Concert Etiquette For a Performing Band

As a performing band, we mainly focus on our image. We want to be cool, original, edgy and fun, all at the same time. This often leads to artists neglecting their professional responsibilities and being a little too self-centred.

Today we will take a look at what’s the core factors to look out for when you perform at a venue and what you can do extra to build everlasting relationships to build your professional network.

This article also connects nicely to my guide about Organising an Amateur Band Night for Charity to read after this one!

Greet On Your Arrival

Even if you are shy and not a people person, please greet the venue manager and staff when you arrive so that they all know who you are and who the go-to person is regarding the performances.

This creates a base of trust and openness where both parties can find mutual ground to cooperate.

Ask Appropriate Questions

You are the guest at this venue and you should treat the opportunity with gratitude and respect. To make sure you don’t step on anyone’s toes, politely ask the staff the following:

  • Where you should park your cars.
  • Where the backstage room is and where you can place your gear.
  • By now your sound check time should be sorted already, but if not, just make sure at what time you need to be on.
  • Ask about the sound engineer and if he needs any help with the sound setup.
  • Ask about the doorman and politely confirm the agreed fees.
    • This would help to have some sort of proof of agreement on paper.
  • Politely ask about any bonuses like a meal and a drink on the house.
    • This is often the case when a meal is included since the band will pull a decent audience to occupy the bar.
  • Ask about the bar specials of the night so that you can make regular announcements during the performance.
  • Ask about a space where you can sell your merchandise.

Also, remember to stay calm and friendly during the discussions and try to stay flexible to any arrangements or change of program or times.

Stay Disciplined During Your Sound Check

The sound check can be a little chaotic at many venues. It doesn’t help that the artists are also chaotic and badly organised.

  • Get on stage, already being tuned.
  • Wait your turn to play a short piece for the premix.
  • Give polite feedback about your monitors.
  • Be prepared to play a song or two for the main mix.
    • The post-mix will take place during the show when the venue is filled. These are just minor adjustments.
  • Once everyone is satisfied, say thank you and leave so that the next artist can have their turn.

Soundcheck can be a stressful process for many artists. It’s also a confidence builder for your actual performance.

I would certainly recommend that you scan through my post about Successful Sound Check for Bands for more details in making it less stressful and more effective for your next performance.

Stay Polite, Professional and Flexible

There are plenty of unexpected changes or unforeseen circumstances that could happen during a band night. Being prepared that the program might be delayed or something might happen, will make it easier for your band and the hosts.

All venues want to continue cooperation with an understanding, flexible and kind artist, so see this as part of your networking plan.

I have often worked with bands before that got extremely annoyed by the smallest changes to the program. It was an easy solution for the host: not to book them again. The venues are not dependent on your participation, and they can easily replace noncooperative artists.

Make The Show Flow

This comes with proper preparation at your band practices. It is clear for the audience to see the chemistry between the members and what type of practice quality you are experiencing.

Make sure that you practised your full setlist during your last rehearsal so that you send your team of musicians on stage with confidence.

Have your setlist written out beforehand so that nobody has to ask each other what is coming up next.

I often grouped songs together that have the same tuning. My band got used to certain songs flowing into each other which created a comfortable and relaxing environment where all the musicians knew what was coming next.

If you are interested in how to set together a setlist, feel free to scan through my article about Crafting Your Setlist Like This.

I can also recommend an article I wrote about Tips for Productive Band Practices to increase your work rate and confidence.

This post was written and posted by De Wet from on 23.07.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere else.

Having a setlist during your performance will create security for your band members (Photo Credit: Canva)

On-Stage Discipline

Come on stage already being tuned and ready to perform. It is time-consuming to have to stand and retune your guitar while everyone is waiting.

If you have to make sure about your tuning, make sure that your output is muted so that no one has to listen to you tuning your guitar.

While you wait for the others, please don’t fiddle around with your instrument. This is ill-disciplined and selfish, to say the least.

Make decisions that benefit your whole band and what your audience wants to see.

Don’t Attract Attention to Mistakes

If you’ve made a mistake, the crowd hardly even notices it, so don’t bring extra attention to little situations that can be dealt with better.

We’ve all experienced that dirty look you get from the band leader when someone does something awkward or different. That brings extra attention to the individual and can be handled better by trusting in success and not embarrassing each other even more on stage.

Whatever you do, don’t stop performing. The only reason that you can restart the song is when it started in the wrong key or beat. Then you make a joke about it and move on. You should not apologize for it.

These mistakes only contribute to the experience of seeing a live band performing as raw as possible. The audience never remembers the mistakes that artists made during their performances.

There are, however, mistakes people do remember. These are mainly related to the sound:

  • PA issues
  • Intense feedback

Remember Why You Are There

You are there for two main reasons:

  1. To entertain your fans and keep the audience happy and taken care of.
  2. To advertise the venue by helping them sell their drinks and food.

Make sure that you continue to check up on these two factors during your performance.

To look after your audience also needs some skill and experience. The best angle to start is by being able to Read The Room During Live Performances, which I published an article for you to learn more from right here.

Band Rehearsal Etiquette is the key to your success! (Photo credit: Canva)

Use Appropriate Stage Banter

There’s a fine line between what is appropriate stage banter and what is not needed. Most bands focus more on delivering the music, and others enjoy slipping in a joke or two.

When you speak between your songs, try to stay as mature as possible. Share what a certain song means or tell a story about your life.

There’s plenty to read and learn in my article called Stage Banter – How to Keep Your Audience Engaged which directs you to a variety of examples and cool ideas.

Thank the Venue and Audience

People like musicians who stay humble and grateful throughout their journeys. Especially when they see that they fit into the system of the entertainment industry. That means keeping your feet grounded and being thankful.

Thank the venue for making it possible, the sound engineer for his accurate ear, and the staff for being helpful, diligent and friendly.

Then thank the audience for coming from far away and making the effort, and the new fans for being open to listening to new music.

Not many people are open to listening to new music, so it’s an absolute gift to make new fans so make sure you spend time with them afterwards.

If the psychological reason interests you about Why People Have a Hard Time Listening to New Music, go ahead and scroll through it here.

Compliment the Previous and Announce the Next

This is just a gentle curtsey of acknowledgement and appreciation when bands show love to each other. We perform together because we know we can only reach success and fill our venues by working together.

At the beginning of your set, you can ask the audience how great the previous act was and even remind them to save their hit song on their playlists. That’s the biggest gift you can hand over to another band.

Closer to the end of your performance, you can then ask the audience to prepare themselves for the exciting next band coming up. Perhaps share a personal piece of respect you have for that band with the audience to connect the audience with your band and the next one.

This is a technique we use to connect with a band with a bigger following. They would usually perform after us, but we made sure that the audience saw us as equals. In this manner, we got booked together more regularly.

If you want to step up your game and learn more about opening for bigger bands, don’t miss my post about Landing an Opening Gig for a Successful Band.

Interact With Your Audience Afterwards

A fan sent me a message a month ago, along with a picture she took with the band saying that the night where she met my band was still one of the best nights of her life.

When you get feedback like this, you realise again how much it meant to your audience that you actually made the effort to stay longer and pay extra attention to them.

Make sure you sign your autographs, take selfies, stay for a few drinks and show who you really are. That’s how you build a die-hard following!

If you need more advice on How to Build a Following and Finally Fill Your Venues, take a look at this article here.

Stay For the Following Bands

This is just proper etiquette. The worst thing is if a band just plays and leaves. We need to support each other and enjoy music together as colleagues and fans of each other.

We all have something to admire from someone else. It’s totally fine to show mutual support and love to other artists.

It’s not only etiquette but also the right thing to do!

Clean Up Procedures

There are a few things about cleaning up:

  • Make sure your things do not lay around and end up blocking ways for others.
    • That’s not only annoying but your things will get damaged and lost too.
  • Only use the allocated space for your band and respect that other bands might also need extra space.
  • Have the minimum amount of equipment standing around.
    • Once you are done performing, get your gear out of the way to make more space for others. Besides, who likes carrying amps back to their cars in the early morning anyway?
  • Try to leave your space cleaner than you received it.
  • Label your belongings.
    • There will be a time when another artist borrows something from you. Just make sure that your things are labelled when you do so.

That’s about it from me folks!

If you haven’t started a band and need more reasons to, find them in my article called 10 Reasons Why You Should Join a Rock Band.

If you are in a band but need more gigs, What to Do to Get Booked Regularly as an Artist is the one for you 🙂

Rock on!

De Wet

The dream started during a school tour at the age of 15 years old. One that might take a long time to reach. De Wet was 16 years old when he got his first bass guitar as a gift from his dad. The guitar was found, hidden under boxes. As if it was waiting for its owner to come by and pick him up. He practiced every day to improve and to teach his fingers to dance to the music. After finishing high school, he played in various bands where he collected valuable experience, before being signed by a record label as an upcoming band. He reached success at age 22 when he released two albums with his band, which also included televised music videos for publicity. By age 24, he co-started management, artist promotion, and booking agency for successful and upcoming musical acts.

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