If you’re a young musician then you know how crucial it is to host a good show, and chances are you probably know how hard it is to find a truly great local show. That’s why we’re giving you the keys to the kingdom on this one.
Remember that old Bugs Bunny saying “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em?” Well, this is a similar concept except when it comes to great local music events we’re saying, if you can’t find one, make one! This article is going to make you a pro at creating your own great DIY music event.
Come up with a Theme
Suzy’s sweet new band may be great, but you’re going to have a tough time getting word out amongst all the other local events that are competing for the same headlines and retweets. Instead of making an event that reads Suzy’s Band Live, get creative! Suzy’s Sweet Sweater Party sounds a lot more fun and gives you the ability to get creative. Maybe it’s an ugly sweater party, or an event that gives back to a community by donating sweaters for a local clothing drive featuring live music from Suzy’s band and other great local artists.
Set Your Date
Most people think that setting up an event can be done with a quick turnaround time, but the truth is that a good event takes weeks if not months to plan appropriately. Allow yourself enough lead time to create a flawless event. That could be five weeks from today, or five months from today, you’ll have to honestly evaluate the pace at which you can work.
Pick Your Venue and Pick Your Talent
If you’re creating a live music event then you’re going to want to make sure that you understand your audience. If you are expecting 20-30 somethings it may not be wise to book an artist that appeals to a 40+ crowd. It’s also important to remember where your venue is going to be. How many people do you think this event will be able to attract? Twenty people, one hundred people? Make sure you book a room that comfortably accommodates your audience, but doesn’t make the room feel empty. Also, don’t be afraid of variety. Having a diverse musical lineup will create a more organic event. The most important thing to remember is that quality counts. Always surround your event with the best talent you can find.
One of the most important components of your event is going to be getting people there. As indicated in tip number three, you need to clearly identify your audience. Once you’ve done that you’ll need to target them and promote! Find a local coffee shop, news station, Facebook Group, hobby shop, etc, to partner with and be sure to poster around the community you are targeting!
If there isn’t a saying that lists save lives, there ought to be. Making lists are crucial for your event. Lists will help you to keep track of who is participating, volunteering, and covering your event. Lists are also helpful for keeping you on budget, and managing your inventory for your event.
You’ve prepped for your event and now it’s the big day! Remember to arrive early. If your event starts at 7pm, you should be by 2pm to help set up. Chances are you’re going to be bringing plenty of supplies and gear, so we would recommend renting a U-Haul cargo van or box truck to help transport all the necessary gear. There will be unforeseen factors that you didn’t prepare for, and you need to allow yourself plenty of time to take a step back and find a solution without racing against the clock.
Be Prepared To Stay Late
The show is over, you’ve let out a sigh of relief and now you’re looking at an empty room full of empty cups, piles of donated sweaters, and there’s a funky aroma in the air. The show may be over, but your event is really only halfway complete. Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start cleaning up. Once the venue looks how it did when you arrived, you are finished, you can go home and sleep for two days.
(photo: Spencer Cohen of Play Too Much)
Have other tips for setting up a DIY music event? Leave it in the comment section below!
Chris Pizzolo is a native New Yorker who has been immersed in the music industry for the last half decade. Chris currently runs the New York City based music website Play Too Much where they host a weekly videos, podcasts, and events!