With Coachella 2016 going down the last 2 weekends, it brings up a good question: "How can I play Coachella?"
Often considered the most prestigious US music festival, along with Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, to play Coachella is major validation and one of the best ways to break through to a huge audience, with crowd festivals of 100,000 and global live-streaming of the sets.
With so many singers and bands out there, it can seem almost impossible to break through to get noticed for a big festival. And yet, Coachella books many relatively unknown acts--some with only 1 album out or just 1000 Likes on Facebook. So how do they do it?
It's not as hard or as mysterious to play a major festival as it might seem. Don't get me wrong--it definitely requires hard work, commitment to your vision, and just as importantly, a strategy.
Ok, so how do you book Coachella?
First things first, every artist needs an EPK (electronic press kit) to be taken seriously. An EPK contains your branded professional photos, recordings, live performance videos, artist bio, and any press coverage.
Here at I Heart My Voice, our Your Wow Factor artist development program can help you assemble your own industry-standard EPK! Whether it's recording in a state-of-the-art studio with a pro producer or starring in your own live music video--we got you covered!
Also, after you create your EPK and press kit, we refer you to 3rd-party companies that will expose you to countless playing opportunities, as well as licensing, contests, airplay and other exposure such as applying to SXSW--one of the other most recognized festivals for up-and-coming artists.
Once you have your EPK, you need to work up to Coachella by playing smaller festivals. Your best bets are local festivals and non-profit festivals. Playing multiple smaller festivals will build your resume and fanbase, while proving you can perform for crowds--all a must to be considered for larger festivals. Make sure to hire a videographer to get pro video of your performances to add to your EPK as proof of what you can do! JamBase's Festival Guide is a great resource that helps you discover upcoming events in your area.
Armed with festival experience and an EPK, you can legitimately have a shot at getting into Coachella--but you can't do it on your own. To book the major festivals, the truth is you need to hire a booking agency.
A booking agency already has connections with the festival organizers, and serves as a pre-screened approval for the artists they try to book. The Windish Agency books dozens of artists for Coachella every year, including 35 this year.
The good news is that you should never have to pay an upfront fee for a booking agency--they should only get paid if you do, with booking fees ranging from 10-20% of the gig revenue. Remember, booking agencies are there to work for you. They should sincerely believe in your artistry. You should also have a 'honeymoon' period where you can cancel without penalty if you aren't getting booked.
By no means is this all you have to do to book Coachella, but you do need to do these 3 things (make your EPK, play local small festivals, sign up with a booking agency), and it's a great outline to get you from where you are right now at this exact moment to rocking the mic on stage at Coachella 2017!
There's nothing to stop you from playing Coachella or any other major festival. With a plan, along with commitment and passion, I know you can achieve that anything your heart desires!
So what else do you need to do to get your 2016 on full-swing?
Check out my 16 Tips To Fast-Track Your Singing Career In 2016!