Music venues are some of the most important elements within the entirety of the music industry. While concerts are great for creating revenue, they also give artists the perfect chance to really kickstart their careers. Concerts bring different types of people together to create a place for community and creativity.
In fact, they are a crucial part of the longevity of the music industry. However, running a music venue event within your local area is an entirely different ballpark. It can be an expensive endeavor for many reasons, including the cost of management, equipment, and the infrequency of performance.
Some venues require sponsorship to stay afloat. Sometimes, they even resort to public arts funding organizations. While it can definitely feel overwhelming to start a music venue event in your local area, there is help available.
In this guide, you will learn how to navigate the process and make the crucial decisions for the venue you’re looking to create. To start, here are some of the different types of music venues found across the world:
- Jazz club
- Concert hall
- Opera house
Locating and Opening Your Music Venue
It all begins with picking the ideal placement for your music event. It is one of the most important elements. While placement certainly isn’t the exact key to success, where the venue is located will help to attract individuals.
In fact, most venues are located in city environments downtown. However, if you promote your venue well, you can basically place it anywhere you like. Usually, the placement of the event will depend on the size and type of venue you’re looking to start.
You must also consider your target audience in both concert-goers and artists/bands. Based on what your target audience is, you will be able to match your venue style and location. You should also ensure that you do your research to see what genres do well in the city that you’re looking to see your music venue event in.
For example, all music genres thrive everywhere. However, when you think of Nashville, the country music scene is absolutely massive there. So, if you are looking to focus on country music, perhaps you should look into hosting your event in Nashville.
You should also focus on making up a budget. This way, you will be able to determine how much you want to spend on the space as well as how much it will cost to make it the music venue you have been dreaming of. It is crucial to not only remember the importance of the location, but also remember that being able to financially afford it is even more important.
There are lots of permits and licenses you need to consider as well before you open the doors to people. Any venue looking to sell alcohol will need to obtain a liquor license. Concert venues also require special permits specifying their maximum legal capacity, and when they must close.
On top of that, venues may also necessitate substantial capital investment. This may be in the form of equipment for light, sound, or security systems. While some may choose to build new facilities, others may purchase existing buildings instead.
The Equipment You Need to Use
The next step is to figure out the sound equipment. Sound equipment really is the most important part of a music video. Without it, how would your audience be able to hear all of the amazing musical acts you have lined up for them?
When you are looking at starting a music venue event, you need to focus on having great sound equipment. Otherwise, both the audience and the artists will be disappointed in the show you have worked hard for.
It is most important to make sure that your venue sounds acoustically fantastic. The sound equipment should complement the acoustics. If this sounds a little too much, you’ll be happy to know that you can hire a professional audio engineer to help you with finding the correct equipment that suits your exact needs.
They will help you determine what you need for the genre of music and the venue size you will be using the equipment for. There is more than enough equipment out there to choose from that is well-priced. Consider looking at a variety of microphones that are durable and within your budget.
Speakers and monitors are another very important thing. You need to ensure that you set up the right speakers for your space. Depending on the acoustics of your area, you will need to decipher how many you need and what size they will need to be.
Most of the time, you will require a center, right, left, and subchannel. However, this will depend on what is suitable for your music venue. On top of that, you should also know that mixing boards are very important.
The size you need will depend on how many channels of audio you want to have in your venue. It is most often recommended that you find a 24-channel mixing board. However, if you’re only going to have acoustic singer-songwriters play within your venue, then a smaller one will be absolutely fine.
Remember to get both microphone and instrument stands. You will also need to consider amplifiers for instruments and all of the necessary cabling needed for your instruments, microphones, amplifiers, mixing board, speakers, and monitors.
If you’re really ready to go all out, you should consider a lighting board. This is not a necessity for smaller venues just starting out. However, as you begin to progress and become more extravagant with your shows, a lighting board will make all the difference to the vibe of your show.
You may even want to consider some outdoor items to keep the area fresh. If you have an outdoor space with plenty of lawn and trees, you may need to consider purchasing a lawnmower or commercial tree trimmer. However, you may also be able to hire these items.
Promoting a Venue
This is one of the parts of starting a music event that often gets forgotten. Venues must make sure that they market their services for every single event they host. However, they must also make a big effort to post in-between events to ensure that the audience doesn’t lose engagement.
If a venue hosts its own events, you should see that in-house promoters create advertisements to place around in outlets such as newspapers and radio stations. Utilizing social media is the best thing you can do. However, spreading around fliers and posters is also a great marketing tool to use to your advantage.
Using social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram helps to enlarge your audience and bring awareness to what you’re offering. In previous times, the promoters would only ask that the artist show up on the night of their performance/concert and give it their all. Now, however, promoters and venues take the time to bond with their artists and get them involved in the marketing side of things.
This helps music venue events as it brings the artist’s social media audience, which further aids promotional success. Try to diversify your programming without fear of introducing your venue to different types of audiences. When you step out of your normal comfort zone and run unique events, you build up a consistent community for your businesses.
A great example of this is to livestream concerts during performances to gain some online traction. As you begin to go through different strategies while promoting your venue, stay tuned to collect data. Though music brings a large audience and is an art in itself, running a successful music venue event is a science.
You need to ensure you are making an informed decision on promotion in order to achieve the intended effects. Being able to make these informed decisions requires an understanding of what you have been doing. You should take a look at all the data and analytics behind social media and online traffic towards your venue.
This way, you will be able to identify what is working to truly hone in on those strategies. The best way to make smart marketing decisions is to collect and implement information.
Find Sponsors to Offset Costs
If your music venue event is in need of some extra funding, you should consider sponsors to offset costs. While this definitely doesn’t mean you have to reach out to big corporations, you should definitely reach out to as many people as possible. However, you first need to identify what you are planning to offer your sponsors in return for their sponsorship.
The answer here is clear; advertising. One of the biggest and most popular things done in return for sponsorship is logo placement. You can offer logo placement on posters, flyers, and any event material.
In fact, the more you print, the more enticing the offer will be for your sponsor. You should also look at including them in your social media strategy. Work out a select number of posts in which they will be tagged or featured.
Permits and Legal Issues
You must ensure that as a music venue owner, you comply with all of the necessary laws and regulations in regard to noise disturbances, safety concerns, maximum capacity, and alcohol sales. If you break these rules, you could face hefty fines.
On top of that, major violations, such as serving minors alcohol, can result in an entire revocation of a business permit. Venues must also allow inspections from fire marshals to ensure that no building codes are violated and that emergency exits are maintained in accordance with the law by remaining free of obstructions.
Inspections will also check for any fire hazards and overall maintenance. This is to ensure that the venue is well-kept. Venues must also obtain blanket licenses to allow musicians to play music within the venue.
What Amenities Should You Include in Your Venue to Appeal to Concert Goers and Artists?
The amenities at your venue will depend on the audience you’re intending to target. If you are hoping to appeal to more indie artists, the best venue would be within a small club. However, clubs are almost always 18+ or 21+.
This then makes it harmful if the artists have a younger audience. You could be losing out on a lot of younger concert-goers. Though, the benefit then is that you can create more revenue in an 18+ venue.
You will be able to serve more drinks to those who are of legal age, which creates more money and attracts a larger audience. You could even consider food catering to serve food at your music venue. This could help bring in an additional income.
You should also consider bringing in some fun games for people to enjoy between sets. An axe throwing game or bumper cars are often met with great remarks. You should also ensure you have plenty of space for parking, as most bands will have enclosed trailers to carry all of their equipment in.
Here are some other things you should consider that are often forgotten:
- Porta potties– For outdoor venues with a large number of people
- Janitorial services– To ensure all areas such as bathrooms remain clean
- Event tent rental– For outdoor venues needing options indoors
These days, even porta potties come in luxury form. So, if you’re worried about traditional porta potties ruining the aesthetic of your venue, you can use a luxury portable restroom instead. This is a great option.
The Real Recipe for Success
Differentiate Your Venue from Competitor Venues
You really need to market your venue as a musical hotspot. To do this, you should hire well-rated or proven performers who can entertain your audience and create a true vision for your venue. Take a look at your community and find ways to break into their market so you can make your music venue even a place people really want to be, regardless of who is playing.
Getting to know your target audience is the best way to cater to their needs.
Remain Organized and Communicate
The key tip given in this article is to remain organized and keep communication consistent. Take notes, write things down, and keep a consistent log of everything you find. You should also maintain a calendar and schedule your days.
It can also be helpful to keep records of the performers you have hired and paid for. It is integral for operating a successful venue. By keeping performers up to date and communicating well with you, you create strong relationships.
Be Consistent and Patient
Follow a regular schedule and remain patient. Good scheduling is important so that your audience knows what to expect. Followers thrive off of regularity and consistency. It takes time to build success, so be patient and don’t expect it to happen overnight.
A Few Things to Remember
Here are a few things to remember when running a music venue event in your local area.
- Map out the entire itinerary from beginning to end to ensure success.
- Know each performer set up. This way, you can tell them what equipment is or isn’t available, what time to soundcheck, and the time of their set.
- If you have vendors coming in, have them set everything up the night before.
- Accept that you likely won’t have time to fully enjoy the event like you’d hope.
- If you haven’t paid anyone beforehand, have a clear discussion about when payments will be made.
- Make sure you have completed all on-site branding obligations.
The Bottom Line
When all is said and done, you must come to terms with the fact that it isn’t really all said and done. After the event, you should pool photos from social media and share them will all who attended on the event page. You should also share them with bands, sponsors, and anyone else directly involved.
Whether you decide to go ahead with another or keep it as a one-time thing, everyone will get one final marketing boost from the post-even content.