Foolproof Tips To Make Your First Festival Gig A Success
Many DJs dream of playing at huge music festivals such as Coachella or Lollapalooza, which each attract tens of thousands of festival-goers every year. As exhilarating as playing at a big festival may be, it’s important to remember that it takes hard work, dedication, and a huge fan base to land such an illustrious gig. Playing at a local festival is, however, a very realistic ambition to have, and one that can be pulled off with careful planning and perseverance. By following a few simple guidelines on how to land a festival gig and subsequently prepare for it, you’ll soon be rubbing shoulders with some of the nation’s best DJs at some of the country’s most popular music festivals.
It goes without saying that before performing at a music festival, you will have to master mixing and DJing skills. As well, have a strong DJ identity, online presence and wide connections with promoters, club owners, and fanbase.
Land yourself a festival gig
Before you start preparing for your first festival gig, you need to actually land the gig. While this may be somewhat challenging, it is not impossible. There are several ways you can go about applying for a slot at a local festival. Most festivals make an announcement, either on social media or on their website, when artist applications open for their next event. It is for this very reason that you need to have high-quality samples of your set available. Together with a basic press kit that contains your bio, relevant experience you may have, and a couple of interesting, high-resolution photos.
You may even want to consider reaching out to festival organizers before slot applications being announced. Just remember to not be spammy in your approach, as that’s one sure-fire way to stop organizers considering you for any gigs. Once you’ve landed a slot at a festival, you need to start preparing for it in earnest.
Get everything in writing
Once your gig has been confirmed, it’s important to get everything in writing. Due to the complex nature of music festivals, arrangements tend to be a lot more complicated than what they are for a regular club private function gig. Confirm everything from the date and time of your slot to your accommodation, your payment, and general festival policies. Draw up a technical rider and send it through to the organizers as soon as possible to ensure that any equipment you may need, such as tables and power points, is available to you. If you are unsure about anything, now is a good time to ask questions – if you wait till you arrive at the festival venue, it may be too late.
Being a DJ is the same as any other profession out there. You have to be consistent, reliable, deliver the best you can and be a professional. Organize is the key, and it will help you reach your targets and succeed in anything that you will do.
Preparation is of the utmost importance before any gig, and especially before your first music festival. Decide on a basic set well in advance, but be prepared to be led in a certain direction by the crowd. Consider adding a unique element to your set, but make sure it is perfectly planned and easy to execute. Many DJs have had great success incorporating live music into their sets (think Skrillex and Diplo featuring Justin Bieber). A talented guitarist banging out riffs on a Fender Stratocaster can add a cool dimension to your set, as can an eye-catching laser or smoke display. Whatever you decide to do, just rehearse it well, and always have a Plan B to fall back on should any eventuality force you to stray from your original plan.
Pack everything you need
A DJ’s livelihood depends on his equipment as much as it does his skill. While it may seem obvious, it’s important to make a list of everything you need to pack, and then stick to it. The last thing you want is to arrive at the venue and realize you left your USBs or headphone adaptors at home – 500 miles away.
Also, ensure that you pack everything you will need to keep your equipment safe at all times. Dust covers are an absolute must at festivals, as are lockable containers for all your equipment, especially smaller items such as headphones and cables, as they are the easiest to swipe when no one is looking. Apart from your equipment, also make sure you pack all the personal items you will require, such as clothes, toiletries, any necessary medication, and a cellphone charger.
Every DJ out there would prefer the lightest and more compact equipment available. The market is overwhelmed with new and affordable DJ tools. Take a look at the most popular DJ setup in music festivals around the world.
As a DJ, playing at one of the countless superb music festivals across the world may be a career highlight. Even if you start out by DJing at smaller, local festivals, you are bound to have a blast feeding off the energy of a typical festival crowd.
Thanks to Jocasta Manson for the article submission.