Tips For Becoming A Local Star
October 2013
The first step to getting big is making it locally. This month, we'll hear from expert, Ari Herstand, on making a name for youself in your hometown.

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Tips For Becoming A Local Star

By Ari Herstand

I've played over 500 shows in 40 states and have booked nearly every show myself (I'm still DIY). I started, though, in my (former) hometown of Minneapolis. Before ever leaving the state (of Minnesota for those struggling with geography) I had chalked up about 30 local shows.

play as a band

From the moment I made the decision that a performing songwriting career was to be my life (mid-freshman-year of college after giving my dad a near heart attack) I began playing out as much as possible. I made a local goal: sell out the Varsity Theater.

The Varsity Theater is a 700 person capacity venue in Minneapolis just off the University of Minnesota campus. Nearly every band that has toured through Minneapolis has played it at some point. I lived a block from it when I decided to make music my life. I'd walk by it every day from the sub shop I worked at and salivated as I passed the 40 foot tall marquee with a hot touring act's name in lights.

In one year, I not only played the Varsity Theater, but filled it. And two years later I sold it out.

Before even thinking of touring you need to figure out how to conquer your local market. It sounds a little aggressive to say conquer, I suppose. Hipsters would say "simultaneously satiate the collective consciousness of the city." But I say conquer (because it's a true battle - and hipsters are assholes)

You have to figure out early on what your niche is going to be. Everyone has one. I started with the University of Minnesota (of 40,000 students). Hardly a small niche, but a niche nonetheless. I was part of that community so I understood the hot coffee shops, Greek houses, dorms, the grassy mall, the union, had friends at the newspaper and on the ultimate frisbee team and so forth. I took a blanket approach and plastered the campus with posters for every show - just to get my name out there and begin the conversation. I also started playing every possible venue on campus (in coffee shops, dorm lounges, bars, open mics, music venues, sorority lounges.. yup, frat houses.. bro, and.. elevators (that's another story). Eventually everyone started to take notice.

One person seeing a poster or a Facebook ad or a YouTube video won't get them out to your show. They have to be hit from multiple angles and from multiple people.

Read more here!

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