How Do You Know if a Show Will Be Worth It?


So you’ve been asked to do a few shows but you don’t which ones you should take. I think we’ve all run into this. DON’T take every gig because some really aren’t worth it and who has time to waste. Choose wisely. Weigh you options and base your show on how it will further you in your goals. Here are a few questions to ask yourself…

How far is it and will they be paying you?
If you have to drive a distance and you’re not sure if you’ll even be able to cover your gas, you should think twice about playing this show. Sometimes a show isnt worth your time+gas+tolls. Guestimate what those three will be and weigh it with the financial+fan+experiential return of the show.

Is it an easy show?
I really love those occasional “golden” shows where I don’t have to work for an audience because I can count on a built-in crowd. Sometimes you just need an “easy” show so you can take a break from the constant hustle.  Gigs like this are often worth it even if the monetary take home isn’t all that great.

What Kind of Experience Will You Have?
It’s often hard to gauge this. An experience can depend on a number of things – other artists on the bill, the space, and who decides to come. Don’t always equate experience with turnout. Some of my best shows personally have been for groups of 10 or 20.

Does this show have potential?
Potential to put you in front of a brand new fanbase? Potential to expose you to “important” decision makers. Potential to open new opportunities for you? Maybe the show will serve as a resume builder instead of a great paying opportunity. Shows like this are great.

Do You Want to Do it?
It’s a simple question that I sometimes forget to ask myself. Remember, if the emails are landing in your inbox, you have the power to decide if you want to play it or not. Don’t find yourself at a gig you don’t care for.  If you don’t care about it, you shouldn’t play it. That’s no fun for anyone.

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

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4 Comments on “How Do You Know if a Show Will Be Worth It?”

  1. KSE Says:

    All gigs are worth it regardless of how much you get paid.

    I call them, exposure and building a True Blue Fan Base….they are investments for the future.

  2. Jack Says:

    @KSE not ALL gigs are worth it. Consider a poorly run free event with bad sound and disorganized production… is that putting your best foot forward?

    You should Go/NoGo for every offer (solicited and unsolicited) to see if it is in your best interest and big picture plans.

  3. grassrootsy Says:

    Hi Jack, KSE! I just played one of those poorly run/bad sound system shows last week which promted me to write this blog. It cost more to drive there than i made, no one could hear what i was singing b/c the pa was TERRIBLE, and even if they could hear, no one was paying attention. It was a discouraging mess, waste of time, and cut into my travel expenses.

    And i realize the more I play out and the busier I get, its important for me to be picky with the type of gigs i accept.

  4. chamelious Says:

    My Band The Sun Explodes have been gigging for a year, we’ve been paid a small amount a couple of times, but we’ve never made even half of our travel expenses back. Pretty much every gig we’ve played has been a waste of time in terms of exposure, usually nights are badly/not at all promoted, other bands on the bill are unprofessional, awful, completely mismatched, or all 3. A lot of times, so called venues have awful live sound facilities, no foldback (try that with a synth!), poor/no lights, sometimes not even a soundman.

    We do what we can to draw a crowd using social networking, but as we all know, adding people on myspace, commenting, messaging, asking friends on facebook to spread the word, doesn’t really work. 2 people out of 100 say they’ll come to a show, then they don’t. 9 times out of 10 the only people at a show are local bands friends.

    I’ve put in a lot of work promotion wise and I’m beginning to think its a total waste of time. I think music “fans” are generally hard wired to dislike bands that aren’t plastered all over music channels on TV and mainstream music magazines.

    The only reason we continue is because we love writing and performing music. Can’t think of anything else I’d wanna do with my life.


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