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Promoting your Folk Gigs

By Jacey Bedford

JaceyThis is aimed mainly at venues, but if you're a performer much of it applies. Please also check out the piece on the joint responsibility for promoting a gig. What the artist can do and what the venue can do.

Folk clubs usually know how to tap into a folk audience because they are already aware of the infrastructure and networks that exist. If you are an arts centre or theatre putting on folk gigs you may wonder why your advertising is not as effective as it could be. Where are the folk audiences that your artist normally plays to?

The short answer is that they may not even know about the gig because you've missed putting an ad into the one magazine they read. Folk magazines are often under the radar of the non-folk world but they have the highest success rate per capita of readers and the biggest bang for the buck amongst your target audience.

National Folk (and related) Magazines

Local Folk Magazines

Is there a local folk magazine in your area. Yes. There are local folk magazines that cover every area of the UK. Sometimes there are just info sheets, but they are read by your potential audience and they are cheap to advertise in, (from five pounds upwards).

What you need to remember is that they are run by enthusiasts. They are usually quarterly and the lead time is up to two months. So you need to allow at least five months lead time. If you want to advertise a May gig, you may have a press deadline of January 20th.

How to find out about them? Look here.

Folk Radio

There are a number of local radio programmes that will be pleased to hear from you if you are putting on folk gigs. Many of them read out a diary of folk events for the coming week and if you can arrange to get a CD to them, they'll play a track of your upcoming artist. Unlike folk magazines, mot all areas of the country are covered, but many are. Find out about them here.

Folk Web

The British folk scene has its own usenet newsgroup: uk.music.folk
To advertise your upcoming gig post to the group and pefix your heading with 'ANNOUNCE'. You will need a news server to do this or you can access it via google groups if you have to, but it's not ideal.

You can also announce upcoming gigs on forums like the one at Mudcat Cafe

And there are several diary sites for the UK that folkies watch. These have free advertising in their listings column.

http://www.folkandroots.co. uk

Other Internet Resources

Regional Magazines Online

Social Media

As I write Facebook is probably the most important, but Twitter is up and coming and there's Tumblr and Reddit, Bandcamp and Soundcloud and any number of other avenues to explore. Most people agree that MySpace is dead but we're talking about the internet so by the time I hit send and you read this there might be a new phenomenon rising above the lot. Don't forget youtube - you can embed youtube videos in your web page or even have your own channel.

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