Event management is a machine with many moving parts. If you are a promoter and/or planner who is relatively new to the process, you’ll quickly learn that when one part fails, it all stops working in your favor. What you’re then left with are events that go over budget and under expectations, facilitating a bad experience for everyone involved.
Those who have gone through the process before know from experience what a difficult enterprise it can be. That’s why if you’re promoting or planning an event for the first time, you should understand that without the advice of those who have “been there, done that,” you’re very likely making newbie mistakes that could negatively affect everyone’s experience. This includes the bands or entertainment participating, the audience or attendees, and the staff working the event, among others.
You can Google event planning and promotion, and you’ll likely find a lot of tips. Some might be tips written by a content writer who has only learned about the process from internet searches, which means their suggestions may or may not be applicable in a real-world setting. When it comes down to other people’s money and time, those who plan and promote the event are in a precarious situation – knowing that success or failure, gains or losses, will ultimately fall back on them.
For this reason, we have put together some of the best tips offered by seasoned event planners/managers and concert promoters. In it, you will find valuable advice on everything from choosing the venue and location, to choosing a date, analyzing costs, choosing entertainment, booking entertainment, promoting the event, and event logistics. Keep in mind that these are tips written by people who have a lot of real-world experience and have made mistakes that they can advise you against making. Knowing what to avoid doing is often half of the battle.
Venue and Location
“Determine the price of the venue. This is important because you will need to know how much revenue you need for the production. Also how much you will be selling tickets.”
–Olivia Wachter, (@olivia_wachter)
“Choosing a venue is the most important as it will have the largest impact on the event. The planning and date ultimately all depends on the venue. This will provide the place for many people to gather, so the number of attendees the venue can hold is crucial especially for concerts where there are standing tickets available. The layout and floor plan of the venue is also of significance. The flow of traffic is to be continuous especially if it is a large event. Use of stage decoration and acoustics are also something to contemplate (many artist who do this well make an amazing impression for fans!). If there will be event activities you may still require this.”
– Lauren McDermott (@laurenmcdx), All About The Sound
“Pick the right venue. When I first started thinking about booking entertainment for concerts, I will admit that the importance of venue selection did not dawn on me. But it is extremely important to pick the right size venue with the correct ambiance when hosting a concert. This is especially integral for acapella performances, where room acoustics have such a big impact on the final product. Take some time to talk to your entertainment to make sure you can book the perfect venue.”
– Rijul Asri (@theraexperience), RA Experience
“Stay abreast of any, all venues within your 50-100 mile radius any what they have for the same day u have in mind. This should be done especially of the venues that deal directly with your intended clientele.”
– Mike Low, The Classic Empire
“Once the deposit is made don’t rely on ticket sales to pay the other half of the artist fee.”
– Essex Porter
“Every event planner/concert promoter must feel comfortable talking about money even if they are booking a celebrity who is making an appearance for free. Money could be in terms of paying the celebrity fees or could be in terms of logistics and accommodation including their entourage & staff ( this might require negotiations). Having a good budget that covers these areas is one of the first things to put in place.”
– Rockkie (@theguestshop)
“We have all made the mistake of letting the excitement of booking an artist run away with us. It’s is crucial to have a financial plan in place before signing your contract request the tech rider And artist rider and do your math. Some touring rock band production alone can almost match the band fee.“
– Christian Johnson, Shantaram Events UK
Choosing An Artist
“Go straight to the [official agent] if possible. A lot of people who have connections to the artist and will act as booking agents and increase the artist rate far beyond what the rate would be if you went to the source furthermore, because they are not the actual booking agent there could be a conflicting date that will leave you without an artist.
– Essex Porter
“Always, and I mean ALWAYS, have a backup. There is nothing worse than an event with no entertainment, and it’s life, things happen, and a plan B is extremely importance to ensure a successful event.”
– Steve Branco, BUZZ PR
“When was the last time the entertainer performed in your area? How did that show go? Talk to the past promoter and get constructive feedback”
– Brennan Haelig (@BHaelig), Strange Oasis Entertainment
“Before actually booking the celebrity, go and check out their social media platforms. Here is where you can look at their past events and see how the turn out was before you make a bad investment. Don’t be afraid to peruse the comments either to see the reaction of fans or commentators to this celebrity. After all it’s all about catering to an a audience. Who you may think is popular and important, others might not feel the same.”
– Marquies Jones (@trendyfiguree)
“Since we are a nonprofit, this is important for 2 reasons. (1) We are always seeking the best price for our cause, so connecting the artist to the worthiness of our mission is critical for our bottom line negotiations. (2) We want the artists to feel an emotional connection to our mission so that they will represent it from the stage and work just as hard as we do to ensure that our crowds are satisfied yet linked to fundamental reason they are there.”
– Heather Palmer, Sanctuary Hospice
Booking the Celebrity
“Make sure the artist does not have another show the night before too close to yours, that may pull potential clients from your venue.”
– Eddie Leach, Kenkay Industrial Services
“If your event is a fundraiser for a non-profit – be sure to mention that as some performers will lower their rate or allow for a portion of their proceeds to go to the non-profit.”
– Craig Fernandes (@patriot_threads), Patriot Threads
“Being prepared to work with the agent is creating a script with all the details prepared prior to making the phone call to the agency. Knowing exact dates, genera times, length of performance, special requests, meet and greets, stage limitations, etc. These are all things agents are going to want to know up front to bring to their clients.”
– Paige Grasby, Town of Oakville
Promoting the Event
“When booking entertainment, a great promotional team is crucial. You’ll need to devise a system that engages the demographic on a daily basis. Social media is the main source for this, but you could also build a street team who will help you pass out flyers.”
– Ian Cunningham (@Widow_Beats), Studio 72 Sessions
“Good Promotion is KEY … you can have the best line up, but if your promotion is not constant focused on your audience it gets to be very complicated.. dont relay just on the name of the artist or show you booked you have to have a good promotion.”
– Lorena Valdes Lopez (@lorsvaldes), Vago Music and Entertainment
“Properly design effective promotion. I’ve seen various instances where promoters book artists for thousands of dollars and didn’t invest a dollar in any promotion like radio. You often find these types of situations in smaller markets.”
–Al Greene, The Cool Crew
“Always have everything on the technical rider on point! From sound to lights / visuals. If any issues call or mail the tour manager with the issues in good time beforehand show.”
– Ralph Myerz (@ralphmyerz)
“Make sure you have the right stuff. I say, ask a professional to review the specs of your system and the requirements of the rider. Ask your congregation if anyone is in the field professionally to help you, you might be surprised”
– Brian Coles (@coles_brian)
Do you have some tips for booking entertainment for an event? Please let us know in the comments section.