GigPress: Free WordPress Plugin for Musicians & Bands
GigPress turns a simple WordPress website into a powerful CMS for musicians, bands, artists, other performers, and performance centers. It comes as an easy to install plugin and adds a GigPress tab inside WordPress Administration menu. Using this tab, you can add and manage shows, performances, artists, venues, and tours. It does not affect your website’s settings and layout so you can manage your shows along with other content.
GigPress is also an ideal solution for performance centers to manage artists and shows, announce upcoming events, and sell tickets on their WordPress powered site without changing their existing setup.
In this post we will download and install GigPress, and then we will set up a simple website for a music band using the default WordPress Theme, Twenty Eleven.
Downloading and installing Gigpress is simple. Once you have downloaded the plugin, go to your website’s admin area, click on Plugins, click on Add new, then click on Upload, and finally upload and activate gigpress.zip file. After the installation a new GigPress tab will appear in WordPress Admin Menu on the left.
Adding Shows, Performances and Artists
Before we set up our website, lets take some time filling in some data so that we can set up our website easily later on. GigPress allows you to add and manage the following items:
You can also manage GigPress settings for advance configuration, and import and export all your GigPress data from the main administration menu.
You can start by either adding a show or an artist. You can also add an artist, or venue, or tour while adding a show. Once you are done adding some performances, shows, artists and venues. It is time to show this data on your website.
Configuring your Theme For GigPress
Actually the heading is misleading, in fact, you don’t need to configure your WordPress theme to take advantage of GigPress features. All you need to do is to use shortcodes inside WordPress page or posts to display GigPress data.
For example, the Orange Cats (our fictional band in this scenario) want to display a list of their shows on the navigation menu. To do that we create a new WordPress page and name it “Shows” and add
[gigpress_shows] shortcode to it. After publishing that page, we go to Appearance > Menus and add the page “Shows” to navigation menu. Now clicking on Shows will display all the shows like this:
Showing Past and Upcoming Shows Separately
GigPress shortcode accept many parameters and you can learn more about these on official GigPress Documentation. The Orange Cats want to display their past performances and upcoming shows on two different pages. They also want to have two different Navigational Menu items on their site’s navigational menu.
We create two pages in WordPress, the first one, we will name it “Past Shows” and add this shortcode to it before saving it:
Then we will create another WordPress page for Upcoming Shows and add this shortcode to it:
Add both these pages to Navigational Menu in Appearance > Menus. The end result will look something like this:
Setting Up Blog and Homepage with GigPress Widget
For the sake of this tutorial we are using Twenty Eleven WordPress theme, which comes with a showcase template. This template is for the sites that want to have a main page separate from their blog to showcase different type of content on their website. It picks up the content from the page you set in Settings > Reading as your static homepage. It also displays recent posts below the content of the static page, and a sidebar where you can add more content to showcase.
Many other WordPress themes come with Homepage templates, with different layouts and styles than Twenty Eleven. However, Since we are not modifying anything code specific so I think this can be done on almost any other WordPress theme.
Create two empty pages in WordPress, name one of them ‘Home’ and the other ‘Blog’. Now go to Settings > Reading and set “Front page displays” to “A static page” below this you can choose which page to be displayed as your static page and which page to be used for posts. Choose Home for your static page and blog for your posts page.
Now if you are using Twenty Eleven, edit the ‘Home’ page and on the edit screen, in the Page Attributes meta box, under Template, select “Showcase Template”. If you are using some other WordPress theme then use a template from your theme designed to be a static homepage.
Go to Appearance > Widgets and add GigPress widget to your Sidebar and Showcase Sidebar areas. GigPress widgets has many parameters, to display content. If you have performed many shows in the past then you would probably want to display only the upcoming performances. Or you may want to display shows from this month or year alone. Set these configuration options to meet your needs.
Extra GigPress Features and Data Portability
GigPress works out of the box, but for advanced users there are some extra settings that can be configured from Settings page. For example, you can set the URL where site visitors can check out upcoming shows, this URL can be the page you created for your upcoming shows using the GigPress, or it could also be an external URL.
GigPress data can be exported without exporting WordPress posts and data. It has a built in tool to export all your shows, venues, artists to a csv format file. This file can later be used to import data into another GigPress installation.
GigPress integrates into your WordPress website so you don’t have to create separate websites or logins for different sections of your website. You can blog, manage a website, as well as manage your live performances.
Related Posts: You can add a link to a post on your blog or website about a particular show. For the past shows you can add pictures and tell your website visitors how it went. For upcoming shows you can keep fans updated about the event.
RSS Feeds, Calendars: Fans can easily keep themselves upto date with RSS feeds and Google Calendar and iCal download links for each performance.
I found GigPress to be a reliable and powerful solution to manage live performances for artists, bands and other performers. It is well maintained, well documented and there is community support available for those who need it.