Well, it happened again. You booked an awesome lineup at an awesome venue and were prepared to rock out (awesomely, of course) but not a single person showed up. You had 25 Facebook Maybes! You invited everyone on your friends list! Why did you end up playing to the door guy again? Actually, you played to his back since he spent the night talking to the bar lady. But still! WHYYYYYY?! Well, lucky for you, we asked around and got you some reasons to ponder.
You JUST Played Town Last Week
The number one piece of advice I give to bands is “Play, Play, Play.” If you are not writing your latest album, you need to be hitting the circuit and letting people hear who you are. However, that does not mean scheduling a ton of shows in Athens week after week after week. Unless you are playing something completely different each time, why should anyone go see you play at the 40 Watt for $10 when they can wait and see you at Go Bar for probably free?
|These people paid $9 to stand and wait for nothing. And they’re still not going to your show|
It helps to be strategic about when and where you play. Try playing once a month here in Athens and take the other weekends to travel around the circuit. Your band can get to Columbus, Augusta, and Atlanta from Athens easily. Build yourself a little touring route, make some connections, and expand your route as you create a fan base. Athens will always be here for you to play during the week. Go forth and make fans!
|They don’t count if they’re made of snow. Or your tears.|
You’re Playing on a Tuesday Night
Remember a paragraph ago where I said you had to be strategic about WHEN and where you play? This is the “when” part. Repeat after me: “All weeknights are not created equal.” A good rule of thumb is to think about when YOU would want to go out the most. Would you go out on a Monday or Tuesday after work when you’ve got a class at 8 a.m. the next morning? Or how about on Wednesday when it’s the middle of the week and people are waiting for their paychecks?
|AthensMusicJunkie Editor in Chief will work for LPs|
More than likely, you will get a better shot at getting people out on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Payday is Friday, Party Day is Saturday and some lucky kids don’t have classes on Friday so they start a day early. Obviously, if you’re just getting started you will have some trouble getting scheduled on the magic days. At that point, you’re gonna have to work harder to convince people to get out and to your show. You’ll see why in a second.
|Wild and Crazy Tuesday!|
People are Lazy (And the Weather is Bad)
Here ya go. Hard to believe, right? But it is absolutely true, people are extremely lazy and if you’ve got some bad weather headed your way, you’re going to lose a few fans in the process. Temperatures aren’t nearly as bad as rain or snow as far as deterring people from going to shows. A few years back, the Caledonia was AWFUL during the winter. You could hear tiny crashes between sets as the smokers’ puffs of breath would instantly freeze and clatter down to their feet.
|That was possibly a slight exaggeration.|
Almost all the venues now have great heating/air systems (and Caledonia is super cozy during the winter) but rain and snow still drive people back to their homes in droves. Rain is annoying to deal with, what with the umbrellas and driving and puddles… Why take a chance on a band when you can stay home and cuddle your hipster kitties while screwing up your roommate’s Netflix queue?
|Dammit Grady! How many seasons of “Scrubs” can there be?!|
There’s a Bigger Show in Town
Also known as the “You’re Not the Only One Getting Screwed Tonight.” When you live in a notoriously good music town such as Athens, there will be nights when an act comes through that will basically shut down the rest of the scene for the night. The 40 Watt and Georgia Theatre are two of our most well known venues and can grab high profile visitors throughout the season. When you’re scheduled for the same day at a neighboring venue, you’ve got a 50/50 chance at getting some people in the door.
|Your competition. And you’re a country/rock outfit too. Drive By MotherTruckers…|
Honestly, this one can be good or bad. If you’re unfortunate enough to be the same genre, you might have a hard time getting folk in if you’re not creative with your advertising (“Didn’t Get Into *Insert Big Band Here*, We’re Available, works well). If you work it right, the big band can act as an opening for your “unofficial after party” or “party for people who don’t like BIG BAND.” But if you’re not quick on your feet, you may be playing to the guy at the bar again.
|Or that one loser that shows up to all your shows. NERD.|
No One Knows Who You Are
Out of all the reasons on this list, this is the one that you have the most control over. If your band just got started, it’s to be expected that you will have a difficult time at first. Contacts, good gigs, PR power… all of that takes time. But there are a multitude of actions you can take to make yourself stand out. The most important? HAVE MUSIC TO LISTEN TO.
|What are them git-fiddles?|
There is no excuse for not having music posted anywhere and everywhere you can. At the bare minimum, your band should have a profile on Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud. We blogging types love Bandcamp links as well. In addition, you need to contact some local media and let them know you’ve got a gig! It is not Flagpole’s, The ABH’s, The R&B’s, or my responsibility to know exactly when you’re playing. You have to email these folk, preferably with a sample of your music. Paste up some flyers, email all of your friends, and get your “look” together. If you do all that and STILL no one shows, at least now you’ve got four other reasons to ponder why no one came to hear you.
|It was the Netflix/Cat combo. Really.|