7 steps to organise a live music show

7 steps to organise a live music show

Any­one can plan a live music show, whether it is in sup­port of a good cause, to pro­mote a band or an artist you like, or to raise funds for your organ­i­sa­tion. Here, we share our advice to ensure that all goes accord­ing to plan!

7 steps to con­sid­er to plan your music show in the best pos­si­ble way.


    1. Identify your target audience and define your budget

    The first thing to do before launch­ing your project is to iden­ti­fy the tar­get audi­ence you want to reach with your music show. What type of audi­ence would you like to attract? Whether you are tar­get­ing chil­dren or an adult audi­ence, the per­mis­sions that you will need to apply for will vary. Think about the sale of alco­hol for instance, or the time of your event – these will be dif­fer­ent for an audi­ence of under or over 18.

    Define an atten­dance goal – this will help you define the com­pen­sa­tion of the artist, the venue hire, and all relat­ed expens­es.

    2. Find a venue

    The next step is to choose a suit­able venue for the music style you wish to play and the atten­dance goal you have set. This venue will need to meet cer­tain legal require­ments.

    Look up the music venues around your town, the bars, the cul­tur­al venues and oth­er pub­lic spaces avail­able to event plan­ners. Once you have found the venue that meets your require­ments in terms of atten­dance capac­i­ty and music style, get in touch with the man­ag­er to enquire about hir­ing terms and access to the venue. Does the venue have access for dis­abled peo­ple? Does it have a smok­ing area, a park­ing space? Does it have a liquor licence? Ask the man­ag­er if first aid cov­er is includ­ed in the price, if he/she has AV equip­ment that meets your require­ments or whether you will have to hire a team and rent some equip­ment. Will you need to hire bar­tenders and cashiers or is this includ­ed in the price?

    3. Ensure you comply with regulations

    Licences and permissions

    Reg­u­la­tions require any event that includes reg­u­lat­ed enter­tain­ment (such as a live music per­for­mance) to hold a Premis­es Licence or sub­mit a Tem­po­rary Event Notice (TEN).

    You should also know that if you pro­vide enter­tain­ment between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m., or if your atten­dance goal is above 500 peo­ple for a per­for­mance of live or record­ed ampli­fied music, you will need to apply for an enter­tain­ment licence from your local coun­cil.

    Safety and First Aid cover

    For small­er music shows, first aid cov­er is not required. How­ev­er, do think to keep on hand a list of emer­gency ser­vices num­bers and a first aid kit in case of emer­gency. For larg­er events, you will need to have first aid cov­er on site (for instance, The Red Cross or St John Ambu­lance). The team will ensure everyone’s safe­ty on site and with­in a range of 50 m around the site. You are ulti­mate­ly respon­si­ble for any acci­dent and inci­dent that may hap­pen with­in this space.

    Depend­ing on the type of music show you organ­ise, you may need a secu­ri­ty and crowd man­age­ment team pro­por­tion­al to the num­ber of atten­dees at your event. We gen­er­al­ly rec­om­mend 1 safe­ty offi­cer for every 100 atten­dees. On the day, the safe­ty offi­cers should wear a uni­form and must always car­ry on them an iden­ti­ty card incor­po­rat­ing the details of the employ­er, the employ­ee and a pho­to­graph of the offi­cer. In order to car­ry out secu­ri­ty search­es on atten­dees, you should know that searchers should hold Pri­vate Secu­ri­ty Indus­try Act licens­es issued by the Secu­ri­ty Indus­try Author­i­ty, where appro­pri­ate.

    The safe­ty offi­cers’ mis­sion on site will be to check instal­la­tions and assess poten­tial risks and haz­ards, man­age the crowds, pre­vent risks of fights between peo­ple, help peo­ple who may be in dan­ger, noti­fy the local author­i­ties and /or emer­gency ser­vices where appro­pri­ate, facil­i­tate and organ­ise access to the show and to emer­gency exits.


    You must take up pub­lic lia­bil­i­ty insur­ance to cov­er poten­tial dam­age to the venue and/or the atten­dees. Col­lect com­pre­hen­sive infor­ma­tion from your insur­ance provider to get a good under­stand­ing of your cov­er. Will you be insured dur­ing set-up and dis­as­sem­bly? Does the insur­ance com­pa­ny pro­vide a can­cel­la­tion cov­er?

    Contracts and compensation of your service providers

    Ser­vice providers, staff and artists must be com­pen­sat­ed and have a con­tract, such as a tem­po­rary or free­lance con­tract. Two types of con­tracts should be con­sid­ered when organ­is­ing a music show:

    The even staffing or per­for­mance agree­ment link­ing the organ­is­er (here­by known as the employ­er) with the staff and the artists and a tour agree­ment in the case of a show pro­duced by a promoter/producer. The lat­ter rep­re­sents a pur­chase invoice for said show to be paid by you, the organ­is­er.

    Liquor licence

    If the venue that you have hired does not already hold a liquor licence, think about apply­ing for one at least a fort­night before the event. Men­tion who is organ­is­ing the event, who owns the venue, where the bar is and the cat­e­go­ry of liquor that will be on offer.

    PRS for Music

    At least 30 days before the music show, you should request per­mis­sion to per­form and play copy­right­ed music in a pub­lic set­ting from PRS for Music, the UK’s Music Col­lec­tion Soci­ety. The organ­i­sa­tion will send you an appli­ca­tion form to fill, sign and send to PRS for Music. With­in 30 days of the end of the event, you must report to PRS for Music includ­ing a com­plete set list con­firm­ing the music per­formed, the Gross Receipts for each ele­ment and where appro­pri­ate, the writer(s) and dura­tion of the works used at the event.  

    4. Welcoming artists, managing service providers

    Once the venue, the atten­dees and the legal process­es are done, you can (final­ly!) move on to the main rea­son for putting togeth­er your show: the artists.

    How many bands would you like to host on stage? Would you like to organ­ise a spe­cif­ic style of show, cre­at­ing a spe­cial atmos­phere and host a lot of bands? Or would you like to pro­mote one spe­cif­ic band, in which case the whole event will be about them, with per­haps an open­ing act? Some bands demand a spe­cif­ic open­ing act, oth­ers will let you choose. In that case, we rec­om­mend that you speak with the star­ring act about your choice to ensure that it will suit them.

    You should plan an artists’ area for the band and their guests with food and drinks. Take care of the artists’ trans­port and accom­mo­da­tion (hotel, guest house) and ask them ahead of time for a rid­er (doc­u­ment list­ing the equip­ment need­ed and oth­er require­ments of the artists). Some demands can seem out­landish, try to meet them any­way. That way, you will have a good rela­tion­ship with the man­agers and pro­mot­ers who will be grate­ful when you organ­ise oth­er shows.

    Don’t for­get the oth­er ser­vice providers that you will need for your music show.

    If the venue does not have the nec­es­sary equip­ment, you will need to hire a sound and stage light­ing team.

    Depend­ing on the size of the venue and your atten­dance goal, you will need to choose, as men­tioned, a safe­ty ser­vice. Be mind­ful of their rep­u­ta­tion, your event could suf­fer from a poor image if the cho­sen ser­vice is not suit­able. You should hire a team that under­stands the spir­it of the event.

    Think about food for the atten­dees and the staff, for whom you will need to con­tract with a cater­er or get food trucks (you should favour local sup­pli­ers to opti­mise costs and pro­mote local­ly-sourced pro­duce).

    Final­ly, you will need a ser­vice provider for your tick­et­ing and access con­trol. Sell your tick­ets your­self and/or use a provider, you can offer sev­er­al prices or use our cross-sell­ing fea­ture if you have mer­chan­dise for instance.

    Read our advice on how to choose your ser­vice providers.

    5. On the day

    On the day of your show, your mis­sion will be to pay the artists and ensure your event com­plies with the noise restric­tions and safe­ty require­ments. In order to focus on these tasks, you will need detailed plan­ning ahead of time. Plan the artists’ arrival time as well as those of ser­vice providers and staff. Put togeth­er your teams, assign them their loca­tion and mis­sion and explain how the event will unfold.

    You will have pre­pared con­tracts for each artist and ser­vice provider ahead of time, as well as their com­pen­sa­tion.

    Each of them will need their own space: artists will need to have their dress­ing room ready upon their arrival, ser­vice providers may a prep space to take care of the last prepa­ra­tions.

    You should plan a spe­cif­ic wel­come for poten­tial VIPs, your part­ners and the media with a ded­i­cat­ed area, and reserved seats and pass­es. Speak­ing of pass­es, each type of staff should receive a pass includ­ing the access allowed to the per­son depend­ing on their role in your organ­i­sa­tion. Some staff mem­bers will need a walkie-talkie, which you should plan ahead of time to pre­vent rush shop­ping trips at the last minute as they gen­er­ate a lot of anx­i­ety which you could do with­out on the day of your event.

    6. After the show

    This is it! Your show has gone real­ly well and the audi­ence is very hap­py, your artists are sat­is­fied and you have paid them as well as your ser­vice providers, and your staff. But this is not where the adven­ture ends!

    You will need to clear the room and its sur­round­ing areas and to dis­as­sem­ble your set-up then tal­ly your accounts and report to the music rights col­lec­tion soci­ety of the coun­try.

    You can organ­ise a small par­ty with your ser­vice providers, any vol­un­teer, your teams and per­haps the artists. That way, you show your grat­i­tude to all those who took part in your suc­cess, and it is a good idea to main­tain a good rela­tion­ship ahead of future events.

    Final­ly, do a press review of all the feed­back your event received in the media.

    7. Communicating about the show

    You’ll have noticed that we haven’t talked about the com­mu­ni­ca­tion around your show yet. Nev­er­the­less, it is a crit­i­cal ele­ment to the suc­cess of your event. Indeed, it is woven through­out the organ­i­sa­tion of a show as much as any oth­er event.

    There are a cer­tain num­ber of use­ful tools to cre­ate effec­tive pro­mo­tion­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion around your show. Your tick­et­ing is the first tool, whether it is inte­grat­ed to a web­site or a mini-site it is the first com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool to give the tone of voice, the atmos­phere of the event and all the nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion. You also have the option to inte­grate a video and some visu­al ele­ments.

    You should update all your fans by announc­ing your show online on your blog as well as all any social media accounts you have. Include all the use­ful infor­ma­tion as well as infor­ma­tion on the pro­gramme.

    Communication channels

    • Blog: Post reg­u­lar­ly about the show. Post some­thing about the artists that will play, the stage design, the venue where the show will be held, etc. You could inter­view the artists and ask them to relay the post on their social media pages. Your blog could also cov­er the press reviews you will have after the show!
    • Social media: You should favour this chan­nel to talk about your show. Include the artists, the venue, your team and the audi­ence to share your con­tent and increase aware­ness about your show.
      • Cre­ate your event on Face­book includ­ing all use­ful infor­ma­tion, intro­duc­ing the artists (inter­views, pho­tos, videos of pre­vi­ous shows they have played, etc.). You can inte­grate your tick­et­ing direct­ly on the event page or your web­site.
      • Share press arti­cles and some of the artists’ songs on your event page.
      • To increase aware­ness, you can cre­ate a Face­book ad. To do this, you will need to define your tar­get audi­ence (age, loca­tion, inter­ests, etc.), define a spend­ing lim­it per day and launch your cam­paign. Face­book will then work on max­imis­ing the vis­i­bil­i­ty of your ad.
      • Twit­ter is also well suit­ed to pro­mot­ing music shows. Favour pic­tures and videos on that chan­nel. For instance, you can share inter­views, give a sneak peek of the rehearsals, show pic­tures of the venue and pre­vi­ous live shows of the artists that are sched­uled to play. Post­ing fre­quent­ly is impor­tant here, so do not hes­i­tate to share posts and tweets from the artists, your ser­vice providers, etc.
      • Depend­ing on your tar­get audi­ence, Snapchat and Insta­gram could be a bet­ter chan­nel.
      • Com­pe­ti­tions can be cre­at­ed on these plat­forms in order to increase aware­ness. You can give the chance to win tick­ets, extras such as back­stage access or access to sound check, or goody bags. Usu­al­ly, to win the prize, par­tic­i­pants enter a sweep­stake by shar­ing, lik­ing and com­ment­ing on the post of the com­pe­ti­tion. That way, you can reach a new audi­ence using your fol­low­ers’ net­work.
    • Newslet­ters and email­ing cam­paigns: If you have a data­base of your fans, think about send­ing them a newslet­ter 3 months before the show to announce the show, give use­ful infor­ma­tion and give them access to your tick­et­ing plat­form. Send them a reminder as we get clos­er to the show, and why not include a pro­mo code?
    • Beyond social media and blogs, the press and media, in gen­er­al, could be use­ful allies to increase your event’s aware­ness and cred­i­bil­i­ty. It will be dif­fi­cult, how­ev­er, to have arti­cles pub­lished about your event so you should plan your strat­e­gy in advance. Start with a press release that stands-out, includ­ing pic­tures and videos intro­duc­ing the band(s) that will play, the venue, the spir­it of the show and a link to buy tick­ets.
    • Then tar­get music media, par­tic­u­lar­ly those spe­cialised in the music style of your artist(s) and send them the press release. Know that you may not get a response imme­di­ate­ly, give jour­nal­ists some time to fol­low up on your mes­sage. If you haven’t heard back a week lat­er, give them a call and offer to send them the press release again and to sched­ule an inter­view with the artist(s) – obvi­ous­ly with the con­sent of the tour organ­is­er. You should keep in mind that the jour­nal­ist does not have a spe­cif­ic inter­est in speak­ing about your show, they are look­ing for arti­cles that will engage their read­ers. As a result, your press release should con­vince them that you have some exclu­sive and inter­est­ing con­tent or news about the indus­try.
    • Print: depend­ing on your bud­get, it could be good to launch a poster cam­paign. Cre­ate posters and fly­ers includ­ing the pro­gramme, some use­ful infor­ma­tion and your poten­tial part­ners, your web­site or blog address and your social media accounts. Hand them out and dis­play them around par­ty areas, and neigh­bor­hoods and shops where they can be seen by your tar­get audi­ence.

    During the show

    Com­mu­ni­ca­tion should con­tin­ue dur­ing the show. For instance, you could show videos of the last sounds check or stream the show live on social media. Remind peo­ple of the use­ful infor­ma­tion and show­times on your web pages.

    After the show

    After the show, you should cap­i­talise on the hits and the miss­es of your event. Thank your ser­vice providers, con­grat­u­late the artist(s), thank the audi­ence. Get ahead of your crit­ics by explain­ing any issue that you may have encoun­tered. There is noth­ing worse than an organ­is­er who keeps his/her head in the sand when faced with bad reviews from the audi­ence, own­ing up to your mis­takes can only make you bet­ter.

    Ready to organ­ise your own live music show? Start now with Weezevent:

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