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Performance Artists Transitioning from Small Stages and Venues to Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

For some performance artists making the jump to performing on a large music festival stage can be a great leap for their career prospects but for others it can be daunting. What are the typical challenges faced by musicians who regularly perform in small venues in stepping up to a large outdoors music festival stage.

Any performance artist understands that transitioning form a small club venue to a music festival can be an important milestone in their careers. They can use this leap to expand and extend their reach to a wider audience with greater exposure for their material. What are the key steps and associated challenges for artists embarking on this transition.

Material Preparation. 
It essential that any up-and-coming performance artist creates a good library of original material that can be easily accessed by anyone interested in them. An investment in high quality recordings that are well produced can help highlight potential talent to anyone responsible for curating artists for music festivals. Artists should ensure that their material includes a mixture of both studio and live performances.

Building a Following and Loyal Fan Base.
When artists regularly perform at smaller venues, they can build a small but loyal following and although this may be localised, they can reach a wider audience by playing in other geographic locations so that their fan base can be expanded. Regular live performances in smaller venues can help to build experience of delivering engaging content along with discovering what material works and what doesn’t. Small gigs also lead to a better understanding of technical set-up requirements and stage logistics.

Marketing Support. 
Gaining a set at any sizable music festival presents a number opportunities to promote the musicians and good marketing can support this transition. Connecting with loyal fans through social media and promoting an upcoming festival performance can help to enhance their reputation. This is a good time to invest in a more professional visual appearance which may include photography, logos and artwork for example. When an upcoming festival performance date gets closer the musician should be making more regular posts to their social media channels to generate fan engagement and sharing.

Networking Opportunities.
Making an appearance at a music festival for the first time presents numerous networking opportunities with fellow musicians as well as key industry professionals. This can increase the opportunities to secure performances at future events and is a key benefit of performing at a music festival. If the artist is new to the festival scene but not yet represented by a manager, they can use their performance as an opportunity to get signed with an established management company.

Festival Logistics. 
Performing at a small venue often involves minimal load-in, set-up and sound checks where musicians regularly just turn up and play. A sizable music festival could have hundreds of artists preforming on multiple stages and the organisers are likely to send a plethora of information to the new artist. This is where the artist advance becomes as essential document that needs to be accurately completed and submitted in a timely manner. This is a key requirement for the festival organisers to run a seamless schedule of performances over a 12 hour day.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics including a dedicated artist management module. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by
Alena Darmel via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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