9 Reasons Club & Festival Promoters Ignore Your Emails

As I’ve already mentioned when I wrote about things I wish I’d known before about booking gigs, one of the big realisations is that “no reply” from a promoter does not mean “not interested” or “we hate you”…

But whilst that’s maybe nice to know, it’s still not helping start conversations which lead to cold, hard, gig bookings.

In this article I just want to highlight 9 reasons I’ve seen over the years as to why your emails might be getting ignored.

For each, I’ve included a suggested solution…

If you’re looking to (finally) hit your A-game in terms of gig bookings, here’s a reminder that I’m offering 1-to-1 feedback on pitching emails for all members of Jazzfuel PRO in May 2024…

9. They aren’t programming right now

Frustratingly, there’s not a single strategy that promoters use to fix their programme. Some are booking constantly, all-year round, others not.

I knew one promoter, for example, who programmed his entire season in the month of April. If you emailed him outside of that period, especially in the 3-6 months directly after the new one was fixed, there was nothing he could offer.

And often, as we’ll mention several times here, “nothing to offer” often ends up with “no reply” due to the sheer volume of pitches they are receiving.

Of course, they could keep your project in mind if it’s a really strong offer, but expecting them to proactively remember in 5 months’ time is not super realistic.

The Solution

When starting out fresh with a promoter, consider 6 months as a broadly average lead time for bookings, but keep in mind that some go as much as 9-12 months ahead, and others as short as a month.

Here’s the important bit, though: As soon as you have more info, though, keep notes for each specific contact about when is the best time to pitch.

Booking is a long-term game and those details will help each year be more effective than the next.

8. Your email is too long

If the average person’s inbox is crowded, a promoter’s email is off-the-scale.

100 messages a day is totally feasible for many and, when you do the maths, it’s clear to see why checking out and replying to each pitch is simply not possible.

Even at 3 minutes per mail (to read, listen & reply…) that would be 5 hours a day, before they even get onto their other work.

With that in mind, it’s easy to see why opening up a 1,000-word essay from an artist is an easy ‘delete’ unless there’s something very obviously of interest…

I’ve been guilty of this myself; you put it on the ‘later, when I’ve got 10 minutes’ pile and it never resurfaces.


The goal of a gig pitch is not to tell the promoter your life story, or even the story of your latest project. It’s simply to interest them enough to hit ‘watch’ on your video link and start discovering the project.

Keep your mail as concise as possible, whilst linking out to your bio or press release in case they want more.

7. It’s a mass mail

It’s much easier to ignore someone giving a speech than someone talking directly to you.

Most people (including promoters) can spot a mass-mailout a mile away, either through the unpersonalised tone, or the formatting and ‘unsubscribe’ button.

For the promoter receiving hundreds of emails a week, cutting out mass-mails is a very easy way to reduce the overload…


Don’t send mass emails to people who you feel could be an important part of your career.

There’s a time for automation, but when it comes to asking someone to risk money and reputation presenting your project ahead of other great musicians, keep it personal.

6. Lack of personalisation

When it comes to forging a real connection with the reader, simply ditching Mailchimp and copy/pasting the message into a fresh email to them is often not enough.

Personalisation goes much further; the goal is to show them you are writing to them not just as a ‘lead’ but as a future partner and contact.


Mention their festival, comment on their past programme, reference any mutual friends, etc.

If you’re doing that, there will be no doubt in their mind that you have taken the time to write to them and, as a result, there will be much more pressure on them to respond.

5. No follow ups

“Thanks for following up and apologies for not getting back sooner…”

You’d be surprised how many times I’ve read this message. Sending one email and expecting a reply – let alone a gig – is unrealistic. There are a few reasons why the follow up works.

In some cases, it’s because you are increasing the chances of reaching them at ‘the right time’.

In other cases it’s because they remember your name and finally decide to check out what it is you keep sending them.

In others, it’s a little guilt for not having responded before, or realising that they will keep getting your mails until they do!


Get a system in place so you are being reminded to follow up with all your pitches in a timely manner.

When you do, don’t send a ‘fresh’ email but hit ‘reply’ to your last (unanswered) one. That way, from the “RE:” in the subject line to the thread beneath your mail, it’ll be clear it’s not a first message.

4. Boring, bland subject line

Once again, many ignored emails come about because the promoter is aggressively filtering mails to cut down on the unrealistic workload.

If your subject line suggests an unpersonalised or irrelevant pitch, it can be an easy ‘delete’ for some people.

Missing out on a gig because the promoter doesn’t like the music, or chose another project, is one thing. Missing out because they didn’t even hear it feels a lot worse!


Before you hit send on an email, ask yourself not “does this subject line explain what I want” but “will the recipient be curious to read on..”

Weak: “Booking request: Matt Fripp Trio”
Better: “You had Joshua Redman, but what about…”
Better: “Sold out in Stuttgart (dark, moody, jazz)

3. Poor quality or uncompelling video

In my experience as a booking agent, it’s hard to overestimate the importance of a good music video.

Let’s assume a promoter receives your mail, sees the subject line, opens it and reads the nice concise pitch which seems to match with their style.

The next step should be to watch a video.

This video needs to tick two boxes:

  • Does it motivate the promoter to book you, musically?
  • Does it show the promoter how they could present it to their audience, visually?

If you are ticking both boxes, you have a strong chance of a reply.

If, on the other hand, the video is poor quality or unrepresentative of what you do, it’s going to be an uphill battle to get the gig.


There’s no away around this; if you don’t have a good quality video which is representative of your project, you need to get one.

It doesn’t need to be expensive (in fact many are made for free with smartphones, borrowed venues and clever editing) but it needs to be done.

2. A booking seems unfeasible logistically or financially

In an ideal world, a promoter who likes your music would a) reply and tell you that and b) include any reservations they had about why it might not work so you could counter that.

In reality, any uncertainty tends to result in no action (ie ignored email)

With that in mind, it’s important to address any possible blocks in your pitch and a big one is around the logistical or financial feasbility.

If you, for example, are a US artist looking to book a gig in Europe (or vice versa) the obvious reservation is “how will this artist afford to fly to another continent? We can’t pay enough for international travel!”

Firstly, have you asked yourself that question? It’s important to have a solution or you may run into problems later on.

But assuming you’re working on a string of dates, or have a specific amount of funding earmarked for a tour, make that clear…


Firstly, if you’re travelling internationally, make sure you do have a plan for how to make it work! Festivals are a better target here, as they often have a built-in audience and, as such, better fees.

If you’re looking to book a tour but don’t yet have everything lined up, try referencing some other venues you’ve pencilled or pitched to, so the promoter has the confidence that you are aware of the challenges and have a solution.

1. They don’t like the music

OK, let’s get this one out of the way last…

As you’ve seen, there are lots of possible reasons why a club or festival promoter might ignore your email, and only one of them is the fact that they just don’t like the music personally.

If, however, you’re doing your research in advance and writing clear, personalised pitches, it’s highly unlikely this is the case: a promoter who has booked a string of other bands which play in a similar style to you is probably going to be into your music.


Pitch to promoters you’ve discovered through careful research to be sure they’re into the specific type of music you’re making.

This brings down the chance of them not liking your project to almost zero in my experience.

You can then focus on the other aspects of presenting and persuading them to book you ahead of all the other great offers they have!

Thanks for reading!

Of course, booking gigs is (unfortunately) not a science, nor a case of everyone getting the work that their music deserves.

With that in mind, it’s not just advisable but essential that you work smarter (and not just harder) with how you try to connect with clubs and festivals.

I hope these 9 points have given you a few ideas as to how you might fine-tune your own pitching to get better results in less time.

If you haven’t yet joined my for the How To Get More Jazz Gigs course, you can access it, as well as some bonus support, this May 2024 via Jazzfuel PRO.

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