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How To Organize Great Events On A Tight Budget

This is how you organize a great event on a tight budget:


Organizing a music event featuring up-and-coming artists without spending any money upfront can be challenging, but it's definitely achievable with the right strategy and approach. 


Why would you want to this:


  1. You can focus on inviting only those artists you would love to work with in the studio as well. 

  2. Your network is going to grow immensely and you’ll set yourself up for success in future as you’ll grow together with the artists you connect with

  3. You’re probably gonna make some money

  4. You know now how to organize an event (I don’t need to explain how valuable that is in the music industry, do I?)

  5. You’re gonna position yourself as one of the go to guys and your name will circulate in rooms you haven’t even thought of yet

  6. With a successful event series you will attract and convince a lot of sponsors who can support you with equipment, money, networks and more


Here's a guide to help you organize such an event, build a community, make some cash and expand your network:


1. Venue Collaboration:


Look for venues that are willing to collaborate on a revenue-sharing basis. Many bars, cafes, and small venues are open to hosting events without requiring an upfront payment. Approach them with your proposal of hosting a music event featuring promising up-and-coming artists from your region. Highlight the potential benefits for the venue, such as increased foot traffic, bar sales, and exposure that’ll attract a new audience which they can turn into new regular customers. Even though most probably understand the advantages right away it’ not bad mentioning it anyway, because it shows you see their perspective, too! 


One thing that’s important when choosing a venue: make sure they’ve got a sound system you can work with! It’s best to ask if you can test it with an artist (or yourself). It’ll take only 10 to 15 minutes.


Just a tipp: If you really don’t want to take any financial risk whatsoever, you can do a free event. Without ticket sales. Usually, smaller venues will spare you the rent and work with the idea, that you’ll help fill up the venue with paying customers who drink and eat.


2. Artist Collaboration:


Reach out to the up-and-coming artists from your region you want to feature in the event. They all need and want opportunities to perform! All of them! And they will do it for free, if your concept and venue is nice and caters towards their target group!


Don’t mix metal and jazz is what Im saying. All urban music from Jazz to HipHop to Afro-Beats and Amapiano are perfectly fine. Explain your concept of organizing a collaborative event where everyone shares in the revenue generated.

This is key! It’s a hustle and you’re doing it together! That’s the spirit. If you won’t sell any tickets, they won’t have to pay. Put the artists first! Your pockets are going to grow bigger at a later point! Emphasize the opportunity for exposure and networking with other artists and potential fans. Ensure that all artists are on board with the revenue-sharing model.


One more thing: It is absolutely crucial (!!!!!!) that you treat the artists with respect. Even though they might not have big following yet or whatever. Your reputation is everything. The way you deal with artists will have an immediate effect on how they deal with you. If you come across arrogant and don’t respect even the smallest artist like a human being, others will hear about it and you can forget about your future events bc everyone is gonna charge you bigger sums. I’ve seen people do that and their event went to shit.


3. Promotion Through Social Media and Networking:


Utilize social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to promote the event. You can create eye-catching graphics, teaser videos, and event pages to generate buzz with canva. Even better though: make videos and show your face! Invite people! Explain each part of your concept, show them the venue! Give people an idea of what they're going to experience at your event!


The last event I've done featured 4 artists, one chef, one painter and a spoken word artist. The venue was so dope that we treaded it as a feature itself. And we put out social media videos about each and every element that contributed to the show.

The result: we sold more tickets than we thought we could.


Ask the artists to send you videos with a little shoutout and invitation to the event that you’ll cross post on social media. Encourage the participating artists to share the event with their followers and networks. Leverage local music communities, forums, and groups and websites that are promoting events in your area to spread the word.


4. Sponsorship and Partnerships:


Approach local businesses, brands, or organizations that align with the music event's vibe and target audience. Offer them exposure and branding opportunities in exchange for sponsorship or partnership. This could include logo placement on promotional materials, shout-outs during the event, or product giveaways.


When we've partnered with a company like Austrian Audio, they had two requirements: Put our Logo on your (digital) flyers and send us photos of artists using our equipment. WE agreed and received a care package that included all kinds of microphones, easily worth more than 4000$.


Based on my experience, it’s best to do the first one or two events without a sponsor. However, you've got to make sure to have great documentation of the events. We're talking great throwback-videos and nice photos of the performances and crowd!


If you do have two successful events that you’ve documented well (make sure to find somebody who’s gonna do photos and videos of your event!), you can approach potential sponsors with more than just an idea. You can approach them with a proof of concept, making it all the more likely for them to support you with whatever they feel appropriate.


5. Ticket Sales and Door Revenue: (This is optional in the beginning!)


Sell tickets to the event either online through platforms like Eventbrite or at the door. If this your first event I would go for the door because it makes things a little bit easier at this point. If you sell tickets via some platform you might need a business account, a registered company and all that. That depends on where you're from and what the prevailing legal situation requires you to do, of course. But give it a thought and see what makes more sense for you. It is way more important to provide your guests with an awesome experience than doing all the things that simply "sound like this is what a professional would do". Focus on creating an awesome experience first!


Set a reasonable ticket price that covers your costs and ensures a fair share of revenue for the artists. In Europe, a reasonable price given the inflation etc is 10€ to 15€ at the moment for an event with four artists.


6. Merchandise Sales:


Encourage the artists to bring and sell their merchandise at the event. This could include CDs, vinyl records, t-shirts, posters, or other merchandise items. Allocate a designated space for merch tables and promote merchandise sales during breaks between performances. It allows for them to make some money even though they might not receive a fee for their performance at this point.


You could even produce some merch yourself. However, if this your first event, this is going to add another layer of complexity to the process. Organizing events can come across deceivingly simple but it requires a great eye for detail when you do it right!


At a later point, when your event has gotten a following I would absolutely do my own merchandise, too.


7. Volunteer Support:


Ask your friends to help! Ask your music friends to help you. In fact, do your first event with your homies or people you already know! However, you have got to make sure the quality of the music is decent. People will forgive a new artist if he isn’t the best performer yet but they will love an artist who is clearly nervous whilst still dropping a really good song. 


You will need somebody at the door (unless your event is for free), somebody who's guiding the guests and artists through the performance, somebody who's taking care fo the artists needs, a sound engineer and possibly a DJ.


Otherwise recruit volunteers to help with various aspects of event organization, such as setup, ticket sales, merchandise management, and cleanup. Offer incentives such as free admission or merchandise to volunteers as a token of appreciation for their assistance. 


8. Minimize Costs:


Keep expenses to a minimum by utilizing free or low-cost resources wherever possible. This includes DIY decorations, equipment borrowing or renting, and negotiating favorable terms with vendors. Prioritize spending only on essential items that contribute to the success of the event. Essentials mean mics, possibly a subwoofer, cable, and stuff like that. We’re really talking about things you simply can’t live without.


Conclusion

By following these steps and leveraging collaboration, promotion, and revenue-sharing opportunities, you can organize a successful music event featuring up-and-coming artists without having to spend any money upfront and even better…. If you keep doing it! You’ll build a while community.


And with that a LOT of things become possible. Because then YOU have an audience that’s interesting for others. 


I would advise you, if you want to help build a scene, you will at least have to do five or six events. It takes times for the word to spread but if you do your job well, choose the right artists and keep a tight grip on the organizational part it will work.


I’ve done it myself in a city where everybody around me always said, this isn’t possible because people wouldn’t understand or some other excuse. I never believed that but I knew it’ll take time to build a scene. Most people simply give up to early and don’t understand that these things take a few months to grow. That’s all. 5 to 6 events, once a month and you might have a built a community that you can capitalize on in future.

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