Alternative Performance Venue Opportunities for Indie Artists
Festival season is coming up which means that applications are open for indie artists to try to get on a stage and show the world what they’ve got. Applications are pretty competitive which means not everyone will get it in, but don’t let that discourage you from trying anyway. Festivals are great and offer lots of exposure, not to mention the opportunity to get paid; however, there are other places to perform with a similar vibe and just as many benefits.
Have you considered trying to perform at a street market, a pop-up shop or a nightclub?
Every city has that downtown marketplace where vendors head to the streets to sell their goods. Whether it’s a farmer’s market with fresh produce or an arts market with unique crafts and T-shirts, there is still an audience to be entertained. Many stores have gotten into the habit of providing entertainment as passersby go through the market - not only is it a good way to entertain the masses, but it’s a proven fact that music makes us all shop a little more. To get involved in one of these opportunities I would recommend speaking to a shop owner who has a good clear space in front of their storefront as it can easily be turned into a stage. Because markets offer a community vibe I think it’s best to in person and follow up with an email. If they already have an event in store then they will be easy to convince, if not, then this is your big opportunity to showcase your talent and help them get more traction to their business. Please keep in mind that these markets are attended by families and people of all ages, therefore it would be best to present the clean music that you have. If you don’t have clean music then don’t be afraid to write something just for the event or start to incorporate covers into your act.
Another trend I’ve noticed in the performance world are pop-up shops with after parties. Local brands who are mostly based online have been renting out storefronts to launch their new collections or simply to show off and sell their stock. Many of these brands will either have a pop-up of just their own items or sometimes collaborations occur with other brands to form a sort of pop-up market tailored to the shared themes of the brads.
The environment is pretty lit as underground artists with a buzz the next big clothing brands in your city are together under one roof! Performing at a pop-up shop is a surefire way for you to get new fans who are into the brand and are sure to be into your brand of music by extension. To get involved with a brand, you can easily send them a DM on social media. I recommend targeting a brand that you actually like and would wear because they are more likely to give you the opportunity if you show brand loyalty and have purchased a few items. As a way of thanks, make sure you bring your friends and fans out to the event as well to cop some awesome gear!
Last but not least, another great place to perform is at a nightclub. Many big artists as well as upcoming ones do club appearances and even perform their latest hits. The club scene is especially great for those with explicit content because you can be yourself fully as you turn up with the crowd.
Another slept on opportunity is to perform at a strip club! If you have great party tunes then you should definitely be able to make the ladies and the crowd move. Performing at a strip club is a great way to even test the musicality of your song; if people aren't dancing, then you have work to do! To get involved with strip club opportunities, get in contact with your local promoter to see if you can piggyback off of one of their established nights. Be honest about your following so that you won’t be obligated to sell a crazy amount of tickets to perform. Consider getting a DJ pack of your songs as well so that the clubs can have them in rotation if they really liked them.
Just like with festivals, opportunities aren’t given away just because you have a nice smile. You have to actually be good at what you do for these venues to consider you to perform. When you make contact ensure that you have a couple videos online of you performing and are active on your artist social media pages. You should also have a small press kit or biography detailing the work that you’ve done so far. As usual, if you are met with rejection, don’t feel too bad about it. Keep trying, work on your craft, put songs out and eventually they won’t be able to say no!