FESTIVAL APPLICATIONS ARE
H O W TO
IM PRO VEYO O R
SLOT, SAYS THE
bu may dream of Glastonbury, but the first step to festival success is to
be realistic. Aim for festivals that suit your genre, style and size. Ask
yourself if your chosen festivals are the right kinds of event - do they
fit you and do you fit them?
Do your research
Find out if there are multiple stages, and who is booking the stage. It sounds
simple, but don’t apply for the dance tent if you’re a metal band. Target your
applications carefully to give yourself a chance of success.
Remember, it’s okay to start small. Even the big boys did it. Just 1,500
people attended Glastonbury's inaugural event in 1971. The headliner? A
moderately well known band called Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Know the process
In 2014 there were over 400 festivals, from Swaledale to Glastonbury, and
each one has its own application process, ranging from online pro formas, to
using free intermediaries, or agencies that charge.
Whichever method, it is crucial you apply in the appropriate way. “The
supply outweighs the demand, and if you haven't done what is asked of you.
it’s likely that the people doing these applications will just discard yours. Be
mindful. You appear more professional if you can follow the instructions’’
advises Kelly Wood. MU live performance official.
Tinally, don’t leave it too late. Most festival application processes start in
autumn and are all sewn up by early spring. Glastonbury, for example, starts
in September and ends around March.
Put your best foot forward
Being professional is one of the most effective ways to get yourself noticed
by a festival booker or promoter. Award-winning festival Kendal Calling had
4,000 applications for 400 slots, so you need to shine through. The trick is to
sell yourself well and fast.
The first line of your application can be make or break. Make sure your
application includes relevant press quotes, big gigs and any previous festival
experience. Include links to examples of your work on stage. Make sure all
your social media is up to date, and don't engage in hyperbole.
Networking is common currency in the music business. Building
relationships and trust will certainly help. Don’t just focus on those you think
might be useful.
Finally, stay positive. It can be tough, but it is worth it. For advice on any
of the above, from local festival information to advice on applications and
negotiating fees, get in touch with the MU.
MU members get access to a range of career development advice. If
you're considering a change, contact your regional office and book
a one-to-one with your MU official for bespoke advice. For general
advice and more information about how to join the Union, please visit
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