How an Independent Artist Got to Play the Main Stage at a Major Music Festival

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This guest post was written by indie music marketing guru Bob Baker.

I love stories like this that demonstrate what’s possible when you mix a little creative thinking with action.

Danika Holmes is an up-and-coming indie artist from Iowa. She had a desire to perform as an opening act on the main stage of the Heartland Jam Music Festival, to be held this summer in Davenport. This year’s festival will feature Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Phil Vassar, Gretchen Wilson, and more.

She made attempts to contact the festival talent buyer, but heard nothing back. At times like these, the vast majority of musicians give up and say, “Oh well, I tried. They aren’t interested.”

But not Danika. “I decided to take matters into my own hands and let the Heartland Jam know I was serious.”

Danika explains, “At around 4:00 AM on a Wednesday we launched an impromptu Facebook campaign. The idea was simple. We asked our fans to post to Heartland Jam’s Facebook page, ‘Bring Danika to the Heartland Jam!’ By 8:00 that evening nearly 100 people had posted to Heartland Jam’s page showing their support.”

The result: By 9:00 that night Danika got an email from the festival promoter that read, “Wow! Your fans have surely spoken!” The next day her band was booked as the main stage opening act for the festival!

“Talk about the power of the people!” Danika says.

Of course, the Facebook campaign alone probably didn’t secure the slot for her. Danika had a solid website filled with video clips, photos, and music samples. I’m sure that’s what sealed the deal.

But the primary lesson here is that she didn’t take silence (meaning no response from the buyer) as a final NO.

It would have been easy to think, “Well, I did what I could. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.” Instead, Danika asked herself a more empowering question: “What else can I do to get their attention and prove that I am worthy of this slot?”

And asking her fans and friends to step up and help was the perfect way to do it. It demonstrated that she has a supportive fan base, which indicated that she is a serious artist worth checking out.

Are you stopping short of a more creative approach to getting what you want?

And, in what ways are you laying a solid foundation (in the form of killer song samples, music videos, cool photos, active gigging schedule, an attractive website, and more) that will let people know you are a serious music contender?

I welcome your comments!

Bob Baker is the author of “Guerrilla Music Marketing Online,” Berkleemusic’s “Music Marketing 101” course, and many other books and promotion resources for DIY artists, managers and music biz pros. You’ll find Bob’s free ezine, blog, podcast, video clips and articles at www.TheBuzzFactor.com and www.MusicPromotionBlog.com.

You can learn more about Danika Holmes at http://www.cdbaby.com/artist/DanikaHolmes and http://www.DanikaHolmes.com/

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