If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a million times—there’s nothing quite like the power of community to take your career to the next level. Calling on your network in times of need is one thing, but the real power of a strong community is that they call on you before you’ve even had a chance to ask for help. They’re the ones that connect you with an opportunity before you even knew it existed.
But one thing that doesn’t get talked about a lot is the power of local community, and how musicians can leverage what’s right in front of them to give real boost to their career. Whether you live in a small town or a big city, these tips are for you.
Getting involved with local festivals
One of the most obvious ways to get involved with your community is to play the local festivals and events that your town or city puts on.
You’ll want to apply for the music and arts centric festivals, but think outside the box too. There are usually a ton of events to choose from, especially this time of year, and just because it’s not a music event doesn’t mean there’s not an opportunity for musicians. Nearly all events will have bands playing (come to think of it, I’ve never been to a community or town event that didn’t have a band playing). This is your chance to get in front of people that might otherwise not see you, and lead to new opportunities, including more paid gigs in settings you might have otherwise missed. Think: the company office party, other town gigs, non-profit fundraisers.
This is where your branding becomes key. Take what it is you’re known for — the thing that your band cares about and is vocal about, and find a local cause that aligns with that. Once you’ve got that you can find a way to bridge a partnership.
Example: A band full of vegans or animal activists who volunteer at an animal shelter once a month, while also helping the shelter put together a compilation CD (that includes one of your songs) to sell to the community to raise money for the shelter. You gain local recognition, you do a good deed, and you help a great cause. Win-Win-Win. Even if you just volunteer somewhere as a group, once a month, you’re not only doing a really amazing thing, you’re spending time together outside of the band, increasing your bonding, and creating sharable content for your socials to boot. There’s really no downside to this.
Sponsor or create your own event
If you really want to go all in, sponsoring an event, or better yet—creating your own from scratch, is a fantastic way to make your mark in the community, show your support for your town or city, and put your names at the forefront of everyone’s lips.
This is a big undertaking, so it might even be best to bring on the help of another local business owner or band, further strengthening your ties and relationship building.
There are a zillion different ways you can approach this, all of which will depend on your unique story and your community, but trust me when I say that there are a TON of opportunities. Just like the other ideas, these events can incorporate music, but they don’t have to be all about music. The more diverse crowds they can draw, the better. Get creative, have fun, and go make your mark.
If you have any ideas, throw them in the comments! I’d love to read them.