First Timer's Guide to Applying to Play Festivals

As festival season approaches, some events do open calls for artist submissions. Here at Bass Coast Festival, applications for DJs and Producers for our 2020 event are open on December 1. Applying to play a festival can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if it's your first time. That's why we've put together this First Timer's Guide to Applying to Play Festivals. We hope you find it useful as you put together applications for this year's festivals and events. 

1 - Watch vigilantly for applications and information. If festivals take submissions, they will at some point put that information up on their website and social media channels. 

2 - Research. Look into the previous line-up of the festival. Listen to artists who have played in previous years. Apply to the festivals that best suit your style of music.

3 - Fill out applications thoroughly. You get one opportunity to make a first impression. Look over your application before submitting and make sure it's easy to read and provides the festival with enough information. Double check that links are active and the correct files are attached. 

4 - Lead with your best material. We'll be processing hundreds of applications. It's impossible to listen to multiple tracks and mixes from each artist. If the application asks for one track, provide one track. If you put together a mix, make it short and impactful. 

5 - Use each application as an opportunity to hone your skills. Applying to play a festival takes a lot of guts. Look at each application as an opportunity to improve the way you communicate about your art.  Try again.

6 - Respect the festival’s time. Festival organizers are constantly bombarded with emails and direct messages from artists. Your application will be in better standing if you're patient and follow the instructions in the application. At Bass Coast, we ask that applicants do not email or message individuals within the organisation to follow up. Festival applications should clearly state when and if you should expect to hear back regarding your application.  

7 - If you don't get selected to play, don't take it personally. There are many factors that go into curation. When we review submissions we ask questions like:

-Does the artist create original music or have an exceptional DJ skill?

-Is the style appropriate for the time of day/night?

-Does the music style fit with the other artists programmed on the stage?

-Does the artist have proven experience performing?

-Has the artist performed at Bass Coast recently?

8 - It’s all about the music. Working or volunteering for festivals is an excellent opportunity to meet people within the organization and make new friends. However, your involvement does not guarantee you a spot on next year's lineup. 

When it comes to landing a slot at your favourite festival, our friend Willis, from SHAHdjs, has this advice:

“Be active in your community. Constantly involved. Release mixes. Produce tunes. Maintain a following. Put on shows. Work at shows. Promote shows. Push the scene. Go to things. Encourage others. Be as big a part of the big picture as possible. Constantly. For a while. And love it.”

Keep making music and good luck. 

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