Book a venue and a band, or two… or three

This is the bit where your gig starts to come together. The first thing to get sorted is your venue. You might already have a few artists in mind, but if there isn’t a venue to put them in, there is no gig!

Venues will have limited availability, be sure to get your venue booked as soon as possible. It’s worth informing your venue what you are doing, what Oxjam is, and why they should be involved. Once you’ve agreed your date with your venue, we’d recommend going through the venue check list with the venue manager, just to ensure all boxes are ticked and there are no surprises on the big day.

With your venue, you’ll now have a date and a concrete ask for your artists. Reach out to your preferred artists and get them booked up and promoting as soon as possible. Below is a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to booking artists:


  • Approach acts with a big local following
  • Consider the line-up and audience – having a diverse line-up is great on paper, but will your audience enjoy heavy metal followed by jazz?
  • Choose artists that suit your venue – if you’ve booked a rock venue, get some guitar-based bands.
  • Use your contacts – if you’ve any friends in bands, get them involved.
  • Ensure they have confirmed – 100%


  • Approach major artists – Oxjam is a grassroots music festival
  • Book bands for the sake of it – quality over quantity
  • Underestimate changeover times, especially with larger bands
  • Pay bands – every artist at Oxjam donates their gig to Oxfam, even major label artists.

As with venues, there’s a check list available in the backstage area, so go through this with artists to ensure they know what they are agreeing to and that your venue can meet their requirements.