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Should You Bring Friends and Family to Gigs?

Controversial subject here and one that I'm aware from the outset is going to get the odd negative comment, but stick with me and like many of the blogs on here - look past the headline and read the full article so you fully understand where this piece is coming from

If this is your first time to Designer Magazine I want to make it clear from the outset
- I am against torrid BOTB gigs where you pay a deposit upfront and encourage paid for texts votes
- I am against the Academy Unsigned gigs around the UK which are based on number of fans your can bring without listening to the music
- I am against promoters who don't work hard to promote the shows be it large scale shows or small pub gigs

But equally I’m not keen on bands who book a gig, literally mention the gig once online 4 hours before doors open and wonder why there's more people on stage than in the audience

Taking the promoter & venue out of the equation, I think it shows a lack of respect to the other bands on the bill who want to make every gig they do a success

When great music is in place, bands should 100% believe in everything they do and in fact as I'm writing this, this quote came up from Gandhi on facebook - very appropriate!


The Big Big Things - How you met your GF / BF? Which University you went to? Where you currently work? Which landlord / estate agent you chose your house or flat with?

The little things - Where you ate out this weekend? Which film you last saw at the cinema? Which t-shirt you last bought?

Am I right in assuming that most of what you do in life is heavily influenced by those close around you?

Most people make decisions based on recommendations from those around them that they trust and we do it every day without even thinking about it.

We also do the same online as well from those we feel we trust on Social Media (twitter / facebook etc)

It's also the basics of marketing for small businesses across the UK in that small businesses can fight back against large corporations advertising budgets via word of mouth and Social Media (at it's simplest word of mouth amplified online)

Makes you think ... what if that band that I'm fiercely passionate about had an small but loyal audience that believes in the band nearly as much as us could help spread the word if only we gave them the chance!!!


Apparently with 6 degrees of separation we can connect with anybody

This is what wikipedia defines it as...

"Six degrees of separation is the idea that everyone is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of "a friend of a friend" statements can be made
to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy and popularized by a play written by John Guare"

So from a bands perspective - your friends and family are 1st connections, but the friends and family they know that you don't currently know are all potential "real fans".

(Pic: When you bring friends and family it expands your potential audience of real fans)


Just before Xmas we had a band on who were booked fairly last minute with under 2 weeks to the gig

The bands manager asked a close friend to come to the gig. She brought her boyfriend, who then had 2 friends up that weekend from London

Said group of people then happened to stay for 3 of the bands that night and went away happy and massive fans of the band

So inviting one friend actually brought an extra 3 potential new fans of not just their band, but other bands on the bill

That’s what happens when you see bands with large audiences - they have reached out to the friends and family network, but as a result get to play to a mass of people they don't personally know who then become fans and the mass of fans can spread bigger and wider

And this isn’t small scale - a band I managed a few years ago. Their biggest headline gig was to over 300 people of which they only personally knew around 50 of them - 1 in 6 people is a pretty damn good ratio - without their core following however they’d have never got to that stage. Oh and they managed to record their next EP off the back of that one gig as well

Look at that image above again and think of the endless posibilities - imagine that you is just one band member and the dots start to join up

(Pic: When you don't bring friends and family - look at the walls & emptyness between you and potential fans)


You wouldn't believe the amount of bands I see who ask friends or family to help them out with lifts to the venue.... only to wave them off and say see you after the gigs finished

It's essentially cutting off the connections to potential fans as you can see from the diagram above - why place a barrier or gap in the way?

Think about it:

- No buzz building before the gig as you have a network of people telling their friends what they're doing that weekend
- No buzz on social media straight after the gig
- No buzz after the gig when they arrive at work on Monday and can't tell friends how good the gig was

Sadly from this, comments arise from those attending like "they were really good, but nobody was there" and for each gig after that, the "nobody was there" becomes a self fulfilling prophecy in the hearts and minds of potential fans

Look at that massive gap, the brick wall, the empty space that's in the way when you reject your friends and fans


Yes of course - all the people involved should be pushing every single gig to the maximum. That’s why we suggest avoiding the iffy gigs at the start of this article

Research the people you work with and make sure they'll push it as hard as you.

The best gigs happen ultimately when everybody works together rather than against each other and there's a huge amount of people in your network that don't come into the network of promoters and vice versa - so speak to each other and make your next gig the best possible

We love to chat to proactive bands about ways to get your music out there to more fans

On the other hand negativity isn’t a word in our dictionary - it’s just defeatist

Look here for general ways we can help

(alternatively drop us an email on designermagazine@hotmail.com )

Further Reading:
8 Reasons Your Gigs Aren’t As Busy As You’d Like
10 Things Bands Should Be Doing Every Single Day
Support The Scene - Manchester Music Movement
Why You Need To Set Goals This Year For Your Band
The Successful Musicians Guide To Greatness

And look at all of this years articles to help your band here


Designer Magazine unless otherwise stated.

All Interviews by Alex McCann unless otherwise stated
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Contact us: designermagazine@hotmail.com