Nonprofit Arts Group Connects Indie Bands With Venues

Independent Music on Tour, a program of the Western States Arts Federation, is designed to help connect musicians with nonprofit venues that they may not have considered previously. And with a new website, they’re lowering the barrier to entry.

The life of an independent musician isn’t easy—travel on the cheap gets tiring, and the logistics of figuring out who will book you are never easy.

The Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) understands this dynamic well, and since 2012, it’s been working with indie musicians of all stripes to help them build their careers. Its Independent Music on Tour (IMTour) program connects musicians with nonprofit venues, which receive grants for hosting nonprofit shows.

This week, the federation announced the latest step in this program, with a new website designed to link up concert venues and bands. Bands can list themselves and share their music with potential venue owners, while owners can set up profiles, list calls for talent, and apply for grants.

“There has been a real gap in the worlds of independent musicians and nonprofit presenters,” Shawn King of the band Devotchka, a Colorado music ambassador for IMTour, said in a news release. “Working with nonprofit presenters can build new audiences and sustainable professional opportunities that artists can’t find in club venues. IMTour will bridge that gap.”

The exposure to new venues and the availability of funding could prove a major career boost for indie artists who may have tended to stay local in the past. For example, Wyoming-based country musician Tris Munsick, whose band The Innocents was recently accepted by IMTour, told The Sheridan Press that his band was much more likely to tour out of state thanks to the program.

“So I think for our band at least … the main benefit of this IMTour is to kind of break into some new markets and some new venues that participate in this program and maybe being able to travel a little further,” Munsick said.

WESTAF, a regional arts nonprofit, also runs a variety of similar technology offerings for artists, including ZAPP, CaFE, and Creative Vitality.

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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