How to get a gig in Leicester
Page last edited: 14th June 2014
Advice for bands wanting to get gigs at Leicester venues
This article gives ideas and advice on how to get to play in Leicester/shire, especially if your band is from out of town.
Local Leicester/shire bands
Leicester has a lot of venues where bands can play.
If yours is a young band with a 14+ or 16+ following, see our post about young bands.
and see our list of promoters of live music
Out of town bands
If your band is from outside of Leicester/shire, you can contact the various venues or promoters directly to see if they can offer you a gig. Alternatively, contact one of our local bands to see if you can get a support slot with them. You might also talk to them about arranging a gig-swop – in which you come to Leicester to play with them and then they play a gig with you in your town.
Some of places where bands have come from to play in Leicester in recent weeks:
Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Nottingham, Leipzig, Tamworth, London, Essex, Derby, Los Angeles, Guildford, Nuneaton, Glasgow, Northampton, Watford, Blackpool, Southampton … and so on.
Things to check before you contact a venue or promoter
Research your venue or promoter before you ask for a gig.
See what kinds of bands are playing. Don’t try to get a gig at the Donkey if you are a heavy metal band! Don’t ask Ragebreed for a gig if you’re a light acoustic, emo band.
Look to see if bands with a similar musical style to yours are already playing. Check them out on Facebook.
Things you should check before you agree to play
If a venue or a promoter is prepared to offer you a date to play, ask the following questions:
- Will you get paid, if so how much and when and by whom
- What equipment is provided by the venue and what will you have to bring
- What will the venue or promoter do to support your performance, in the way of publicity
- What is the age group for the night, some are 16+, some 18+ and some are all ages. Weekend dates tend to be 18+.
- What time is load in and sound check
- Where can you park for load in – often difficult in Leicester’s city centre.
- will you have to sell tickets/bring fans for the gig
- What time will your band be playing and when will that be decided
Don’t assume anything and if you don’t ask, the chances are they won’t tell you. Always ask for an email address of the promoter.
If for any reason your band is unable to play, tell the person who hired you as soon as possible.
The one thing people hate most is bands that just fail to turn up and don’t bother to tell anyone they are not coming. They never get invited back. The next worst thing are bands that turn up and play, don’t bring anyone with them and don’t sell any tickets at all.
How to prepare for your gig
Leicester’s live music scene is perhaps unusual in that there is no walk-in, ready-made, crowd for most live music events.
What is more successful for a good gig is not the venue but the line-up. Fans tend to go to gigs to see specific bands. Around here, it’s not generally the case that people go to venues.
Bands playing on a night make their own crowd, for pretty much all the venues. So bands can’t turn up and expect to play to a audience, unless they are on a line up with a set of crowd-pulling local bands. If yours is an out of town band, you have to work hard to get fans to come down and support your set, when playing in a town ehere people don’t know you.
People in Leicester don’t go out to see unknown bands, but they can be encouraged to support a band if they like their music. The best way to get into a well-attended gig is to play with a line-up of popular local bands.
There are a few venues which offer free entry gigs (often put on by Promoters like Melting Pot and sometimes the Firebug bar and these can be very popular) but most of the others charge between £4 and £6 entry with £5 being a typical ticket price. Pretty much everyone buys tickets on the door.
Venue owners and promoters watch bands to see how much effort they put into getting people down to support them. If you don’t do anything to publicise your performance, your Leicester set is likely to be a one-off. Even if venues or promoters do publicise an event, it is still necessary for bands to encourage fans to come down and support them.
If it all goes really well your band could make some new fans and that will be good if you want to come back to Leicester in the future.
Publicise your gig
Make sure that everyone knows that your band is playing in Leicester/shire.
Set up an events page on Facebook; you can then use this to publicise your performance to local fans.
Newspapers and radio
You can also get details into the weekly entertainments guide of the Leicester Mercury. The guide is published on Thursdays so you will need to get the details to them well in advance. Phone the details through to 0116 222 4241.
Local radio stations like BBC radio Leicester, Demon FM and Takeover Radio might also publicise your show.
We have a page on FB where people can list gigs: Leicester Gigs 2013
We also have a group for bands that want local gigs to play – see below.
The Facebook group Leicester gigs ( our list of upcoming gigs in Leicester)