At Afton, it’s our mission to Connect bands to their Fans. Afton not only does this by putting bands on stage in front of their current fans and soon-to-be fans but also by encouraging our bands to initiate one-on-one contact with their fans. This is where the real connection is made—especially while growing a local or regional following. In addition, Afton does its best to equip bands with effective strategies to help them make the most of every opportunity for real connection.
Often at the local level, artists become discouraged, because they leave stacks of fliers all over town and then three people show up to watch them play. This is both unfortunate and unnecessary.Afton is dedicated to ensuring that no band is forced to endure this disheartening experience. With the right strategies and the right opportunity, bands can make every show a success, and they can make every show a fantastic opportunity for CONNECTION! Everyone at Afton loves helping them do this…it’s our mission.
Afton believes that every band has the right to play or not play whichever shows they want. We encourage bands to play the shows they feel will be best for them, whether those shows are with us or not. We want our bands to know what their options are, and to pursue the ones that they feel will most help their musical careers. In many cases a good mix of these different types of shows is the best way for bands to have fun and expand their fan base. Below are a few different show options that bands can seek out, decide which types of shows you’d like to play and play whichever ones your band finds most appealing!
Relationships with the Venue
If a band has an “in” with a venue staff person or a venue’s booking director, they should definitely use their existing relationship to get them shows with that venue. Sometimes it can take weeks to hear back from a venue after sending in a press pack, but if you already have an “in” with the venue you may be able to easily get some shows there. Depending on the venue, the booking person may not want to deal much with local bands unless they already know the band or really like their music. Between large tours, small tours, and local bands the venue gets pretty flooded with demos and press packs. So if you get no response from a venue you may want to try and build your reputation and fan base through some other show options.
Playing shows through Afton
Bands on our roster are sent upcoming Afton dates each month and can play for us just once per year or once per month, whatever the band chooses to do. We produce concerts year round so that our bands can book mainly with us, or use our shows when their show calendar is looking light. We do our best to give our bands opportunities to connect with their fans and we strive to produce shows that benefit everyone involved. For more information on what we do please visit our homepage: http://www.artists.aftonlive.com To see what bands and venues are saying about what we do visit: http://www.aftonfeedback.com
21+ only Bar shows
Bands whose draw consists of mainly fans over 21 can play at the smaller clubs and bars that host 21+ only shows. These shows can be fun, though the stage and sound system are usually not as great as the other reputable clubs in town. If your band wants to play some 21+ only shows, call the club and let them know how many fans you have who will “drink like fish” if they come see you play a show there… Many times a small bar or club will love to have you play for them if you can bring out even 20 fans who will buy drinks and have a good time. Unlike a traditional all ages venue, small bars and clubs won’t care as much about how many people you draw if the fans you do draw buy a lot of drinks from the bar.
Churches & other Non-profit events
Many times churches, youth groups, and non-profit events will have concerts that are either free or have a low cover charge. This is usually because either the event is held in a space where show costs are very low and is staffed with volunteers, or because the focus of the concert is for an outreach to the community or to make people aware of their cause. These shows are fun, and are pretty low-key as far as what the church/non-profit expects the bands to do, (i.e. they don’t really care if you promote or not). Though it’s great to play a show and not be responsible for any promotional effort, lack of promotion usually amounts to a low to mediocre crowd size.
Backyard/Basement/House Party Shows
There is nothing wrong with smaller shows hosted in backyards, basements, or house parties. These can be really fun to play, and are usually pretty low key as far as what the person hosting the show expects from the bands. Just show up, play, and have a good time. However, these shows generally have a capacity of 50 or less, and may not have a great sound system or stage. Since the shows are usually free the bands may be paid in pizza and beer. These shows can be a lot of fun, but nothing beats a great club or venue where your fans can actually see you play a real stage.
Battle of the Bands/Festival Shows
Another type of show your band can play is a battle of the bands or a festival (typically anywhere from 12-30 bands in one day). These shows are usually held at the biggest club in town, or an outdoor amphitheatre. The ticket price usually reflects the size of the venue, so sometimes can be higher than the shows bands usually play. The advantages are bands get to play a killer stage and they get to play in front of a lot of people, since anytime 12-30 bands get together a good size crowd ends up attending. However, with so many bands it can be hard to differentiate yourself and stick in people’s minds. Some bands like the competition aspect, and some don’t. These shows are hit or miss, but if you find out the details of the show and they sound good to you, then go ahead and go for it. If not, then you should avoid this opportunity and look for something more appealing.
Opening for small tours (headlining band has sold less than 50,000 records)
If your band has a good reputation, or you have an “in” with a venue booking person or a booking company specializing in small tours, these types of shows can be a lot of fun. If you don’t have an “in” with anyone involved with this, having a consistent draw of around 50 will sometimes get you on the bill as an opening act if you contact the person in charge of the show. Small tours are usually held in nice clubs, and have a semi-high cover charge. As an opening act you’d most likely go on first or second, and be paid minimally if at all. These shows are a lot of fun and are somewhat prestigious, but since the acts on these smaller tours have sold less than 50,000 records, they will usually not draw many people in your town; meaning your 50 fans may be a majority of the crowd.
Opening for Large tours (headlining band has sold 50,000+ records)
If your band has a great reputation with the clubs and draws around 100+ people consistently you may be able to get on as an opening act for a large tour coming to your town. Generally large tour packages are already set with the bands they need, so local openers are not needed, but there are still a good number of large tours who will take on a local opener that has a strong draw. Large tours are usually held in nice clubs, and have a high cover charge. As an opening act you’d most likely go on first or second, and be paid minimally if at all. These shows are great, and since the bands on the tour have sold over 50,000 records they will most likely draw well in your town, meaning your 100 fans may only be a small portion of the crowd. These shows are the hardest to get onto, but also the most fun. A bands best strategy for getting onto a large tour is by having a reputation for drawing 100+ consistently, and putting on a killer live show. A band that has the best live show in town, but can’t draw many people, or a band that draws 100+ and has a shaky live show will most likely not get onto one of these shows. This is why having a large draw is just as important as playing your songs well and having an entertaining live performance.
If there is a good show option that we have not mentioned, please let us know and we can put it up. There are many ways bands can get shows and many types of shows bands can play, this list covers a vast majority of the opportunities you’ll find to perform.