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Mojo Juju at Oxford Art Factory (photo credit: Lars Roy)


Pitching to perform at a venue

You'll Discover:

  • How to prepare and approach venues for gigs (includes checklist).
  • The right (and wrong) ways to ask for a gig.

The City of Sydney alone has over 200 venues that host live music, so there’s no shortage of places to approach for gigs. However, you should build a strategy around approaching and booking venues. Many Sydney venues surveyed for this Toolkit have explained how musicians and promoters often approach them before they have done the proper groundwork. To remedy this, you should put together and work through a checklist like below.


Research venue and prepare your pitch

  • First up, go and see live music at the venue. That’s the best way to get a feel for the place, meet other acts, and maybe find out a little bit about the venue layout.

  • Identify if your music is the right fit for their style and audience. Do they have different styles on different nights? If so, they may be programmed by different bookers and you’ll want to find the right contact to suit your style.

  • What is the venue’s capacity and can you fill the room with your audience? Approaching a 300 capacity room when you can only draw a small audience of 20 will put a lot of pressure on your band, and the venue will likely dismiss your pitch as unrealistic.
  • Will the venue need you to book other acts for your own lineup or will you request that the venue keep you in mind for lineups they’re putting together?

  • Consider the technical capabilities of the venue versus your band/the rest of the lineups technical requirements (for example, an elaborate technical setup won’t work in a venue with a very basic P.A. system and limited technical resources).

  • Gather together information about your band or solo act for the venue including artist bio, live You Tube clip, audio, images, weblinks, technical specifications and if relevant, availabilities (e.g. ‘we’re available at your Melbourne venue during our East Coast Tour Nov 5-10th’). Read more on putting together an eye-catching live music press kit here.
  • Find the venue booker’s name, email and booking contact number. Search google or the venue’s website, and if the name isn’t listed ring the venue and ask for the name and contact details of their venue booker.
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Contacting the venue booker

Send an introductory email to the venue booker requesting a booking with a brief outline of your band, recent achievements or contact details and a link to your electronic press kit (EPK).


  • Keep it short and polite.

  • Mention any recent achievements you may have had (eg, radio airplay, positive reviews etc) but don’t be too cocky about it.

  • Don’t send emails with large attachments and never attach music or video files!

  • Personalise it. Include venue’s name and bookers name, demonstrate that you’ve been to the venue.

  • Be humble. If you’re starting out say your new. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not.

  • If you’ve performed at similar, or well-respected venues mention that to build confidence with the booker that you’re an experienced and professional performer.
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Sample email to a venue

Subject heading: Request for [Act Name] to perform at [Venue name]

Hi [Bookers first name],

I love your Thursday funk/soul nights. Would you please consider having my funk band [Act Name] perform? We’ve just released a new single which has had promising reviews and airplay including [community, ABC/SBS, online, or commercial radio station name]. More info, music and live video clips can be found here [link to your EPK].

If you’re good enough to book us, we’d be happy to jump on a lineup that you may be working on, or if you prefer artists to arrange their own lineups, we can put forward some other acts for your approval.

Please let me know what you think and thanks so much for considering [Act Name].


Your Name


Artist Website
Direct link to EPK.


  • If the venue doesn’t want to book your act you can ask for feedback but don’t dwell on it. Move onto the next venue on your list or even better, approach a number of suitable venues at the same time.

  • Note: Some venues won’t book an act if they are playing another show in Sydney within a two week block. Other venues won’t book acts unless it is for an album or EP launch. Some venues only offer newer acts weeknight slots. Higher profile venues book up far in advance so you might want to have an even longer lead time from making contact to proposed gig date.

You can check out some additional tips on getting gigs on Music Victoria’s website.

Repeat this step for each venue you’d like to contact. Ideally you should set up a separate folder in your band’s email account called ‘GIGS’ to store all correspondence with venues.

Want to know what to send on when your band is booked or read a suggested timeline for your band’s next booked gig? Head here.

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