So you’re a musician in music city, experiencing all the passionate live performances and wondering how to be a part of that world. Or maybe you’re a touring band who’s looking to add Nashville to the stop list. Either way, performing in Nashville can be the gateway to your music career.
Nashville has music everywhere, and playing live here has lots of benefits like allowing you to grow your audience and make industry connections.
But how do you start? How do you book your own show in Nashville?
Here’s our advice for how to book a show here in music city.
Go to Shows
If you’re living in Nashville, the best way to get involved in the music scene is simply by going to different shows at different venues. This allows you to get an idea of how the venue works and who hosts their shows.
There are dozens of music venue in music city, but here are a few
Popular Nashville Venues:
- The Basement
- True Music Room
- The Analog
- The Back Corner
- The Red Door
- BlueBird Cafe
- Mercy Lounge
- Bento Rooftop
- Station Inn
- The Well Coffeehouse
Network with Performers Who Play at the Venue
It’s easier to land shows at the venues you want after scoping out various venues in Nashville and making connections with the community. After going to a few shows here you’ll likely be able to tell that Nashville has a great community of live musicians, and you’ll probably even end up recognizing some of the same people attending and playing at various shows.
Connect with both those attending shows, but also with the artists and musicians you see performing at the venues you’re interested in playing at. They may have insight into not only the venue you are watching them play at, but similar venues that they enjoy.
Reach Out To the Venue
Once you’ve figured out where you wanna play, check out the venue’s social media to see what their live show schedule is like and who to get in contact with about booking yourself there. If you’ve already been to this venue, hopefully you met one of the hosts or booking agents, but if you weren’t able to, most venues have an outlet to submit a portfolio of your music for their consideration. Don’t hesitate to reach out to several different venues while you wait for responses. Reaching out to multiple places will increase your chances of getting chosen for a gig.
While it isn’t too difficult to book a show in Nashville, every new artist here has to pay their dues; and part of this is attending a lot of shows and reaching out to a lot of people just to make connections. You definitely have to be realistic when planning a show and consider how many tickets you’l lbe able to sell. This is a determining factor in whether you’ll get a gig or not.
If you’re new to the live music scene in Nashville, it can help to start out by playing writers rounds and small show settings. This is the perfect way to build your way up the tiers of higher quality venues, and will give you a sense of what the audience is like.
But rest assured, you’ll find your way around the music scene here, and in the process you’ll make some amazing and talented friends to share the journey with you. Break a leg!