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Getting A Gig in a Bar in Ontario

GUEST,Mathew 07 Feb 18 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,Kristoffer Ross 07 Feb 18 - 09:15 PM
meself 07 Feb 18 - 10:21 PM
GUEST,DrWord 08 Feb 18 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,henryp 10 Feb 18 - 05:59 AM
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Subject: Getting A Gig in a Bar in Ontario
From: GUEST,Mathew
Date: 07 Feb 18 - 06:43 PM

I have been performing at open mics for a while and have failed to move up to playing actual venues.

My playing is good and constantly getting better, my gear is good and my songs are good. I understand that I must always be aiming to improve, which I am, but I am wondering how to get to the next step.

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Subject: RE: Getting A Gig in a Bar in Ontario
From: GUEST,Kristoffer Ross
Date: 07 Feb 18 - 09:15 PM

Hi, Matthew! This is not really on topic, since you're asking about bar gigs, but may be another idea-
    With my balladeer group in rural NY, USA, I just went ahead and started contacting non-profits (not just concert halls, but also libraries, assisted livings &c), scheduling full-length free or pay-what-you will concerts. I handle all the promotion, and can usually turn out 40-60 people in our small towns (our village's population is about 1800). It's gotten our name out a lot better than doing open mics.
    This year, we're mostly doing suggested donations, splitting 50/50 with the venues, and selling our CDs.
    Church fundraisers are also a good connection- we were paid for doing the first half of a Veterans/Remembrance Day concert, followed by a large Barbershop chorus. This had the advantage of us hooking in with an existing group's following, and we got a lot of requests to return.*
    Again, not being familiar with Ontario I don't know what the situation is there.
    * At the Veterans Day event, We did a rather reflective, serious set, ending with Flanders Fields and The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, while the Barbershops did a sort of "the USA is the greatest country in the world, so God Bless it!" patriotic selection. A number of people mentioned that they appreciated the former view better...

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Subject: RE: Getting A Gig in a Bar in Ontario
From: meself
Date: 07 Feb 18 - 10:21 PM

Here's where the real fun starts .... Are there any bars in your area that hire singles? If so, go in and talk to the manager - tell them what you do. They may tell you to contact some agent who does their hiring. Or, if they do the hiring themselves, and if they're interested, they'll ask you to name a price. When you do that, the blood will drain from their face - or, the blood will rush into their face - your price will be far beyond what they pay. Etc. Be ready to direct them to your website, youtube vids, etc. Chances are, they will ask you if you have a 'following' - if you don't, have some kind of an answer ready.

I would start with some place that I've done the open-mike at ....

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Subject: RE: Getting A Gig in a Bar in Ontario
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 08 Feb 18 - 02:58 PM

Hey Mathew I think meself and Kristoffer covered the bases well. Lots of ideas and experience there. Here in sunny twenty below (zero Fahrenheit) Manitoba in a town 3x population Kristoffer refers to gigs are pretty severely constrained. Try the Legion ~ an indoor busk. Check with management about protocols. Assisted living facilities a good bet because the private ones DO have entertainment budgets although you might need to adjust repertoire. In a lot of Canadian bars you can do the Mr Bojangles thing - drinks and tips eh. I was most heartened by your self-assessment of constant musical growth. You do not mention whether you are in small town or city. Kristoffer gave a good down-low on rural scene. Meself nailed the fee issue and lotsa + feedback. You have come to the right place! Very best of luck to you.
keep on pickin

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Subject: RE: Getting A Gig in a Bar in Ontario
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 10 Feb 18 - 05:59 AM

My Uncle Peter moved from England to Toronto in the Fifties. He walked into a bar and said to the bartender; Landlord, a pint of your best bitter, please.

The barman replied; You're new here, aren't you? You've just broken five City Ordinances!

He moved on to Chatham, Ontario, where his drinking partner was Mr Fricker. the father of Sylvia Fricker. Whenever I hear Someday Soon, I'm reminded of him in the line; And when he comes to call, my Pa ain't got a good word to say.

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