A Conversation with Jack Davis | Founder of Good Neighbor Festivals

Nathan sits down with the Founder of Good Neighbor Festivals Jack Davis and talks about the importance of confidence and honesty when it comes to crafting a live performance. They touch on the importance of promotion, some things festivals are looking for from their performers, how to submit your music, and more.

According to Jack, if you're trying to get your band booked at a festival the number one thing they're looking for is confidence.

Balancing Art and Industry_Jack Davis_Confidence
That comes with knowing who you are as an artist. Typically you’re not very confident when you’re trying to fit a mold that is not you.

It isn't easy to stand out as an artist in an industry with as much volume as the music industry. With companies like Good Neighbor being bombarded by hundreds, sometimes thousands of submissions it's crucial that you're doing everything you can to exude the confidence they're looking for. 



So how do you do that?

How do you show festival promoters, booking agents, and talent buyers that by booking you they're booking  a professional who can captivate an audience ? 


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Promote your shows

If you want people to believe that you're a big deal act like every show you play is a big deal. If you're promoting every show that you're apart of, even the ones that you don't think are going to be very successful, that shows that you don't care if you're playing to 20 people or 20,000 people; you are there to do what you do best and you're going to crush it. If you want to get booked at a festival, people like Jack will be looking back at how you promote the shows you're in . Do you post about them on your social media before the day of the show? Do you champion the other acts on the bill? Do you run any ads? Are you engaging with your fan base and encouraging them to come out? Are you making sure to thank the venues/promoters/sponsors? These are all things that are being looked at and if you ignore them you're going to get passed by.

Remember, you never know who's watching

Nashville based emo/alternative band Secret Stuff learned that lesson in February 2017. After a few years being immersed in the local community Michael Pfohl found himself as a key figure in it's growth with the founding of his punk-geared booking company Fountainhead Booking.

Secret Stuff's involvement in their community and killer promotional efforts landed them a mention in an article from Noisey about the Nashville Scene.

It wasn't long after that article was published that emo/alt rock outfit Dashboard Confessional announced the lineup for their series of performances at The Basement East they were calling "Homecoming Week." Inspired by the Noisey article they had read, the entire bill for these sold out shows would consist of local emerging acts like Secret Stuff. 

We try not to book the same acts over and over. We’ll wait at least 3 or 4 years before booking an act on the same festival agin.
— Jack Davis

Another pitfall acts fall into when trying to capture that elusive festival spot is the same one they find when trying to book any gigs; they're setting the bar too high. If you've never brought more then 10 people out to one of your shows, should you be trying to play at a 500 cap venue? It isn't any different on the festival circuit. If you've never played a festival before don't waste your time and energy trying to play Bonnaroo, or Newport Folk Festival. It isn't fun to submit to a ton of festivals and not get selected for any of them but on the flip side, what if you get lucky and end up booked at a bigger festival before you're ready? You may not be in the right position to capitalize on that opportunity yet, and now you're less likely to play that festival again for a few years.

Instead, focus on your hometown markets. There's a local music and arts festival in every community across the country, our friends at Good Neighbor Festivals are responsible for 10 in the greater Nashville area alone! The rules are all the same; get your online presence in order, radiate confidence in everything you do, have video proof of said confidence readily available, play shows in as many markets as possible and promote every show you play

catch the full interview with jack here: