Cultivating good relationships with venue owners and the bookers who manage their calendars makes for smooth and easy scheduling, whether it's your first time playing there or your tenth. It should go without saying that being courteous and professional is rule number one when dealing with any involved parties, of course. But it's not just during the booking process that you should be mindful. We've broken it down to three basic points of contact – before, during, and after the show – to help guarantee you're considering the business relationship throughout the entire process. A lot of this may seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised by how many bands burn bridges with venues by not following these basic guidelines. If the booker grows fond of your band, he or she might begin to consider you for bigger and better opportunities.
Before the show
Once you've confirmed the gig, be sure to send agreed-upon promotional materials as quickly as possible. That could mean posters, flyers, a link to a Facebook event, or other items – it all depends on what you've discussed with whoever is in charge of booking. No matter the details, the venue will appreciate a band that's organized about hyping the show. If the bookers end up having to hound you for promo material, they'll likely remember it. And that's not a good thing.
At the venue
First of all, be punctual. You've probably worked out a time for soundcheck; be sure to show up on time and bring whatever equipment you need that's not already provided. It's natural (and important) for a band to seek out the sound engineer immediately upon arriving at the club, but don't forget to find the venue owner and booker, too. Extending your thanks for the opportunity not only shows gratitude but also gives them the chance to let you know if there's anything you could have done differently. You also should try to chat with all involved parties after your set. Again, this is a moment of dual purpose: find out if they liked the show, but try to gauge their feelings about the deal in general. Did they like the set? Were they happy with the promo effort? The turnout? Is there anything you should know for next time?
Within a week of having played your show, you should always email the person you originally booked with to say thanks again. Even if you're not ready to book again just yet, let them know you're interested in coming back if they'll have you. A short and sweet thank-you note will go a long way in solidifying that relationship!
Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.