Is My Band Playing Too Many Shows?
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.
I'm in a relatively new band in Minneapolis. We're about two years old and things have been going very well for us. We're not a buzz band by any means, but the EP has gotten us a fair amount of attention, at least locally. We've opened for a number of national touring acts, some extremely friendly Canadian bands and played with a ton of local bands. We've said yes to almost every single opportunity to play.
We have gotten to the point where we feel like maybe we're playing too many shows. Playing lots of shows has undoubtedly made us a better band; we love playing shows and we're serious about working hard to make our band successful -- this is obviously a good problem to have. But when we're playing two to three shows a week, for several weeks in a row, and when all of those shows are in in town, our worry is mostly one of over-saturation. How many shows is too many?
On one hand, our instinct is to start turning down show offers, with the goal of playing one or two shows a month locally, really focusing on promoting each one as much as possible. On the other hand, we're still such a new band in the scene that we don't want to burn bridges with people by turning down offers. Should we keep playing as many shows as possible to build connections and to get our name out there? Should we take a break from playing the Twin Cities altogether? We don't have a vehicle that can get our band to Chicago or Des Moines, but maybe it's time to buy one and take some weekend trips?
(PS - We saw that someone on Twitter suggested you start a TV show like Kitchen Nightmares for bands. We would TOTALLY watch that.)
Fan's answer is on the next page.