Booking College Shows Without Using NACA
(The National Association for Campus Activities)

Most artists believe that one has to go through NACA, The National Association for Campus Activities, to get college dates. For more information on using NACA, see the StarPolish section on Booking College Shows. While NACA can be beneficial, it is also costly and easy to get lost in the massive amounts of material that gets passed around the NACA system. I've played countless college dates, and instead of going through NACA, I found that my material stood out among the piles collected via NACA. College and non-traditional venues made sense for me. My background is not the traditional "I've been performing at clubs since I was a teenager" sort of thing. I've been told that for a musician, my thinking is a bit on the academic side and my business sense unusual. Just today I was waiting for the PATH train from New Jersey with two heavy bags and my guitar leaned up against a telephone booth. I live in New York City and earlier had performed at a college in New Jersey. To many musicians, an acoustic college gig is a lame and crappy way to spend a hot, sticky Sunday afternoon. Especially when I have another supposedly lame gig that same evening at a Starbucks coffeeshop, playing and singing my material for two hours over and over again. But truth be told, in my singer/songwriter world, those gigs have done far more for my career than playing some of the obnoxious traditional NYC venues. Whenever I'm waiting for a train or a bus (which lately is quite often), more than frequently someone approaches me and asks me what I do, where I'm playing, etc. So, as expected, a man approached me and asked me what I do. I told him I'm a singer/songwriter. With one headphone off his ear while lowering the volume on his Sony Discman, he asks, "funk, jazz?" No, I say "folk pop, women contemporary singer/songwriter." I show him my CD, one already opened, of course, and he asks if he could listen to it. I hand it to him and he smiles while talking and tells me that he owns a jazz club and is looking for an opener for this huge jazz festival similar to my style of music.
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