Getting Support Gigs as a Singer
Targeting headlining performers to have support slots with!
Getting support gigs. Supporting a bigger performer than yourself is a great way to get your music heard by a much larger audience. Obviously this doesn’t mean go emailing Lady Gaga and Beyonce trying to get on their tours as it will be a waste of time.
Firstly start with singers/bands with a good local following who are of similar style to your music. Getting support gigs is a great opportunity to expand your fan base.
- Check for upcoming shows in your local area. Figure out which shows you can make and find out if they have already announced their support acts. If not, get in touch and offer your services.
- Go to their gigs and local events.
- Open Mic nights can be one way to network for contacts and other acts.
- For smaller, more local shows it is often the promoter who puts acts forward for support slots. Having a good reputation, both in terms of fan base and performance level, will help you here.
- Usually the good promoters who put on bigger shows in your area are the ones who deal with bigger acts, so try and get on the bills of some of their smaller shows and get known by them.
- If you haven’t had any shows with the promoters, get in touch for them and give them your details. Always be prepared for an act to drop out at the last minute so you get the call to step in. It could be the show that moves you up the ladder!
- Try to find an act’s booking agents contact email. Contacting them directly, without getting pushy or forceful, can help build up a rapport on a personal level!
WHY SHOULD THEY PICK YOU FOR A SUPPORT SLOT?
An artist in the position to pick their support acts probably gets a fair few requests. You need to make yourself stand out. Ideally you do that by word of mouth and reputation that you are not only good but have a fanbase.
Either way you may need to make them check your demo out rather than press delete without giving you so much as a glance. The key to getting the gig is that they will want an act that can boost ticket sales and warm the crowd up for them. You need to prove that you have the fan base and stage performance that can do this!
MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR SUPPORT SLOT!
Now you have your slot on the bill, you have to put on the best show you can to win over new fans and leave a good impression on the headliners.
- Fulfill any promotional commitments you make. Plug the show to your existing fan base and in the local area to generate interest and hopefully boost sales. This will leave a good impression on the headliner and the promoter if you are actively driving ticket sales!
- Use the opportunity to write a press release and get more exposure for the event and yourself.
- Where possible, try and leave time free after the gig in case it goes well and they ask you back for more shows. If you already have shows lined up, be honest. Honesty is the best policy, don’t try and wing it until right up to the show and end up messing up both commitments.
- Sort out technical aspects of the gig in advance. Find out if the headlining act doesn’t mind you bringing your own gear or if they would rather share to save change over time and stage space. Always have spares, such as batteries or guitar strings!
- Always treat the sound engineer with respect. He is responsible for your sound, always stay polite!
- Inform them of any visuals or unusual technical requirements you have, such as a banjo in one song. Writing a small tech spec to hand to the engineer on arrival is a good idea, make it clear and concise. Always ask in a polite manner.
- Find out if you can sell some of your own merchandise. Its better to ask than just assume you can!
- Make sure you know what time you are in for load-in and sound check! If you work full-time make sure you make appropriate arrangements well in advance if you need to take an afternoon off.
- Always get there early! Being fashionably late will do you no favours.
- Always thank the promoter and sound engineer after the gig, you never know when you may need to call upon them again.