If you are a performer and would like a booking at the Two Way Street, please read this first:
There's good news and bad news:
The good news is that the Two Way Street Coffee House is a small, respected listening room that has been presenting live music every Friday night for 46 years. It is run entirely by volunteers who love what they do!
The bad news is that there are not enough Fridays in the year, or other venues like us to accommodate all the wonderful artists, both local and international, emerging and famous, who want and deserve to be booked.
Partly because of our longevity, and also the shortage of similar venues in the Chicago area, we are overwhelmed with hundreds of submissions from artists who want to be considered. As a result, we have a huge backlog of people we'd love to present, and an even larger backlog of people we haven't had time to consider yet. (Remember, we're all volunteers here — we have day jobs!)
This is not meant to discourage you, but to explain why we may take a while to get back to you, and why the odds of a booking are tough.
That said, here are more specifics. We mostly present folk, roots, Americana and similar music, primarily acoustic, both traditional and contemporary, including singer-songwriters. We define all those genre terms very broadly, and thus look for a lot of variety. However, we generally do not consider rock bands, commercial country, rap, jazz, electric blues, CCM, Christian, inspirational or spoken word programming. It's not that we don't like any of these, it's just not our niche. Because of our tiny stage, we rarely present groups larger than three or four. And, drum kits only by special arrangement. We have an excellent grand piano.
We usually book 3-6 months in advance, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. In order to support our local performers, the majority of our weekly Friday shows present Chicago-area artists (within 200 miles or so). However, we present touring artists from across North America (and beyond!) about 40% of the time, and can book them farther in advance. We do not use opening acts. We generally present two (different!) 45-minute sets. We have 55-60 seats (plus a few standees), and a fixed $7 requested donation, collected at the door. (This fee moves to $10 in September, 2016.) Performers are paid at least 90% of the door, plus 100% of recording sales and other merch. We are a AFM Local 1000 Fair Trade Music venue (http://local1000.org/), and honor their Small Venue scale as a minimum, although we virtually always do better than that! Sorry, but we do not provide meals or housing.
OK. So how do you get our attention?
Important: Be sure to put the word "booking" and the artist's name in the subject line in order to get past SPAM filters.
The E-mail message should contain one or two paragraphs describing what you do, and website links (not attachments) where we can listen to samples of your music (your website, Facebook, EPK, CDBaby, SonicBids, etc.) Yes, we do check online samples! If we want/need to hear more, we'll request a commercial CD and/or a live recording. (We usually need a sample without the backup band, drum kit and children's choir — just the group you're planning to perform with.)
If you are looking for a specific Friday date, check our website listings (including the Early Warnings section) to see if the date is already booked. If nothing is listed for a date, there could be a hold or tentative booking not listed, but at least it's worth checking with us. If a booking is listed, it's committed. Period. And, please don't ask for an opening slot (we don't use openers).
If E-mail is not an option for you, please write to Two Way Street Coffee House, Attn: Booking, 1047 Curtiss St, Downers Grove IL 60515. As a last resort, phone 630-968-5526. Let's face it. In the 21st century, it is easier to manage electronic files than deal with piles of snail mail or finding the scrap of paper with a name and number on it.
Then, relax, and continue to pursue other opportunities. We'll contact you if/when we can explore a possible gig.
Please understand that we receive dozens of inquiries every week. We can't respond to all E-mails, mailings and phone calls. Please don't take it personally — but as we said earlier, we're all volunteers. We respect your artistry and professionalism and your right to be heard and to make a living. It's just that there are so many of you and so few volunteer hours in a day!
And, please don't add us to your fan e-mailing lists. We're happy that you have a new recording or are planning a tour of Ireland, or have a new van. Or a puppy. But we already receive hundreds of email messages every week, and can't keep up.
By the way, if you're local, you might consider one of the quarterly all-ages open mikes we offer during the year, or the monthly open mikes which are restricted to high school and college age performers. (see our website for schedules.) While these open mikes are not intended as auditions, we do listen!
We hope to meet you some day! Perhaps at the Folk Alliance International conference (we always attend), a regional FAI conference, another venue or festival, or perhaps at the Two Way Street. Our volunteers are acoustic music addicts and are always on the lookout for great entertainers!
We wish you the best of luck and success!
Dave Humphreys, Director