Top tips for promoting a successful gig

We asked the team behind the Give A Gig campaign for their essential advice on how to promote a gig...


Playing live is an important part of the modern musician's toolkit but how can you stage a successful gig? 

Promoting live events has its challenges but it can also be very rewarding when it comes together. To help make these on stage opportunities run as smoothly as possible we asked the team at music charity Youth Music for their advice. The organisation runs the Give A Gig initiative to raise much needed funds for life-changing music-making projects so are well placed to provide  some great insight into promotional techniques. Check out their advice below... 

How far in advance should you start planning a gig?

At least one month in advance is a decent time to start organising your gig, but the earlier you can start the better. You’ll have lots of important decisions to make, so it’s always best to give yourself plenty of time to prepare.

What are the most effective ways to promote a live show? Is social media more effective than creating flyers or posters? 

Social media is a great way to create hype around your gig, as you can take advantage of multiple social channels and reach a wider audience through things like paid advertising.

but word of mouth can be just as effective as social media - make sure you tell your family and friends to save the date and spread the word, both in person and online."

Creating flyers and posters has many benefits too. You could hand out flyers at networking events and have posters of your gig put up across various music venues.

On the day/night what should be your priorities to make sure the event goes smoothly?

Your main priority should be to arrive at the venue as early as you can. This will give you enough time to deal with any potential complications beforehand. Check all equipment is working, do a sound check and make sure your team and artists arrive on time, know what they are doing and are well looked after.

What can you do after a gig to maintain momentum gained from it?

Build up as much content as possible from the night of your gig. A great way to do this is by asking friends and family to take photos and video footage during the gig. 

Sharing content across social media will keep fans engaged well after the gig is over. You could also use the content from your gig as a promotional tool for your next upcoming event."

How can you budget effectively to ensure you don’t lose money when putting on a show?

Make a list of all your expenses so you can cover your costs. Be sure to do this before selling tickets, to ensure you price them correctly. A few things you may need to think about when budgeting: will there be a fee for the venue? Will equipment be provided, or will you have to hire or buy your own? Will you provide snacks/drinks for your acts? How much will transport cost?

When your event’s for charity, you may find that people generously choose to give their time or services free of charge. But for the majority of people working in the music industry, money is tight, so please don’t demand that they go without payment. You can still hold a fantastic fundraising event while paying people fairly.

The simplest way to fundraise for Youth Music is to donate a percentage of the proceeds from your ticket sales. You could also add a donation (such as £1) on top of an existing ticket price, or simply have a bucket shake or voluntary contribution on the door.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to a new promoter?

Keep it simple, start off small and work your way up. Be confident and don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Be completely clear from the start about what type of night you are going for, and communicate with everyone involved." 

Don’t assume that everyone knows what’s going on in your head! You might have to repeat things or chase people. That’s part of the job. A gig can get stressful but it’s important you remain calm and be nice to everyone.

What attributes does a successful gig promoter need to have?

A successful gig promoter needs to have great communication and problem solving skills. They need to be willing to take risks and know and understand how to lead a team. Patience and perseverance is what will see you through to a successful gig.

Visit the Give A Gig website to find out more about the campaign. 

Give a Gig Week is the flagship fundraising initiative for Youth Music. We’re a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people in challenging circumstances.

The first-ever Give a Gig Week took place in 2017 and saw 119 fundraising gigs of all shapes and sizes take place around the country in one week, all organised by our amazing supporters.

This year’s Give a Gig Week is taking place from 16-25 March. We’ve got over 90 gigs lined up already, including artists such as Craig David, Newton Faulkner, The Wombats, Dream Wife, FEMME and Frisco. 

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by Give A Gig
March 14, 2018
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