Welcome to episode 3 of our Behind The Scenes series.

In this week’s blog, we look at how we choose the bands. Every festival will have its own system and that can change year on year just like it has done for us at Breaking Bands Festival but we thought it could be a useful read.

There are many aspects when it comes to our band selections for the festival. Majority of those will be through the application form. Not all the bands but around 95% will be chosen from those who want to play the event.

The final few bands will be one’sĀ ear marked by the Directors such as a headliner and always the special guest band of the weekend.

We do not always choose the headliners ourselves but sometimes there are bands that have really shone over the last year and we feel an approach to them, their manager or their agent could be required.

But as for the application process, this is generally how it would work:

Firstly, we would set up the form and launch that online via the website and across our social media platforms. We would also email the form to many agents, managers and bands for their attention to apply. We would also then ask music fans to tag their favourite bands so that they see there is an application form live as every year hundreds of bands tell us they never saw the application.

The application form will be live for around 2-3 months from about 3 weeks before the current festival year to give as many bands the opportunity to apply.

Once the applications are closed the big task begins, choosing the bands!

There are 4 Directors of the festival and between us, we have a wide taste in the music. We all take a copy of the band lists and we all listen to each bands’ music and watch their videos. This is where many bands first fall down. If they have not filled the form in correctly, not included their videos and music links, they are crossed off our list. Of course, not all bands will have Youtube videos and Spotify accounts or even any tracks released but that will unfortunately mean they can not get booked. We book the bands on their music and styles so it’s extremely important to have some good quality videos and music online for us to listen and watch.

Each of the Directors will score the bands out of 5 in their own lists based on music quality, whether it’s appropriate to the festival (i.e. not covers bands,hip hop or rap as we are a rock, punk and metal festival), their performance ability (owning the stages and crowd interaction). After each of the 4 Directors have done their own scoring (this can take a number of weeks due to the number of bands that apply) the scores are then compared. The combined scores are then looked into and see how many score 20 out of 20. Obviously the top scoring -bands are approached first. On average, this would usually be around 60-70% of the bands. We would put them into the schedule where we feel they would work best (ie not putting all the metal bands back to back) and then ask the bands if they want to play based on their application.

After the top scoring bands we then look at the 15-19 point scores. We discuss each of these bands and decide which of these to approach. Again, we add them into the schedule to make sure there is a good balance of music.

It would be rare to get any lower scores coming in than that so we would then inform the rest of the bands that they were unfortunately not successful in their application.

We do get bands/manager/agents emailing us all year round asking for any slots. Unfortunately we do not take applications this way. We also do not put bands on the line-up because they are friends or because they are cheap or would play for free. Our number one factor is that the music is good and the band has applied.

We do look for bands that happen to be touring and nudge them towards the application form and as mentioned earlier, we do sometimes approach bands and offer a slot but this is never more than 3-4 bands.

Throughout the year, all the team have a wishlist of bands that we hope will apply. Also, all the music fans will suggest bands (and again, we ask them to tell the bands to apply).

Our headline bands are also still not major bands as we feel that the name of the festival speaks for itself, it’s about Breaking Bands. Saying that, we do like to get a couple of bands that are breaking through and moving on up to the next level. We have seen the likes of Massive Wagons headline the festival and now they are playing major festivals so this is something we do consider.

So bands, the things to remember is this… watch out for the application form, make sure you have some videos (pro and live), get some music on Spotify or other music sites and make sure when you do apply, that you read everything and answer everything correctly as there’s no second chance.

Applications for 2023 will be opening around the 2nd week of May 2022 so keep an eye out.