Hello everyone! Apologies that edition 5 of Sucker’s Guide to the Music Industry has come a bit late! We’ve been busy putting new gigs on sale as well as producing something really cool for the start of July (all to be revealed soon!). On the subject of gigs though, in this post we chat to Toby Womack, promoter for Futuresound Events in Leeds.

We first met Toby through our management band Skylights – Toby nurtures Yorkshire’s best up and coming bands by taking them up the venue ladder in Leeds, as well as working on the massive Live At Leeds multi-venue festival. Not to mention lending a hand with all of Futuresound’s other events, like The Piece Hall summer series, and their academy and arena shows with the likes of Sam Fender, The Pigeon Detectives, Oh Wonder, Bon Iver and more.

So Toby, how did you start working in the music industry? How did you start promoting gigs?

I started promoting local gigs in Leeds when I was 15, alongside working in a fish and chip shop. After a year of groundwork I quit the chippy(!!) and put as much time as I could into gigs whilst studying. Skip ahead a few years and I land a role at Futuresound and am given an opportunity to promote full time.

What advice would you give to a brand new band trying to book their first gigs?

Once you’ve established a relationship with a promoter, it should become fairly easy to get gigs. The easiest way to do so is simply reaching out and letting people know you exist, and be honest about the level you’re at as a band. Once that first conversation has been had, the door there is open.

What do you look for in local bands when looking for supports for touring bands?

It’s incredibly refreshing to see bands that are keen to play and push the line-ups that they’re on. Bands that are easy to communicate with and are passionate about what they do are always at the top of the submissions list.

What do you look for in a band when you’re going through submission emails? Anything that puts you off? How can bands stand out from the rest?

Easily accessible links are a real help. Often when sorting through volumes of emails, having to dig through email body to find music (or not including links at all) is a real hassle. Free streaming links like Soundcloud or Bandcamp are particularly usefully for sharing around the office.

What’s your main objective with a band when you first start promoting them?

Getting to grips with the level the band is currently at and how they’re looking to grow regionally. It’s sometimes nice to sit down with a band and get to know how they operate. If the band is new to the city, we need to get them in front of a like minded audience, which is why local supports are so important to a successful scene (we’re spoilt for choice in Yorkshire).

What Yorkshire bands are you tipping at the moment? Any we should be looking out for?

A small selection of my favourite Leeds bands are:
Mansion of Snakes
Sea Legs
The Golden Age Of TV

You can check out everything Toby and Futuresound Events are getting up to by giving them a like on Facebook HERE.

Join us again soon for another edition of Sucker’s Guide to the Music Industry!