How to put together and start booking shows that matter

So here’s the thing, I have been booking shows since I started playing music, I have made many mistakes and have been guilty of playing live for my own sake.  You might ask ,what do you mean? Well, I thought music was all about playing for your own sanity’s sake. Perhaps, but there is a good anecdote, I am sure you have heard of it: What’s the difference between a jazz musician and a rock musician? A Jazz musician is playing a thousand of notes for 3 people and a Rock musician plays 3 notes for thousands of people.

The Rock Manifesto


When you play rock-n-roll, you are in front of people and you have the responsibility to act as their spokesperson and put on a show. Give them something memorable, make them forget where they came from and instead be there with you in the same space while you are channeling your higher purpose.

Everyone has got something to say, but the reason why everyone came to see you, is because you say it in a unique way. You play it with feeling, and you scream it out into the universe, like the primordial gods

K well now let’s get back to booking a show.

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In today’s world when people’s attention is being studied and fed according to what they are doing at that particular time, you have to be smart about booking your show. It depends on where you live, for example when you live in New York City, you got hundreds of shows happening every night and every other one is good. You can’t really grasp the attention of all the people in the city since everyone’s tastes are different, but you can attract attention of the people that have the same interests, that’s why you gotta be smart about booking shows.

Booking a live show is not as easy as it sounds.

It’s actually close to an art form. To book a great show that people will talk about afterwards, takes time, effort and creativity.

Here are few tips on how to book a successful show:

  • 1). Think of your show as an event.

I learned that when you put together an event, people will respond to it differently. They want to attend and stay for the whole line up of bands + dance to the DJ, then it will be a stellar night.

  • 2). Choosing the right venue.

The right venue has to be chosen carefully and you gotta be honest with yourself. How many people can all the bands bring to a show in order to feel like it’s a success? Take that number and divide it by two, since not everyone will show up. You can tell venues all you want, but the post-show facts will reveal the truth. So, no egos, do the right thing. It’s better to choose a smaller venue then a larger one, since you want to feel like you are playing a packed house rather then a half empty venue.

  • 3). Booking similar style bands and DJs.

Make Sure All bands and DJs are of the same genre. If they aren’t, then at least they should make sense playing the same night. For example, you don’t want end up with a hip-hop artist, metal band and a garage band. Trust me I have been on those line-ups.

  • 4). Advertise and Promote the hell out of it.

There can never be enough said about this topic, but we all know what that means. Your poster or flyer has to be in front of everyone’s eyes. Social Media, Newsletters, Your Website, Blogs, Magazines… Try to get as much publicity as possible and create momentum and excitement because, as the owner of The Cavestomp – garage rock movement in NYC told me, “Excitement grows when it’s shared!” The more people know and see it, the more chances are that they will start wondering, “What is going on with this show? We want to attend.” Basically the facts are: If before you’ve had to show people marketing information 4 times, today you have to show it 16 times to make an impact. Can you imagine that? Yes 16 times, for them to scratch their heads, what’s this about? So get to your promotion and advertisement early and do it massively.

Now you know how to book and put on a successful show. Go make it happen. Now!!! Go!!! Go!!! Go!!!

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