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Lessons From the Indies Lesson 2: Get Invited Back

February 2, 2010

In Lesson 1 we talked about how to get the Gig – and naturally, the follow up to that lesson would be how to get invited back to the gig.    One of the big mistakes that artists make is that once you’ve played a venue, you don’t need to go back there.    Nothing could be further from the truth for a couple of reasons.

  1. When you initally play a venue you are building fans –   and if you do a good job, hopefully those fans will have talked about you – and told two friends, and they will have told two friends….and so on and so on.     So upon your return you hopefully can play to the fans your made on your first visit – PLUS all of the word of mouth fans that have discovered you since you left.
  2. An invitation to return to a venue/church,etc is a sign of success.   No promoter is going to invite back a ‘train wreck’ –   so if you are invted to return to play another event/gig –   than that is definitely a sign that you connected  with your audience and the promoter has confidence in your talent and abilities.

Going into a gig with one of your goals being to create the kind of experience that will get a return invitation will help insure you actually walk out with a return opportunity.     Shaun Groves, who is an amazing artist, AND blogger,  wrote in a recent blog “Lessons from an opening Act”.    (       As I thought about this,  I realized that some of the same principles for an opening act apply to any artist that is wanting to get invited back for a repeat engagment.         Most importantly these  three:

  1. Attention isn’t deserved its earned –   When any artist goes into a performance situation,    its critical that you earn the audiences attention    Whether through talent,  or charisma, or both, the artist must take charge of the concert or event and not just presume that because you are opening your mouth, everyone cares what you are singing or saying.
  2. Be grateful –   Gratitude goes a long way when an artist goes to a venue.    I traveled for almost 15 years and lived by this principle – and was amazed the number of times I heard from promoters,   ‘wow, no artists has ever said thank you for that’.     I assure you I wasn’t the most talented guy in the business, but I was determined to be the most grateful……and I got invited back.     And you will too!       (Of course, all of this assuming that your concert is good too)
  3. Serve the whole –   …..which i will change a bit to say, serve the promoter.     One of the first questions an artist should ask a promoter is what they want the evening/concert to accomplish.      It’s amazing how often artists arrive at venues with their own agenda that are counter-productive to what the promoter wants to achieve.    Though I do think the promoter should do some research to find artists that will best serve their plans,   it is amazing what happens when an artist brings an attitude of service  for the promoter (and the people that have come to see them, and the volunteers, etc) …..the promoter is encouraged –  and wants to invite that artist back.

It is true that it is important to work to broaden your markets and work to play new places in order to get your name out.   But simultaneous to that is the dedication to getting invited back to places where you’ve been before and built fans already.      And when you go back multiple times,  those fans become super fans –  and will work to do anything to help you in your career because they feel they’ve had a part of it –   and they have!

On your mark, get set,  Go get invited back!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Bev Herrema permalink
    February 2, 2010 9:04 AM

    Excellent! And as a nonperforming songwriter, I think so much of what you wrote is also true for “getting invited back” to co-write with people you’ve been blessed to write with. Community! Relationship! Thanks for the great blog….

  2. February 12, 2010 10:00 AM

    Great advice here.

    Thanks for the mention, Jeff. When you have lunch free I’m willing to get you some Chuy’s…and I’ll throw in a lesson on creating links in WordPress too. ; )

    Let’s hang soon.

    -Shaun Groves

    • Jeff Berry permalink
      February 12, 2010 11:00 AM

      Count me in on all the above!!!!! i’ll find you!!!

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