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Starting Out Playing Live

Playing your first gigs

On this page you will find information about:

  • First gigs
  • Sound engineers
  • Transport

Your first gigs

If you find your band at the bottom of the bill with no sound check, this is just part of the journey. Use these early days’ experiences as time to get 'gig-fit'. Preparation for your gigs should always include some necessary administrative basics. Establish how much you are going to be paid, together with how and when you will receive the money. See Fees and Payment for more advice.

Kelly Wood, Live Performance Official

Your first gigs should be low-key. They should allow you to try out various songs, sets and running orders, to perfect your performance and settle on a basic stage set that you feel comfortable with and that will maintain an audience’s attention.

Use these early days’ experiences as time to get ‘gig-fit’. Try to establish relationships with the other bands – it’s possible you will be bumping into each other again on the circuit.

The most important consideration on accepting any engagement is: will you be able to get a good crowd in? If you have any doubts as to whether your fans will come and see you on a particular night, at a certain venue, then you should decide whether or not to do the gig.

It pays to concentrate on one city, big town, or area for your gigging.

Sound engineers

Touring with a sound engineer who knows your sound and your set is a good idea. Consider carefully whether your sound engineer is to be a partner in the band and if the desk and PA are his or hers. Do they have adequate PLI and equipment insurance?


Be aware when you hire a van or minibus for gigs and tours that your insurance is
adequate for such work. Plus, if you are paying a driver, ensure they are named
on the relevant insurance document at the point of hiring.