Beating The Summer Slump – Getting People In the Door


The Metropolitans at The Gallery Crawl
The Metropolitans at The Gallery Crawl

One of the biggest challenges I’ve ran into is trying to get people out to shows in the summer…especially when the weather’s nice. It might seem like a trivial thing…but there really are ways to work around this.

Stay Outdoors as Much as Possible

If you can help it, be on the lookout for weekend art festivals…and do as many of those as possible!  It’s a no-brainer that art festivals and outdoor concerts are “the thing” to do in the summer.  Chances are you can book an afternoon gig at an art festival and still lineup an indoor gig that evening if you want.

Your City Paper’s “Summer Guide” should be out soon if not already.  The Summer Guide lists local community events, art festivals, and other major events.  Check the Stay Informed: Read, Watch, Listen, Go post for even more on this.

And if your show is outside, make sure people know it!

Start Later
Don’t start the show at 7pm if you don’t have to.  Consider pushing the show back to 8 or 8:30…after the sun sets.  It’ll give people a chance to get out of their daytime mentality and slip into an evening mentality.  It really does make a difference. 

Be Pickier
Choose your venues more carefully.  If you’re playing at a restaurant, bar, coffeeshop, check to see if they have an an outside stage or courtyard you can use.  Pick venues that are great summer hang out spots.   Like most cities, some spaces do better in the summer than they do in the winter. Vice versa.

Be Part of Something Bigger
Its hard enough to get people out to your gigs at other times of the year.  During the summer, try to be a part of events that are already going on.  Have your band perform at Benefits, charities, cocktails, that are already in place.  The host organization will already be putting marketing muscle into promoting the event and you’ll have to worry less about promoting. Pittsburgh hosts an event called “First Fridays on Penn” where all the Penn Avenue art galleries, restaurants, and business open their doors with live music (all genres), food, and art.  Its a great way for artists to get exposure b/c there are always hundreds of attendees.  Similarly, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust hosts a quartly Gallery Crawl with the same feel but an even larger turnout.  Many cities hold similar events.


 You might also want to read Jumping the Gun – Booking for the Spring and Summer for other ideas.

Explore posts in the same categories: Finding/Getting Bookings, Performing

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