What Does It Take to Plan a Concert?
It’s no secret that live music lifts our mood and bonds us to others that join us in a live music experience. Organizations, brands, and businesses of all types and sizes are seeking ways to produce more concert experiences in the coming days, weeks, months, and years as our culture has been deprived of the live music experience due to the pandemic.
So how do you plan a concert? Our team of event and video production professionals wants to share with you the best concert planning checklist for you to get started today.
Create Goals and Budget
Most event organizers are not producing a concert just for fun. What do you want to accomplish with your concert? If you’re thinking that a concert production will help you achieve your goals in business, fundraising, entertainment, or whatever capacity you’re planning for, you’ve probably already given your goals some thought, so write them down as your place to start. Without clear goals for your concert production, you’re likely leaving some experiential moments on the table for attendees. Talk to your target audience and learn more about what experience they are expecting at your concert. Be sure that your concept or theme for your concert experience is clear and that your goals are strategic, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive (or SMART).
While the goal of your concert production may not be a certain amount of ticket sales or income, you still need a budget! You’re going to be thinking about expenses and contingencies and, if it’s one of your goals, making a profit on your concert.
Concert production expenses to consider include, but are not limited to:
- Venue costs
- Artist or talent fees
- Production (staging, audio, video, lighting)
- Food and beverages
- Marketing and signage
- Deposits that are required by vendors
Figuring out your gross potential for the event will help you plan accordingly, specifically when it comes to negotiations in the concert production process. Some production elements can be negotiated, including artist offer terms and their production requirements. It’s best to have concert production partners that can help you with that along the way. The concert planning process should take place at least six to eight months before your target concert date with production advances for staging, audio, lighting, and video taking place within a month of the concert. Starting with plenty of time before your concert production will allow you the most opportunity to make the best concert planning decisions.
Select a Venue
Depending on your audience and your budget, you’ll be able to select your location (town or city) and your venue for your concert production. Two big items that you need to think about critically are your capacity and venue accessibility. Your audience will have both needs and wants when it comes to the venue. For example, not all audiences can support a $100/person ticket cost. If your capacity is small and your artist is a high-dollar performer, but you need to recover expenses through ticket sales, your capacity may be too small.
Consider the attendee environment. Some questions to consider during the venue selection process would be:
- Does your artist need an intimate space for their best performance – or is a large stadium a better-suited venue option?
- Where are your attendees going to park? Is there nearby parking or public transportation options?
- Do you have handicap-accessible entrances and other amenities for attendees?
- Does your venue have enough bathrooms?
- Are the acoustics appropriate in that space for your artist’s production requirements?
- Is the atmosphere or the design of your venue appropriate for the theme or concept of your concert production experience for attendees?
The venue you choose for your concert production can make or break your event. Research the space before signing your contract to ensure the best concert environment possible.
Find the Talent and Plan for Production
After selecting your venue, you can start researching the artist you think will fit your concert production best. Knowing your limits will help you make the best choice when it comes to artist selection. There will most likely be many artists that won’t fit your budget or venue. If your audience is expecting a certain genre or you’re limited to certain dates, you can start there. If you’re uncomfortable with finding an artist yourself, you can hire a concert promoter or agent to assist. Hiring the right person to help with this part of the concert production process can save you from missing important contract details, not understanding production element requirements, overpaying for an artist, or missing out on artists that may fit your concert experience better than you realize.
Before you finalize the contract with the artist, it is recommended to procure a production quote and create a plan of action to secure all of the details you will need to ensure your artist’s contract is handled properly. This includes individual conversations with hospitality representatives, security companies, travel agencies, production companies, ticketing agencies, event assistants, and other vendors. Doing this before committing to an artist’s contract will eliminate any hidden costs you may not have considered but are required in the artist’s rider. Additionally, these conversations are typically handled individually to avoid wasting time when most vendors require planning separately during the concert production process.
PRO TIP: Allow your concert production company to discuss production elements with the artist’s representative directly to avoid confusion.
Design Your Concert Experience
A great concert isn’t built on just a nice venue and a good artist on stage! It’s the entire concert experience. From the moment your attendees walk through security to the exciting production to the awesome performance to the moment they return home and share their photos on social media, your attendees deserve an incredible concert experience. In recent decades, artists have been bringing their excitement with their performances, but it’s up to concert organizers to back that up.
Plan ahead for a concert production schedule that works for everyone, including, your artist, your vendors, and your attendees. Creating an expectation of how the day’s events will pan out that is realistic and not rushed makes all the difference. Remember: your vendors are human! If you communicate this information beforehand, it’s highly likely that everyone will have a good attitude coming into the concert experience and leave with that same feeling.
Sharing information with attendees through social media, email marketing, text message updates, clear signage throughout the venue, and interactive displays throughout the event space can truly make or break your attendee’s experience. These communication tools also allow you to create engagement opportunities and lead-capture data for future event marketing.
During your concert, your artist will certainly entertain your attendees, but it’s up to you to keep them engaged with the right production elements. This includes the best concert lighting displays, video amplified on big LED or projection screens to ensure everyone has the best viewing experience, and the right sound so everyone can truly enjoy the performance.
Obtain Insurance and Required Permits
Every venue, city, and state is different when it comes to concert production insurance and permits. Some venues and local authorities require individual permits for events or gatherings, sound, alcohol, fireworks/lighting, and other details. Some require none! It’s important to ask questions and learn this information significantly in advance of your concert date to ensure there aren’t any last-minute surprises.
In the world of insurance, most artists, venues, and vendors require general liability insurance with minimum limits right away to ensure they have the right coverage in place. You want to be sure of the same! There are additional insurance policies to consider to make sure you’re covered as the event organizer, like worker’s compensation, weather cancellation, and artist cancellation. These policies can be discussed with a licensed insurance professional in your state.
PRO TIP: Before purchasing insurance, consider all of the risks that are relevant to your event, like severe weather, potential for a data breach, or other security threats. A risk assessment for your concert production is highly encouraged, no matter the size of your event.
Promote Your Event
When the concert production planning process is moving forward with signed contracts, you can start promoting your concert! If you need to make money or at least manage your attendance count, you need to sell tickets. Your ticketing options are simple: print tickets or digital tickets. You can opt to manage the ticketing process internally or you can opt to partner with a ticketing service. But how do you get your attendees to buy your tickets? Market your event!
You know your audience best, so you know what marketing strategies will work best for your audience to engage with your ticketing platform. Some of the most common promotions include video promotions, social media posts, paid ads, radio or podcast interviews, and public event pages online. It’s best to utilize your connections to help promote your promotions, like advertising with the venue, collaborating on social media content with the artist, and finding local media outlets to showcase your upcoming concert. These can often be low-cost or no-cost marketing opportunities.
Other ways to promote your event could be to tap into your audience through entertaining, local opening acts with strong followings or to reach out to influencers within your target audience. Oftentimes influencers can gain followers themselves and help grow your followers as well through personalized messaging and giveaways, like free merchandise, food, and tickets. Who doesn’t love free tickets to a concert?!
Plan Your Next Concert Production
Don’t think of this as just a to-do list! This concert planning checklist is an outline to get you started. If you’re in need of assistance in your concert production planning process, Wired Production Group has been a trusted concert production and event management partner for more than 30 years across the United States. Contact our team of concert production professionals for more information anout how we can help.