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Here are a few steps to take when you are starting off in the music industry that may help you on the road to success. This advice is geared towards non-headlining bands.

  1. Be kind and thankful – this sounds easy enough, but can be tricky at times. The industry has many bumps in the road that will push you into places that are uncomfortable. Remember to be thankful for the opportunity that is ahead of you. ALWAYS be thankful to the venue, producer, promoter, or individual that got you on stage. Make sure you introduce yourself to as many people backstage as you can. Tell the other bands how great their sets were, and how excited you are to play with them. First impressions lead to lasting impressions.
  2. Do not ask–Anyone that has ever put on an event knows that there are a million questions that always need answering. You and your band might be the least of a producer’s worries, so try and find a solution to the question you may have before asking it. For example, if you have a sound question, do not ask the producer to find the sound tech; take the initiative and find the sound tech yourself.
    1. Do not expect free drinks
    2. Do not expect free food
    3. Do not expect a sold out venue
    4. Do not expect a huge guest list
  3. Get off the stage – If you are finishing your set, never ever walk off the stage without your arms full of your equipment. Events are on a timeline that does not circle around your time. Hugs and high fives to other band mates are for after the stage is cleared.
  4. The venue is not a storage house – Make sure you come to the event with a plan to get your gear home at night. Remember DO NOT ASK (see subject 2). The last thing a venue manager wants to do is come back to the venue in the morning so the band can get their equipment.
  5. Be on time – This is not only for the load in and sound check, but the set time the producer/promoter has given you. DO NOT OVER PLAY, it’s one of the worst things you as a band can do. Make sure you practice a set that is shorter than the time allowed. Make sure that your instruments are in tune before going on stage, and laid out in the way you’re going to play them. Set times always run longer when you’re in front of an audience. Short and sweet will make the audience want more.
  6. DO not get overly drunk ­– although this may seem easy, but remember: you are in a bar. All your friends have just watched your set and want to buy you a drink. Make sure at least one of your band members can handle a serious discussion at the end of the night.
  7. Do not do an encore – Keep in mind that there are other bands in the night. Do not expect time for an encore.
  8. Know the details of the event before doors open – make sure you are clear on all of the show details before it starts. If you are not clear on something, do not expect it to go your way on the day of.  It is your responsibility to ask questions and get answers before the event starts, not during!
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