Your band can prevail in this competitive market by using these proven strategies for professionalism -says Adam Mezzatesta.
Not only do you need promotional material and an experienced agent on board to bring in corporate bookings, you also need to offer a top-notch service to match your (undeniably awesome) talent.
Here are 5 ways I see bands breaking through, increasing their bookings and having their clients recommend them to others:
1. Great Communication
If you’re working with an agent, you may find that the vast majority of organisation has been done for you, but a client will undoubtedly feel more comfortable once they’ve spoken directly with the artist in the weeks preceding the event. As an agency we put clients in contact with bands and artists three to four weeks before the event, and at that point we advise our artists to touch base with the client, go over the details and make sure they’re on board with the planning and running order.
Larger corporate events will often have a team of people working on them and so it’s important to liaise with clients in advance and make sure they are well aware of your requirements as you are with theirs.
2. Be Punctual – Or Early!
Musicians often get a bad rap for being late and unfortunately there are more than a few out there who invite the criticism. If you regularly perform in large cities then you’ll know just how bad traffic can get. Many times, musicians will add an extra half hour to the journey time to account for this, but if luck doesn’t go your way and there’s an accident ahead, this could still leave you turning up late and looking extremely unprofessional.
Think carefully about your journey, will you need to collect musicians en-route, do you need to fill up the tank or possibly account for breaks along the way? I would rather turn up an hour early than turn up to an event late and feeling stressed – the exact opposite to what your voice needs right before taking to the stage.
3. Professional Pack Down
It’s 11pm, your final set has finished and the DJ is taking over the last hour – but that doesn’t mean it’s time for you to pack down your gear! There’s nothing more unprofessional than a band packing down their equipment while an event is in full flow.
There are times when it’s acceptable, for example, when you’ve outlined in your initial quote that the price covers a certain time period and not the full night. However, keep in mind that it leaves a negative impression of the band if the musicians appear to be in a hurry to leave.
It’s one thing to pack away your guitar (to protect it from over-zealous audience members assuming it’s perfectly okay to play your precious Gibson – and without the strap around their neck!) but packing away your subs and gently squeezing them past dancing guests is a touch too far.
4. Avoid Alcohol
Musicians and alcohol have notoriously been a match made in heaven, but as you begin to take on higher level corporate gigs, you may want to separate work from pleasure and avoid drinking on the job. Not only will your vocal performance suffer due to dehydration, but after more than one or two drinks, your hand-eye coordination and motor skills will deteriorate, leaving you and your band sounding below the expected standard (although you may not realise that on the night!)
5. Be Polite
Regardless of the event: pub, wedding or corporate, good manners are an essential part of life. On occasion you may experience stressed organisers and venue managers who haven’t quite mastered the art of diplomacy; take it in your stride and remain completely professional at all times.
When receiving feedback on our bands and artists, we find that the musicians’ attitude on the night is often mentioned as frequently as their on-stage abilities – it could well be the difference between a re-booking and no re-booking.
Professionalism can make or break a band, the entertainment industry is all about building long term relationships and your band is only as professional as your weakest link. If you’re surrounding by talented, intelligent and well-mannered individuals, then corporate work could well be the next step forward.
Adam Mezzatesta is the owner of live music agency, Bands For Hire. Bands For Hire provide function bands, jazz bands and musicians for thousands of events across the UK each year, and are constantly on the look out for aspiring new talent.