How We Promote Our Events (Part Three)

Here’s the final part of our guide to events promotion, which has pooled together our accumulated knowledge from over two years of learning as we go. Part One looked at setting up an event, while Part Two was all about getting the word out, both in print and online. This section is about how to best organise the event itself and how it can help promote anything you undertake in the future.


If you want to share any experiences you have of promoting events, live music or otherwise, please put them in the comments.

During and After the Event

Schedule the Evening.
Before the evening takes place, work out a running order for the evening. Take into account the equipment each act will be using and how much time it will take you or your sound engineer to change the setup between each performance. Whenever the musicians are changing over at Colour we DJ, so these breaks feel less severe. It also gives people a chance to get to the bar.

Also take into account the following:

  • Arrive at the venue early so you have plenty of time to set up the space exactly how you want it and are ready for the bands to turn up and soundcheck. Schedule the soundcheck as early as you can so that any creases can be ironed out well before the doors open. There’s nothing worse than musicians soundchecking as people arrive.
  • Email the running order to the artists a few days before the event in case they want to make any changes and give them printed copies with how long their sets will be on the night.
  • It’s also worth printing out an equipment checklist detailing everything you will need for the night. Check it and double check it before you head to the venue. This will avoid any nasty surprises when you soundcheck.
  • Finally, make sure you have everyone’s contact details with you.


Collect Data.
We’ve always been a little slack when it comes to this, but it’s well worth collecting email and social networking addresses from the audience at your event. As with any direct marketing, be respectful and don’t pester them as this will have an adverse effect. Perhaps offer them an incentive for their information. For example, we’ll be giving people pin badges at our next event.

You could start a mailout group using a service like YMLP, which is free for a basic account, or start a new group in your email. Be sure to BCC all contacts so individual email addresses aren’t on display to all.

Video and Photos.
Previous events can promote future ones. If people have a great time, they will hopefully keep an eye out for what you do in future. Give them a reason to look you up online after the event by posting photos to a dedicated Flickr account, perhaps with a few highlights on your blog. You could get permission from the musicians to film their set and post clips to YouTube, Vimeo or Flickr (paid upgrade required). As previously mentioned, if your events are prominent on the internet you can only gain in terms of people through the door and satisfaction on the night.vimeo

Above all, be sure to make your events work for you and have fun doing it. Designing posters, writing press releases, meeting new people… it’s a wonderful way to spend your time and it’s so satisfying when it goes well.

Have I missed anything? I’d love to hear about how you promote live music in the comments.

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