Getting booked for a festival and playing in front of thousands of pumped-up fans is one of the big goals for most DJs and let’s be honest who wouldn’t want to spend their summer spinning tunes and rolling around in a sun-kissed field with hoards of vivacious revellers.
But like all things it isn’t an easy circuit to break into, especially when you are starting out, but there is a formula and path to success that we have mapped out below to help you on that journey.
Start with your research. Make sure you are even applying to the right festivals. There is no point pitching a drum and bass set to the village folk festival, get the very basics down and get them down in a spreadsheet. Find out the bookers name, email address, phone number, submission dates and locations.
There are so many reasons you should start small and local. You’ll have much easier access to the bookers, competition is far less aggressive, it is great practice and you will raise your profile. Don’t jump into a Glastonbury and instead look around your local neighbourhood where you can get some great exposure.
Your calling card is your online presence. Trust us when we say you will be judged 100% purely on how you look on the internet. Your application lives and dies on this factor alone. Having a decent watertight EPK (electronic press kit) is paramount – read our article for more on that here.
Ideally you should have a website. SoundJam is of course a DJ website builder that can give you a professional site in minutes. Click here to start your journey – you’ll be up and running in no time.
Things like having a great bio, banging images, high-quality video and a decent social following are fundamental. We can’t stress that enough but as previously mentioned we have nailed this to death in our EPK article so head here for more advice.
Not only should you have a decent website and EPK but your individual social channels should all tie in, be well looked after and have plenty of activity.
Unless you are mind-bendingly good the promotor is very unlikely to fly you out to the desert to play at Burning man (in fact most DJs play for free there anyway) but it would be very possible to play there under your own steam, but bear in mind what it is going to cost to get you there. This goes back to our first point, do your research and pick festivals that are within your reach – both in magnitude and on your wallet.
Keep it short and succinct, promoters and bookers are flat out during the booking period so keep your application tight and punchy. Too much waffle and you might be in the bin before being read. If you aren’t a wordsmith yourself find your friend that is or hook yourself with someone on Fiverr or similar sites.
Once you have applied you shouldn’t need to follow up on your application, you can check in if you have something valuable to add, but there is a very thin line between between being informative and being a pest so steer clear of crossing that line where possible.
As always getting yourself out there is the key to cracking the music business. Get to know everyone from other DJs, bookers, managers, promotors etc, expand your network until you drop. Also definitely don’t be a dick to anyone, come across as a pushy prick even to someone who seems insignificant to you and word will soon get around to steer clear.
Most of all good luck, you are undoubtedly going to need it. Thomas Jefferson springs to mind here “I’m a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more luck I have” Be prepared to graft.
The good news is SoundJam DJ website builder can help you cut many corners of this journey and get you to your goals much faster. You can have a professional website and EPK made in minutes instead of days. We have loads of custom templates for DJs and musicians and our builder uses a simple drag and drop interface. Check out our videos here or start your journey here and have your new site up and running in no time.
Need a hand? Just email firstname.lastname@example.org we can advise and help your build you site.
Main image Louis Futon crushing his set at the DoLab, Coachella, Palm Desert, United States. Image: Eric Ward