To the average festival goer, seeing their favorite artist or band perform is a dream come true. But for artists and bands, music festivals can be a cutthroat industry. Sure, it is not that complicated to submit a festival application, but the real challenge is to be even considered for a performance in the first place.

So how exactly do artists and bands get invited to music festivals?

They know which music festivals they want to play.

Artists and bands target which music festivals they want to play and sign up for them. There are so many festivals being organized every year that it can be quite overwhelming for you as an artist to choose where to perform. Some festivals are more diverse and cater to different music genres, but some others are more niche and target a specific audience.

Regardless of which festival you decide to participate in, always do your research beforehand.

Do they feature your music genre? How is the signup process? When is the deadline for the submission of applications? Is there a registration fee? These are just some of the most basic things you need to consider before you sign up to perform, so make sure you have these sorted for a better chance of getting invited.

You might also want to ask other artists who already performed in the festival you are planning to play to have an idea of what it is like working with the people behind the scenes. Some organizers are easy to work with, but some others can be stressful, so it would be great if you know what you are getting yourself into before making any commitments.

They have a solid network and fanbase.

A vast network of important people in the music industry plus a wide and loyal fanbase is the perfect combo that helps artists and bands get invited to music festivals. Personally knowing festival promoters makes it easier to get booked, while avid fans usually mean more ticket sales therefore, making them more commercially viable in the eyes of festival organizers.

Like it or not, connections do matter. And the more you have, the more likely you are to get invited.

This is not to say that new and independent artists do not stand a chance. Opportunities always show when you least expect them. Take Kodak Black, for example. He used to be a struggling kid with quite a troubled childhood, but he is passionate about rapping, so decided to pursue it.

Ever since Drake uploaded his video dancing to the newbie rapper’s song Skrt in 2015, relevant people started to notice him in the music industry. Fast forward to the present, Kodak Black is now one of the most successful rappers in the US. Kodak Black’s  booking agent takes care of getting him invited to music festivals.

However, not everyone will be lucky enough to get noticed by Drake, and there is no denying that knowing the right people gives you an advantage over hundreds of other artists submitting their festival applications. So build your connections and grow your fanbase early on to have a better chance of being invited to music festivals in the future.

They have an effective booking agent.

Booking agents make an artist’s life easier and allow their clients to focus on their music more, but choosing the perfect booking agency requires thorough research the same way you should when choosing the right music festival to play.

They act as a salesperson on behalf of artists and bands and are responsible for approaching promoters for upcoming events and negotiating contracts. Essentially, your booking agent can make or break your festival gig, so you need to have someone who is just as passionate about music as you are and persuasive enough to have festival promoters and organizers looking your way.

They have an impressive electronic press kit.

An electronic press kit is basically a musician’s resume and should be prepared carefully for an artist to stand out from the rest. Organizers of festivals, especially the big ones, are likely bombarded with a lot of applications from various artists, so having a unique electronic press kit can significantly increase your chances of being noticed.

Electronic press kits typically feature the artist’s bio, which should be engaging and contain relevant background information, a brief description of your music, and career highlights and achievements.

It should also include high-quality photos and videos of previous performances so festival organizers can gauge how much impact and control you have on the crowd. If you have interviews and favorable press reviews, you may want to include those as well to establish your music’s influence and authority.

Your social media accounts and streaming links should also be part of your electronic press kit. This allows festival promoters and organizers to check your online presence and have an idea of how far your audience reach is.

They have an active online presence.

Speaking of social media and streaming links, your online presence is also a huge factor in your festival invitation. In this day and age of online music streaming services and even TikTok, it is now easier for artists to put out their music for the world to listen to.

However, it is for the same reason it can be challenging to be booked for a festival. With many talented individuals wanting a big break and the presence of free online platforms where they can showcase their talents, competition becomes even tougher.

But what artists and bands who get invited to music festivals do are consistently build their brand on social media and create engaging content for their fans. An active online presence gives them an edge over other musicians because it shows that they can promote themselves on their own and are willing to make an effort to be in the public eye.

A music festival is also a business after all, and good branding and following often translate better marketability for festival organizers, and therefore, better chances of being invited to their event.


Every artist or band, whether they are already famous or just starting on their career, has a chance to perform on a festival stage. It may be easier for others because they have better circumstances, but that does not mean it would be impossible for other musicians.

As long as you take note of the things listed above and practice them, you might just get a shot at your next big event. Famous artists and bands should not intimidate you but rather inspire you, so try to take a page out of their book, and you might get lucky.