Performing at the Auckland Bluegrass Club


Of course there are no hard and fast rules saying where one genre stops and another begins, but the focus is on the club genres, in much the same way as the Irish club or the blues club focus on Irish or blues music.

Guest evenings first half

In a guest evening we generally have about 5 or 6 first half performers singing 1 or 2 songs each. If you are from out of town and making a special visit you may get an extra song.  All this might means not everybody can be fitted in.  If you miss out or are new to performing, a club concert will probably suit you better.

If you are not sure whether to practice or whether to bring your instruments for a first half floor spot email well beforehand and ask for a spot.

Club concert night

Club concert nights are not for only for experienced performers but a time we also encourage less experienced performers to get up, limited by the time available. If you  want to have a go – practice up some songs and put your name down with the MC.  At the end of the evening we generally have a jam, see jamming etiquette.


Although gifted solo performers are welcome, we encourage performers to play with others, as we are a social club and it is suits our genres. There are lots of experienced musicians who will happily help back you, and the MC will help you find some backers if you are shy to ask.

Get your instruments ready

If you have a performing slot the MC will tell  you who the preceding performer will be. Please have your instrument ready and tuned, as it is very disruptive to have a performer called upon to play who then starts banging around in the guitar cases.

Don’t start with excuses

Please don’t get up and apologise or make excuses – saying things like you haven’t practiced, or it probably won’t be any good, or you don’t really know the song, or whatever.    Everybody has moments of doubt just as you are about to launch into a song, especially the feeling that you didn’t practice enough.  Hide it like the pros do.


Here’s a tip you can see by watching good performers. If you are singing you will give a far better performance if you learn the words. Even if you keep a lyric sheet in front of you ‘just in case’,  you will end up looking at it all the time instead of interacting with the audience.  Professionals learn the words for a reason. If you are desperate, do what the pros do and write the first couple of words of each verse on a paper and put it on the floor or somewhere where you can see it if you have a brain fade.

Singing is better standing up

Of course you can sing sitting down, but standing up is better.  When was the last time you went to a big time concert where the singer was sitting down? (Yes yes, Elton John or some other pianist, but they are forced to sit down by their instrument.)

Use an electronic tuner

Use an electronic tuner and trust it. It is very easy to tune up and then play a test chord and then worry that you are out of tune.  If so, use tuner to recheck. Unless you happen to be an audio demi-god, don’t torture the audience with your tuning- put your ego to one side, buy a tuner and use it like pros do.

(There is a real scientific reason why a guitar tuned perfectly by ear to, say, the chord E, will sound out of tune when you play the G chord.  To find out more Google just tuning and equal temperament tuning or watch  Howard Goodall’s Big Bangs Ep2 Equal Temperament)