+ Dj CUTMAN’S GUIDE TO BUSKING AT A CONVENTION +
I wrote this handy guide for musicians looking to play at a convention, but aren’t officially booked. Most cons will let you bring your own speakers/amp to play in the hallways around the convention venue as long as you don’t disrupt operations. Here are some tips I’ve compiled to help you on your busking journey…
+ #1 MOST IMPORTANT TIP -BE CONSIDERATE-
If they get a complaint, convention or hotel staff will have to shut you down. It’s not cause your beats aren’t dope. It’s their job. The number one cause of complaints is volumes being too high. Most venues will quickly call police if you refuse their requests.
+ #2 IMPORTANT TIP - BRING BUSINESS CARDS-
Include your Soundcloud/Bandcamp and Email. SC and BC can link to your other social medias, so don’t overload the card with all your links You can get cheap cards at Vistaprint.com. Order early to avoid the massive rush fees. You can also make them yourself
+ Bring the smallest setup you can perform on. It will be easier to move, and faster to setup. A battery powered amp can be extra nice so you don’t have to look for outlets.
+ set up in corners. They usually have an outlet, get less foot traffic, and the natural acoustics of a corner will make smaller setups sound bigger (put the speaker in the corner, facing out)
+ avoid setting up near the panel rooms when panels are going on. Check a con schedule, the surrounding area can be great place to play once panels are done.
+ people waiting in line can be a huge opportunity. It’s a large, captive audience, plus you’ll be providing entertainment for con-goers riffling through Streetpasses. A word of advice, keep your volume on the low side. If you blast a few people’s eardrums, word can travel fast in a panel room and hurt your rep as a performer.
+ if you have a small battery powered setup, like gameboy and amp, you can try setting along the walls of hallways. But be careful, if people start to congregate and block traffic, it can be a fire code volition and venue staff / police will have to break it up.
+ You can bring CDs, but a business card with a music link is just as valuable and way less expensive. Also, selling merch without a vendor badge can get you in trouble, or worse kicked out and banned
+ Stand in front of your speakers. This might sound obvious, but it’s much more fun to busk when you can hear what you’re doing. Avoid the temptation to stand behind them like you’re on a stage… you’re ten feet from the bathroom by the escalators.
I’m Dj CUTMAN and I’ve been DJing and playing chiptunes in convention centers for almost 5 years now. It’s one of the most fun things i can think to do with my music. It’s helped me find fans, earn valuable performance experience, and create relationships that have forwarded my music career. I learned early on that by treating the convention and its attendees with respecting, I’ve seen that respect returned.
Have fun out there! >B]