Here's Why You Never Get Booked as an Opening Act
Editor: Tef Poe is an artist from St. Louis City. Through powerful imagery and complicated honesty, he has earned a reputation as one of the best rappers telling the story of St. Louis, which is about much more than one place. Poe has been featured in music publications such as XXL and Urb Magazine. His newest project War Machine 2 was released on June 5th and will be followed up by a full-length with DJ Burn One entitled Cheer For The Villain. Follow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get War Machine 2 here. Follow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get War Machine 2 here.
When a promoter brings a large act to town or throws a large concert, naturally everyone wants to cast their bid to become the opening act. This gives indie artists the chance to showcase their talent in front of a potentially larger audience. The problem is, from the lens of the promoter very few openers offer any incentive to book them. I do 90% of my own booking, meaning I call the venue, pay for the venue out of my own pocket, along with paying for the sound man and DJ out of my own expenses. I handle the promotion and marketing of the show from my own personal budget as well. If I push the show with maximum strength and coordination it will most likely do solid numbers. When it comes to throwing concerts, consistency is the key. Fans want to spend their hard-earned money appropriately.
No one wants to gamble with their social life and spend their valued free time at a horrible event. As an opening act, if you don't add incentive to the show then I honestly don't need you on the bill. With or without your presence, the show will be a success. For the most part adding an opener adds stress -- this isn't the business of giving people a shot, this is the business of entertaining the faithful listeners. I decided to blog about this because I feel as if I can help shift the paradigm connected to these situations for indie artists. Reality Check: A concert is a total waste of time and energy if you're not building your brand prior to touching the stage. This means if you're not actively working day by day to gain fans and persuade people to believe in your music, adding you to a show is pointless. You can't show up to a concert and assume the fans that came to see the headliner will be there to see you.
Consider this scenario: You get booked to open a show and you draw twenty to the audience. This isn't even enough paid admissions to cover the cost of the soundman for the evening. Your performance isn't the greatest because you're a new artist and you haven't rehearsed or performed enough to master your routine. Let's be honest, you're still in your growing stages and compared to the headlining act, you suck.