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reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false
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Tips On Getting More Fair Dates and Corporate Gigs
by Posted By Les Vogt
Most Corporate Party and Fair gigs come from referrals... a respected associate passing along positive information from a job well done. Here are some tips on getting your share of them...
Posted By Les Vogt
The first step is to find out who books these events. In most cases they are exclusive Fair Buyers, Party Planners, Event Managers, or Destination Management Consultants. Like everything else in the music business, getting gigs is often about establishing and maintaining relationships. There are specific organizations that cater to this industry. Hospitality and Fair Associations, Tourism offices, and many other similar entities that will often offer memberships to anyone related to the field. While a membership fee can range from about $100 to $1000 per year (and sometimes there are additional fees to attend networking events), it is a small amount to pay compared to the income you can make if you land a contract. You need to find creative ways to make all of these people aware of what you do and why they will benefit from hiring you.
How much do fair dates and corporate events pay? This depends greatly on you, them, the location, the number of people attending the event, and ultimately your negotiation skills. However, you can count on making two to five times (sometimes even more) as much as a local club date would pay. I know several no-name bands that make up to ten thousand for a two hour performance. Make your fee structure flexible, but don't make it too low. Once you quote a price, it will be hard to raise it for future bookings. Your first contract could set the precedent... so, don't sell yourself short.
Confirm that all backline and sound equipment is provided for... either by you, the client, or the venue. If a third party sound company is bringing the equipment, handle all your requirements directly. If the venue already has a sound system, get the specs and perhaps make a trip in advance to check out the equipment. Your ability to execute a flawless performance is ultimately your responsibility... and the likelihood of getting re-booked with your client, or securing potential new clients in attendance, will depend on it. EXCUSES NEVER ERASE MEMORIES!
Look professional by executing a thorough contract, covering all event specifics including fees, hospitality... your obligations... their obligations... parking arrangements... load in/load out times and locations, and a time to sound check (make a special effort to sound good so your first impression is the best that it can be). It is also wise to request a 50% deposit (all the better performers do it) to be paid upon signing the contract to secure the engagement. Include a clause regarding insurance. When corporations hire consultants, who hire bands and rent venues, liability can sometimes be difficult to determine. The contract should indemnify you from all liability, and you should have your, or the band's legal business name added to the event's insurance policy as "additionally insured." Finally, do not assume that it is appropriate for you to bring any guests to the event. If it is necessary to bring your girlfriend or boyfriend, ask ahead of time and provide for a guest list in the contract so there are no surprises.
For corporate gigs, you should always have an understanding of who your audience members will be and the type of event you are playing. Determine how the band should be dressed. Is it Black Tie or a Beach Party theme? Will you be playing for dancing... a featured stage show... background music or all of the above? How big is the stage? Find out who the big wigs are and inject some proven participation humor in their direction if the appropriate occasion arises. This information will be helpful in constructing a suitable set list and overall execution plan for the gig.
The music is important, but professionalism will set you apart from the rest. Arrive on time, start on time, have fun, smile a lot... and be accommodating should the client (either the one who hired you or the one who hired the one who hired you) have a special request. Be friendly and easy to deal with and do not show any internal disagreements in public. Keep your hospitality and rider requirements reasonable (often meals and drinks are provided). Do not ask for more than what you need... a demanding rider or requirement list can often turn-off a potential buyer and lose the gig. Be aware of your purpose at the event. Do not mingle with the guests/audience unless approved directly by the person who hired you. Resist selling merchandise or soliciting additional gigs from party attendees, and should someone solicit you, keep the agent (if applicable) who hired you in the loop. Cutting them out of their commission will most often cut you out of any future gigs with them (and possibly others) no matter how well you perform.
Send the person who hired you a personal (handwritten is always nice) thank you note following the engagement, and if all went well, request a letter of recommendation. You can then include it in your promo kit when soliciting other gigs. Periodically call the client and remind them that you are still interested and available for any functions for which they need music. Christmas cards and/or post cards from impressive gig locations are wonderful reminders... as are birthday cards if you can creatively find out the correct birth dates for your clients!
Working fairs and corporate events will test your professionalism and require you to be the best that you can be. Live up to the expectations... and you'll smile all the way to the bank.
Author's site: http://www.members.shaw.ca/lesvogt
Les Vogt is an independent producer, promoter and