CONCERT PROMOTING TIPS/ FESTIVAL PROMOTING TIPS
CONCERT PROMOTER'S SEQUENCE OF EVENTS or ORDER OF ACTION
Much of this order happens simultaneously. With each new day, you continue to build your event.
For a concert, start about 16-22 weeks out of the intended show date to start.
- What level of funding do you have? This determines your event size.
- Your concept. What do you want to promote? What's your plan?
- What type of event, indoor or outdoor? What size? Which venues are you considering?
- What type of music, particular acts in mind? START RUNNING POLLSTARPRO REPORTS.
Research bands playing to similar venue seating capacities. When did that artist perform there last?
- What city are you promoting in? What other nearby markets are within range of your home market?
- What dates are you interested in, weekends preferably?
- What are the start and ending times of your proposed event?
- What ticket price do you propose? Compare like events; ask around what people would pay.
- Check out the competition. Do your Due Diligence. Research the market.
- What else is planned that weekend that is not directly competitive?
- Weather history on that date, that time of year.
- What are the venue availabilities, terms?
- Do you have a sample facility contract?
- Have you met with the facility manager?
- Walked around the facility; taken notes?
- Permit requirements?
- Organize your computer and hard file folders and categorize that pile of paper in front of you:
- COST SHEET
- MEDIA PRODUCTION
- MEDIA BUYS./ CONTRACTS
- RECORDING CO.
- NOTES, PHONE NOS., EMAILS
- LEGAL/ INSURANCE
- ACCOUNTING/ BANKING
- Calculate the budget. Do you have adequate funding to launch the event?
a. Calculate the breakeven point, costs, and ticket price. Can you make money?
b. Do you have a working bank account?
Have the funds on hand before you make the first commitment!
c. After you have the funding, contact the talent agencies for the acts you are interested in.
Before calling the agent have your venue dates available in front of you.
What are the availabilities of the acts compared to the venue date availabilities?
d. Are the bands within your budget? Are the terms specifically set in the talent contract? The talent buying process and phones calls can take a few days or roll over to couple weeks but is usually consummated with a fax or an email with a "firm bid" from you.
e. Ask of a particular band, "What are they going out for now?" If available, the agent will throw out a figure after asking you the basics, i.e.: "How many seats is the venue; what other acts are playing; ticket price?"
f. Before making a final commitment to the talent agency, check again with the venue on date availability before signing the talent contract. Reserve date at venue now.
- Prepare and fax or email OFFER SHEET to agent, do not snail mail it. Things are moving fast now.
- Request talent contracts and move quickly on reviewing and signing them. Send deposit back with
contract; don't wait. Review Rider carefully first before signing so you know what is being requested
on the back end (% of their merch., special tech./ equipment, backline, can you put their band
name on your Tshirts, how many hotel rooms needed, what else are they asking for?
- If it looks like things are solid, either get ready to amend your existing web site or register a web
address with godaddy.com and secure a server to host your site- now. Start planning your simple
- Reserve Hotel rooms now, estimate of you don't have firm answers from bands yet.
- Ask building for caterer contacts. Reserve 12 seat van at airport.(Enterprise).
20 weeks out
- Set ticket prices based on:
a.) same act's price in other cities @similar venues b) talent price c) market conditions
d) venue size
- Sign Venue contract; pay deposit as soon as you have a firm offer accepted by the talent agent or
- Contact contractors, i.e., sound and lights, stage, stage manger, stagehands, insurance estimate,
security, if outside- commodes and trash; place deposits ASAP to reserve dates. Plug all costs into
- Order tickets asap, select online merchant account/ gateway or independent ticketing agency.
- Secure live location ticket outlets within one week.
- If advertising in magazines, insertion order and ad must be submitted 1½ mos. before release date.
- Contact recording company for support materials; press releases and as many glossy photographs as
possible. Ask about support media for your market, like tags on the back of the recording company's
radio spots or snipes in alternative print media.
- Get the Talent Contract and Backstage/Production Rider to the Production Company or sound and
Lights Company. Keep a copy in your Production file.
- Plan, design and arrange advertising. Meet with radio stations, negotiate promotions. How much trade/ barter?
- Make a Marketing/ Production Calendar so you have in plain site a collective schedule of all of the important times, meetings, deadlines that are important to you. This should be the size of a desk blotter or just use the large monthly desk calendars popular at every office supply store.
12-20 weeks out
- Put tickets on sale asap.
- Send out Press Release stating when they GO ON SALE
- Coordinate tickets on sale with web site.
4-8 weeks out
- Non-Ticketmaster tickets arrive; count each one; compare to ticket Manifest.
- Do you need some non-automated tickets for day of show box office sales.
- Produce radio spots, print ads. Send dubs to stations, get print ads to papers. Make sure, if you have more than one spot, each is dated for start/end time.
- Advertising Schedule starts between 4 and 8 weeks out. Be careful in plotting your media expenditures. You have to sustain whatever campaign you commence. You can't have large gaping holes in your media schedules. You should start most of your media on the same day. Trickling different types of media into the mix generally doesn't give the punch you need when starting a campaign.
2-4 weeks out
- Send out complimentary tickets with promo information to VIPs
- Check production needs and developments. Order Catering.
- Visit ticket outlets once set up; look for signage and information availability; poster?
- Order Catering. Arrange tradeout pizza for crew.
- Customize advertising, change ads to keep them fresh, your copy on all ads, especially any last week-of print ads.should say:
“NEXT WEEKEND" (up to the Sunday night before).
Then, as of Monday say: “THIS WEEKEND", or “THIS SATURDAY NIGHT",
Then, “TOMORROW NIGHT", then “TONIGHT", Box Office opens noon, Doors 7pm.!"
- Track ticket sales daily and where they are buying them.
- Check radio station concert calendar lines, newspaper event calendars, send out postcards reminding important media of upcoming event.
WEEK OF SHOW
- Ensure stage manager has arranged limo and backstage requirements for bands.
- Send a last Press Release. "Show is this weekend". Call reporters.
- Procure Insurance Liability Coverage you asked for 4-8 weeks ago.
DAY BEFORE SHOW
- Make a 1 page Day-Of-Show Production Schedule with latest changes, send to all management.
- Call Stage Manager; is everything ready? What time does he need you there?
- Reconfirm 15-min. security staff meeting. What time? And what time is staff in place?
- Put gas in car today.
- Reconfirm catering arrival, ice and food for crew at lunch at noon or 1pm. Ask your Production guy when is best. It's a nice gesture if you pick up lunch for the crew (stagehands, roadies, light/ sound/ stage operators). Arrange 8' tables for simple lunch buffet for crew (a lot of pizzas you may be able to trade for), or foot long subs, soda, water, chips, some cookies. If you feel generous, energy drinks and energy bars. Always remember veggie eaters when ordering. Figure about 40 people for a 6,000 seat facility.
If you have volunteers in other positions not related to backstage, but they're there during the day, it's
a standard thing to offer them a meal as well. You want your staff full of fuel, hydrated and sharp.
- Important for you to sleep well the night before. Don't stay up late, you will tomorrow night. Don't allow staff to party, they need to be sharp and energetic tomorrow. Turn off and charge your cell phone off.
DAY OF SHOW
- Be at building when it opens, 7AM-9AM whenever Stage Manager arrives.
- Meet with Stage Manager early as possible with final production schedule copies.
- Arrange possible day of show interviews, autograph sessions, radio interviews, etc.; adjust advertising again as necessary. Make sure you get the free publicity- make those newsroom phone calls. It's now a news story and the newsroom is looking for a story is that are happening that day. That's what news is, it's happening right now.
- Day of show: Arrive early A.M.
- Make sure Box Office is open, hang there when possible.
- Inspect stage, backline rentals, backstage, dressing room, white towels.
• Fire extinguishers?
- Check on status of other rider requirements for band.
- Lunch with the band's manager?
- Is sound and lights working? When is sound check?
- Meet with Box Office Manager, prepare to open Box Office 10AM-4PM
- A few hours before opening doors, check all doors, should be secure.
- Call media if necessary, try last minute interviews, stories.
- Sound check. 11am-4pm.
- Check all producers' work; check- stage, sound, lights, facility doors, security, box.
- Office, backstage dressing rooms.
- Check again all day of show publicity appointments (appts.) are met, that the act is there early and picked up early. These appts. should be written down on colored index cards with the what, how, when, contact, phone, email written down and confirmed two days before and then the morning of the appointment again.
- Catering/ beverage delivery to dressing rooms.
- Meet day of show with talent manager. Lunch if possible. Discuss settlement time.
- Meet with ushers, ticket takers.
- OPEN DOORS, monitor all entrances, box office.
- Do you have a pressroom or a place where your PR representative can meet the Press? Be prepared and have spoken to the band's manager first, because the Press will want band interviews, and it is unlikely you will be granted them within 2 hours of the show or immediately thereafter.
- Have the press arrive earlier in the day during sound check. Always check with the band's manager the day before or the morning of the show day.
- Just prior to performance, financial settlement with artist's manager.
- Settlement with Building Manager as soon as Box Office closes. Do final paperwork on profit or loss.
Final ticket Manifest with tickets sold or left over.
- Settle with all other production contractors.
- Supervise clean up, secure area where equipment is sitting, and observe load out.
- Make sure somebody locks the door and that you have left the venue with everything you came with….. Now you can go to sleep.
On Marketing. . . .
The core of promoting any event is the Marketing Plan. Before you have signed the talent contract, if you are working with a major agency, the talent agent is likely to ask you for a Marketing Plan. They want to know that you are spending adequately to promote their act and that your media mix makes sense and shows you are professional. This does not need to be an ad agency quality prepared book, just an overview of how you intend to promote the show using the 3 components of marketing: advertising , promotions and public relations.
Make sure you include a document title, the intended artists, performance date, intended venue(s) and your contact information up top. Always date all documents. Use a standard font and margins should be between .7 and 1". Fill up the page and don't leave huge gaps between paragraphs. Use paragraph headings or page subtitles to guide the reader though an easily digestible flow of information and ideas. This is no place for fluff, your theories or opinionated commentary. Don't be artsy here. No art at all is OK, unless you have a logo for the event you want to display. Most one-off concerts do not use logos because it's just not necessary. In concerts the marketing emphasis is on your headliner. For a festival, a professionally designed logo is definitely necessary and the emphasis is on the overall festival not one act. Due to the larger budget for a festival, the Marketing Plan should be longer and be more complicated, as the enclosed plans show.
Any sponsors on hand or anticipated should be mentioned and what that sponsor's interaction with the marketing will be. If you already have a sponsor committed, it will add credibility to your plan if you show their logo(s). Do you have future plans for this event? The intention to make it annual shoudl also be stated in the Overview or in the Summation.
The Marketing Plan should be factual starting with an Overview paragraph explaining briefly what's inside and why you are going to primarily use these methods. Is your market unique, with special methods necessary to get to the target demographic? You should have done your due diligence by now and researched all of your marketing alternatives. Now is your chance to boil it all down to a medley of media, promotions and PR, how much and when it will be implemented. Use this plan as your template to promote the event filling in the details and making adjustments along the way. This document is to impress the agent with your promoting powers. Be careful not to state anything you really can't accomplish or afford. These should be the components of your Marketing Plan.
- Marketing Budget (listed on a marketing calendar) and Media Mix
- Marketing Radius
- Marketing Schedule
- Establish Demographic and where your target can most efficiently be found
- Types of Advertising you have chosen
- Principal media chosen, which radio stations, newspapers
- Ideas and abbreviated proposed ideas for promotions
(with radio stations, web sites, newspapers- ticket giveaways, etc.)
- Press Release topics, release schedule and possible titles
- Possible co-sponsors, strategic media partners
Your marketing plan has a finite number of media options. There are only so many ways to break up the marketing budget. What is the most effective means of getting to your target demographic in the your target market?
Here are the marketing mix media pie alternatives:
Network or local affiliate TV
Newsgroups, Blogs, Forums, YouTube, MySpace
Media/ Products Promotions
(Remote, street promoters)
Flyers, posters, cards
Throughout the rest of the book, we’ll discuss each form of media and their design, materials, planning, buying, cost, negotiation and implementation.
On Insurance Coverage. . .
General Liability Coverage
This is required by the venue. A building, ranch, race track, county fair grounds- all want to be covered from liability due to physical damage, fire, riots, accidents or whatever else may place them in a position of liability due to actions stemming from you, your workers or your patrons. You are responsible as the promoter to insure the venue.
A nightclub may require General Liability Coverage of $½ to $1 million, an arena usually about $2-5 million and a racetrack or very large facility (especially wide-open events located on large tracts of land) may require $5- $10 million of coverage, inquire.
You have to look at this from the venue’s position. They need to protect their interests; their property, reputation and good faith they have built over the years can be wiped out if someone is raped, run over, shot, stabbed or burned to death at your event.
Insurance for a small event is usually about $800 to $1,500. A medium size event will cost you about $2,000 to $3,000 to insure and a large event can range from $3,500 to $20,000 depending on the amount of bonds, the amount of general liability coverage and the inherent risk in the type of event or music format and it’s history. The promoter does not matter that much.
The concert insurance coverage business has changed dramatically recently. With nightclub fires globally, stampedes, the Woodstock 99 aftermath and the advent of punk rock mosh pits and hip-hop show stabbings and shootings, most concert insurers of 10 years ago are no more or they simply refuse to write this kind of business. Insurance coverage for your event is just plain harder to get. Instead of being put on the back burner, insurance coverage should one of your primary concerns early on. The great thing about getting a quote is that it usually just tales a phone call once you know where when and with who you will be presenting.
Usually, your subcontractors will carry their own insurance. For a security company to become licensed they need to offer a certain amount of General Liability Insurance.
Require your subcontractors to provide you with a copy of their insurance coverage for your files, make sure the dates are current.
Nowadays, the agency quoting the insurance coverage will want to:
- Know the security requirements and seat capacity
- Research a bio of the band
- Know about the Liquor liability
- Know if you intend to have a mosh pit
- Your intent to have metal detectors (are you going to pat people down)
Review the insurance requirements of the venue contract. When do they need to have the insurance certificate? Sometimes, its required right after booking the building. Do not wait until the week of the show. Have your coverage certificate in hand early.