Looking for a covers band. No pay. Great exposure!

Read below to find out more about this opportunity…

It was only recently that someone posted a similar caption to our title on an online music forum. The post was met with a wave of musicians very unhappy at the prospect of performing for free. The argument that “exposure does not pay my bills” is a valid one, and we very rarely offer gigs to cover bands without expecting to pay a fee. At the same time, could it be that some gigs are actually worth performing for exposure?  The post and comments got us thinking.

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After filtering through the comments on the post, it became clear that the gig advertised was a small casual charity event close to the organisers’ heart. They did not mean to upset or offend any musicians but genuinely thought that it may be a great opportunity for a band to perform. Although more information could have been given in the post to explain the situation, it seems that some musicians, without finding out any further information, began to react negatively and fire insults at the concept of the suggestion. All proceeds went towards the charity and staff members donated their wages. And so, what could have been a very positive thing for a band became sour.

What if the gig posed a nice little opportunity for musicians just wanting to perform as a bit of fun? If the gig is truly an amateur event as opposed to work offered to professionals, then why shouldn’t it be offered as free for a band to enjoy? This said if the event is of a professional nature and you are not aiming to become a pro musician, then please do not accept the gig, as you will be undercutting pro musicians and expected to perform at a professional standard.

 It may also provide a perfect opportunity for a new band to gain live experience in order to build confidence and get to grips with what to expect working as a pro musician. But, will it provide good exposure? No, seriously check that it will and even then, is there going to be any industry professionals attending or a chance to significantly increase your fan base? If not, then try to negotiate a fee and if you can’t then don’t do it. If yes, then if you are sure, the exposure may benefit the band and be worth doing.  

 What if the event is for a charity you actively wish to support? We would always encourage a fee to be agreed that could perhaps be donated back to the charity if possible. As a musician you should be in control of the amount you are willing to give back. If you do not want to support the charity in question, then you can politely refuse. Musicians Union offers great advice about how to go about this.   


It is also so important that those that are looking to put on gigs do not expect covers bands to just perform for exposure or beer tokens. It seems that frustration stems from the fact that musicians are undervalued when exposure is put forward as the main selling point of a gig. Bands deserve to be paid for their performances, they put in hard work and a lot of practice and effort perfecting their sets for everyone to enjoy. And for some, it is a full time career, so payment in the form of money is essential. So when an advert for a gig crops up advertising ‘no pay great exposure,’ it is understandable that hard working musicians get frustrated and react negatively to these ads. Most live music venues (all the ones we work with) are more than happy to pay bands fairly and that is fantastic. But based on the charity situation mentioned above, it is always worth checking the details before responding negatively; it may just be for a cause that you wish to support or a positive experience for a new band lacking live experience and looking to find their feet in the industry.

Responsibility does lie in both courts and by working together and not taking any musician or venue  for granted then live music can thrive and provide great opportunities for everyone!   


For some, the music industry can bring heights of success and for most musicians the dream is to be out there performing on the big stages in front of the most energetic and enthusiastic crowds. All of which have turned up revved and ready to witness you do your thing in the way you do. For that moment you love it, the hard work has paid off and finally everyone loves you for your performance, your passion. But, in that very same moment, the bright lights may not necessarily reflect the reality of your mental state. It is so important to spread the message that it is ok for musicians to open up and speak about such issues and get the help and support they may need.


Of course, the music industry is not the only sector where people face mental health issues but, a study from Help Musicians UK found that musicians are three times more likely to experience depression. Recent suicides from musicians such as Chester Bennington and Scott Hutchison magnify the severity of the issue and have led to music industry professionals to open up about their struggles.


 Olly Alexander (Years & Years) is a great example of the benefit of speaking up and talking about struggles with mental health. He has shed an enormous amount of light on the issue which in turn, caused fans to react by sending positive messages of support and then sharing their own personal stories with him and one another.

Similarly, Newcastle based band Deep.sleep recently released ‘Drive.’ It conveys a very important message about mental health within the music industry.

 “The song has a strong message about mental health within the music industry. With artists dying from the overuse of drugs and fans looking to almost pin the blame on circumstances relating to their career, the problem is that the problem itself starts at home and if you don’t do something about it, it’s going to take over your life, a message that the band want to spread.” – Rebel Rebel Artists

 There is no question that by speaking out about mental health has had an impact as the problem becomes acknowledged and attitudes change. It is simply ok not to be ok, and although there is a long way to go, it is essential that we understand the importance of coming together to ensure that no one feels isolated or alone when struggling with their mental health. Help Musician UK are a fantastic charity dedicated to supporting those in the music industry.

With the highs and lows of performing, financial insecurity and anti-social working hours, we want to help ensure that those who pursue a career in music will not have to do so at the expense of their mental health.

If you do feel you need support then do not hesitate to get in contact. Their latest mental health campaign #MusicMindsMatter launched in 2017 and is the charity's commitment to launch a dedicated support line and service for the UK music industry.

Music Minds Matter 24/7 support line and service operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Music Minds Matter is a support line and service for the whole UK music community.- Call 0808 802 8008. Or visit the website if you need someone to turn to, do not suffer in silence.



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We have a fast growing and vibrant music community within Kent and we will be introducing you to original up and coming bands for you to grow to love! Make sure you go and follow the bands, add them to your playlists and get yourself to a live show, you will not be disappointed! Bands are not listed in any particular order, they are all superbly unique and offer something different.



SPINNER is an iconic 3-piece British rock band in the making, offering a multi-influenced retro-modern sound, that is all their own!

Step aboard the SPINNER train for an incredible experience of musical and lyrical artistry that is a feast for the senses.

Our top track: Setting Sun



Grapefruit are an incredibly exciting indie band hailing from Maidstone, Kent. They offer an enchanting and atmospheric live experience and are influenced by the likes of The Smiths, Joy Division, Warpaint, Peggy Sue, Florence + The Machine, Amy Winehouse and Fleetwood Mac.

Our top track: Colder

Unit 48

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Unit 48 is a Kent based experimental funk/pop band. Their recent live recorded track Dopamine Girls, was an absolute hit with us. Check them out for something entirely original and fresh.

Our top track: Dopamine Girls



Thrift formed in 2015 and they continue to develop their own breed of indie pop-punk infused with psychedelic influences. What makes thrift stand out is their fearless approach to trying something new. The psychedelic sounds full of variations keep tracks exciting and extremely unique.

 Our top track: Widows Bed  

The Ovines

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 Made in Medway The Ovines are a high energy ska/punk/indie band that just have that something you want more of. There’s no messing about with these guys it is all or nothing in the live environment, so embrace yourselves for a wild one.

 Our top track: Fish Tank


Fortune Favours

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 Fortune Favours are a hard rock band hailing from Maidstone Kent and bring you a fresh, modern sound to the rock scene fusing together a plethora of influences spanning genres from classic rock, blues, punk and metal. Their latest EP titled High Stakes takes you on a wild and rocky ride with heavy guitar riffs acting as the main driving force.

Our top track: Devil In Disguise


The Word

 The Word is a tea-rock band from Kent. They first got together in 2017 much due to their mutual love for The Beatles (The name was taken from a Beatles song) which sums up the band well - these are 4 young lads who aspire to write and perform music to the same standard as the biggest bands around, past and present. Their music is filled to the bursting point with guitar licks, harmonies and catchy melodies. The 60’s, 70’s and 90’s blend of influences really give The Word a creative edge and we highly recommend adding them to your playlists and getting yourself down to a show!

Our top track: Fish In The Sea

Samuel Ashton

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Samuel Ashton is a Canterbury based musician whose music draws influence from modern soul artists such as Michael Kiwanuka, Paolo Nutini, Leon Bridges and Nathaniel Rateliff.

Samuel's voice blends smooth blues, soul and country tones, which add weight to his songwriting. Equipped with a fresh full sound accompanied by the band he promises each occasion will be one to remember.

Our top track: Send Me Angels

Aid Lewis


Aid Lewis is singer, songwriter, performer and lover of life. Through his music he tells stories of life, love, experience and society.His latest offering and debut album touches on the joys of love and passion, heartache, & Worlds current state.

Our top track: Love


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BODHI Music is determined to explore new levels of spirituality and oneness through the joy of music. They are a five piece band consisting of Nusty Rayles (Guitar) Ben Rutherford (Bass) Oskars Petersons (Drums) Daniel Williams (guitar and saxophone) and Mike (vocals, guitar.) Much of our music focuses on the escape from the perils of modern society such as technology, social media and self validation and encourages a journey inward to escaping modern illusions.

Our Top Track: Vanilla Sky

Raw Step Who?

Our story begins in late 2017. A group of musicians from Kent, decided that we wanted to do more to help out local artists gain experience performing live at better quality gigs. Gigs that hit the right target audience for the act and in turn created an electrifying live atmosphere. We began to make contact with various different bands explaining our vision. We took on some bands and began approaching venue owners and events teams and also explained to them our vision. From here, we began to pair artists styles with the venues that would really enable the bands to thrive as audiences greatly appreciated them. We soon started expanding to the point where we needed help running this vision as a business. That’s when we reached out to The Princes Trust Enterprise Programme. They taught us the ins and outs of running a business and we soon began to progress and reach out to bigger clients, creating more exciting opportunities for our musicians. We have placed and continue to place acts in different exciting music events all over the UK and we cannot wait for some of the performances we have lined up! We are now looking at other ways in which we can support musicians other than through live performance. We are launching RSN Live which will be a promotional video service available to our musicians, we have began reviewing band releases, created our own music blog, built an event tracker, interviewed bands, created Spotify playlists and so on. We wouldn't be where we are today without the support we have received from charitable organisations and it is essential to keep this cycle going and so we have partnered with colleges to create placement schemes for students looking to get into working within the creative industries. We look forward to this new angle of our business and there is still a long way to go but, we will continue to develop ideas that make our vision slowly take its place in reality. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of our journey so far!

Follow our playlist for to hear all our featured bands!

Have You Heard These Top Function Bands?

This week’s edition of the Raw Step Network blog features some of the most talented function bands available to hire through RSN. Each band offers a truly unique experience and you can expect audiences to be completely wowed by their performances. These guys are all seriously good!

The Neotones


Stephanie Ticknell Smith - Lead Vocals, Darren Taggart - Guitar & Backing Vocals, Richard Nicholson - Bass & Backing Vocals, Alex Nelson - Drums

The Neotones are a four piece female fronted Pop/Funk/Rock band. Never seen them before? You are missing out majorly. The last time I witnessed their phenomenal performance the night ended with bar staff and Stephanie singing and dancing along the bar. All the while the sound and tightness of the band did not become compromised. They seriously know how to get the night going and you will not stop dancing, singing along and just having the time of your life. The Neotones set consists of both old and new hits (listen below) and each track is performed with energy, enthusiasm and pure professional talent. If you would like to experience The Neotones live then cancel your plans tomorrow night and head to The Huntsman, Rochester 8:45pm. My words cannot do the band justice you have to watch, listen and feel the vibe they create…absolutely mind blowing.

Upcoming Shows

The Huntsman Rochester, FRI 17th NOV 8:45PM

Meltin' Joel

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Gifted, dynamic and passionate about the music they perform, you can expect nothing short of a magnificent live music show from Meltin’ Joel. They are a piano based Rock/Blues/Funk/Soul band and have the talent to tailor their set to your event’s needs. Intense vocals from Peter Smith will ripple through the room captivating you with a sensation of that good vibe feeling we all crave. His vocals are supported by the rest of the band holding together the finest of performances. They have the ability to mix it up and keep you anticipating what is to come. Truly on the edge of your seat stuff, that is until you inevitably are up dancing the night away. Meltin’ Joel perform a very dynamic set full of everyone’s favourite songs. If you catch these guys live, throw in a request! Listen below to a medley performed at Brands Hatch Race Circuit working alongside RSN.


Dulcie May Moreno

Pure class and dazzling with sass, Dulcie May Moreno’s performance will always deliver the most spectacular Jazz and Soul Nights. She performs as a duo, trio or full band line-up going out as the Interstellar Soul Band. Regardless each performance oozes with sophistication and is performed with an elegance that can effortlessly fill a venue with atmospheric bliss. Dulcie Performs variation of classics from the likes of Marvin Gaye through to Beyoncé and each track is influenced by a smooth soul style that is executed perfectly by a professional band line-up. Dulcie will be performing at The George, Rochester on Saturday 18th November from 8:30PM. Do not miss out on the top quality talent on show.

Upcoming Show

The George Pub, City Way, Rochester  SAT-18th NOV 8:30

Looking To Discover The Hottest New Original Bands?


Guitar- James Wood, Bass- Craig Barden, Drums- Dan Maggs


For those of you that don’t already know these boys, it is really time for you to start listening. Expect beautifully constructed guitar melodies, intense bass lines, hard-hitting beats and the icing on the cake, rich vocal harmonies. The band is influenced by the likes of The Who, The Jam and Oasis, but, offers a truly refreshing and modern sound. The Gallerys originality has been accomplished by fusing and underpinning other influences of indie and alternative rock, creating a new and unique Britpop sound. The band really comes alive during their energetic and tight live performances oozing with passion and dedication to the stage. Want to experience The Gallerys live? View their upcoming shows below.

NOV 24 – 02 Academy Islington LDN

DEC 15 – Concorde 2 Brighton

DEC 23- Lock 17 & Dingwalls

DEC 29 – Tunbridge Wells Forum



Louis Jones, Jack Elliott, Aiden Wallis, Jakob Moore, Sam Jones

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When I witnessed White Heat live I was instantly drawn in and captivated by their performance. Hit with raw and crunchy guitar sections, supported by melodic and meaningful vocals with bold drumming that holds the performances together, I couldn’t take my eyes of the stage. The band’s sound has a real indie alternative rock vibe enhanced by a 90’s influence. What I believe really separates White Heat from the rest is the unique transitions within song sections. I felt the music and with each song I eagerly anticipated where that feeling was going to take me. I highly recommend catching one of their shows to fully grasp the talents of the band. They have that something special.



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If you are looking to discover a new Indie Pop artist then look no further. You will be instantly hooked by Harrys cleverly assembled guitar parts that create the mood and scene for something BIG…and it delivers. The guitar parts are supported and built upon by punchy bass lines and solid beats that compliment a catchy sound that really sticks with you. There is an element of funk to the tracks most noticeable in “streetlights” and this pumps the progression forward and takes the sound to another level. All the while this big sound is going on the vocals are striking and add another layer of pure brilliance. You can listen to both EP’s below and you will have to be patient enough to wait until July 2018 for his much anticipated Album.

Upcoming Shows

24 Jan-  Zigfrid von Underbelly of Hoxton


If you have an event and would like any of the above bands to perform then contact Raw Step Network now! Thank you!

Blog by Sam Simmons ( The Simmons Brothers Project)