Starting a gig from scratch

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Al the Shrug, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. Hey, I searched for this on previous threads, but found nothing, and I don't really expect much help since this is a little beyond just bass. Still, I would really appreciate any help you guys can give.
    To help raise money for a friend's charity, I thought it would be really awesome to have a benefit concert. I have a band and know some people I could book for a favor. The problem is, I've never really done any kind of serious gig before, and especially never started one. I have no clue where to start.:confused: Should I think about venues? Are there a lot of middlemen or agencies I'd have to talk to to set it up? I'm thinking something in the range of 250-600 people, what kind of place would be good? Thanks a lot in advance!
  2. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Looks like you're taking on the role of promoter. Best of luck to you, because it takes the heart of a lion.

    As far as venues are concerned, you may contact the municipal government in your area to see if you can use one of their public facilities such as a community center or public auditorium. They can give you information on stuff such as permits and restrictions (noise ordinances, crowd capacity, etc.). Keep in mind that if you want to serve alcohol, you will compound your issue with additional beauracracy and rules. You may also need to deal with security, and that can take on many forms from hiring off-duty police officers to getting some of your biker buddies to help out.
    You might be able to get a club owner to help out. They may be able to get a tax write-off by donating the use of their facilities as well as paying some of your expenses. The good thing about a club over a public venue is that you don't have to worry about alcohol or security.

    Next would be to make sure that the bands are properly equipped. You will probably need to get some type of sound system for the bands. If you already have one that will fit the bill, then great. If not, you may have to find a local sound company to provide the equipment and/or services. Again, you might be able to find someone will ing to donate their time/equipment to a worthy cause. With the sound system, make sure the venue that you are to perform in has the adequate electrical power to pull it off.

    The last thing would be to promote. Press releases are a great way to advertise for free. Send em out to the local papers, tv, radio, websites, and whoever that can spread the word. Of course there's also the good ol' flyers and posters too in any place that potential audience members will see them.

    General rule is CYA (Cover Your A$$). Watch out for liabilities, and expenses. There really can be alot more to this, and I am only scratching the surface. But, I hope this helps you get a rough idea of what to look for and expect.
  3. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    The easist thing I can see to do is rent a hall and charge cover, devide the profits to cover the expenses and the rest to charity. If you serve alcohol the same. Sell raffle tickets and action off some items, again proceeds going to charity. Get local business's involved. Charitable events and expenses may be tax write offs for them. Call radio stations tell them what you are up to. What's the charity anyway, what's it for?
  4. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    As said, advertise and promote like heck.

    What kind of music is it? Figure out what your target audience will be and from there you can work out how best to reach them.

    For example, if the show is planned to be an alt-rock, 19+ show, college radio and papers would reach more interested parties than a mainstream paper.

    Look for sponsorships. Many places will be happy to provide some kind of assistance just to put up their banner at your show. Again, research your target market well.

    There are likely LOTS of places in town that will be willing to rent out their venue for the night. Shop around and remember that location is key.

    Let us know how it turns out! :)
  5. First, the charity is for a friend's trip with his church youth group. They're going to Puerto Rico to do mission-type work (helping orphans, improving hospitals, etc.) definetely good stuff. The target demographic is young (I'm a high school senior), like 16-27. The acts I'm still trying to talk to. I know some friends who have bands who are pretty good, and may be willing to do the gig for free.
    The sponsorships sound like a really good idea, especially since I don't have much in terms of resources or capital right now. Just initiative, drive, and enough naiveté to try it.:D
    Thanks, guys– I think I've got something to work from! I'll keep you informed of how things progress.
  6. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    16-27... what comes to mind as far as places to advertise and/or potential sponsors would be clothing stores, CD stores, campus papers and college radio stations, pizza places (NOT major chains!)... perhaps even in the schools themselves, but I don't know if there are any rules about that.
  7. VellaBass


    Aug 29, 2003
    London, UK
    Shrug, you should talk to the charity group to see how much weight they can take off you. You're doing a good thing for them and they should be able to deliver a small group of motivated people who can help with all the grunt work involved. Also that's the way to make connections with people who can help along the lines mentionned in the other posts - if you get 10 people from the charity involved, each will know another 10 people and suddenly you'll find ideas and offers of help coming in. Don't try to do it all on your own.

    Best of luck for a very good cause. Great experience for you too.
  8. All good advice here.

    It does sound like you're taking on a big deal. I'd definitely try and get help so its not all on your shoulders.

    When I've played as part of charity gigs that had several bands, a sound engineer was employed, and things like mics were shared and already set up. With more than one band there's always the change over time, so you may need cds to play in the background too.

    If you know of a charity that has already done something similar,maybe you could join forces and split the profits. You could learn from them this time and they could benefit too. Most larger charities employ fundraisers who're pretty knowledgeable.

    edit; typos!
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    If it's a fundraiser for a church youth group the obvious venue is a church hall!!!

    Good luck.
  10. Actually, I talked to a friend of mine who does a little bit of touring around the state and he's going to get back to me with a list of places he keeps in touch with. I'm not sure the church would be a good idea for a rock-type concert, might set the wrong kind of tone. I was planning on covering the costs of the venue and the sound equipment with the sponsorships mentioned before.
  11. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Depends on the church - the church I grew up in used to do quite a lot of concerts including some very heavy 'white metal' (Lazurus supported by Seventh Angel at one gig I recall) and rock covers (my old group, the P'tang Yang Kipper Band). The gigs I played in were benefit events.

    If you've got the right people at the church, they might be happy to make good use of their facilities for a worthwhile cause - a church that is set up for contemporary worship styles probably has most of the equipment needed.