How to Participate in Music Festivals: Long-Term Guide for Artists in 2024

This year is a promising leap for those who want to get a new start with amazing live performances. Many local and international festivals are looking forward to receiving submissions from artists. Although this procedure is mostly free of charge, you should be ready to cover any fees if needed. The best tactic to succeed in filling your schedule with top-notch shows is to conduct your research thoroughly.

With modern promotional tools like, you will be able to kill two birds with one stone — work on your real-time interaction with audiences and establish the marketing strategy on Spotify, YouTube Music, and other channels to bring you great results when you are on stage.That’s what we’ll be talking about in this guide.

How to Be Listed as a Participant at a Music Festival


Let’s roll straight into the guidelines that will help you navigate through the market and get the most out of different festivals and concert opportunities:

  1. Narrow down the palette of options — do your research to see what festivals are more likely to have you there as a rapper, an indie artist, or a DJ with a personal selection of electronica, rave, techno, and other tracks.
  2. Choose a few festivals — since the chance you will be selected as one of the artists at the upcoming event varies from show to show, you will play it safe by uploading a few submissions. Please try to work on their schedule as well so that not face overlapping events as a result.
  3. Data coordination — not to let things go wrong, ensure you have all the important details about each festival you want to visit as an artist saved and stored. To make your research trackable and success measurable, create a list of events with brief facts about them. It can include information about its name, date, location, programmer, website, submission deadline, your application’s status, and so on.
  4. Prepare your press kit — working on your digital reputation is crucial. That’s when creating your website or YouTube channel will be worth the effort to explicitly tell about your gig story, interviews, awards, etc. High-quality videos, photos, and track releases will become your best friends.
  5. Work on every festival application separately — since terms and conditions for such events will always be unique, the best decision is to follow the guidelines the directors behind the scenes offer. Don’t hesitate to prepare your digital press kit in advance to streamline the process. It should also include the links to your social media.
  6. Complete your application — once ready, wait for the results. If the company organizing the event states there is no need to contact them to check the outcome, let it be. This way, you’ll minimize the probability of being blacklisted. Follow up when you get excellent news.

Create an Engaging Live Performance

Securing festival slots is just the beginning; the true challenge lies in captivating the audience with a live performance that resonates. To stand out, artists must focus on creating an unforgettable experience that cements their place in the hearts of festival-goers. Enhancing stage presence is vital—this includes not just how you move and interact with the band but also how you connect with the audience. Engaging directly with fans, whether through eye contact, sing-alongs, or sharing stories behind the songs, adds a personal touch that makes performances memorable. Perfecting live renditions of songs ensures a seamless musical experience, while surprise elements or unique arrangements can give fans a one-of-a-kind experience they’ll want to relive and share.

Utilize Social Media Marketing


The power of social media in promoting festival appearances cannot be overstated. Beyond simply listing social media links in digital press kits, artists should actively use platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to build anticipation, engage with fans, and share exclusive content. Countdowns to the festival, live Q&A sessions, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of preparations can create a buzz and strengthen the connection with the audience. Targeted advertising and collaborations with influencers or other artists can expand reach, attracting new followers and increasing engagement. Effective social media strategies make fans feel like part of the journey, increasing their investment in the artist’s success.

Prepare for Logistics and Travel

The logistical aspect of participating in festivals—covering travel, accommodation, and equipment transport—requires meticulous planning. Early arrangements for travel and accommodations can prevent last-minute hurdles and ensure comfort. Coordination with festival organizers is essential for a smooth setup and performance, addressing technical requirements and rehearsal schedules. A checklist for equipment, alongside backup plans for potential issues, ensures that artists can focus on their performance without worrying about logistical challenges. This preparation is critical in creating a stress-free environment that enables artists to deliver their best on stage.

Engage with the Local Community


Interaction with the local community offers a unique opportunity to extend an artist’s reach beyond the festival grounds. Collaborations with local businesses, such as exclusive merchandise or themed events, can generate mutual benefits. Organizing meet-and-greets, pop-up shows, or participating in local cultural events can endear artists to the local community, fostering a supportive base. These engagements not only enhance visibility but also contribute to a positive festival experience for both the artist and the community, laying the groundwork for lasting relationships and future opportunities.

Evaluate and Learn from Each Experience

Reflection and feedback are crucial after each festival appearance. Gathering insights from fans, peers, and organizers can highlight strengths and areas for improvement. Analyzing aspects such as audience engagement, setlist effectiveness, and logistical execution provides valuable lessons for future performances. This evaluation process should be seen as a constructive step towards growth, enabling artists to refine their craft, improve their live shows, and strategize more effectively for future engagements. Embracing continuous learning keeps artists evolving, ensuring they remain relevant and competitive in the ever-changing festival landscape.

Can I Get Extra Funding for My Performances?


The long and short answer is yes. Although a lot depends on your particular case, obtaining an invitation to perform at an international or local showcase means you can become an eligible candidate to get your spending covered. For instance, one of the organizations to rely on is the International Showcase Fund from the PRS Foundation. If your submission is accepted, you can expect to get £5,500. In the USA, you can obtain a grant for your musical experiments and admission-free shows from the Music Performance Trust Fund.

At the end of the day, you should always be tracking the news about upcoming events to be aware of all the opportunities to boost your career. Try to diversify your selection by both local and international events — the earlier you start your research, the better.