We are in the golden age for music festivals. Whether your taste drives a niche style or a more chart-influencing style, chances are there’s a multi-day event programmed to tickle your sonic fancy. But a well-arranged festival lineup doesn’t happen by accident. In fact, music promotion companies such as Super flying Spent years building (and then honoring) a brand with annual festivals like Bonnaroo and Outside Lands.
Booking artists to fill the festival lineup is like combining a lot of complex puzzles: topics ranging from fan feedback on the social-media page to the artist’s availability to the feeling of the event. “Every festival has a different brand, a different perspective,” said Chris Sampson, executive vice president of programming Superfly. “And you have to understand and know those audiences [festivals] That’s exactly what they did. “
As might be expected, Superfly plans well in advance to bring down high-profile artists for its events. Sampson says, for example U2The headline look of the 2017 Bonnaroo 2017 was discussed when the company started working in 2010. “The goal is to sell tickets,” he says. “And so you have to pay attention outside the gate, who are the artists who will help you sell the most tickets? It starts there. And then you build the lineup from there. A lot of decisions that you decide to fill the rest of the lineup. [based on] Who is your headliner, and the artists under that headliner. “
In general, it’s not uncommon for a superfly to start booking a festival a year in advance. “As music festivals spread around the world, there are more opportunities for artists and so it’s much more competitive,” Sampson said. “So you really have to start playing your pieces rather later.” Up-and-acting booking is a lead-lead-time process that also takes into account issues such as touring and album-release cycles – and there are some more risks involved, adds Emily Rohel, Superfly’s programming manager. “We try to see who’s rumoring, whose music we believe in, and move on,” he said.
How to find superfly artists
It is important to identify artists who fit in with the special atmosphere of the festival. Bonnaroo’s vibe is community-oriented and eclectic, and Sampson draws “trusted friends and sources and colleagues” for music recommendations, and keeps ears on the ground for humming. “You have a friend on a record label who sent you a note and said,‘ Hey, you really have to check out this artist, ’and you do it and you like it,” he says. “And you pass it on to some other person in the office, and they all like it. Then you start seeing a blog writing about it, and you can get a feeling, ‘OK, I really like their word.’ “
Members of the individual groups of Superfly are also attracted to various musical specialties, including country, hip-hop, dance music and indie-rock, and share their favorite parts internally, which also helps to introduce new artists to the mix. “I always say that’s not it [our] It is our job to be experts in everything – but it is our job to talk to experts and listen to experts, to get feedback from as many people as possible, “Sampson said.
Like other passionate music fans, he and Rohel rely on streaming to discover music. “We’re paying close attention to what’s happening in the streaming world right now,” Rohel said. Sampson, for example, booked the Austin-based Soul-Rock Act Black Pumas, Who recently signed on to ATO Records, after listening to a song of his choice on a playlist for the inaugural edition of Grandvi in Denver.
But wherever possible, Rohel says he and other superfly employees also see a buzz-band at the concert. “We try to divide and conquer the team and try to get people out of there so that we have personal experience and see how the band actually goes live.”
How to position yourself
It takes a gram to launch a band’s career. “It’s really important for artists to have a really good team around them,” Rohel insisted. “We’re creating a lot of artists all the time, and the relationships we have with managers, agents or bands really go a long way.”
In addition to that same line, artists should also ensure that their team is representing them in a positive, professional way during business matters. “If I like working with that person, if they do a really good job of representing their artists, I want to work with them as much as possible.”
Artists who still don’t have a noticeable streaming presence, don’t have a busy travel schedule, or need to lag behind in team festival play. Indeed, Rohel said musicians should not be afraid to reach out to bookers and promoters, introduce themselves with a detailed and organized submission, and keep an open mind for other opportunities that may cross their path.
“We have brand work outside of festival programming, and there may be things that aren’t traditional music performances,” he said. “And if an artist is open to doing something like that, [and] We work with them and we have a great experience [when] We are watching them live, we are eager to work with them on the road and support their careers as much as possible. “
Slow and steady growth is another quality emphasized by Sampson, who noted that artists have the ability to create a local audience before jumping to the national level, and should not make a name for themselves regionally. “I would tell that artist, wherever he is, to be the best artist they can be in that city and to make the most of that city as much as they can,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then.
At the end of the day, the bands focus on creating a stable foundation on all fronts – and can set themselves up for success without putting all their eggs in one basket. “I always tell young artists that festivals can certainly be an amazing platform,” Sampson said, “but it’s a part of the whole pie, and they should focus on building the best live shows, writing the best songs possible, and really building relationships with their fans. Focus, that connection. “He adds,” If you focus on all of this, and then you start playing festival, it will really add up for you – and I think festival offers will start to come. “
– Annie Jalesky