Got holes in your calendar that you are dying to fill?
Have you ever stared at your calendar as if you were looking over the edge into a deep and bottomless abyss?
I know I have and I know I felt as if the world was caving in and I had no prospects to remedy the situation immediately.
So what do you do? What did I do after the first wave of freak-out passed? My first thought was to make frantic calls to any potential prospects thinking I could book an entire tour in the next few hours. When I realized that it was Friday afternoon and most everyone whom I would call was already heading out the door for the weekend, I took a deep breath and just sat for a moment.
My next thought was to examine what caused this situation in the first place. What was it I was or was not doing to have left such a gaping hole in the tour calendar? Every time, the answer came back that I was not planning far enough in advance.
So then I took a look at the types of venues I was booking and made a list of how many clubs, festivals and performing art centers my acts played and in what regions they were mostly touring. Once I had the list I began to consider the time frames in which each of the categories did their booking, so that I could get on their booking schedule rather than my own.
Performing Art Centers follow the conference schedule which happens mostly during late August and runs through mid-fall with the big APAP conference taking place in NYC in mid-January (right around my birthday every year). Now these programmers are booking their season’s 12, 18, to 24 months into the future. So if I were looking to get a date to fill that hole in my September calendar and it was June of the same year, fahgetaboutit! They’ve been booked for 2 years already.
Now when it comes to club dates, I may have more of a shot at getting a last minute date three months out or even 6 weeks out in an odd situation. But if I try to pin a club booker down to a date a year out, they are just not ready to commit since they want to see who’s coming through that they know will sell the room. All I can do there is hope to put a hold on their calendar and perhaps get to open for a larger act. But getting that hold is very important, so I’ll try for that as often as possible.
Festivals are a whole other ball game as the artistic director is always thinking about how to make next year’s event another winner. They may start their planning while this year’s festival is taking place. They begin booking as soon as the festival is over and continue until they’ve got the perfect line-up. But if I want to play a festival, I had better begin my communications with the artistic director as soon as this year’s festival is over, give or take a few weeks so they can recuperate.
It is all about planning and knowing the booking schedules of the various types of venues in which you mostly play. Once you have their schedule in mind, you can focus your calls and plan your strategies to connect with them at the appropriate times. This type of timing may be the answer to preventing your, “got holes in your calendar” scenario in the future.
For today and this week though, why not take a look at the types of venues or potential audiences you focus on to determine your best booking time frames. Take a breath and forget about the empty holes in your calendar next week or three weeks from now. Use this time to make your booking plans, create clever emails and check over your website to make sure it sells you well. Create some lists for potential calls when the time is perfect for that venue type.
Next year you’ll be laughing at how freaked out you had been since now you’ll be staring at a calendar filled with the exact amount of dates for which you had planned.
How have you fixed your, got holes in your calendar, scenario by working within the various booking time frames for each venue type?
Did you know about the best venue booking time frames?
Leave me a comment below or on the Performingbiz Success Strategies Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/PerformingbizSuccessStrategies.
I can’t wait to hear about your success.
Now, Thanks to Curfew, for providing This Month’s Biz Booster Theme Music, “Future Dance” Check them out at http://www.curfew.co.uk
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