Instructions in Excruciating Detail: Booking Shows Near You, or, Fan Power!03/28/2010 at 10:13 pm | Posted in 49>50, How to this-or-that, News & Explanations | 4 Comments
Tags: 49>50, 50-states, booking, diy, fans, house-concert, marian-call, Music, singer-songwriter, tour
**NOTE: This is an awesome blog post, but it is out of date! Instead, see this page for updated 2013 show booking notes! The writing below is wonderful but also it is a historical document from early 2010. New info: https://mariancall.wordpress.com/booking-a-house-concert/**
This blog entry is your complete guide and FAQ to making a Marian Call concert happen in your area on the 49 to 50 tour. Odds are I sent you here so we can make a show happen! Below you can find links for the forms you’ll fill out and answers to a number of questions. Please read the applicable sections before requesting a concert.
There are two kinds of shows: House Concerts and Venue Concerts. House concerts I set up directly with you (even if they’re not at a house, or not at your house). For venue concerts, such as cafés, bars, farmer’s markets, and music halls, I collect information about a venue that you think is really a perfect fit and has dates open, and I contact them myself (unless the manager happens to be your brother-in-law or something, in which case you introduce us).
If you get a mass e-mail or a contact from an minion of mine during the booking process, I hope you’ll pardon me. This project is so huge and so exciting I need a little help and a little automation to manage it all. But the good news is it makes it possible for me to meet you in person at sometime soon!
The bestest newest ever e-mail address for booking questions, which goes to me and my various helpers: firstname.lastname@example.org!!!!!
Use this e-mail address for booking questions and venue suggestions. No need to cc email@example.com; all the mcminion42 messages are forwarded to me automatically, and I still read everything myself. I might have a very cool helper answer some of it though. Don’t worry, your personal information (home address particularly) is very very safe.
Applying for a House Concert:
If you want to host or set up a house concert (even if it’s not at a house), be sure you’ve read all about how I do house concerts and then follow the instructions here.
- Check my Public Google Calendar by clicking here [link disabled later] to see when I plan to be in your area, and what dates I already have scheduled gigs. The schedule and map are flexible — until I have concerts anchoring me to this location and that (so don’t cry if you don’t see your city just yet). You can ask for a date when I’m trying to be elsewhere; worst I can do is say no. You’ll notice that later in the fall, i.e. farther east, I’m not sure which state comes in which order yet — gigs that get nailed down will determine my route. Also note: some days I will designate for “travel” or “rest” and those are unavailable.
- Choose a date or dates to request. If it’s way in the future when times are flexible, just pick something you like! Know that for house concerts, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sunday afternoons or evenings usually work just fine — and even more non-traditional times, like brunches or lunches, have worked in the past if you’re interested in something a little different. If you’re looking for a date in, say, August, September, or October, know that we may have to hold out on nailing down the date on one show until I’ve confirmed a few others, etc. (events are very interconnected). So let me know if you have a time constraint, too, i.e. “I can do Thursdays but not Wednesdays,” or “I’ll be home this weekend but gone the next.” I deeply wish I could play in every town on Saturday night, but I can’t. I also wish I could play every day without resting, but I can’t do that either. I’ll accommodate every request I can without running myself into the ground. If I can’t play your town or your day, I’m sorry — hopefully I can come back!
- Gather information and make decisions about the kind of event you want to plan. Just figure out the basics — find out how many people you can fit (more than you think); if it’s not a house, make sure you can secure the space or find out if it costs anything; if it is a house, check to be sure that it’s yours, or that the neighbors won’t mind coming home to a big surprise. Decide what kind of food you want to provide or coordinate, and whether kids will be welcome. And actually count how many people you believe you can get to come from within your own social circle (I can provide more sometimes). Decide whether you want a public or private event. Feel free to ask questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or, for quick questions, @mariancall on Twitter.
- ****Most important**** Fill out this Google form: [link now disabled]. This is how I can keep all of these requests organized and make the tour happen. If you don’t have ALL the information, especially the optional stuff, don’t sweat it. Though the more clearly you can visualize the event, the more likely I am to approve your date over someone else’s. (But it’s not the LSAT.) Then e-mail me so I know there’s a new entry in the form. email@example.com
- If I can’t choose your proposed concert, I’d like to say in large, friendly letters: DON’T PANIC. I still love you, and I will nearly always provide you with a personal invite to another nearby show. Please don’t be bitter. If you want to know what makes me choose some shows over others — larger house concerts will probably be better than small ones if they’re in the same area; public ones are usually preferable to private ones, so other fans can come; kids and pets have no influence on the yes or no vote, I just need to know about them; if you or your community can lodge me for free, you may have a slight advantage (though no lodging is not a dealbreaker); money overall is less important than connections — i.e. lots of people barely listening is worth less to me than just a few people really listening and caring. Also, please don’t hold back because you think I’ll reject you — I’m happy to do small shows and out-of-the-way places if they fit into my schedule and you’re willing to bring some open ears to the event.
- If I do choose your concert: DON’T PANIC. You may freak out about it sometimes, but trust me, when you look back you will find it was pretty easy. And it will be really fun. I’ll notify you, we’ll iron out the details and reserve the date, we’ll arrange a (very informal) contract, and I’ll equip you with what you need to set up/advertise/invite/manage RSVP’s and so on.
Explanations and disclaimers: The calendar and route are subject to change, because they must be. The reality of such a large tour is that I may have to rearrange a date with you if my travel schedule changes (or my car breaks down). I hope for no cancellations at all, but the universe will ultimately decide that. So please be understanding and a little bit flexible.
If you’re offering lodging, that lodging will be for me and an accompanist (almost always a guy). We’re cool sharing a room but we don’t share beds. We’re also cool crashing on couches, air mattresses, cots, the floor, what have you. Some accompanists are allergic to pets, so let me know in advance if you have them.
Let’s make it happen!
Recommending a Venue Near You:
If there’s a local cafe, restaurant, or music venue — or maybe a podcast or local radio station spot — that you think I should play, please, let me know about it! It’s so hard to know which places are a good fit or locally loved when I’ve never been. I may or may not hit them all on this tour, but I do want to know what venues I should be aiming for, and fan recommendations are the number one way I decide where to try to play.
- (same as above) If you want to recommend a specific date, Check my Public Google Calendar to see when I plan to be in your area, and what dates I already have scheduled gigs. PLEASE check your venue’s website or calendar to make sure they have openings around that time before you send me pursuing them — if they’re already booked I’d hate to waste your time or mine.
- Not all venue recommendations require a date. So if it’s more a recommendation to file away for the future — or a radio station or podcast or another musician to work with — and not a specific concert for this tour, that’s ok.
- ****Most important**** E-mail Marian at mcminion42*at*gmail.com. Let me know what the opportunity is like, and if you really want me to book a show there on this tour, please provide a date if you can and let me know you see this as a real, immediately possible event. Let me know if you think you could bring people you know to it. Otherwise I will probably file it away for reference and use it only if I need it, since this tour is mainly made possible through house concerts.
- Venues that might seem great but aren’t actually that useful: the premier venue in town, i.e. the Grand Ole Opry or Carnegie Hall. I’m unlikely to be able to play in the best spot in your city (yet). Also, music festivals. Folks are always inviting me to play at music and geek festivals, and I’d love to because they are FUN, but generally they aren’t the best use of my time. I don’t make much money or connect with fans very well, the dates aren’t flexible, and I can’t take the time to keep track of all the different application processes.
- Venues I might like better than you think: bookstores, galleries, shops, radio stations, farmer’s markets, really good local open mics or showcases, cafes open to free lunchtime background music.
- Really Good: connecting me with a local musician who does roughly what I do (someone making acoustic music full-time, touring, accessible to all audiences) to share a show. I love to open for other artists, I love having other artists open for me, and I love to share the stage with locals. Recommend a musician!
It’s really preposterous to attempt a tour of this size without a booking agent or full-time manager or promoter. But you are already helping so much, and I’m hopeful your enthusiasm will only grow as this thing takes off. I know mine is. I can’t wait to hit the road again! And I can’t wait to meet you or see you again.
I’ll be there soon — all my best,