At time of writing the festival season is well underway, bringing with it an abundance of live music of all kinds.
[NOTE: This is an archived post from Almost Famous, a music blog for unsigned musicians which I ran from 2012-2013]
From Coachella to Download via Roskilde and everything in between, no matter where in the world you turn, and no matter what kind of music floats your proverbial boat, there’ll be a festival just for you.
More than just a chance to kick back, get hideously drunk and enjoy some awesome gigs, popular music festivals offer a lot of unspoken opportunities to develop your fledgling unsigned band.
Here’s three of them.
Tell people about your music
We’re going to assume here that you’re at a festival where the bands play the kind of music you enjoy playing yourself. Therefore, it stands to reason that there’s going to be lots of other people there who like that kind of music too, and they may just like your stuff.
So talk to them. Talk to them about the bands on the bill at the festival, find out who they like, if you think they might like your band too, let them know! Be polite about it of course, nobody likes having a sales pitch shoved down their throats when they’re trying to enjoy a show. That said, if you can strike up a natural conversation with a like-minded soul, who knows where it may lead.
Play an impromptu gig
Festival organizers may not take too kindly to you hijacking the stage prior to the headline act, but that’s not to say there’s no possible way you can play at a festival.
How many times have you walked through a festival campsite to come across a small group huddled around an acoustic guitar singing and playing and generally have a good time?
Get your guitar out, start jamming, and see who stops by to listen.
As a musician with aspirations of, at least, doing this sort of thing for a living and at best doing it at a level of rock super-stardom, every gig should be an opportunity for you to watch and learn.
At festivals, you’re presented with the kind of bands who are already doing what you want to be doing. Pay attention to them. What are they doing that got them to this level? What is it that you’re not doing?
Enjoy the show, sure, but pay attention to everything from their stage presence, their interaction to the audience and the way take their songs from the studio and make them sound alive on stage right down to their attire.
More than that, let go and be inspired. Watch your heroes rocking the stage, commanding an audience like quintessential rock gods and resolve to work harder, to play better, to keep on keeping on til you too are a festival headlining rock god.
Chris Skoyles is a former music journalist and gig promoter now far too old and broken down to rock ‘n’ roll. He writes stuff for a living, some of which you can read on his website.