Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How To Submit Your Band For Booking Consideration

Yesterday I met with a small committee who will be making suggestions to the talent buyer for acts for the 30th annual Adams Avenue Street Fair. This year's festival takes place on September 24-25. The weekend has traditionally had amazing local and national acts and there is no plan to change that tradition.

But can I tell you something as a friend and supporter of local music? Some of you need to get your shit together. I mean, some of the packages we received were dreadful, and we haven't even touched electronic submissions.

Here's the thing. This festival is a big deal. It's free. It's massive. Over the free weekend, there are approximately 70 bands. People come from all over the county and beyond because they know they're going to have a great time with great entertainment. But whether you're submitting for the Adams Avenue Street Fair, or you're sending your music to a blogger like me for review or booking consideration in a tiny room, there's no one right way to do it, but there are a million wrong ways. These are all simple and common sense things that you will learn at the San Diego Music Thing (or should've learned at NXNP & NPMT last year.)

1. Send in a quality recording. It can be a CD-R with your tracks and contact scribbled on the CD, but the MUSIC should be clear and audible. 3 packages we received didn't have working CDs. Don't send in DVDs. If all you have pressed is a single or an EP, we're probably not going to be confident that you can pull off a full festival set.

2. Include a one sheet. This should tell us who you are, your style of music, any notable performances or awards. This shouldn't tell us your entire life story. Like a resume, if you lie in your one-sheet, we're gonna know. Have someone else honestly and thoughtfully write it for you because it is pretty obvious when you try to write about yourself if the third person.

3. Beat the deadline. You should always have your materials ready to go at the drop of a hat. As soon as the submissions were announced last week, your package should've been in the mail. The first group of packages got the benefit of 6 people captive around a table. Our next meeting is going to be a whole lot more frantic and your CD might literally get a 20 second listen. That's the reality. I'm taking note, however, so if maybe you're not street fair material, perhaps there are other places I can help book you elsewhere at a later date.

4. Be a pro. If you think about my music listings...on a low estimate I have 3 bands at 20 venues per night and I've been posting listings for over 5 years. Do the math. Name recognition counts. If you sell yourself as a seasoned band and nobody in the room has ever heard your name, you're probably not being realistic about your band or your stature. This is not to say unknown bands won't get a shot, but realistically the committee is looking at blues and rock legends while my personal interest is in the local and regional up and coming bands. We look at the Music Award nominees. We look at the bands that have played other festivals. We look at people who promote their asses off and work hard that will draw people to the festival.

Some other things I learned specifically about the Adams Avenue Street Fair:

Cover Bands- "We only consider bands who cover dead people." It sounds like a joke, but the interest is in great original music and bands. If you're a cover band, this is probably not your event.

Acoustic Musicians- Louie from Lestat's is the primary booker for any acoustic acts. Very few if any acoustic acts will be on any of the street stages.

Street Fair Veterans- The committee is adamant about new bands. They do not like to book the same bands year to year, so if you played last year, you likely won't make the cut this year but might be considered for Roots or the Street Fair again next year.

Stages: The Adams Avenue Street Fair has 6 stages. When you submit your music, it helps to specify the stage you think you should play.

  • 33rd- Indie/Alternative
  • Lestat's- Acoustic
  • 34th- Roots/Rock
  • Hawley- Blues, R&B, Legacy acts
  • Dimille's- Anything goes
  • Park- World Music/Dance

I'm gonna tell you some inside stuff, too. The talent buyer came in with three pages of bands for consideration. I came in with at least 30 bands I'd love to see...my "wish list", if you will. Yes Conor Oberst is on my list. So what? A girl can dream. Each of the other people on the committee have wish lists of their own. 70 slots will fill quickly. I can only listen and make recommendations to the buyer. I feel pretty lucky to be able to contribute and make recommendations, but I have no ultimate power in the selections.

I think that's enough for now. Once again, you can send your EPK to info AT adamsavenuebusiness DOT com or send/hand deliver packages to:

Adams Avenue Business Association
ATTN: Adams Avenue Street Fair Music Committee
4649 Hawley Boulevard
San Diego CA 92116


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