What is better than being an emerging artist? Being an emerging artist who has performed at music festivals!

The benefits of securing such an opportunity are endless. For example, from the bragging rights to the massive exposure, boost confidence, inspiration, new professional industry connections, the list goes on. 

You might already know this, which is why you’re looking to learn how to get on a music festivals program.

A spot on any music festival lineup is tough to bag for an up-and-coming artist. Still, it is not in any way impossible. 

Let’s dive into our best tips and strategies for making it happen.

  • Find the right contact and prepare to pitch. 

Since you are taking the proactive approach, it is safe to acknowledge that these opportunities rarely come searching for you out of the blue. Research on LinkedIn, websites, Instagram, and other channels for contact information of a festival’s key organizers. Be sure to prepare and include a press kit when you reach out. The press kit should carry your information and recent achievements as an artist.

  • Build a portfolio with some live performances. 

Before you grace the music festival stage, you must have performed live a few times. Having this background or experience is required for bookers, promoters, and other industry pros to assess your potential as an artist in a music festival. Not to mention it gives you a good idea of what performing on a music festival stage might be like. 

To secure a spot on a music festival program, invite these industry pros and bookers to your live shows. You should also record your performance on video for them.

  • Go for auditions 

This is yet another proactive step. Some music festivals host auditions or music competitions which you could use to gain exposure and contacts. Examples of such platforms good for launching your career and music festival goals include: 

  • Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition, the Unsigned Music Awards, and Open Mic in the UK
  • NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest and the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) in the US.

Most of these platforms offer direct routes to bigger stages and are accessible to independent artists.

  • Build your own stage. 

No doubt you’ve heard the saying before. When opportunity doesn’t come to you, you create your own opportunity and others will follow. It might sound far-fetched to say organize your own music festival, but never say never. Others have done it. Macki Music Festival, for example, is organized by the artist collectives Cracki Records and La Mamie’s.

Organizing your own festival will bring you the exposure and growth you want. And if you do it right, you won’t have to wait long to get invited to bigger music festival stages.

Some tips to go about organizing your music festival:

Use what you have – which includes your talent and experience as an artist, your network of fellow artists, and well-wishers.

Seek funding – Music festivals are expensive. There’s no need to try carrying the expenses alone or let this hold you back. Seek funding from sponsors and include benefits for them.