How to Get Festival Slots
Thinking about applying to perform at a music festival this year? Festivals across the country are looking to book music acts now, and here are our tips on how to make festival organisers book you.
How to get festival slots: As you become a more established act, naturally you’ll want to start playing to bigger crowds, that’s where festivals come in. Here are a few tips that will help you get recognised when applying for festival slots.
- Before you start sending emails to everyone you’ve ever heard of in the music festival industry, do your research! Don’t waste your time trying to contact people who may actually have no relevance to what you want. For example a festival for heavy metal or folk when that isn’t your music.
- Instead, take your time to compile a list of useful contacts who could help you get your foot in the door. Find out when to apply, as a seasonal event festival organisers often start booking months and months before. For example, Wireless and Latitude plan 12 months before and Reading & Leeds 16 months before.
Here’s some great advice from Mel Ralph at Monmouth Festival about how to approach festivals:
- It’s unlikely that any of the well known festivals are going to book you if you have little or no experience playing at other festivals. The most realistic move for you is to look at local festivals. They’ll be more likely to book local talent, so you’re in a better position.
- You may have to do quite a few local festivals before any big ones take you seriously. Most local festivals have an application form on their website, where you can apply; these are only open for a short period of time, so it’s wise to check them on a regular basis.
Check out The Festival Calendar to find the 2019 festivals you can apply for near you.
Keep it personal
- Remember that festival organisers receive hundreds of e-mails asking for slots at their festival, so make sure you’ve looked into the festival you’re applying for. Do research into each stage and find which one suits you best. That way they’ll be aware you’ve done your research and they’re likely to give your music a listen.
- As always keep the email concise and to the point, two short paragraphs should ensure that it’s not quickly looked over, you don’t want to be one that a busy promoter will look at that later but never does.
- Also don’t send attachments especially ones that are big files as you could potentially aggravate the festival promoter before they’ve even listened or looked; a simple hyperlink to a YouTube video can do the job just as effectively.
Send live examples
- What’s the point in sending your latest studio recording? You’re applying to play live at their festival, so send them your live videos. Show them exactly what they can expect if they decide to book you for their festival.
- Again keep the email approach easy on the receiver’s eye, hyper-linking the sentence with your video link helps to keep it tidy.
- If you haven’t got any live stuff, maybe approach local universities or colleges and ask for their media students to record you at a gig or post on listing on local websites such as Gumtree. They’ll always be someone keen to update their portfolio and record you.
Watch the some of the highlights from the 2018 Isle of Wight Festival: