Sunday, 4 January 2009

The Stoke Sounds Guide to Gigging on a Budget!

Article by Lyndsey Oliver

With the New Year comes new problems. All your favourite bands will be turning in to lend their hands to the wonderful world of touring, but you trot along to your local bank, enter your pin number, and what’s that on screen? Insufficient funds. Looks like you’ll be missing that big night out at the local discotheque. All your friends have already arranged the night, and most of them have bought their tickets in advance, so how can you avoid having to miss out? Luckily here at Stoke Sounds we’ve thought about it long and hard and come up with an (almost) surefire way for you to enjoy that big night out but without pockets full of cash.

STEP 1: PREPARE. Bands don’t suddenly appear at a venue! They tend to announce a date, sell tickets, and then play. The key is to watch out for when a band are visiting your local venue so that you can sort out a plan early.

STEP 2: GET A JOB. You could always try for bar work at an establishment that tends to host a ton of gigs. They’ll need more staff on busy gig nights and an extra pair of hands could be welcomed. Not only could you get to watch all of your favourite gigs, but you’ll also get paid – result!

STEP 3: VOLUNTEER. Not everywhere needs extra staff, and you might not even be old enough to work on a bar, so you need another plan. Head on over to the bands Myspace page and keep your eyes out for bulletins asking for Street Team members. Once signed up you’re usually emailed or posted some stickers and posters to put up in the local area. On the night you’ll be required to march around the venue asking for email addresses or could even be asked to lend a hand on the merch store. You will sometimes be rewarded with a place on the guest list, and all your hard work will be rewarded.

STEP 4: BLAG. Put simply, the bigger the band the harder it will be. You could try hanging around town during the day in the hope to catch them checking out the area. You could locate their tour bus and hang around hoping to ask them directly for a free ticket. No matter what remember to stroke their egos, and not to sound too desperate. You could however try to be as inventive as possible, sneaking into a venue, posing as a crewmember, bargaining with door staff, whatever you feel comfortable with. Blagging isn’t for everyone though; you’ll need to be confident and able to hold your nerve.

STEP 5: SURF. Get yourself over to their official website and sign up for the newsletters. Bands like to reward fans with intimate gigs from time to time and you’ll simply have to pay to get there. Or with current broadband speeds getting higher, streaming is getting easier too; so many bands will showcase a live gig for free on sites such as Myspace, YouTube and their own personal websites.

STEP 6: GET LUCKY. The venue’s website, local radio stations, local newspapers, all run promotions from time to time and the bigger the band the more likely the chances of a competition. Try to judge which publications will be the most likely to champion the music that you are into and pay attention to them. Save their email addresses, add their numbers to your phone book and keep your eager eyes open.

STEP 7: BUDGET. However the only guaranteed way to get into your favourite gigs is to buy tickets. Try to budget and keep some money aside every month to put towards them. Remember that festival tickets tend to go on sale between February and April so you’ll need to budget throughout the whole year. If you’re stuck not being able to go to a lot of smaller gigs then festivals provide an excellent opportunity to see hundreds of your favourite bands over a couple of days, and works out at pretty good value too.

With mega tips like these trying to beat your recession blues, you’re guaranteed (almost) to have much more of a musical year.

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