Updated: Oct 8, 2021
Did you know that Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival was the highest-grossing festival in the world in 2019 (the US $29.63 million) followed by Lollapalooza Brazil with 246 thousand tickets sold?
These events made 17.7 and 14.48 million dollars respectively. That’s more than double the sales of Bluesfest, Longitude and The Life is Beautiful Festival.
Then, there are other events to make the Top 20 Music Festivals Worldwide which also included Hurricane (a rock festival held annually in Germany since 1997), and Electric Daisy Carnival (the biggest electronic dance festival in North America).
There are several other festivals in the world -- not including an ever-growing list of music festivals, music gigs, and opportunities for music artists in the U.K.
The question is this: When is the best time to apply for a music gig, to join a music concert, or to apply to participate in a music festival?
The answer: It depends.
Here’s what you should take note of:
Don’t apply if the gig isn’t a good fit for you, or if the music genre that the music gig or festival showcases is not the genre you are involved with. Like, no rock or metal music festivals or gigs if you do folk acts or traditional music.
Apply early, well-in-advance, and submit enough material (press kits, previous tour details, other festivals you performed at, rolling history of previous gigs, music videos, music samples, and more). Also, follow application rules (those guidelines are not to be broken).
Start local and do locally. However, don’t limit yourself. With music, the whole world is truly waiting to tune into what you have to offer.
Before you apply: Always Stay Ready
There are a few things (on an ongoing basis) every music artist should do to maximize the chances of success, regardless of when you apply to get music gigs or to gain entry to perform at music festivals. Here a few things you should do:
Get your personal branded website up and running which not only acts as a window to your personal brand but also as the de facto home for all things related to your music business. Your website should include your “About” page, a list of audio-video clips that showcase your music, testimonials from producers or entities that have used your music or purchased copyrights, a blog where you publish all things related to music, and more.
Beef up your social media presence (on networks that matter): Be sure to stay active on social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and others. If your music is featured on top charts, lists, and elsewhere, make it a point to highlight these everywhere possible.
Remain likable on all digital avenues available to you -- your website, social networks, and elsewhere. Make your acoustic samples, music streams, live videos, recorded videos, and playlists work to your advantage (even before you show up with an application).
All of this is in addition to the bare minimum every music artist must do to apply for music gigs, music festivals, and concerts such as the actual applications made, a press kit, and more.
Make a List, Take Note & Apply On Time
Whether you are looking to apply for music gigs online, music festivals, or musical concerts (and be it local, national, or International), it helps to maintain a spreadsheet with details about each of these opportunities available to you (along with the places, venues, application deadlines, event dates, and more).
Work your way through the list (depending on your availability and aligned interests with each of these events) on your spreadsheet to apply for each of these events before application deadlines. While the process of application might be different for each event, musical concert, or music festival -- the standard best practices still apply.
Apply To Music Gigs & Music Festivals, like It’s Your Day Job
Most bands, music artists, and music professionals “apply” for gigs and jobs only when they think they need to.
That approach makes your entire career look like it’s a random “put out the fire in this hole or that”.
Instead, make hustling the core of your career. Treat marketing as a sustained effort to keep your music business going.
Richard N. Bolles, with Katherine Brooks, wrote What Colour is Your Parachute? -- one of the all-time bestsellers on work and career success, according to Time Magazine.
Richard advocates the need to treat “getting a job” as a full-time job. What this means -- for anyone looking to get any kind of a gig -- is that applications to jobs must not be treated as if it’s “something that you have to do”.
It’s more of a full-time job until you get as many gigs that you can handle. Apply till you drop. Hunt until you don’t have to. Hustle as hard and as consistently as you can until you no longer need to.
When & how are you going to apply to a music festival that you want to perform at?
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