What Is Involved in Music Event Planning?

The doors open, and a thousand fans stream into a venue. They jostle each other for space, line up for the porta-potties and queue for drinks — all the while, keeping an eye on the stage for the acts to appear. Finally, the lights go down, the amps get cranked up, and for the next few hours, the house is rocking. It may seem magic, but the show happens because someone skilled in music event planning is working behind the scenes.

Music event planning is not just a matter of opening the doors, turning on the lights, stocking the ice machine, and making sure the band finds their way from the trailer to the stage. Music event planning not only gets the band and their gear to the venue but also manages marketing for the event (so that there is an audience waiting for the band when they hit the stage), as well as ensuring that the venue is appropriately stocked and staffed. It’s a job that requires attention to detail, lots of people management skills, and the ability to delegate responsibilities. You can’t always drive the band to the show yourself, or run the bar at the back of the room while simultaneously taking tickets at the door.

One Planner, Many Jobs

A master’s degree in arts presenting gives a planner the tools to successfully coordinate all the complicated aspects of a musical event. You learn how to negotiate contracts with both bands and venues, ensuring that both parties are eager to come together for a successful event. The show won’t succeed unless the promoter can bring in enough of an audience to fill the venue, which is where marketing and advertising skills come in handy. Need to raise some money for marketing? Good thing you know how to find sponsors and do fund-raising activities for the show. Maybe the band is traveling from out of state — who takes care of their transportation and lodging? That’s the music event planner’s job, too. Will the band stay in a hotel? Can they couch-surf at fans’ houses? What sort of dietary requirements do they have? Does the band want to sell T-shirts and CDs at the show? Who runs that table, and does the venue take a cut of the money earned there?

A Job Done Right

Successful music event planning coordinates the answers to all these questions and more, relying on clear and concise logistics planning and the coordination of all involved parties. If the band and the venue are happy with the event, they’ll be eager to work with the planner again, and an audience never notices all the infrastructure and planning that goes into a successful event. They just go home, tired and happy, having spent an evening listening to their favorite bands. “What an awesome show,” is what they’ll be saying tomorrow, and that’s the sure sign that the event planner has done his or her job.

Learn about the Frost School of Music’s online master’s degree program in arts presenting and live entertainment management.




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