Advice to Bands: Posters

Every band playing Cornerstone (whether on an “official” stage or generator) clearly wants people to show up. So, most make up some kind of poster to advertise their show. After seeing posters for many years, I offer the following advice to bands about their posters:

  • Tell me the DAY of the week, not the actual date. I’m not wearing a watch, let alone looking at a calendar. Tell me you’re playing Wednesday, not July 1st. (Thanks to twitter user and fellow Austinite Ericlylekline for reminding me of this!)
  • Give me a hint what kind of music you’re playing. You can do this by listing the genre of your music, saying you’re “For fans of…” This poster from Jeff Elbel + Ping does a great job by including a “RIYL” section (Recommended If You Like). If you don’t give me hint what you’re playing, I’ll be left to guess what kind of music you’re playing by your band name or possibly graphic design. Sometimes, I’ll be right. Most of the time, I won’t be, and I might miss out on something I would have enjoyed.
  • If the stage you’re playing on isn’t on the festival map, give me a hint where to find it. I know that can be tough when you grab a gig at a generator stage at the last minute, so I can forgive a lot of that. But, if you know in advance, try to help us out by saying something like “near the showers.”
  • Some of the best posters I’ve seen over the years had the band info printed in advance, leaving space to write in the date & time. Bands playing generator stages should take note of this – your times/dates may change and you probably can’t get back to a copier to print more, so plan ahead.
  • It’s fine if you can’t afford huge colored banners. But, remember that the porta-potties and other surfaces are going to be covered in posters like this. Printing your flyer on brightly colored paper might draw my eye to it.
  • Handing out small flyers or postcards works too. This works best, though, if you hand them out at a show similar to yours. Oh, and list your website on your flyer, so when I get home I can look you up. We received one flyer like that yesterday that was particularly well done — not the flyer itself, but because the woman handing it out took time to talk to us. As a result, I’ll probably go see Ranger on Thursday.
  • Graphic design can also help me understand what you play, if done well – like this flyer (note, also how the phrase “Day of Metal” provides a clue).
  • Day of Metal Flyer

  • This suggestion isn’t really to bands, but to generator stage organizers. I love it when generator stages keep a poster (or better yet, a white-board you can change easily) next to their stage indicating the name of the band that’s playing right now, as well as what’s coming up next.
  • And, a final suggestion that isn’t about posters at all: At the start & end of your show, remind us of your band name.
  • I present that list in the public interest, but also for my own good. I love finding new music. Anything you can do to help me get to the right place, at the right time, to see music I’ve got a chance of liking is good.