Booking Performances is a very daunting task, but one that is probably easier than many people think. It is important to know that the most important part of booking a performance is finding spaces and knowing who to call.
The first step in booking a performance is finding out what venues are in your area. Make sure when you are researching that you look up dimensions of the stage to make sure it is big enough, that you make sure they can supply and piano or any other instrument that you are unable to bring (if they don’t say on their website then call and ask!) and that you know how many audience members it seats.
Once you have a decent sized list of venues that you are interested in, give them each a call during their hours, and ask a set list of questions that you come up with in advance. It’s important to sound as professional as possible when you are speaking with them, and having a list of questions in advance can really help with that. Some suggested questions from Beyond Talent:
Can you tell me who handles the booking of artists? And what is his/her title? When and how could I reach him/her?
Do you offer family concerts or educational workshops?
Does your series book emerging local artists?
Hopefully, at least one venue answers yes to all of your questions, and the next step is to call the person in charge! Just in case the first person you spoke to was in fact the person in charge, you should prepare an elevator pitch about your performance. No matter what the performance is, who is participating in it, etc, you should be able to give a 30 second summary of who you are and what you do, and what your performance is all about. Practice saying it a few times and maybe even record it and listen back to see what you think. If you aren’t interested by your own pitch, don’t expect others to be!
The last step, assuming they are then interested in having you perform, is negotiating a fee and signing a contact. During both parts of this process, do not be afraid to be upfront with you expectations as long as you are not overly demanding. For a small/non-professional venue such as a community center, less than $1,000 should be expected, but for larger venues, soloists can be paid up to $3,000. Come up with a “usual fee” that at least covers all of the costs that you will be paying for to make this recital possible, and suggest that to the venue. If they are not willing to offer that much, then be clear that you are willing to be flexible, but unless you are sure you can afford it, do not offer to perform for less than you are spending!
In terms of a contract, simply make sure to read it carefully before you accept! If they do not send you a contract or do not mention it, bring it up to them, or simply send your own contract! It is important that you have an official agreement with them so that both of you are on the same page about the performance.
Best of luck, and please don’t be afraid to ask questions below!