How to put on your own music event

A few people have been in touch recently asking if I would do a post about organising events, specifically on the music side of things, so I thought I’d share some top tips on arranging your own gig, event or launch party. This is advice aimed specifically at music promoters and musicians looking to promote their own shows.

Do something different
Anyone can hire a venue in London and put together a music event, but if you want to be put on a night that’s special and a roaring success, it helps to do something a bit different. This can be anything from selling homemade baked goods from the merch stand to getting your funny mate to compere in between the acts during the evening. The important thing is to stand out in a way that will appeal to your audience, making your show an experience rather than just another evening’s activity.

Know your audience
In order to appeal to your audience in the way I’ve described above, you’ll need to have a good idea of what makes them tick. If you’re trying to put on a night of delicate folk and acoustic music, you don’t want your branding or the songs played as people come in to appeal to metal heads or rap fans. Before you start advertising your night, think carefully about what kind of people you’re trying to attract and what they might look for. Again, you want to draw them in to enjoy the experience and hopefully come back to your next show.

Focus on quality, not numbers
There are so many promoters and bands out there on the UK scene who’ll book in three or four bands of totally different genres that have a good number of fans (or will sell tickets to their mates) to pack out the room, but there are numerous problems with this approach to putting a lineup together. Firstly, there’s no consistency between the bands or the people who are there to see them, so the audience isn’t a listening audience – they’re just there because somebody told them to be. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, some bands who have a lot of fans or friends are just plain bad. You’re much better off having fewer people and quality music that people will be talking about for ages afterwards than a full room with no atmosphere.

Build a fanbase
And that brings me onto my final point, which is that you should think in the longterm when you’re promoting shows. If your first night or two are of high quality musically but a little quiet in terms of audience, that’s OK; you should look at establishing a regular night that people can recognise and enjoy. Have faith that word will spread!

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