A couple of weeks ago the South by Southwest music festival was in town. Everywhere you went there were bands performing. Rap groups, country bands, bluegrass, rock, it was all here.
To get to play at this event is a big deal for most bands. It’s an opportunity to make some new fans and win some new friends. It’s a chance to build your audience.
But what if you don’t get invited? What if your growing band is left on the outside watching other up and coming groups explode through this opportunity?
Maybe it’s just not your time. After all, next year South by Southwest will be back, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be among the performers.
Wouldn’t that be awesome?
But there’s something else you can do.
So what if you didn’t get an official gig. Who cares if your fans paid $100 for a coveted wristband to watch you play?
A bouncer at the door and your name on a marque are not prerequisites for success are they?
Just down the street from my office a band set up shop in an intersection. No stage. No lights. No electricity. Just music (and pretty dang good music too!).
As they played a crowd would gather in the intersection and listen. People took pictures and videos. No one seemed to notice the barricades in behind them. No one minded they had to get close to hear the show.
A block to the west a group of 15 or so performers were making a single gigantic picture out of chalk. As crowds walked back and forth across their art, they continued to draw, and draw, and draw.
What took shape was one of the most exciting invitations I’ve ever seen! It was massive!
And do you know where they performed? Right there in the middle of the street – on their invitation.
No one invited these groups to South by Southwest, but they’re not letting that stop them.
Dave Grohl gets it
In 1994 Dave Grohl walked into a studio, alone. A week later he walked out with an album. He played every note of every instrument. He sang every lyric.
He labeled the tape “The Foo Fighters” and passed it around to some friends. And do you know what happened next?
It grew. And grew. And grew. It became massively successful.
Recently The Foo Fighters played two consecutive nights to a sold out Wembley Stadium (capacity: 80,000).
Who says you need a band to have a successful record? Who says you need a stage to perform?
For most of us, there is something deep inside us we desperately want to be invited to do. And for most of us, it will never happen.
And there’s two things you can do.
2. Play anyway
Have you ever waited around for your invitation?