Traditional venues are usually thought of as being the best place to host shows, but musicians miss big opportunities to share their music on their own terms when they rely only on venues to perform live. From intimate house shows to locally curated festivals, shows take on a whole new meaning when the performing musicians are the ones throwing them. Here’s three reasons why musicians should consider setting up their own shows:
More control of the feel and intimacy of the show
Concerts often fall flat for unestablished bands through no fault of their own. When bills are mismatched or not promoted enough, shows can go poorly no matter how well the bands play. Throwing your own concerts gives you complete control of everything from selection of the lineup and venue to promotion to the sound setup. Yes, it’s loads more work than simply showing up and playing a normal show, but putting together your own shows lets you have everything happen on your own terms. Intimacy is something that’s often lost in translation when shows happen at venues, but bands can salvage it when they put shows together on their own.
More venue is tantamount to more problems when it comes to trying to earn a living playing music. Bands often jump at the chance to play large venues only to find that there’s little money to be made after the venue takes its cut. Door staff, bartenders, sound engineers––traditional venues often have a big staff to pay. If you have the space, equipment, and expertise, planning and executing shows yourself will allow you and other performing artists to recoup all of the money you pull in for self-produced shows. Most venues obviously offer things lots of bands won’t have, but if you’re looking to earn a little money and perform an intimate night of music, going your own way is a great option.
You’ll get a new perspective on show production
It’s good for bands to put their own shows together to get a taste of what things are like from a venue’s perspective. Booking bands, running sound, getting everyone paid, keeping a show on a tight schedule––these are challenges every venue faces that bands don’t often think about. Building your own show is a good chance to see how the other half lives when it comes to show production and promotion. What you learn will not only help you put on better shows in the future, but can show you how to be a more professional band in the eyes of a venue.
Throwing your own shows isn’t the same thing as making music, but it’s something that can absolutely help your career. Many artists often sit back and wonder why they aren’t being chosen for opportunities to help further their careers when they’d be better off creating the opportunities themselves. If you feel stuck waiting for great things to happen to your music career, making things happen on your own terms is always an option.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.