Words by Kavina.
We’ve made it through the wire and come out the other side, masks still securely in place, and we see the writing on the chalkboards reading “gigs inside, call to book a table.” Yup, that’ll do just nicely, muso’s that means you’re up!
The time is now fam - doors are opening, borders are opening and international waters are still barring the main stage acts which you once felt it was a privilege to play support for.
So to kick things back into motion, here’s a list of 8 things to inspire you to join the scene, and start playing gigs again, safely.
1. This is your cue to rock... smartly!
Australian music has taken centre stage, and venues will rock *safely and hygienically with the comfortably 1.5m spaced and seated audience and you jam out 2m apart from band mates. Ok, so things are looking a little different, but different is never a bad thing. It means that there is plenty of room for new ideas, new artists and new ways for you to get out there, but make sure to put your best foot forward by being up to date on best practice in your state.
2. The good news is that venues appreciate you, and need you now more than ever.
In a recent interview with Pixie Weyand, owner of the iconic Brisbane venue The Zoo, she expressed that in this downtime, venues wouldn’t have made it through without being able to lean on the local artists support. With international borders still locked down, there’s a renewed sense of comradery between venues and local music artists, who are overcoming restrictions together, by breathing life into the neighbourhood scene in a time where artists may have been touring or venues would be hosting international acts.
3. Ask, and you will probably receive
You never know until you get out there, and ultimately, no one knows what is awaiting the local scene. It’s a day by day process, which makes it the perfect time to ask all those venues you’ve dreamed of playing to give you a shot. Over 80% of gig rosters have fallen through, and the rest of the nation can’t currently travel to their gigs to play them, so there’s an untapped space for emerging talent who may not have felt ready to ask for a slot yet.
4. Ask, ask again, and keep asking till you get an answer
Keep in mind that there is a sense of busyness in adapting to the current flow of business, and trying to navigate restrictions, future planning and wrapping heads around winding down the year just as the scene starts to emerge from hibernation. If you don’t get a response from a venue or booking agent, chalk it down to busy schedules and keep trying your luck. Persistence is never a negative trait, and the worst answer you can get is “we’re fully booked sorry.”
*Plus, you might get a recommendation to ask another venue which is on the lookout. How about that community spirit?
5. Booking apps were the future before COVID, now they’re exactly what artists need
Put yourself out there in an instant, amongst a community of artists who had to take their business online and see just how efficiently you can still connect with venues in your neighbourhood. Booking apps like Muso have streamlined the booking process to make it easy for venues to put a call out for talent, and musicians to set their availability. It makes for a quick and painless platform for connecting and discovery, plus you don't have to worry about third party agents as Muso handles fees and payments for you in house. If you’re intrigued, create your free online profile and give it a go for yourself!
6. D.I.Y and create your own opportunities
You’ve mastered the art of true entrepreneurial skills as you went online to convert your live gig roster into other means of making an income, so flex your skills and bring new opportunities to venues in your area. Why not check in with that quiet bar on the corner of your street and see if they’d consider letting you build a live music roster for them? Or check out other spaces like co-working spaces, record shops and big outdoor workout groups to see how you can build live music into their offering.
7. Team up with other artists
We are stronger in numbers, and a like minded community of artists who are in the same boat as yourself right now, are exactly the support system you need in your life right now. Join an artist community, create a band of bands, and put the word out in numbers. If you think approaching venues with one act is something, try approaching them and saying you’ve got a whole bunch of artist friends in tow. All of a sudden, there’s a whole community around one venue… powerful stuff!
8. Sometimes getting back out there means not getting back out there for now
Yeah, I said what I said.
Although it’s super exciting to get back to live gigs, rest assured that the path to success in the music industry will never be as simple as touring and gigging, especially after this last phase of the pandemic. If you’ve started a new record while in lockdown, then get it finished and put it out there for the world to hear. Create that new merch line, discover your jazz roots and continue to venture down any new paths of your choosing. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the industry guests featured from our past weeks Muso Podcasts, it’s that you should focus on doing great work and perfecting your craft. And sometimes that means staying in so you can kill it tomorrow!
So venues are keen to meet you, the post-COVID new world means new live music structures, new opportunities, and new interpretations for how you want to get back out there with music. With a heavy focus on Australian music this summer, we’re feeling pretty optimistic that it's time for you to put yourself out there and figure out the rest along the way, just like we all are right now. If you need any help in connecting with your scene, finding venues to fit your sound or navigating a booking platform, feel free to holla at our Muso team so we can help you get out there.