, so don’t forget.

Festival Ghosts For The Phantom Band?

The Phantom Band Gigs and Gets an Audience!
The Phantom Band Gigs and Gets an Audience!

Do The Gig Circuit

You need to do the circuit, get to know where your successful predecessors frequented and go for these places. Every city has a key ‘Gig Hang Out’ for new unsigned bands – hit these and when situations present themselves with more established bands – try and connect to back them up.

Try and promote yourself with charity gigs. Giving your time for free is a great way to, not only help raise money to good causes, but promote your band. Make sure local newspapers, media and radio stations know about your gig – this will strengthen your profile.

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  • Strummerville can help you with events venues and a van
  • Tunited can help you with promote and make connections

Links to these sites can be found at the end of this article.

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Tunited is a new community website for independent music founded by Midge Ure

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Flipron Are A Band Like You - Flipron played Glastonbury!

Flipron - a self made band - played on the band stand twice before the Glastonbury festival formally opened in 2010. They went down a storm and now have more fans than ever! Flipron are a band like you but through determination they are making steady progress.

The Subways Won Talent Competition For Glastonbury Festival 2004

"Michael Eavis that year was running an unsigned bands competition to play on the Other Stage, and The Subways decided that would be a great idea. "It was really just another address to send one of our CDs off to. All we wanted was to play shows and this was another great opportunity. The CD we sent off to Michael Eavis was literally one among a bunch of 30 that were being sent out to London promoters for a load of gigs we wanted to book."

For More Information on anything 'Glastonbury Festival' contact:

Manager: Dick Vernon
Glastonbury Festival Office
28 Northload Street
Somerset BA6 9JJ
T: 01458 834 596

The Festival Circuit

Festivals are great places to make connections from small festivals to large ones.  The Green Man Festival, for example, is a 15,000 capacity site that can take complete unknowns and slot them into a fast moving schedule.  You could offer your services for a free ticket, for example, which is a great promotional for you and will help to get your name out there.  The daddy of all festivals – The Glastonbury Festival – also book small bands as there are many diverse band stages to fill.  What a great recommendation on your resume to have actually played Glastonbury!

A word of warning here.  You need to apply well ahead for festivals – at least 8 months prior!  If you can’t get a slot on a stage, think outside of the box – why not set up a workshop in the green fields, teach others a skill or hold a sitting area, and add your band to enterain.  This is a great way for people to shelter from the rain or sun and be entertained!  You are also getting your name out there!

Look out for conventional routes into Festivals like Glastonbury.  Talent competitions are held and you, again, need to apply well ahead of time.

Original Thinking Gets You The Right Events Venue

Try and think out of the box – uniqueness and originality qualifies for brownie points and gets you the right events venue.  Start with websites like to inspire you in getting contacts for festival applications – bombard as many appropriate festivals to your music style as possible

Have some memorable gimmick.  This will can keep you in the mind of your fans and your contacts for a long time to come.  

Iliketrains Gimmick Example

  • Iliketrains used to issue out a railcard to their fans when they first started. Their show also included a back drop with train footage displayed upon it and included them wearing British Rail uniforms to enhance the performance.

Gimmicks and themes make a band memorable.

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Smaller Festival Events

Smaller festivals – beer fests, folk fests, for example – are all great starting blocks that help you to build your bands curriculum vitae and build your performing confidence! And you never know who will be watching you perform!

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Keep Music Alive!

  • Keep music alive!
  • Don't kill creativity!
  • Don't Illegally Download - buy it, try it and like it!

BBC Radio 6 Music are sentenced to death. This is a cost cutting exercise! The establishment wins again by denying opportunity to working class talent!

People power can fight to keep niche music alive. Don't let the establishment deny us the musical talent of ordinary folk! We don't have the same opportunities that those in the establishment have!

Please take the time to go and join 6 Music Protest Group on Facebook -

Thank you.

You Never Know Who Is Watching You - An Example - Peter Hook, Guy Garvey And Jarvis Cocker - Festival Goers

  • At a festival, you never know who is watching you. Guy Garvey (Elbow, BBC 6 Presenter) is a Festival freak. You can often spot him around.
  • Jarvis Cocker (Pulp and BBC 6 Presenter) was at Latitude 2010. He frequents many festivals. I spotted him watching Gabby Young and the Other Animals (Stephen from Revere) in a small events venue in the woods. Whilst Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order) was watching a new band who had just flown in from Brooklyn, New York in Latitude Festival's Sunrise Arena.

The point is.... you just don't know who is watching you! Get your music heard!!

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Band Image: Example - The Horrors

The Horrors - Glastonbury Festival Picture Courtesy & Thanks to the Guardian
The Horrors - Glastonbury Festival Picture Courtesy & Thanks to the Guardian

Original Material & Physical Appearance of the Rock Band

Two key components to your band is to have good original material. You will always think that your music is the best in the world, so take critiscm and act on it to better yourself. Your fans or critics are your best friends in your self development so don’t get defensive and make the necessary improvements.

Have an entertaining front man. This has to be someone with presence and be confident. The rest of the Rock Group needs to support him or her and really enjoy themselves on stage. If the band aren’t having fun, this comes out in the performance – you can’t fake it to the audience, however hard you try!

Get interactive with the audience. Perhaps add a couple of copy cat numbers amongst the original material, but not too many – you don’t want the name as a copy band! This will be enough to get people in the groove whilst introducing them to your music sound.

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An Example Of An Idea - Think Outside of the Box!

Why not invest in an inexpensive bubble machine, for example, or smashed hanging mirrors (put some stick back clear plastic for safety) to add to an affect with your lighting? Both are easily transportable and displayed (the mirrored frame can be hung like any conventional picture frame). The point is, mind map or brainstorm your way to an image that the whole band agrees with, think outside of the box and tweak your image and style. Allow it to evolve and change as you progress.

Themed Look That Is Conducive To Your Sound

You need to have a theme to your band’s look. This has to be conducive with your sound.

Iliketrains, for example, used to adopt a British Railways uniform, whereas These New Puritans front man wears a chainmale.

The Horrors, however, dress themselves in black with pale face makeup and black eye liner. Their shows are decked with enough dry ice to drown their figures into a shadowed abyse.

Before they became rock stars, however, and money was tight, their show included a simulated hanging with one of the band members, whilst others climbed the stage in a mad frenzy. I guess dry ice is very expensive! Yes, it might be a bit over the top for your band, but you get an idea – use it!

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Promotional Bands and Talent

Of course you need talent, but I can’t teach you to this.  What I can tell you is give the people what they want and listen to comments, not from friends or family – they don’t want to upset you – but from those who listen to you first hand.  Promotional bands can’t be sensitive to bad feedback and neither must they be inflated by adoring fans.  Although the latter is a great confidence boost, we all know that the higher you fly the greater the fall, so keep grounded. Your Rock band is 90% promotion and 10% artistic.  This is why it is so important to get the promotion right, get an appropriate events venue and remain focused.  Secondary to this is great team dynamics – united you stand, divided you fall.  Ultimately, therefore, in answer to the question of how to become a rock star requires entrepreneurism, imagination and determination.  Good luck.

© This work is covered under Creative Commons License

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Make Me A Rock Band A-Store

My A-Store is cram-packed full of great specialist information and products especially picked and recommended by me to you!

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    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      LeanMan - well actually with your sense of humour, you remind of a good band called Artbrut. Maybe we will make a rock star out of you yet!

    • LeanMan profile image


      8 years ago from At the Gemba

      I had the hair but not the voice! Maybe I could still make it, after all how old are the rolling stones??


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