How to Connect with the Right Festivals & Venues
Your band is ready for primetime, and you’re looking to play major festivals and venues. However, you know each of these is its own beast. Learn the best practices for making a love connection with the top festival and venue bookers. What do they look for in a band and what are the dos and don’ts for making a meaningful connection.
Panos Panay is the founder/ceo of Sonicbids, the leading matchmaking site for bands and music promoters. Since its launch in 2001, Sonicbids has grown into a global network of more than 335,000 artists and 25,000 promoters, which includes exclusive partnerships with events like South By Southwest (SXSW) and CMJ. More recently, Sonicbids has partnered with some of the world's most recognized consumer brands like Red Bull, Converse and Renaissance Hotels to develop customized Social Music Marketing programs that tap into Sonicbids members' 100 million hyper-engaged fans.
Prior to founding Sonicbids, Panos was a talent agent representing numerous legendary jazz artists. He has been recognized with several awards, including Fast Company's "Fast 50" honor; Berklee College of Music's Distinguished Alumnus Award; Inc Magazine's "Inc 500;" and was also featured in the Financial Times published book "Outsmart" by Jim Champy. Panos was born and raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. He is a diehard Arsenal FC fan.
Nate Arling has been a main talent buyer at Chicago's Double Door since 2002. The 550 capacity Double Door has hosted the The Rolling Stones, Muse, Queens Of The Stone Age, Smashing Pumpkins, Kid Rock, Kings Of Leon, along with thousands of bands in all genres from when it opened in 1994.
Nate has also toured the world playing drums in his band The Last Vegas since 2001. TLV have played 500+ shows, in over 15 countries at clubs, theaters, arenas, festivals, and toured with Motley Crue, AC/DC.
Nate has over seen how the business works from a band, business and booking perspective at the smallest clubs to most prestigious venues in the world.
Jon McIldowie is the event director and co-founder of The Great Escape. He has been promoting gigs and clubs since the age of 16, first in his home town of Birmingham and then as a student in Liverpool before moving to London. In 1999 Jon joined the Barfly Club as assistant and then Head Promoter for the London venue. Jon has now moved into the position of Promotions Director as part of MAMA Group. In 2006 Jon jointly founded The Great Escape Festival and Convention and oversees the event in addition to tour and festival booking including Lovebox.
David is known as a talent buyer for Summerfest ("The World's Largest Music Festival") and fulfills entertainment relations and production supervisor duties in addition to producing the Emerging Artists Series for the festival. He is also an A&R Consultant for Banshee Music, an Entertainment Relations Consultant for Gibson, and a partner in entertainment consulting firm Pursuit Live. Equally at home on the musician's side of the tracks or the business end of the biz, the live environment or the studio, David has been a musician since early childhood, with practical experience in numerous genres as well as domestic and international touring, recording and producing. As a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, he currently serves on the Board of Governors and holds the office of Vice President for the Chicago Chapter of The Recording Academy.
VALERIE GURKA is a business strategist, marketing director, event planner, music/TV producer, songwriter, performer and digital media specialist. She has produced industry showcases, worked with a variety of different bands, and hosted her own business talk show. As the Marketing Director at The Knitting Factory, she merges music and media with marketing and business strategies.
Daniel Seligman was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1976. He has lived in
Montreal for 13 years. He graduated from McGill University in the department of Religious Studies in 2000. He started his music career as a general schlepper for his brother’s band Stars shortly after graduating. This led him to booking, promoting and managing Stars for 3 years as their career took off. In 2002, while managing Stars, Seligman started a music festival called Pop Montreal with some friends and it is now a runaway success. After working with Stars for 3 years, he discovered the Unicorns and instantly fell in love, managing the Montreal weirdo pop sensations until their implosion in 2005. He has managed the eccentric Jewish hip hop artist Socalled since 2006. Seligman has continued his role as creative director for Pop Montreal booking artists as diverse as Patti Smith, Bun B, Loudon Wainwright III, Joanna Newsom, The Mighty Sparrow, Fever Ray,The Butthole Surfers, Metric, Mary Margaret O'hara and Roxanne Shante. He also remains firmly committed to working with emerging artists in Montreal and beyond booking shows across North America for artists like Plants and Animals, Braids, Malajube, Duchess Says, Think About Life and Grimes. Through POP Montreal, Seligman has remained the promoter of record for The Arcade Fire in Quebec and has produced all their Montreal shows since the launch of their break through album Funeral in 2004, including the 2011 free show as part of the festival for almost 100,000 people.