Have you ever wondered how to throw an awesome event as a musician?
As an independent artist, concerts and events are some of the most important sources of revenue you can come by. More than just cash, events offer you a powerful instance to maximize fan engagement and allow you to broadcast your brand message directly to listeners. That moment where you reach over the crowd, shake a hand at the entrance, or give your 2 cents between a track are the memories fans will hold onto for the rest of their lives, and memories are worth more than gold.
If you're going to throw an event, here's a quick guide to help you plan. So long as you consider each element on this checklist, you will have the right perspective moving through the unknown until your special day.
1. Prioritize Your Event Goals and Pick a Theme
Setting reasonable goals is one of the most crucial elements in learning how to prepare for a concert or event. Ask yourself the question; what do you hope to achieve with this concert? Be it brand notoriety or making bank, prioritizing will allow you to pick the nitty-gritty details without any anxiety.
Once you've determined this order start working top to bottom from the essentials to the perks. Is having a VIP gift basket more important than a sponsor? Does security need to be at every table or every existence? Does your venue need to be high end or will an industrial space do the trick?
The best live music performances are driven by a concept or subject. Everything at an event—from the audience to the location and other activities—as well as the style of the event's decorations and merchandise—is influenced by this idea. Once your priority list is aligned, your theme is going to answer most of the remaining questions as to what everything is going to look like, and how it will be experienced by the guests.
Think about the people at your event while choosing a theme and aesthetic. Remember, if you don't buy it, neither will they. It is not about finding something trendy, it is about finding originality in presenting your brand and an appropriate delivery for your crowd.
2. Establish a Budget That is Realistic
It can be tempting to calculate your budget by estimating how many people will attend your concert, multiplying that number by the estimated ticket price, and adding the results together.
But that is incorrect. Before anything else, you'll need a detailed budget plan to ensure that you have enough money to cover costs, account for emergencies, and turn a profit (if that's one of your goals). Think first out of pocket, second your personal investors, third your sponsors, and finally a producer, as they will surely be expecting a heavy percentage of the overall sales.
Create a line item for each category and use the remaining items on this list to decide what you'll need for your event.
Always take into account a slush fund that represents between 10 to 20 percent of your funds dedicated to emergencies and unforeseen costs. This will ensure that you are prepared for everything that may arise.
3. Find a Talented Lineup that Includes Yourself
The ambiance of your event will be largely influenced by the musical talent you invite. Depending on the kind of talent you wish to hire, this can also be one of your key budget lines.
If you're the headliner of your own party, you will be cutting costs in a pretty efficient way, and inviting your collaborators to join in the fun. If you are inviting a bigger name than yourself to build new relationships, keep in mind that top talent takes top dollar unless you have a convincing or unique type of advantage to offer them via the event.
Look for talent that complements the theme and goals of your event. There is no point in attempting to showboat your brand if it can't handle the response and pay for the follow-up. Make sure that their audience and the one you are targeting for the event have a lot in common when picking performers. For instance, the last thing you want is a band performing for a mostly senior citizen-filled gathering while you promote a millennial post-apocalyptic brand, it needs to fit. Even if your performer is the hottest act in town, if it is too far off target you will have created your own PR disaster.
Remember that if you hire talent from outside the area, you'll probably have to foot the bill for their travel. If you're not careful, this could push you beyond your budget. Selecting local talent will allow you to cut costs and increase your notoriety in the community so stay local unless it's really really worth it.
Bringing in top talent is an opportunity to expand your sponsors. If you're dead set on bringing bigger fish to the table, try and target brands or investors that will come along with the name. But whatever you do, STAY ON TARGET!
4. Pick a Venue That Fits Your Crowd
Numerous locations are prepared for accepting live music, from bars, lounges, and restaurants, to event halls, parks, and stadiums.
If you intend to use an indoor location, confirm that it has a stage and seating arrangement that are appropriate for the style of music you have selected. It should also have expertise in hosting live music because sound engineers or techs are an absolute must.
Outdoor locations can be terrific options if you have a barbecue element and or rustic-styled theme. Despite having greater production expenses and more weather-related unknowns, outdoor locations have a charm that is hard to match with an indoor venue and allows for greater flexibility regarding capacity.
If you do decide on an outside setting, be sure to prepare a backup plan in case of weather, including rain, snow, wind, heat, cold, and other environmental factors. Big tents can only solve so much, your gear needs to be properly weatherproofed or at least organized in a way to minimize any kind of backlash.
The crowd will have an impact on the energy of your show, and the size of your venue will have a significant impact on the crowd. It's usually preferable to choose a somewhat smaller venue that you're confident you can fill because the crowd's energy will be affected greatly by the space.
As soon as you've agreed on that crucial piece of the jigsaw, the rest of the event's elements will start to fall into place, so you should book your venue as soon as possible. Your relationship with the venue is an important factor to consider in your progress, don't piss them off, and don't oversell your hand, make a promise and deliver.
5. Event Permits and Liability Insurance
You might need to obtain permission for alcohol, food, music, and even sometimes the event itself depending on the venue you choose and the city you are in.
To determine what you need for your circumstance, check with your venue and the relevant municipal authorities. Regulatory elements may divert some thematic factors of the event but overall, unless you are throwing a bush rave, you will have to work through them or risk facing legal penalties.
Purchasing insurance for your event is another smart move. A lot of events will have security, medical and damages covered by a daily insurance contract, usually costing a per-person amount so your numbers should be well evaluated prior to meeting a broker. Many common accidents will be covered, and your venue might even insist on it,
MPT Agency Event Tip: don't cheap out on security find more sponsors and pay to have things on lockdown
6. Set the Time and Date in Stone
Your target audience and the nature of your event will determine the best day and time. A nighttime environment, where you need lighting and backdrops to build the mood and tone, works better for some themes but is not a rule of thumb.
Other ideas and settings, especially those outdoors, will be more manageable logistically for daytime parties and may cost less in logistical setups.
Remember that your audience will have times that are most convenient for them as well. To choose the optimum day and time for your concert, consider factors like school, work, and holiday calendars. A lot of events have been botched because the artist chose something that was appropriate for them but had a more powerful cultural instance at the same time.
Once it is analyzed and decided to avoid changing it at all costs, a canceled event or altered time that was caused by an unpredictable event is forgivable, everything else demonstrates a lack of preparedness.
7. Identify the equipment that is required when you are about to throw an awesome event as a musician
Determine what equipment you'll need for the performance and whether the venue can provide any of it or not. By speaking with your musical talent and the location you can easily get a checklist and evaluate if the venue or even the act will be worth it. A stage, speakers, microphones, a sound system, lighting, and other audio/visual gear may be included with the venue, but specialized equipment is seldom found for live music.
Find out from your musical talent what gear they will be bringing themselves and what you are in charge of. Consider the acoustics of your venue, if the musical performance will require any amplification, the best seating arrangements, and the space's dead zones.
Make sure you have a plan in place to shield the equipment from the elements if your venue is outside. Ask how long setup and breakdown will take, as well as whether they require access to electricity, a loading dock, or any other special access, as you consult with vendors, performers, and the venue to establish your equipment needs.
You must include these specifics in your plan if you want to prevent costly blunders.
8. Construct a Cozy Atmosphere
Establishing or equipping a backstage area will keep your talent at ease and aid in their preparation. Any semi-private or private section in your venue can serve as this location, but it must be conveniently located near the restrooms and the stage.
By giving your musical talent access to water, soft drinks, snacks, and other modest essentials, you can make the backstage area comfortable and double it down as a VIP.
If they require space to change, warm up, or rest in between sets, let them know in advance. The ease of use for your audience will depend on where they can find restrooms, drinks, and comfortable seats. If your site is outdoors, ensure there is adequate protection from the elements or have a backup plan in case of bad weather. Make sure to include a plan for everyone's safety as well.
In accordance with the size of your audience and the available space, you should have enough security, medical support, and event assistants each with dedicated zones covering their needs.
9. Start the Ticket Sales Early
You'll need to sell tickets if you want to profit from the show.
To provide printed or digital tickets for your event, you can collaborate with a ticketing provider but ultimately a spreadsheet and a clipboard will do the trick.
Some ticketing platforms let you use your own branding on the tickets, accept several payment options, and have different price tiers. Many will also come with a website for tickets and social media account integration. The concert's time and date should be properly displayed on the ticket, along with information about where to sit and a clear return/refund policy.
MPT Agency Event Tip: Have a return policy that makes sense with your budget, don't feel obliged if you are working on a tight ship, your fans may be loyal but it is a public event.
10. The Promo Cycle
The success of your concert will be directly correlated to how well it is promoted. Just like any other event. You'll need a marketing strategy that considers your event's concept, target market, and the musical talent you've enlisted.
Make sure to focus more on a single channel to vector your fan base and give them information about the event. When collaborating with other talents to spread the word, your artistic assets like posters & flyers need to be adaptable so they can use it where ever their niche may be. With the aid of event partners, you may broaden your audience and communicate your message more effectively. Your event can benefit from the support of sponsors, vendors, concert promoters, ticket dealers, and the venue. Get everyone on board with the idea and objectives of the event, and make it simple for them to promote.
By offering social media, email, and print assets that they can share, you can get everyone on the same page about the idea and objectives of the event and make it simple for them to promote it. Don't forget to take pictures and videos both before and during the event. When you follow up on the event, these will become marketing gold, and they could be really helpful if you're thinking about turning it into a series or repeating it the following year.
MPT Agency's How to Throw an Awesome Event as a Musician
In MusicPromoToday's marketing catalog the event world is a key focus, as this is where our artists can strut their stuff. Without your promo amounting to a concert or super event, you are only displaying a fragment of your talent. Be bold, believe, and if you have stage fright get over that as soon as you can, this key element in your artist toolbox cannot be ignored or substituted for anything else.
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