As the year of COVID-19 seems to come to a close and we begin to have hope for a better future bands are once more starting to ask me how to pitch to festivals. I realized that I haven’t written an article on this in a good long while, and would love to help show you guys the light.
See festival pitching is straightforward as long as you follow a few basic rules. First and foremost you need to make sure you are pitching to festivals that are appropriate to you. You’ve also got to showcase professionalism throughout, no one wants to deal with an unprofessional band. Finally – bands need to make their value clear – so people understand what value your band is bringing.
3. Pitching To The Right People
This is a big mistake I see a lot of bands making. This can mean anything from pitching to mainstream rock festivals when they are a death metal band to trying to get on Hellfest when all you’ve done is play a few local shows. Make sure that whatever festival you pitch too you are connecting with one that routinely books bands on a similar level to you.
Furthermore – make sure that you are emailing the booking contact at a festival and not like… the head of security. This sort of thing just makes people annoyed. Usually, festivals that take submissions will make it clear how to pitch.
2. Showcasing Professionalism
This one should be clear from the first email. You want your emails to be well formatted and not suffering from poor spelling or grammar. If people don’t think you’re pro on email, then they’re going to assume you’re not pro on stage.
One way to help with this is when writing your pitch, make sure that people understand you’ve done other relevant stuff. If you’ve played other cool festivals, say so. That way the booker will know you kind of know how it works and you’re not going to be the worst to deal with.
1. Make Your Value Clear
In many ways pitching to a festival is just like pitching to a record label – you want to show the value you are bringing to the table and why they should give a shit. So, if you’ve done cool tours, or have something special about your live show, make sure that people know. Maybe include some quality live footage if you have it.
Other ways to show your value include sharing some relevant sales figures and outlining past successes. Again – the goal is for festival bookers to understand that people do in fact care about you and you will be an asset, not a drain on their budget.
As you can see festivals are not this weird magical thing. If you’re pitching to the right people, professional, and have clear value people will engage. Relationships help, but if there’s no value brought in… well you’re S.O.L.
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Matt Bacon is a consultant, A&R man, and journalist specializing in the world of heavy metal. Having worked with everyone from Glam Rock icon Phil Collen of Def Leppard, to post Black Metal titans Alcest, by way of legendary thrashers Exhorder as well as labels including Prophecy Productions and Ripple Music, he has dedicated his life to helping young bands develop. Having started his own blog at the age of 14 he views his career in artist development as ‘a hobby that got out of hand’. In 2015 he formed Dropout Media in order to better support the artists he loves. We sit here now, years later with countless tours booked, records released and deals signed, and loving every minute of it.
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