Landing an Opening Gig for a Succesful Band

The best way to grow your fan base is to perform with successful bands in your genre. By this time you feel confident in your stage performances with a well-balanced set of songs and you are ready to take the next step.

Networking and reaching out to musicians and their management is key during your journey as an up-and-coming band.

Building bridges paths your way to opening up doors to festivals and opening gigs for high or higher-profile performers. Besides networking, you should also have a press kit and demo with a potential hit song in mind.

The biggest joy in making music is the like-minded people you meet along the way. Why not share the stage together? Let’s discuss a few aspects that helped me tremendously.

By the way, if you are still in doubt about whether or not you should record your demo, scan through the helpful article I posted called Vital Reasons to Record Your Band Demo here.

Seems like the perfect office 🙂

Networking at Venues

At this stage, you probably had about 20 smaller-sized performances. Even if you’ve played at various “Battle of the Bands” competitions or at birthday parties, you got to meet plenty of people along the way.

Always make sure to leave a positive impression behind. This also includes going the extra mile by greeting, having manners, and cleaning.

Leave the stage and backstage room in a better state than you found it in.


Approach the sound engineer and ask about where they work and what gigs are coming up for them. I can not remember the number of times that our roads crossed with the same sound engineers over and over again. The advantage is that they get to know your sound and will be looking forward to working again with you.

If you are performing and looking for some tips about sound checking and making the experience smoother, don’t miss the post I wrote about it.

When you performed at a pub or concert venue, approach the management and ask if they don’t have slots available as opening acts for booked bands in the near future.

Usually, venues don’t approach upcoming artists since asking goes hand in hand with making a paid booking. In this case, you are focussing on exposure. The advantage of booking through a venue is that it becomes a situation of “home advantage”.

I often met grateful bands to open for us and we had a blast of an evening together. We exchanged plenty of ideas and arranged future gigs together to improve the experience of our audience.

Reach out to their management

Once you found an artist that you would like to open for, reach out to their management. Usually, their booking agents are also the ones suggesting a band line-up for the evening.

Write an email to the booking agent, including your band press kit, that you are really keen to play with the relevant band and if there are any potential slots in the near future.

This does not only introduce you to the agent, but your willingness (and readiness) to perform on a flexible basis means that you are a promising act to keep an eye on from a business perspective.

Perhaps you are already at a stage where you thinking about getting a manager to take care of all your business and band admin. If that’s the case the article I wrote When is it Time to Find a Manager for Your Band, might be just for you.

Asking bands directly

If you are lucky enough to meet members of your wished bands or you get a reply from a direct message, then it surely is a chance worth taking.

When smaller acts would get in contact with me to perform together, I would keep them in mind when we had a private show and wanted to have an opening act.

Most bands like to perform in front of a warmed-up crowd and are willing to give younger or less-experienced bands a chance to prove themselves.

Again make sure that your press kit and performance have the same promise. You might not get an immediate answer, and you might want to also ask other artists as well to improve your chances.

I wrote an extremely helpful guide for bands looking to get paid to perform. There are certain steps involved and opening for successful bands is just one of those steps.

You can find the Steps to Reach your First Paid Gig – From Zero to Hero right here.

Visit different concerts and mingle

When we were at the right time to open for successful bands, we visited their shows and made sure we took a few copies of our demo with us.

We do live in a digital era, so you might also have a card with a QR code with a link to your demo. Be sure to enjoy the gig, and stay behind to hand out your card.

A suggested approach might go like this:

  1. Greet friendly and say that you are inspired by their performance.
  2. Give detailed feedback about one of their songs.
    • This will give them the impression that you are musically more intelligent than a normal fan.
  3. Provide positive feedback regarding the sound.
    • This is one of the things that will make you sound like a professional artist.
    • The first question bands ask when they come off the stage is if the sound was good! 😛
  4. Tell the band that you are also an artist and are keen to perform with them.
    • Perhaps they have even heard about you already.
  5. Hand over your demo with your details.
    • Sometimes a little gift also works.
    • For instance a small piece of merchandise like a little plectrum or a sticker.
    • You will be surprised at what a difference it makes!
  6. Stay in contact with any offers.
    • Let’s say you get an offer to perform together, but it’s not a paid gig and you need to travel far.
    • Weighing up your priorities will become challenging in these circumstances and it’s important that your band is exchanging regularly to make the correct decisions.

Now you have networked like a pro!

This post was written and posted by De Wet from on 14.05.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere else.

Warming an open stage can be intimidating. Just get up there and make them fall in love with your songs. (photo credit: Canva)

Getting to the top is hard work and plenty of risk-taking. It might not be something that all your band members are open to. Some might not have the time and others might not feel comfortable at first.

It is just great if there are one or two members that can go out and get the job done. I wrote an article about why being in a band is hard work. This is a great way of being aware of certain stumbling stones. I also offer solutions to them.

If you would like to understand more about why an opening act is important to our music industry, don’t miss the post I wrote on it. In many cases, opening acts inspired me to carry on making music and performing.

Good luck with the journey and 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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