How To Put On A Gig: with Get In Her Ears Live
Get In Her Ears is a radio show close to our hearts. Since we started listening over a year ago, presenters Tash, Mari and Kate — who use their platform to promote and support women in music — have introduced us to countless new artists, some of whom we've ended up profiling in these very web pages! Their choices are always inspired, and their passion for music is infectious.
To spread the love even further, they also put on a monthly Get In Her Ears LIve gig at The Finsbury in Manor House. Through their live shows, the team gives a platform to four new artists per month who they think are worth . We spoke to Mari, the reigning GIHE Live queen, to ask how she does what she does.
When and where did you put on your first gig, and how did it go?
Our first gig night was at The Finsbury pub in Manor House for their #Blogtober event in October 2016. The haunting alt-rock of now Berlin-based HAWK headlined, with support from Chorusgirl, Superglu and Dream Nails. It went really well with a great turn out, and stirred up a feeling in me that organising gigs was my favourite thing to do - I just wanted to do more of it! So, I was over the moon when The Finsbury then asked me to curate a regular monthly night there from January 2017.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
Just how fun and rewarding it was going to be - I wish I’d started doing it years ago! Music’s always been my biggest love, and I’ve been going to gigs for the last twenty years, so being able to put on these nights, and see bands and fans enjoying themselves at our events, just makes me feel all fuzzy inside.
How do you go about curating your line-ups?
The line-ups tend to be a combination of bands I approach who I’m already a fan of as we’ve featured them on our website/radio show previously, and bands who have got in touch with me specifically requesting to play one of our nights (who I then become a fan of!). Fellow GIHE gals Tash and Kate also give top recommendations about who should play too, of course.
Generally, I don’t like to be restricted by genre when curating line-ups, though sometimes venues prefer it if you keep the acts on one night in-keeping with each other. But for us, the priority is just awesome music by people who support our ethos, and ensuring that women are represented as much as possible.
I’ve been really lucky to have had so many fantastic bands and artists up for playing for us and supporting the cause of promoting women in music. We’re now pretty much booked up until August at The Finsbury, and are going to be hosting our first night at The Windmill in Brixton in May, treating those south of the river to an immense line up too!
What do you want / need from a venue?
My biggest concern is that the bands who play for us get the best deal possible and are paid fairly for the hard work and time they put into delivering such amazing performances. Over the last couple of years, I’ve come across so many venues not giving bands a fair deal - in some cases even charging them to play, or only paying them if a certain number of people attend the gig. I couldn’t ever host a gig at such a venue, so I feel extremely lucky that The Finsbury provide such a good deal for bands and promoters, and gigs are normally free entry which encourages as many people to come as possible. It’s also a great space, and the sound is fantastic which helps!
When marketing on a shoestring, what are the priorities?
As Get In Her Ears is currently a complete labour of love, I’d say the priority is just to do as much self-promotion as possible. Spread the word about what you’re doing and network at every opportunity.
With regards to organising gigs, I feel that it’s massively important to promote them as much as possible. I try to get the Facebook event page set up at the earliest opportunity and give myself a month to actively promote each gig. My partner, Paul Dawes, is a wonderful graphic designer and illustrator, so that comes in very handy - he makes the posters for all the gigs, which I then clog up everyone’s social media with at every given opportunity in the run-up to each event!
Do... it for the love of the music and artists you’re promoting. Support the bands and try to cater to their needs as much as possible - they’re the stars of the show! Also, support each other and other promoters who are trying to do the same thing as you; over the time I’ve been organising gigs, I’ve been overwhelmed by the support from the community of other promoters focused on women in music - shout out to organisations like Loud Women, Who Run The World and We Can Do It Promotions! It’s not a competition, you’re all in this together, and it’s just really wonderful to be part of such a fantastic and ever-growing community of people aiming to change the still-male-dominated music industry.
Don’t… waste your time and energy on venues/people who are going to take advantage of you or the bands and cause more stress than it’s worth. We’re doing this out of love, so it should be fun and rewarding. Yes, it’s hard work, but that hard work is all worth it on the night if you’re watching your favourite bands in a supportive and safe place!
The next Get In Her Ears Live show with Dream Nails, The Franklys, Madame So, and Gold Baby is on Friday 13th April. Find out more here.