The Magic of Music: How to Plan an Amazing Gig

4th Feb 2023

Black backdrop with male in the middle playing guitar and decorative emoji's surrounding him

Music events are a magical way to bring people together. If you’re anything like us, you’ve been missing live music over the last year. But with COVID-19 restrictions set to start slowly easing across Australia, now is the time to start planning your dream music gig.

Planning a music event can sound intimidating. Especially when you think about massive festivals like Glastonbury or Splendour in the Grass. But not every music event has to be a multi-day, internationally renowned affair.

We recently listed Strawberry Fields for the 2021 festival, which is a great example of a music festival that feels a little different. In fact, when it comes to planning live music, there are literally thousands of different ways to host a gig, of all different shapes and sizes.

Read on for our top tips to making planning a music event as stress-free as possible, and get excited to share in the excitement of live music.

Figure out your goal

Apart from being a music lover, what is the goal of the gig? Are you trying to turn a profit, or trying to raise money for a charity (think the legendary Live Aid concert of 1985, which raised USD$38m for aid efforts in African countries).

Here are a few example goals that you can use and re-phrase for your event:

  • Raising money for a cause: Music events can be a great way to raise money for a cause. Many big acts may also agree to donate their normal gig fee. Check out our blog on planning a successful fundraiser for more tips [Link to 0004].
  • Brand recognition: Depending on your overall marketing strategy, a gig is a great way to get your branding in front of a lot of people’s eyes and stay front of mind.
  • Developing partnerships: Maybe you want to strengthen partnerships with musicians, record labels, or drinks companies. A music event can achieve a few of these at once!
  • Supporting local artists: While supporting the art industry might seem altruistic, supporting the arts can also be a great business decision. It shows you care about the arts and can strengthen relationships with the industry.
  • To make a profit: If organised well, music festivals can gain a share in the $500m Australian live music industry.

Pick a format

Music events come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. Once you have a rough idea of your goals (and budget) it’s worth thinking about which format will serve you best for your event. Examples of music event formats include:

  • Large outdoor music festival
  • Smaller boutique festival
  • Classical music concert
  • Acoustic sets outdoors or indoors
  • A large lineup of bands (5+) in the same genre
  • A main band + support
  • Battle of the band's style competition
  • Local artist festival
  • Dance night with live DJs and electronica

Other things to consider when coming up with a format include accessibility, audience size and, of course, the current COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings for your state.

Research bands and artists

Researching bands and artists can be a lot of fun - but also a little overwhelming!

A good place to start is to come up with some parameters for the kinds of acts you’ll be looking for. This can include:

  • Whether you like them
  • Who their main audience is (and if this aligns with your target audience)
  • Their level of fame or size of their fan-base
  • Whether they are local or from a different city/country
  • Whether they are gender or racially diverse
  • Experience level
  • How much music they have put out (it might be hard to play a whole set if they have only released one EP and don’t have other music that is performance-ready!)
  • How they will fit together with other bands you’ve chosen

Once you have developed a framework, it’s a good idea to start compiling a longlist and a shortlist and make a note of their management (if they have one) because this is who you’ll need to ask to try and get them on the bill.

Research venue

Finding a venue is going to be largely dependent on the size and format of your event. The most important thing is to make sure it is well managed and in an easily accessible location.

Other things to think about:

  • Whether it is indoor or outdoor
  • Whether it has enough technical capacity
  • What are the acoustics like?
  • Have other events there been successful?
  • Accessibility requirements
  • How easy it will be for guests to move around
  • Safety

It’s really important to visit the venue before you book -- especially if you are after something a little less conventional, like a good spot for a bush doof or secret warehouse party. This can let you properly assess the condition of the venue, imagine how your event will be and get a sense of the general ~vibes~.

Pick a date!

Picking a date makes it seem very real. But once you have the venue, it is really time to go into organisational superstar mode. Getting everything lined up can feel like a nightmare, but if you keep track of everything, including which bands can and cannot make your chosen date, it will be a breeze.

Make sure you consider how the weather will impact things - there is not much use in an outdoor festival in the middle of a rainy winter. But then again, Glastonbury pulls it off!

Get a marketing strategy organised

The final step is to come up with a creative marketing strategy. The fun part of music events is that they can often be a little bit more out there or cheeky in their marketing strategy.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to underpromise and over-deliver. We don’t want to bring up Fyre Festival again. But, well … don’t do a Fyre Festival and promise an exotic island adventure with luxury accommodation and world-class music when what you’ve actually organised is placing a bunch of basic army-issue tents in an open field and no actual live music.

Make sure you have a strategy that works across channels. And once the event is live, it is time to try and boost ticket sales. Read our blog on how to sell more tickets with social media marketing.

Ready to go gangbusters on your next music event? Sell tickets now!

Planning a music festival and ready to sell some tix? List your event with Humanitix, and help the world by helping fund school projects. It takes less than 2 minutes to have your event listed and live!

Em Meller
Em Meller

Em Meller lives and works in Sydney, Australia on the unceded lands of the Gadigal people. Her work has appeared in places like The Lifted Brow, Cordite, and Going Down Swinging. She has studied creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney, and at Oxford University.

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