Top 10 Gigging Mistakes You Shouldn’t be Making

Whether you’re new to playing live or you’re a gig veteran, you’re not immune to some of the common pitfalls of playing live. This post describes how to avoid some of the downsides of live engagements to make your shows better.

Of the biggest common mistakes musicians make in general, here are 10, along with ways to steer clear of them and hopefully improve them.


Believe in the worth of a CONTRACT. Cancellations are a pain, but they do happen. If you’re the band member, there’s not much you can do to prevent the cancellation nor is there an avenue of recourse if it’s not your fault and you don’t have a contract. But, if you have a contract. You can specify a cancellation period with the full final total payable to you in case of the event cancellation.


Now you don’t need to have expensive equipment, we all live with a budget — BUT — you. are. a. musician. If you don’t have fully functioning equipment suited to your role, then HIRE IT or borrow it, or FIX IT.

Seeing a bass player with a bad input jack crackle or a drummer who has to gaffer tape the cymbal stand together is frustrating for everyone involved.

Set a time each month to ‘test’ ALL of your equipment, spray / clean / tighten anything that needs it.


How many times have you waited for a band / soloist to tune or decide what song they are going to play next. To an audience, 20 seconds is a LIFETIME… a boring one!

Rehearsals are known to iron out mistakes, and to learn the songs. Not only is screwing up live to an audience awkward, but the crowd lose faith in the musicianship pretty quickly if it’s plain to see you are just winging it. So never risk your professionalism, throw yourself completely into rehearsals and ensure to never keep the audience waiting.


Just like playing in smaller venues, playing shorter sets is a good thing. It arouses people’s interest in your music and leaves them wanting more. Playing a lengthy set does the exact opposite. Time your songs at practice so you know exactly how long your set can be when playing live.


This is one thing all inexperienced bands have in common. Take an extra minute to perfect your sound and volume level. You should be able to hear what every other musician on stage is playing. This is why showing up early for soundcheck is crucial. It’s helps you focus on how your instrument blends in with the others on stage.


Promote, but Don’t Spam Your Fans.
Take the time to promote your gig on Facebook and Twitter, but don’t spam your followers. Be sure to tag the venue and/or in your post so that they’re aware you’re promoting too. It’s also a good idea to list the gig in the entertainment section in the online edition of your local newspaper and/or TV station websites. The listings are almost always free.


Firstly never complain to the audience, or ever bag out the city/venue/town where you are playing. That is the fastest way to shed fans and potential fans.

If you had a bad flight/tour route — talk about it on a ‘light and fluffy’ level — or find a way to turn it into a “Lucky I love this audience — see what I put my body through for you ;)” witty tongue-in-cheek remark.


You indeed give a tough time to the promoter by playing again, down the street, in the same city you played last week. It earns you a bad reputation and can potentially wear out your fan base.

Try to get a tour circuit started where you play in a nearby city every few weeks until you arrive back at your starting point. As you know is always there to help you.


Do you like money? yes? Then get merchandises! or at the very least an EP or something to sell. When you’re playing live, your tour merchandises sales are a big part of your bottom line.

This is where a lot of artists lose out. Most audiences are much more likely to purchase merch after a show!

Tell people you are selling merch!! Use lines like “Thanks for the support in my original music.” etc. Offer a free merch item at every show (usually a CD), but use the giveaway as an opportunity to plug the merch or get people to jump on your social media profile.


We’ve all seen those big touring bands to hang off the lighting fixtures and wreck stuff for the audience’s pleasure & thought — “wow I need to be a badass!” but what you don’t know is that said ‘rockstar band’ has communicated their performance style to the venue/audio engineers in advance, and have arranged to use their own mic leads & mic’s to swing around, and prior to the show, double-braced the lighting fixture specifically for the stunt!

Cool props or lighting, choreographed moves or stunts keep the crowd talking after your show — just make sure you communicate these ideas to anyone who might need to know.

All in all — big or small, you want to make each show really count. It’s easy to get disheartened at small quiet gigs, but you just never know who might be in the room. Seriously!!

Never feel like you are ENTITLED to anything, no matter how famous or great you are.

Happy gigging!!

Join & start gigging.

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