We do book guests - between 16 and 20 a year as a rule - so, if you're an artist, you may well want to get a gig with us. Well, we're fairly eclectic and we like variety so a lot of performers will stand a chance but...
Well, there's always a "but", isn't there? Here are a few guidelines:
1. Be realistic. We are a small club usually based in a theatre bar with a maximum capacity of about 50 (though if we get near this number, it will be standing room only for many). We can, once or twice a year, move into the theatre itself (capacity 96) but there are additional costs involved (we have to sell an extra £160-worth of tickets just to cover these). So - do the arithmetic - we can't afford to book the latest big band sensation who might ask for £2000+
2. We are contacted by a tremendous number of artists. There is a list of over 100 names currently being considered. If we don't get back to you straight away with an offer, it's not because we're being rude or that we don't like you. If you want to contact us, a phone call may or may not come at the right time; an email may get lost in amongst the large amount of rubbish that arrives daily. Sometimes there just isn't the time to compose an individual reply to everyone. But you're welcome to try again.
3. Agents, please note: we may be eclectic but we are still a folk club. We do not book country or rock artists, no matter how good they are. If you keep sending stuff that's irrelevant to us, your emails are more likely to be ignored in the future.
4. If you want us to book you, we need to know what you're offering. The best thing is for us to see you at our club. Come to a singers night and show us what you can do. Call in advance if you want to be sure of a decent spot (4 songs, maybe more). Then talk to us afterwards - but don't get pushy! If you can't get to us, the best thing is if one of us has seen you somewhere else. Otherwise, phone or email and tell us about yourself. Let us know what festivals you've played at, other local clubs you've been to. Gig reviews from folk magazines may help. We don't mind receiving cds but a cd shows what you can do in a studio, not what you're like on stage. YouTube and MySpace links are fine but we rarely have the time to chase them all. If someone sends us an email that says "Would love a gig at your club" and contains only that and a YouTube link (yes, it does happen), forget it. However, if we get a long biog with hi-res photos and links to dozens of clips, that can be off-putting as well. But it's how you say it, too. Don't approach us (like one or two we've had) as if we should be honoured that you would consider playing for us.
5. We can supply a PA if you really think you need one but it costs - so there'll be less money for your fee. Bring your own by all means - but make sure you get in touch in plenty of time so someone can let you in to set up. The bar isn't that large and all our singers' nights are run without PA and we manage.
6. We do like variety. We gets lots (and lots) of singer-songwriters with guitars; we get very few mandola/oboe duos doing Turkish-flavoured Celtic tunes. If you're the former, you're going to have to use your imagination to its limit to stand out from the rest.
7. Actually, a good imagination is your best weapon! And sometimes you just get lucky!
[These guidelines are just that. There are no hard rules.]