A few months back, browsing through MySpace as usual, on the look out for an amazing band to post in our daily vids, I encountered this promotion company called Diehardz 4 Diehardz (D4D Entertainment). At the time I felt like I wanted a fresh new post on band promotion or booking – a promoter’s perceptive on the dos-and-not-dos bands should respect in order to get some gigs. So I thought to myself “What the hell. I’m gonna contact these guys, and if they don’t answer like most of the promoter/booker types I had previously sent emails to, I’ll just pass on to the next guy”. Well Rob Escamilla from D4D did respond, and after a couple of emails he sent me the article bellow – a thorough examination of D4D’s inner workings on how they set-up gigs and work them out with their bands.
This article will be separated in two just to make it a little shorter. Today’s post relates how D4D:
- Organize their gigs
And tomorrow’s post will center on how D4D:
- Set-up their bills
- Apply the right ‘formula’ for the line-up
- Cope with band work ethics
- Work out the last details after the gig
– Organizing the gig –
First things first: venue and date.
Some venues only allow certain types of genres whereas other venues are wide open and accept all genres however will only play certain styles on certain nights. Also another important thing to mention concerning date: we need to allow enough time to properly plan and promote or “push” the show. It does no justice for the promoter to take a last minute show and try to rush to fill it. It also does you no justice to accept it. Based on these two factors, venue and date, allows us to determine what type of show we can put on. Luckily we have a large network of various genres to choose from so finding the right “style” for the night is not an issue. Message to bands: don’t get all bent out of shape if the promoter/booker you are working with will not give you a prime night at any particular venue. Chances are it’s not in their control. Or if it is, then that just means you have not “earned it” yet.
How much time in advance do we usually start the promotion process?
This depends on which bands we have booked to perform. If they are local bands then a minimum of 1 month would suffice here in the states. The farther they are you may require a little more time. Also, if we are bringing down a big name which we know will draw a crowd, we may need an extra 2 – 4 weeks. Also depends on how big our show is. As a rule of thumb, you could say that the bigger the venue, the more time we will need to promote. The smaller the venue, the less time.
So now we have a venue and a date locked down, the next thing is expenses.
How much does this specific venue charge the promoter? Thats right bands, the venues charge the promoters, not the bands. Expenses may include lights & sound, security and may offer a “bar tab” to the bands which in some cases is picked-up by the promoters. Once we have established the budget we have to work with, we then start calculating other expenses such as printed tickets, printed fliers, web fliers, design work, event shirts or banners, online or radio commercials.
Here’s a rough breakdown of what these expenses may look like:
Sound – $100
Security – $10/per hr. each
300 printed tickets – $60
Design Art work – $75 100
High gloss printed fliers/Posters – $175
Radio Commericals (15 air plays – 50 seconds each) – $150
Some venues will let us keep the full door, ticket sales and some percentage of liquor sales. What this means is the promoter is now responsible for having someone run the door, stamp, give change, check I.D’s etc. Another expense to the promoter.
A note on pre-sale tickets and on how bands usually work it out with the bands on the bill.
This all depends on the budget you have to work with and your total expenses. Don’t let your expenses be a surprise to you! Know exactly what you are willing to spend. This will help you determine what is a “reasonable” cost for people to come out and see your show. You don’t want your price point too high or you’ll scare people away, at the same time, you need to be able to makeyour money back too. At our last show, the pre-sale ticket price was $7, or $10 at the door. We were able to allow the bands to keep $2 from each ticket they sold. As long as we received $5 per ticket, we were happy and the bands were happy to make their own money. We sold out this show with a maximum capacity of 285, we had about 350 people thorugh the door! This is one way to help motivate them to push their show and get heads through the door.
A note on radios.
All radio stations will be glad to take your money to get you and your event broadcasted over the airwaves. One of the DJ’s we work with has a show who showcases a 1 local band each week. If you have anything like this in your area, try and use this as an opportunity to showcase one of the bands on your show plus announce your event! Other than that, you will just have to work out a deal with their sales people on air time.
A note on press releases
The press releases we submit we keep short but informational. Just the details, such as what the event is, who’s performing, whats the date, time, cost for entry. At least 1 – 2 weeks in advance minimum will suffice. You can look into various sites in your area that allow you to post events for free. Sites where people search online for “things to do” in your area are great places to post your event.
And one last note on how we do all this for out-of-town bands.
What I explained above is how we normally work with local bands, however when we work with out-of-town bands or bands with a bigger name (i.e signed to a label who are on tour) the process is different. In that respect, we request a quote from their manager to see how much it’s going to cost us to bring them down to perform. This may include transportation, meals and hotel. Once a verbal agreement has been established, we then draft a contract, send it to them and have them sign it. Once we receive the signed copy back, we then move forward with the show. This is usually handled at least one month in advance.
Thanks Rob for the great write-up. Tomorrow there’s more so stay tuned.