2018 Festival Application DJ Check List

The snow is on the ground (depending on where you live) and the last thing a lot of us even want to think about is leaving the house. Well I’ve got good news for those of you that are DJs and Producers. This is the perfect time to utilize my free festival check list for the 2018 festivals (Download Link Here.)

1. Latest DJ Mix

 latest dj mix

If you haven’t recorded one in the last 6 months or you simply don’t feel it’s a good example of what you would be playing at the upcoming festival, it’s time to update yours!

2. An up to date biography

 limiting your time

Make sure your biography lets the promoters know exactly what you’ve been up to, your accomplishments over the years and how you kept busy during the summer months, maybe an upcoming winter residency and previous music releases.

3. Get your social media up to date and or signed up

 The Power of accountability

Insure you are easy to find on social media, have your links updated and your profiles looking good. But “Why?” You ask? If you gain the booking, you’ll want somewhere to share the news. This will also showcase how active you are online as well! Are you engaging with your friends? Are you supporting other artists and promoters?

4. Have your up to date press-photos and logos ready to go!

 pexels-photo-219587

Making the promotional process easier for the promoter is always a bonus. If your press-photos are ready to go it’s an easy way for the marketing team to showcase YOU on their press releases for the event.

5. Check list of festivals to apply for

 Is their business practice of value?

Maybe you’ve apply for a festival already but in all the madness of applying, you’ve forgotten which one. Event planners are already bombarded by an intense amount of artist and volunteer applications. Make sure you’re only sending out one application per event. This is also how you can keep track of which applications are due, when. Some festivals have already closed the window for applying. So make sure you don’t miss out on anymore!

Bonus tips:

 live dj producer speakers music

What sets you apart?
Think about that ‘it’ factor. How are you different from other artists? Are you a producer that can also offer a workshop at the festival? Maybe you’ve recently joined a great label or audio company that could also become a sponsor or co-producer running one of the festival stages. Think inside the box, then think outside. What are people not ALREADY offering.

Selectively follow, support and engage!
If you apply for everything it may seem like your chances of playing goes up, but when you select the festivals that you feel most suit your style and you really believe in what they are doing, you can take time to really follow, support and engage with their pages. Festivals are a space where we are trying to build up our community and support the acts and vendors that are trying to create these spaces. Let’s not just apply but show what that community looks like.

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How to land DJ gigs during festival season

There are two mains ways to go about getting gigs during festival season.

Photo by Whiting Photography - DJ Kilma

Photo by Whiting Photography – DJ Kilma (Bomb Squad Entertainment)

1. Pay your way out, work for free at the festival and get that crappy time slot you’ve always dreamed of…
or
2. Prepare your press-packs, up your social media game and show promoters why you’re the kind of artist they’d want to book.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that there is some sort of big secret to getting a DJ gig, But getting the right DJ gig, with a quality time slot and pay is something that takes true finesse and practice. No, you don’t have to sell your soul but you will need an open mind, to work hard, be consistent, have a positive attitude and know what you’re worth.

Photo by Whiting Photography  - DJ Kovas & GDubz

Photo by Whiting Photography – DJ Kovas & GDubz (Dimensional Rift)

Set yourself apart
If you’re still struggling to define your brand, it may be time to go back to the drawing board. Take a look at yourself, your brand and what you want it to SAY about you and the experience you bring.

Give your brand a face lift
No I’m not talking plastic surgery. I’m talking websites, social media pages and even a new photo shoot. Artists that are consistent in the work they put into their brand tend to be the ones consider for the job. If you haven’t made a mix in 6 plus months, get on that!

Photo by Whiting Photography  - The Jeeves

Photo by Whiting Photography – The Jeeves (Dimensional Rift)

Know your self-worth
Most artists will tell you about how they are “doing it for the music” and that they don’t really care if they get paid. For someone looking to con you, you’re an easy target. For a professional they are hearing, “I don’t value what I do.”

Create a fan base with their crowd
When an artist has fans in other cities, you bet they are chatting you up to local promoters and festival goers. Fans that are engaging and interested in what you are doing are the best types of fans. So take the time to get to know people, find out what they enjoy and bring some new music to their ears so they too can share with the masses.

Photo by Whiting Photography - Andy B (Dimensional Rift)

Photo by Whiting Photography – Andy B (Dimensional Rift)

Press-Kit
Your press-pack is your dj resume. It will include your links, bio, press-release, press-photos, logos and music. There are a few ways you can go about presenting a press-kit which I elaborated on in this article.

Reach out to online magazines and blogs
This is where it gets tricky. You want online magazines that are legit but you also need to have an edge they are willing to feature or interview. Maybe you are a dj and producer with some new great tracks. Maybe you’ve landed some dj gigs in the surrounding areas and want to get the word out with an interview. This is where your press-kit and people skills will come into play.

Photo by Whiting Photography  - Artist Pumpkin (Shambhala)

Photo by Whiting Photography – Artist Pumpkin (Shambhala)

Landing the gig – Choosing your approach

1.
Some festivals have a specific routine they require in order for someone to be considering for bookings. It may be stated on their website or posted on a Facebook page. This is one approach you can use. However please CAREFULLY READ and note any stipulations. Often these are unpaid time slots with the promise of a couple free tickets and if you’re lucky your gas may be paid for. If you are okay with this, by all means you should do it. However if you’re looking to get those really great time slots this is where your negotiating skills will come in handy. Set some simple requirements to ensure your needs are met. (Read more here on how to not get screwed.) And if EVER you choose to do a gig for free in thoughts that it is “great exposure” actually network while you are there. Hand out business cards, talk to people, give out promotional cds and stickers.

2.
Your challenge if you choose to accept it is to take things one step further. There are a lot of different ways people get into contact with festival organizers but you want to make sure that you are authentic, not spammy. Do your research, converse with these people, show your support. Don’t wait until festival season to share your work or strike up a conversation. And don’t always make it about music. Landing an awesome quality gig is far better than playing 16 crappy ones. Like the fantastic music you play, choose quality gigs over quantity of gigs.

Recap
Landing quality gigs is no small task but I know that YOU are dedicated, ready for the challenge and going to do what it takes.  The reason you will get the gigs you deserve is because YOU are putting in the work and you’re doing it the right way. Or at least the way that gains you the recognition  you deserve. Good luck my DJ friends!

Were these tips helpful? Do you have a success story? What are your tips and tricks for landing great DJ gigs? (Tell us in the comments.)

Electronic Music Festivals in Canada
Elysium (Ness Creak, SK)
Astral Harvest (Driftpile, AB)
Dimensional Rift ( St. Laurent, MB)
Awakening (Chetwynd, BC)
Motion Notion (Golden, BC)
Future Forrest (Keswick, NB)
Connect (Besant Campground, SK)
Basscoast (Merrit, BC)
Shambhala (Salmo River Ranch, BC)
Wanderlust Tremblant (ON)
Phantasm Festival (Young, SK)

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