10 Things to Consider When Hosting a Live Music Event

Learn the essential do's and don'ts of hosting live performances and events...


With live music very much back on the agenda for 2022, we’re excited to get out there and experience some inspiring performances over the coming weeks and months. 

But for those looking to study Live Event Management and host their own gigs or events, what do you need to remember? 

Here, we’ve put together a guide around the 10 top things to keep in mind when promoting your own event...

Make a Plan 

This sounds obvious but it’s sensible to sit down and make a plan around your forthcoming event. So ask yourself, what is your event all about? What are the aims of hosting this? Is it part of a tour? Or is it to launch a new track or single? Or do you want to perform at a particular venue or just build an audience?

Consider your aims and ambitions from your gig and draw up a list of what you’ll need to make it go ahead. Then revert to this throughout to ensure you stay on target."

Draw Up a Budget 

Many live events cost money to run and you should work out how much you can afford to invest. This will help you calculate the kind of venue and artists you can afford to book and the amount of money you need to charge on the door for tickets. 

The budget for each event will likely be different. But you need to consider what you will need to pay for. Maybe you’ll be printing out posters and flyers. Or employing someone to work on the door at the gig. List your outgoings as an estimate in a spreadsheet, include some contingency and keep this updated as you progress. 

Connect with the Right Acts for your Event 


The type of artists you will host at your event will define the kind of night you’ll put on. If you’re looking to book bigger bands, then this will account for more budget.  

If you’re looking for support artists for your own band, then consider their sound and if it will work with the other types of acts playing. If they are from elsewhere, then maybe they will bring another crowd from their town or city with them. This might involve paying for accommodation or hospitality which should be factored into your budget. Ultimately, you’ll want to book other acts which go well together each other and hopefully maximise the number of people attending.  

Source a Great Venue 

Think carefully about where you want to host your event. Consider where your audience is located and who they are. Are they the kind of crowd who will travel? If not, then you might want to consider doing it closer to home. For example, ICMP is very close to the North London Tavern which could be a great venue to use if you’re looking to attract other students from the college to attend. 

If a venue has a reputation for live music and a sizable following on social media, then this can help as they should support with promotion.

Alternatively, you might want to source somewhere unusual and unknown for live music. If you can track down an exciting new space, then this can offer an audience a unique experience which they’d want to attend. FOMO can be a strong win for promoters."

Set a Date


Once you’ve found a suitable venue, then you need to consider a good date to host your event. Ideally, you should give yourself a lead up time of four-six weeks to ensure you can maximise promotional opportunities. 

Look at other live events taking place and try to avoid scheduling at the same time as the gig of a similar act where there could be some crossover between crowds. Try and avoid national holidays or nights of the week where people are less likely to be out. Wednesdays and Thursdays can often be great nights for live music. 

Get the Best Equipment

You need to consider what gear you will need when hosting a live event. Ask whether bands can share some equipment or if they will be bringing their own instruments.

Make sure there is a soundcheck for each act to ensure they can make the most of this performance opportunity."

If you’re an ICMP student, then remember you can borrow backline from our Facilities team. We also make a selection of equipment (amps, PA's drumkits, etc) available to our students for off-site use (gigs, festivals, external recording). This equipment is available to ICMP students for a small fee and deposit. It's usually at a fraction of the commercial cost they would otherwise encounter.  

Promote your Event Effectively

Promotion is the main way of marketing your event. Without it, you’re unlikely to have anyone turn up which will obviously be detrimental to both your chances of recouping your costs and having any kind of atmosphere. So you need to consider how you will tell people about your event taking place.

Consider putting up posters in nearby cafes or bars. If there are other gigs happening before your show which will attract like-minded music fans, then it could be worth handing out flyers after the event has finished in a bid to attract this crowd. Online promotion is also key - so set up a Facebook event page with all the details and how to get advance tickets if you’re offering them. If other bands are performing, then ask them to help share the details with their fans. Also, double check all the details of your promotional assets to ensure these are correct. You don't want people turning up to the wrong venue or on the wrong night. 

Sell Advance Tickets


One way of easing any nerves over event attendance is by selling advance tickets. This can also help with your budget and create some advance cash flow which can be invested in decorating the venue or enhancing your promotional strategies. It can also give you the assurance that some people should turn up. You can provide tickets to any support acts to sell to their crowd. You can also do ‘early bird’ tickets at a special price to encourage interest and sell spaces quickly. 

How to Make the Most of Opportunities on the Day 

Make sure you give yourself a clear schedule for the big day itself. Ensure all acts and artists are aware of timings for soundchecks and doors and what they need to bring with them. 

If you’re running the door yourself, then get a float of change for anyone paying on the night. Also a stamp to make sure you can track those who have paid. You can also have a pen and paper to get email addresses.

You should also try to maximise other opportunities from the event itself by taking photos and video footage for social media, selling merchandise and networking with fans or industry guests."

If you’re anticipating a busy night, then contact local press or music industry bloggers to try and get some positive reviews. 

What to Do After the Event

You might think that once the gig is over, you’ve packed down and left the venue, then the hard work is over. But it’s also important to review how the event went. Ask yourself if there were any aspects that didn’t go to plan which you’d do differently next time? If you did collect email addresses, then make sure you collate them and add them to a database. You should also post about the event via your social media profiles, thank people for attending and share details of the next show too. Good luck!  

Learn how to conceive and create live event experiences that last a lifetime

Gain a holistic overview of the live events industry with our pioneering BA (Hons) Live Event and Festival Management degree. Explore the concepts of live production, event management and the live music ecosystem, as you expand and put into practice your creative and entrepreneurial skills. Developed in consultation with key bodies in the industry, it has the ever-evolving live music ecosystem at its core.  

Hit the link below, or speak to our friendly Admissions Team via our Live Chat or phone on 020 8038 3325, to find out more.

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by Jim Ottewill
March 8, 2022
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