Everyone has been there before, the amazing opportunity to be the opening act for someone you love or idolize musically! This gives clout, and adds to the resume of artists you’ve had the pleasure of sharing a stage with! The benefits also include a chance to perform in front of not only THEIR, but sometimes YOUR ideal target fan base! I’ve seen time and time again as a show promoter or event coordinator, artists making some MAJOR mistakes when given such an opportunity so today I’ve decided to compile them into a list for you!
5 Mistakes Opening Acts Make
let’s get to it shall we?
Mistake #1: Before You Book yourself
As cool as it is to say you’ve opened up for someone you highly respect, make sure the crowd that’s there shares some type of common interest with what you’re doing with YOUR music! Sure most successful music festivals have a large array of genres, but this is to not limit their attendance to one type of crowd and maximize ticket sales. On a local show the crowd that came to see the HEADLINER is the crowd you need to impress. I’ve seen (I won’t say their name as to not discredit or shame another artist, this blog is supposed to be helpful and constructive) get booed off stage when opening for Brother Ali simply because the crowd was there for a certain type of music and experience and quite frankly, this artist DID NOT belong on the bill. Had they opened for someone more fitting to their music style they may have been much for successful and maybe even earned the crowd over! So just because you like an artist (my musical taste is a HUGE cornucopia of genres and styles myself) it does NOT mean that THEIR crowd cares about your artistry, not everyone is as cool as me when it comes to liking various types of music!
Mistake #2: Bad Social Media Promo
This may come to be thought of as “old school” by many but hear me out. Your constant posts on Facebook / Instagram may not be as effective as you perceive them to be. You need a more direct line of contact to invite all your friends to see you perform. First off, an e-mail, text or phone call not only feels very personal to the recipient, but it ENSURES that they know when you’re performing next! Many social media platforms display content based on algorithms and you might make a post every day for 3 weeks, but it doesn’t mean all your friends have seen these posts. You ever wonder why you have several hundred friends and you only see posts and content from a few dozen? Algorithms is the answer to the question and the answer to the problem is simple, it comes down to utilizing PAID ads, because let’s face it, that’s what social media wants you to be doing to make your content more visible. Before you explore this avenue however, spend a day and text, call or message your closest friends one by one, send a personal invite, it may be “old school” but it’s worked since day 1 as effective.
Mistake #3: The Crowd Won’t Remember Much Of You
That’s right I said it! Check the ego aside for a moment. You may put on a KILLER performance, but at the end of the night, you may not of been the only opening act. The crowd is there to have fun, possibly drinking as well, so shouting on stage before you exit to check you out online, or to add you on social media or find your Spotify playlist isn’t doing much. When they get home they might remember how awesome you were, but do they remember your name indefinitely? I’ve seen DOZENS of amazing opening acts and I always ask for a business card or contact to follow up on their career and 90% of the time the artist has none. You want to be remembered? Spend a little money pressing up something you can pass out; flyers, business cards, QR codes, something with YOUR name on it, that way those with morning hangovers don’t have to try to remember everything you shouted on stage before you got off.
Mistake #4: Don’t Turn Your Opportunity Into A Party
I’m not saying don’t have fun or not to have a drink. What I’m saying is showing up with 30 friends to kick it because you’re opening for someone big is pretty awesome, but don’t let that turn into you leaving when you’re off stage for the after party with your friends! Stay sober enough to talk to anyone who saw you perform and try to keep YOUR friends there as long as possible so the Headliner sees your local support and understands the work you’ve put in to ensure THEIR night was a success as well. If you leave with your friends before the Headliner performs, you are not only hurting your career, but you’re hurting the Headliners decision to come to your city again because they gauge the success of their tour date by the number of people in the crowd when THEY perform.
Mistake #5: The Entire Reason You Booked The Show
This is a blend of ideals in all 4 of the previous mistakes. Keep in mind you booked this show so you can further your career, gain more fans and ultimately reach a level to be on the same tier as the Headliner right? That being said, if you DO NOT attempt to stay sober enough to meet the Headliner, brag about how many you brought to come see you rock with them and attempt to obtain or exchange contact information then you have FAILED the entire reason you booked this show! Stay in touch with the artists you open for, they are already touring, THEY are the stepping stones to help YOU transition into being tour ready and you just may be able to add their fan base to yours in due time.
That about sums up the biggest mistakes I see on a regular basis! I hope you found this guide inspirational if not informative! Stay tuned for more tips and tricks from the blog!