Throwing Your Own Concert in Seven Steps

throwing a concert

There are many variables to consider when throwing your own concert – keep these seven things in mind

Spend any time in a city and you’ll notice there are major events going on all the time.

Random Tuesdays have great live music acts all around town, Saturdays in the spring you can expect music festivals and outdoor concert series. And Fridays? Don’t get me started on everything exciting that happens on Fridays.

There is always a buzz around town and it usually revolves around music.

If you have a love for music and event coordination, maybe throwing your own concert is a worthwhile endeavor.

It is an exhilarating experience – but it can present its fair share of challenges and headaches.

There’s a lot to consider and you’ll need to make sure to give yourself a good amount of time to get through it all, but consider the following and you’ll be well on your way to hosting a successful show, no matter what time of year.

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Preparation Begins With Time

Begin by considering the size of your event:

  • How many people do you expect to show up?
  • How many artists will you have performing?

These two questions are key in understanding how much time it will take you to fully prepare for a successful show. If you’re hosting the show in a public space give yourself several months to fully research permitting requirements.

Remember to give yourself time to remedy unexpected setbacks such as scheduling conflicts as well.

Determine the Right Venue

When considering a venue there’s a lot of factors you need to keep in mind. Start with size – if you don’t think you can sell the place out then it’s too big. At the very least you want the show to have the appearance of being sold out.

There’s nothing worse for a concerts energy than a sparse crowd. You’d rather turn people away, then stare out at a sea of empty seats on your big night.

Another major decision is whether it will be in a public or private space.

A public space, such as a park, could potentially be cheaper, but will come with a lot more restrictions and paperwork. Private spaces can be controlled a little easier, and are less upsetting to neighbors, but can be more expensive.

Keep in mind what time you will be hosting the event and how that could be affected by noise ordinances. If you’re planning on going late make sure the venue can accommodate that. Other things to consider are the acoustics of the space, the sound engineers on hand and the size the stage relative to the acts you plan on booking.

What About the Music? 

Chances are if you’re throwing a concert for the first time, you probably don’t have much funding and are probably throwing something smaller in scope.

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Determine the right size venue for your event, of you may stare back at empty seats rather than raving fans

Obviously you love music and most assuredly follow bands in your area. I would recommend booking local bands to start out with. Use your social network to find any connections you may have to local artists. Also keep an eye out on touring schedules. Your event may be on the route between shows for an artist you love and if a band can pick up some extra cash (obviously relative to the size of the artist and your budget, i.e. you’re not going to book Radiohead) usually they’re more than happy to do so.

Create a Budget (and stick to it)

How many people can you reasonably expect to show up and what is a reasonable cost they’d pay for admission? Work out the numbers in advance, so you can have an idea of gross revenue. Once you have an idea of revenue, you can determine how much you are willing to pay in expenses both in labor and materials (i.e. venue costs, artist fees, marketing, security, stage managers, sound engineers).

If you guesstimate you can bring in 1,000 people by charging them $20 for tickets, then you know the basis of how much you can spend to run the event and still make a profit.

Think about how you are going to get people to pay. Cash is always an option, but this can be limiting. To cover all payment methods consider using a mobile credit card reader. No one carries much cash anymore, providing your audience members the ability to pay by card makes you look professional and can increase ticket sales by way of convenience.

Who Is Your Most Likely Audience?

Who is going to come to your event? You obviously want the biggest turnout possible, so give yourself the best shot at making that happen and hop on the marketing train early.

Make sure and get the word out to your friends, family and coworkers and encourage them to spread the word as well. Leverage social media to market your concert. Create an event on Facebook and depending on your budget consider using Facebook ads to hone in on your audience. Look at people who are interacting with the artists on social media and inform them. Most importantly continually post about the event.

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Who are the people most likely to attend your concert event? Figure that out, and then market directly to them with focus and intention

Social media will be your best tool, but you should also utilize old fashioned tactics like posting flyers at local venues, college campuses, skateparks, urban meeting areas, and record stores.

Cover Your Butt

When hosting a concert there’s a litany of issues that you could potentially become liable for. Stage collapses, equipment mishaps, and audience injuries are just a few of the things that could put a serious dent in your earnings, or worse, a lawsuit. T

o protect you from this you’ll want to purchase event insurance. Rates vary depending on the size of the concert and the time and place of the event, but bottom line it’s necessary.

Know the Competition

Regularly conduct research on events that could be competing with yours. Check Facebook and local event listing to see if similar events are being thrown on or near your date. If something comes up that you believe would significantly eat into your revenue, consider rescheduling.

It might be annoying, but it beats having no one show up to your show.

Hosting a concert is a really rewarding experience that requires much hard work and foresight, but if you put in the time to find good artists, create a realistic budget, find a great venue and properly market your show you’ll create an experience that you’ll never forget.

Maybe you’ll even find a new career while you’re at it!

Brooks Hill is a freelance blogger with a B.S. in Strategic Communication and a minor in History from the University of Utah. In his free time he enjoys DIY projects, playing guitar, discovering new music, writing, mountain biking, camping and socializing with friends.

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