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  • Skiddle Service Updates

How to find & keep local talent for an event

  • By Ben Sebborn

  • 07 Nov 2012
  • 6 min read

As an event promoter, you’re bound to know the pain of having acts give backword at the last minute. After establishing an event it’s often really hard work to find the type of act that’s consistent and reliable. Probably the worst situation you can be in as an event promoter is for your acts not to turn up at all and you don’t have anyone to call on as a last minute replacement.

If you’ve not already experienced this, be warned, at some point or another this will happen to you, so we thought we’d produce some handy hints and tips for you to help you find local acts that are reliable and talented.

Tip 1 – Find out what your audience most want to see

You’ve got to first work out the demographics of your event and your venue – if you’ve already set up your event then hopefully you should have this sussed already. Your backup plans have to be something that your audience is going to sit through, if you’re putting on techno night you can rest assured you’re event goers aren’t going to sit through a line-dancing session – OK that example might be a bit extreme, perhaps think about the difference between an audience that goes to see a brass band and an audience that goes to see a chamber orchestra, similar set up but a different audience non-the-less.

Tip 2 – Check out what acts are on regularly at local venues

It doesn’t matter what genres you are dealing with, you can be sure there will be people in your local area that are already up to scratch with the changing music scene, it’s just a case of hunting them down – check out the listings of competitor events and venues, look at the acts that appear there on a regular basis – this is a good sign that they could be discreetly approached. Remember if they say no way, ask them if they know of anyone who might be able to help you out.

There’s a chance that those local acts are exclusively linked to an event – or often part of the promotion team itself, so it’s likely that you’ll get quite a few knock-backs before you find the right kind of act for you – just keep going with it.

If you’ve got a a venue that deal with bigger acts then it’s a good idea to check out the acts that open for the bigger acts – you’ll often find a pattern of acts – these are often the local acts.

You might also consider looking for acts at open mic nights in your local area where you should find some decent acts that are looking for their big break – if you help them out at this point in their career they are likely to be loyal to them.

Tip 3: Make time to meet all the acts you deal with

The thing about the modern era is communication technologies make it very easy never to meet up with the people you’re dealing with, but like the old saying goes: “people deal with people”. By meeting people you make it much harder for them to let you down, you also get a better feeling for what they are about in person. Probably a good tip to listen to their output online before you even speak with them, if they don’t have music on their own fan page you might be able to find them on Soundcloud or Bandcamp.

Tip 4: Getting the compensation right

There are a number of ways in which you can compensate the talent depending on what they’re looking to achieve, this can be anything from free drinks to allowing them to invite a small number of their friends to the event. Just be friendly and they are far more likely to come back in the future when you need them to.

Let’s be honest – it’s not rocket science and there are a wide range of ways you can attract the kind of talent you’re looking for to be interested in performing at your events but it’s good to always have in mind that you need to keep on meeting the kind of people that can step in at a moments notice. Your plan Bs.

If there’s one thing that will ensure your bookings are likely to come back time and time and again and that’s a full house and plenty of promotion. Make sure your event is listed through Skiddle’s Promotion Centre.

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