Apply to festivals that are a good fit for your band
Make sure your application is thorough and realistic
Don’t wait until the last minute to apply – what are you waiting for!
Festivals are a great opportunity to play to new audiences, but landing a coveted spot requires some serious planning and research - performer applications can open as early as a year in advance.
We asked Gill Walker, Artist Coordinator at Western Australia’s long-running Blues at Bridgetown, for her advice on how to give your application the best shot.
MAKE SURE THE FESTIVAL IS A GOOD FIT
“First and foremost, we are a blues festival,” says Gill. “Every year we get applications from musicians who are clearly not blues artists, trying to stretch the definition of blues to fit what they do. So number one, only apply to appropriate festivals.”
“We are looking for a range of artists across the different blues genres, so the more we know about an artist, the better we know how they might fit in,” says Gill. “Read the application form closely and make sure that all criteria are addressed as fully as possible.”
“Price is important,” says Gill. “We need value for money. Asking a fair price for your performance and being prepared to negotiate with our music programmer if necessary will help. Being flexible about the times and days you’re available to perform is also helpful.”
MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION
How well you’ve been received by past audiences is obviously crucial, but it’s also important to make a good impression on festival staff. Programmers, marketers, production and admin staff all play an important role in getting you on stage and getting punters in front of it. Help them do a good job by supplying tech specs, marketing materials and completed paperwork in a timely fashion. They’ll be more likely to welcome you back with open arms the next time you apply.
Don’t wait until the last day to submit your application. “Applying early will increase your chances,” says Gill. So start doing your research and get those applications in!