Booking e-mail address:


Send an email to to introduce your band. Do not send a note to our social media accounts; we use those for promotion only. There is no phone number to call when making your introduction, but we do respond to your emails—if you do not receive a response, send a follow-up in a week or two. Remember to be patient with us because we get a large volume of inquiries. In your email, tell us the name of your band, the style of your band, where you live, how long you have been a band, and send links to your music, not downloads. We want to see that you have a web presence: official band website if you have one, Facebook account, YouTube videos of your shows, bandcamp or SoundCloud, and anything else that gives us your history and your sound as a band. You can tell us previous bands your members have been in and what kinds of bands you have been paired with in the past. Also, let us know what venues in San Francisco you have played. Let us know how many people you would expect to be able to bring out on a Tuesday or a Wednesday night. Tell us what your fan base is like: are they under 21 for the most part, and can’t stay out past 10PM on a school night? Or are they in their 30s and drink like fishes on any night of the week? Let us know what your stage show is like: energetic and lots of dancers? Or a laptop and a table and just you?


For out-of-town bands playing for the first time (and this includes the North and South Bay and Sacramento and Santa Cruz, etc.,) we’ll be honest, it’s very difficult to get booked on our stage without the advocacy of a label or booking agent. We need to know that you have local draw, whether that be through having played on tours around town for years and built up your fan base the old-fashioned way, or getting a promotional push from your management. Or maybe you have just garnered a lot of national attention from having a big presence online. But you need to demonstrate to us that you can motivate your San Francisco fans to come see you. Merely being willing to flyer around town, we have found, or do a radio spot, is not really going to be enough.


No, it isn't. The best way to do it is to make friends with San Francisco bands that have some draw. As you make connections in San Francisco you can start getting your records played on local radio stations, place your music in local music stores, play some smaller venues, and eventually the momentum builds. Consider that just as knowing a San Francisco band can help you get shows in this part of the world, knowing you will help them get shows in your part of the world.


If you have never played our stage before, do not expect to start out opening for our bigger acts or playing weekends. That’s something you build up to by impressing us on the shows we will put you on to begin with. We use our locals-only shows on weekdays to make sure you weren’t exaggerating when you told us you could bring out 25 people on a weekday. We are also making sure you actually do sound like the very produced recording you sent. You might want to play those better shows right off the bat, but we are open 5-7 nights a week, and we have 3 bands per night. That’s a lot of spots for us to fill. The more flexible you are about when you are willing to play, the easier it is for us to book you. And if you do your part, really promote, and are easy to work with, we’ll ask you to play all the time, and eventually, you’ll be asked to open those bigger shows.

Here’s the reality: The Bottom of the Hill has no “foot traffic.” We mean ZERO. No one comes to the club except to see the bands. So if you expect to play to a crowded house, and you don’t have any fans, you will be sorely disappointed, and so will we. You will not get booked again.


To play a Sunday through Wednesday, your band should be able to draw a minimum of 25 people. If we reach 75 paid customers in our club, that’s the amount at which it no longer looks completely empty and cavernous. Please be realistic when saying you can do that—it’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s helpful if you start at some of the smaller or more centrally located clubs around town and work your way up to our off-the-beaten-path venue, which fits 325 paid customers. For a Thursday, we are looking for your band being able to draw around 40-50 people on its own. And on Friday and Saturday, we want to approach sellout numbers, which is, again, 325 paid.


Basically, no. Of course everyone wants to open for a show that is a potential sell-out, but please realize that by saying you'd like to open for Mountain Goats, you are putting yourself on a list of 5 billion other bands. Many of those bands you see opening those killer shows have paid their dues at the Bottom of the Hill and have built their own draw over time.

Further, for purely business reasons, we need bands that draw on those big bills as openers to bring the crowd out early. We have seen many shows where the 10 PM band plays to just about nobody and then 400 people show up at 11 PM. If we book a show like Mountain Goats, you can bet that Mountain Goats are taking nearly 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales. Therefore the only way the club makes any money on huge shows like that is if people get there early and buy some drinks. It is very possible for the club to actually lose money on a sellout show, after paying out staff and hospitality expenses.


We do the booking ourselves, for the most part, but if you play a very specific genre and you are more of an expert than we are, feel free to give us suggestions about who to put on the bill, or ask them yourself. Also, sometimes you will get booked on a Tuesday, and your good friends are in a really strong band who might say yes to you, their friend, to playing a Tuesday, but they know we would book them on a weekend anytime., so they might not say yes to us. We’d really appreciate you pulling in those favors. Also, some of you are way pickier than others about who you want to be on a bill. Remember, being that way can be annoying to us (we like you being open minded,) but if you want to craft your own really special show with only bands that are your absolute favorite, we get it. Just remember, if you share the same fan base as your friends, you might not want them on the same bill as you because you won’t get any new fans and your draw will be half as impressive.


First off, makes sure you really are booked. Many times when you ask for a show, or we ask you to play a show, the booker will give you a tentative date saying something like: "why don't we shoot for the 3rd -- you ask the other people involved and I'll make sure the date is clear and we'll talk again to confirm it." Or, “Might you be available on August 3 to open for The Jerks?” That is NOT a confirmed show, even if you say yes. A million different things can happen on both sides of that conversation. The drummer is out of town, you forgot you have a show too close to that date, you are offered a different show that fits in better with your plans, the Jerks have meantime pulled off the show and now it’s an alt-country bill.

We don't consider a show confirmed until we have discussed the full bill (opener, support and headliner), load-in/sound-check/set times and what each band can expect to be paid, what the ticket price will be.

Once confirmed, we want to know your basic stage plot and inputs, a contact number for the band, how many musicians are in your band, and if any of them are under 21. We need all that info to properly advance the show with you. Send us a band bio, and the link you’d like us to use for your band in our listings when our show is confirmed. Otherwise, our social media team will find potentially embarrassing things written about you on the web and use those.

Once you have your show booked, come pay us a visit before your show. Check out what we have to offer. See what our other bands are doing for their stage shows. Bottom of the Hill is well equipped to make your show here a special event.

Important: check your listing on our website! Check it in four places—our picture calendar, our list calendar, our event detail page (which you can access from either calendar page), and our Facebook event. Sometimes we might mess up when doing research, especially if you don’t provide us your own band bio, and post the listing for another band with the same name instead of yours. Or maybe we put a “The” before your name and you prefer it without a “The.” Check the music we linked to. If it’s an old example, send us the newest stuff, the music you’re most proud of.

Most of the time we have 3 bands per night. Sunday through Thursday our shows generally start at 9:00 PM, and on Fridays and Saturdays at 10:00 PM. We generally have one band per hour, so bands would be 9, 10, and 11 on weekdays, and 10, 11, and 12 on weekends.


For most shows, the headliner loads in and soundchecks first. The main support band follows suit a half hour later, and the opener a half hour after that. The below chart is a good rule of thumb, but always make sure the booker has advanced the show with you, and you have gotten your instructions from them directly, because this is only a guideline. There are lots of exceptions.

Load-In Sound-Check Set Time Set Length
Headliner 6:00PM 6:30PM M/Th 11PM
F/Sa midnight
Up to 1 hour
Support 6:30PM 7:00PM M/Th 10PM
F/Sa 11PM
40 minutes
Opener 7:00PM 7:30PM M/Th 9PM
F/Sa 10PM
40 minutes

You should pick one person in the band (your most responsible band member, or a tour manager, if you have one, your sound engineer) to be the point person for the band. There will be forms to fill out, drink tickets to be got, etc. When you get to the club, the first thing your point person should do is find our house sound engineer and introduce yourself. At that point, you will be directed to load in. Our sound engineer will tell you where to set up. The drummer should begin setting up hardware right away. As much as possible, be quick and efficient with your time at soundcheck, and always listen to our sound engineers. They are top-notch. If they tell you to turn down on stage, you need to listen to them. They know what sounds best on the floor.


Go to the bar to talk to the bartender or manager (they usually arrive an hour after the sound engineer.) Please do not ask your sound engineer about hospitality or pay issues, or whether you can use the band room. Our house manager will help you with those details when they arrive, and pass out all your paperwork.

Again, the details of your hospitality should have been shared with you in advance by our bookers, and if you have a contract with a hospitality rider, be aware that the rider may have been amended by our booker somewhat. You will not always have access to the band room. If you require it, this needs to be worked out with your booker in advance of the show.

Hospitality is assigned based on the number of people who perform on stage. A good rule of thumb is that we provide 2 drink tickets to all performers who are over 21. Drink tickets are good for all beers and well drinks and wine. You can upgrade with cash to get the premium stuff. Most non-alcoholic drinks are free to band members. Sometimes, instead, we’ll give you beer/wine/liquor in the dressing room. Again, all this gets worked out in advance of the show.

Most of our touring bands get fed one in-house meal.

Collect your forms from the bar. This includes your guest list, where you will list all band members and crew, plus your guests. You are assigned usually either one or two guests per band member, but again, it varies show to show. Also, you will have to fill out a tax form and read our house rules. Included in the house rules are: no outside liquor can be brought in, no one under 21 can be in the band room, no pyrotechnics, no confetti, and no stage diving or crowd surfing can be encouraged. If stage diving is integral to your live show, you need to find another club to play at.

We only report your income to the IRS if you make $600 or more in a calendar year, but we are required to collect that info for every single band we pay. Don’t worry, your identities are safe with us. If you don’t have a band Tax ID, you can use the SSN of anyone in the band to be a representative of the band.


Our managers make notes for the bookers about who was there to see who and whether you had draw, in addition to how you played. So be aware that we notice when you really pull out all the stops promoting.

That being said, some bands feel like it's a good thing if they're on a bill and their crowd shows up just for them and don't watch the other bands on the bill. The truth is that sort of thing doesn't do anybody any good. The most important thing for any band is to be associated with a good night. At the Bottom of the Hill we typically host three bands on the bill per night. If each band's crowd only comes for their set then we only ever have 25-40 people in the club at any given time and the club looks like we're holding a wake. Remember, we craft our shows lovingly, to be complete nights of entertainment. It helps if your fans see you yourselves watching the bands play, both before and after your set. It’s a little ungracious to talk loudly with your friends after your set when the other band is on stage. It doesn’t impress us at all.


First of all, be realistic. We probably won’t book you again if fifteen or fewer people came to your first show. But if you take this as a first step toward building up your fan base and really put yourself out there at other clubs, come back to us in 6 months and tell us what you’ve been up to and how you’ve built up your fan base, perhaps we’ll give you another crack at it, especially if you have the right attitude and are friendly and hard-working.

If you did really well, send us an email about one and a half to two months before you want another show. Play around town at other venues in the meantime. We will try to move you from the off nights toward the better nights progressively, as you do well for us. As you get an idea of how you draw, you can start to ask for a guarantee versus a door deal. We may not say yes, but you should be aware of what your expectations are from any club. Always know your deal in advance! Your booker should give you that information. If they don’t, please ask! Deals can be arranged in a number of ways, as a percentage of the door sales (a “door deal”), a flat guarantee ($150 flat), or a combination of the two (such as 65% of the door vs. $300, whichever is greater.)


If you make each show special and unique, and leave your fan base wanting more of you, your shows will do better. Every band finds its own pace for playing, but we find that playing once every two months can be plenty, and that way each show is special, at least until you start really gaining traction as a band. We ask for local bands to leave at least 3 weeks on either side of a show with us, and a full month is preferable. Also, try to bring us special events to help your draw. Make it a CD release, or combine it with a birthday party, or make it a theme show with other like-minded bands.


Lynn Schwarz is the main booker at Bottom of the Hill. Otter Kohl is an associate booker, and works with mainly first time bands on weekdays.

All booking inquiries should go through unless you already have a contact number or email address for Lynn or Otter.

If you have already booked a show and have questions, you can contact your booker, or email


While we encourage you to promote your own shows, we insist that you only post flyers and posters legally, according to San Francisco guidelines (see link below). Before playing at Bottom of the Hill, we are going to have you sign a waiver acknowledging that you have read and understood these guidelines and that you release us from responsibility for any and all fines incurred by your actions or those of anyone illegally posting on your behalf. The city has a generous policy for bands that wish to advertise their shows. Make sure you pay special attention to the details of size limit and acceptable locations for flyers. Remember to use other forms of advertising if you can: social media, e-mail mass mailings, posting at the Bottom, posting at record stores and other neighborhood establishments (with their permission, of course), radio station interviews and promotions, advertising in weekly newspapers. If you are going to post flyers on city streets, make sure you visit the site for the most up-to-date rules about posting signs in San Francisco.
Here are the guidelines they had, unless they have changed the rules as of late:

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