FAQ organising a concert
What is the motive for organising a concert? Check with all parties involved what you want to achieve precisely and if the desired level is feasible. You should also reflect on when and where the concert should take place. Who is the audience, which music is expected and how long will it last?
Smart planning is crucial when organising a concert. Subsidies and the necessary permits in the case of outdoor concerts must be applied for months in advance sometimes. In addition, you need time for the production, rehearsals and publicity. You need time afterwards for follow-up activities. Examples include financial administration and settlement, distributing reviews, photos and recordings, and don’t forget to adjust the calendar on your website and social media. What and when you have to arrange also depends on where you play: do you arrange everything yourself for a one-off performance? Are you performing at a festival, or at a showcase event such as Chamber Music Day (Kamermuziekdag) or ESNS/Noorderslag?
Required facilities and team
In addition to the rehearsal space and concert hall, an office space may also be necessary in the case of a large production in order to arrange all kinds of matters beforehand. This includes sound, lighting and decor; contracts (room hire, equipment rental and employment contracts); permits (permit under the Nuisance Act, noise pollution, etc.), catering and publicity. You should also make sure you have a good input list, rider and think about your crew: do you need to arrange everything yourself or is it an existing concert location with its own employees? In addition, you should arrange transport and check insurance policies.
Allocation of tasks
Ensure that all parties involved know who is responsible for what. Agree on who has ultimate artistic responsibility; who the contact person is for the venue, who takes care of the communication to members of the band, enseble or orchestra, who signs the contracts, who keeps an eye on the budget and makes payments, who arranges transport and facilities, and who takes care of promotion.
Make an overview of all costs and the expected revenues. Costs mainly concern the fees and pay, copyright, security, technology, insurance policies, room hire, permits, publicity, catering and other production costs. Revenues include: expected number of paying visitors, subsidies, sponsoring, merchandise and catering. Take care not to exceed your budget.
Start promoting your concert in good time. Approximately three months before the concert is a good guideline, but this differs, of course, per concert, venue and medium. You should also make a distinction between an online and offline campaign.
Start with the promotion to your existing fans. Approach them, for example, via an email campaign or social media. In this way, you give your fans the opportunity to buy a ticket for your concert first. This immediately ensures word-of-mouth publicity, where your fans act as ambassadors!
Your concert may have an overarching theme, such as your new album. In that case, make an announcement on social media (possibly using paid promotion), show your artwork or discuss the theme. This all helps to place your event in a broader context and to increase the chance that your (new) fans will buy a ticket.
Find out what the deadlines are for the press, blogs and other written media, for example for concert schedules, so that you can make optimal use of free publicity. In addition, arrange an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) with biographies of various lengths and in different languages. A one-line biography is preferable for a poster or flyer, for example, while an extended biography is preferable for a website or newspaper. You should always provide press photos in different formats, so that an editorial team or web editor can select a landscape or portrait picture for example. Also add a link to your music online. Finally, think about your network: invite the people who could be important to your career.
Follow up activities
After the concert, it is important to properly evaluate how things went. Who came, have you got more followers on social media and/or have more people signed up to your newsletter? Send a thank-you note to the venues you played at and state that would like to come back again. It is also important to archive photos, videos and other content, so you can use this at a later stage. Examples may include an aftermovie of your tour or perhaps you have audio tracks that you can release. Draw up a financial balance sheet as well: did you earn money, did it end up being more expensive or slightly cheaper than expected?