With festival season just around the corner, it’s the perfect chance to market your music and get your band heard. This does not in any way, shape or form mean that you should spam the inboxes of festival owners with delusional begging and ‘offering’ your band out for the main stage!
Rather on a more practical level, it’s a time to take advantage of the situation and increase your fan base and network. Whilst the temptation can be strong to get wasted with a bunch of your closest pals and a few random strangers thrown in for good measure, it’s one you should resist (for the most part) After all, where better to meet your potential new fans than at an entire venue or site filled with people who love music?!
Whether you organize a flash mob, co-ordinate some ridiculous outfits, or hire some models to wear your merch, going out to a festival doesn’t just have to be treated as a social call. Although the above ideas are a little extreme (and potentially outdated, in the case of flash mobs!) there are a few far more simple things you can try to get your name out there! On the spot performances are a good idea – show people what you’ve got. A little campfire acoustic set never hurt anyone, and you’ll be bound to impress!
Hand Things Out
When you’ve got people hooked, it’s important that you do something to retain their attention. Handing out freebies is always a good option. Flyering can help, but don’t be too disheartened if you see your own face staring up at you numerous times from puddles. People are drunk, people already have limited space, and your flyer ends up chucked anywhere and everywhere. Things like sweets go down well, but if you’re looking for something branded to make you stand out, you have a few options! Why not try something that actually helps you stay fresh in their minds? If you want people to hear your music, shouting a Facebook URL at them might not be so memorable. USB Makers, on the other hand, allow you to put your music in one place for them to take home and hear when they’ve recovered from their crazy weekend. Handing these out to people who want to feel important could mean you’ve really hit the jackpot – they look too expensive to break, like with a big, inconvenient CD, so there’s more chance they’ll actually keep it. Thankfully though, if you buy in bulk, they’re not all that expensive at all. The alternative is to pop your music onto a Card USB – they’re quirky, they’re shaped like cards for your wallet, but they may hold the key to your success.
Do Things ‘The American Way’
It’s a pretty American thing, but with such a big country, you need to do literally everything you can in order to be memorable – including walking around with a pair of headphones attached to your chosen device, in order to let people listen to your stuff. You can replicate this wherever you are though, as people will definitely appreciate the personal touch. Be smart – pick the best tracks for this, and choose times that work, not just for you, but for the people you want to hear you. Just because you don’t care about the band on the main stage at 3pm, doesn’t mean people who may have travelled to see only them will appreciate you interrupting to hear your band’s tracks. Wait until people are in line – whether it’s for food, to get in, merch or the oh-so-dubious bathrooms, and the distraction will come as a welcome relief.
This doesn’t need to mean schmoozing… think more like boozing. Sort of. Whilst it’s not a good idea in the slightest to make a fool of yourself and get drunk, making friends with like-minded individuals will win you a few fans – on a band level, too. If people like you, they’re more likely to give you a chance. Keep an eye out for name droppers. They love to brag at these kind of gatherings, and this could work in your favour. Getting connections can equal exposure. From clothing lines like Big Deal Clothing and Fatal Clothing, to girls claiming that they’re dating someone who writes for Kerrang!, if someone has a connection to someone who can have an influence on your music career, there’s definitely no shame in trying to benefit from that.
No matter what method you choose in approaching people, remember to always have manners. It sounds like something you’d hear at school, but they had a point. The old saying ‘any publicity is good publicity’ might not be so true in an industry where people are increasingly having to work harder to be noticed. People are far more likely to remember and tell their friends about rudeness, so unless you can get away with a little bit of cheeky charm, remember that a bad reputation before you’ve even had chance to earn a good one could really harm your chances of success.