People love going to see live music; that’ll never change. But how many people are prepared to bring a “live” show to town? To jump in with both feet and check off all the boxes required to make it actually happen? To be the Promoter!
It’s my guess that few people give much thought to what it takes to bring a project like this to fruition.
Of course, the bigger the show is, the bigger the scope of responsibility.
Here are a few things to consider that you may never have thought of that are part of the rock and roll show.
First of all, how much does an artist actually charge for a show? There is no simple answer here. A few factors to consider:
• How far do they have to travel?
• Are you wanting them for a week night or a week day?
• Are you wanting them “solo” or with a full band?
• Are they already in the area for another show (which would help with travel expenses)?
• If so, how close is that other show in proximity and date? Shows too close can negatively affect ticket sales.
• How detailed is the band’s “rider”?
a “rider” is a set of requests or demands that a performer sets as criteria for performance which may include hospitality and technical for example
Depending on the band and/or the agency representing them, the list of items they’ll want can be very long and costly. Things like lodging, airport shuttle, food, alcohol, and the list goes on. Typically, band members will have their own specific requirements that can be pretty challenging. Are they vegetarian or vegan? Do they have food allergies? Perhaps they want specific wines or beers or snacks available when they arrive.
• Is the dressing room up to their standards? Often, the lead personality wants his own space. Is there an ironing board?
• Who will supply sound equipment? Many bands show up with just their microphones and guitars. What about the drum kit, soundboard, speakers, piano if required or even stage props?
• Then there’s the business of ticket prices. How much should you charge? The answer here depends on quite a few factors like a) time of year b) indoor or outdoor show c) how many seats does the venue hold and d) the costs associated with their rider.
• How will the band be paid? This is usually accomplished through negotiations with the agency. How much is the required deposit? Are you going to guarantee the whole fee or will it be a percentage guaranteed and the rest from ticket sales?
• Are you going to make it a licensed event? If so, who will issue the license to serve? Will a specific area be needed for alcohol? Do your servers have the required “smart serve”?
• What is your actual break-even point financially? Are you in it as a labour of love or are you trying to make money?
The business of being a promoter is not for everyone. It’s an exciting vision but one wrought with twists and turns of every kind. If you’re considering taking the plunge, not unlike any business venture, do your research, ask the required questions, and most importantly know your break even. Don’t take anything for granted and remember that “the accounts payable in the mirror are much closer than they appear”.