The concert-promotions book covers all aspects of how to promote concerts… and THEN transitions into the promoter’s natural progressive desire to ultimately promote music festivals. Concerts are one time events, festivals are annuities.
If you're reading this, you've most likely day-dreamed about the idea of promoting a large music festival one day, standing backstage looking out over the throngs of humanity knowing that you are the one that brought it all together. It's a rare feeling.
It is similar to the kind of elation that comes with running a marathon or winning a casino jackpot. It requires courage and unrelenting perseverance, despite the struggles and obstacles, each setback being your helper. How in the world do you expect to learn what to do until you learn what not to do. Start with concerts. Then when you feel the Zen of promoting has arrived, and you are in your comfort zone, go for it. Take the plunge and find that magical concept on that right weekend. Your festival will become an annuity for the entire community. As the event grows overs the years so will your happiness and sense of fulfillment and achievement.
Of course you'll first need:
Concerts are the training ground for festival promotion, but with the multitude of revenue streams; tickets, VIP passes, alcoholic beverages, other beverages, food concessions, arts & crafts vendors, festival merchandise including T shirts, sponsors, special parking and camping passes, advertising and intellectual property like CD recording and other possible audio/ video contract opportunities, the real money is in music festivals. For concerts, most of the time, it's just regular tickets and the big band wants most of that.
It's also the land of entrepreneurial expression and near complete creative freedom.
What's that worth?
This promoting nirvana is possible and it just starts there.
If you have the price of admission, $100,000.00 to $4,000,000.00 advance fundage, you can be a music festival promoter. On a granular level, the book examines festival costs, the importance of the Cost Sheet and specific prices you should hope to pay.
In Music Festivals:
Downside: Many multi-day music festivals do not make a profit on their first year unless they have additional support, IE., sponsors, media, municipal or county gov’t.
Why? Because of the combination of:
No one anywhere has ever written and exposed the volume of information that is found in this one book. Over 30 years of festival and marketing related experience compiled into half of a huge book. Festival proposals, festival contracts, land rental and box office contracts, contractor agreements, forms, site plans, extensive marketing plans, site search criteria, local government concerns, sponsor letters and proposals and tons of advice on what not to do because every event is different.
No book can possibly prepare you for what you will find when you deal with something as volcanic and variable as a major music festival. Music festivals and it’s promoters are a different breed. It takes an interesting combination of attributes to promote be a music festival promoter. Financier, promoter, producer, bookkeeper, para-legal, security, sanitation and operations minded.
In this manual, you get an education on fencing a site, beer consumption and it’s disposal and parking /camping space estimates. You’ll learn how to negotiate with contractors, the talent agents and the media. All of the paperwork is included; forms, contracts, proposals, media and box office forms, stage and site layouts, security schedules, rider contracts, contractor agreements, press releases, media schedules, executive summaries, festival proposals and land contracts. Tons of contacts. Legal, accounting and intellectual law concerns are also found in the book. Do you have an attorney? What kind?
Can you put on a music festival for less and call it a professional effort? If you’re intending to have real marketing, administration, promotion, production, ticketing, staff, site infrastructure and everything else that’s required, the answer is yes, you can put a cheap festival that will cause you major problems. The kind of problems you’ve never imagined all at once. A young promoter put on a one day festival at the fairgrounds recently, it was only $65,000.. He told me he lost $18,000. I explained afterward that the artist’s names and the horsepower behind the marketing s what determines the size of the event. If you don’t spend on major name talent, count on losing money.
You can have every great local or regional band in the state all at one event and only have 1,500 people show up. The same one-day festival with some nationally known support acts could draw 5-10,000. The cost of the talent should be about one third of your total event budget. Starting small can be very dangerous. Make an event that will have force in that target marketplace on a weekend only when there is no competition.
NOTE: A festival promoter must be detail oriented and like to work all of the time. If you are not, forget it. It is also not recommended you try to work a regular job and promote a festival at the same time. Both will suffer.
All of these topics are discussed in depth in the book.
In your search for a music festival site that is not a conventional stadium, racetrack or other structured and already built venue, it is suggested that you consider the following requisites to optimize your event’s capacities.
Whether on a farm or in a city park, festivals are typically outdoor events. Some festivals mix outdoor facilities and indoor clubs, theatres and sometimes a stadium. These types of events are usually produced in a downtown area where you have to use various venues as the event grows because of the proximity and layout of the entire project. Some festivals at colleges use this format by mixing indoor and outdoor venues. The book covers doing festivals indoor and outdoors or both. Problem with colleges is you cannot sell alcoholic beverages, which can make the difference between loss and profit in your first year. Much more on beer and concessions sales in the book.
But most festivals are outdoors and differ from a concert in that a festival is just that, a festival or array of concerts. A one-day festival will have enough artists to fill each stage with steadily performing talent (except repeated segway set-up times) from either noon – 7/8 pm, or from noon- midnight or from 4/7 pm- 2am. The actual time schedule should fit the market, music and audience. That is determined by speaking to the venue manager, talking to the talent agents and other people in the business (sound/ lights people, other promoters, the city administrators and your insurance broker. You figure it out.
A real music festival has to feature at least 4-5 bands to be respected. With multiple stages over three days, many festivals stage over 30 acts (artists, bands, performers). Some have over 100 performers because they have 10 stages and some of them are going 24 hours a day. Festivals with one big stage over 3 days will feature about 18-20 artists unless they are using smaller acts to play during the reset times in between major performers and then there may be a total of 40 performers for one stage. If the stage runs 24 hrs, even more artists. Most three day festivals open On Friday at noon- 5pm and end Sunday late afternoon or up to 10pm. It’s best to provide some time for people to get home safely and rest for work on Monday.
Festivals more popularly are 2 days; Friday and Saturday, or Saturday and Sunday and most popular for camping events or larger festivals is 3 days, Friday- Sunday. You have heard of 4 or 5 day festivals, but they most probably didn’t start out that way. Everyday you add, you add between 25%-50% to your total costs.
The concert-promotions book deals with all aspects of the festival in depth. Like concerts, the festival’s destiny is in the budget. So the book examines each festival component first, from a cost point of view. And the new Thumb Drive contains a complete Festival Cost Sheet in Excel so you can actually use it and modify the document for your specific needs.
HOW NOT TO PROMOTE CONCERTS AND MUSIC FESTIVALS© and HOW TO PROMOTE CONCERT SIMPLIFIED© by Hal Davidson, 2023 all rights reserved. Published by Concert Promotions Publishing Co., Rockville, MD, USA 20855. Stompin 76™, concert-promotions.com and concert-promotions.net is the property of Hal Davidson, 2000-2023 all rights reserved. The content and layout of this website is the property of Hal Davidson. Commercial use is strictly prohibited. Written permission is required for use to sell or promote other promotional materials.
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