1. Managing a Project
1.1 Setting up and Planning
1.2 Running the Project
1.2.2 Event Preparation
1.2.2 The Big Day!
1.3 Completing the Project
2. Finance, Budgeting and Fundraising
2.1 Creating and keeping control of a budget
3. Marketing and PR
3.1 Approaching Press
3.2 Measuring Success
Phase 2 – Event Preparation
The project comes to life once you have enough potential income lined up (from fees, grants and potential ticket sales) to make the budget viable. This is the point where you can really commit. After signing contracts with the promoters, you can confirm with performers, make a firm fee offer and draw up a written agreement for engaging them for your project. The agreement with the performer doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs to cover main points such as dates and locations, fees (including or excluding travel and accommodation) and programme to be performed. On the other hand, contracts from the promoters, especially from bigger organisations, can be very long and cover all sorts of details. Do make sure you read it through carefully, to avoid any last minute surprises and ask for clarification if you are unsure about any aspects. Through the contract both parties agree on a range of details (so you can use a contract as a checklist that all aspects have been covered) and show their commitment to the project.
In the lead-up to the concert(s) you will need to take care of a myriad of tasks, so it is useful to draw up a timeline, listing the most important tasks and when they have to be carried out. By now you will have specific dates for the concert(s), which are the points from which to work backwards. The timeline ensures that everything happens at the right time and that no aspect of the project gets forgotten about or neglected. Action points on the timeline could include:
- Update the budget – this needs to be scheduled in several times during the life span of the project to ensure you are always on track financially
- Book travel – depending on arrangements, travel will either be booked by the producer (you), the venue or by the performers themselves, but in any case it should be done early on to keep costs down
- Arrange rehearsals – dress rehearsal times need to be agreed on with the performers and the venue; you might also want to discuss times and locations for earlier rehearsals with the performers, especially if there’s a cost to your budget (i.e. hiring a rehearsal room)
- Generate publicity material and draw up marketing plan – more details about this in Section 3, Marketing and PR
- Liaise about technical requirements – you will have sent a list of basic tech requirements to the promoter when you first contacted them (on the information sheet), but closer to the time of the concert you need to make sure all is in order
- Arrange documentation – if you’d like to have an audio or video recording made of the performance or photographs taken you should discuss the set-up for this with the venue and the performers in advance of the concert day. You might also need to get permission from both the performers and the venue for this
- Carry out risk assessment – the venue might ask you to complete a risk assessment form; while this might seem daunting at first, risk assessment is pretty straight-forward; you need to show what the hazards are (e.g. cables on floor), who might be harmed and how (e.g. musicians tripping over cables), how likely it is that this risk will injure somebody (on a scale from 1 to 5), how severe would the injury be (again on a scale from 1 to 5) and lastly, how you will manage this risk (e.g. tape down cables, make performers aware of hazard)
- Arrange complimentary tickets – If you are taking ticket sales income you can issue an unlimited number of comps (at your own financial risk!), but when the venue is paying you a fee, the number of comps will be limited to anything from 1 ticket to 8 or so. Think about who you would like to invite to the concert (including the project funders) and keep in mind that performers often ask for tickets for family members/friends• Draw up and send out event schedule – this should outline timings, venue addresses and order of works as well as mobile numbers for key people
- Provide programme information – To ensure audiences can find out more about what is being performed it is useful to provide programme information. This could be in the form of an A4 leaflet, listing the programme order, notes on the individual works and a biography for the ensemble. You should also credit your funders. Often funding organisations like to be credited in a specific way and with a specific logo, and it’s important to get the details right.
- Invoicing – remember to invoice the promoter before the concert so as to get paid promptly.
During the course of the project, you as producer might in fact be in contact with a whole range of staff from the same organisation, especially at larger venues. Your first contact will be with the Artistic Director/Programmer, who might then pass your details on to the General Manager/Administrator, who will draw up the contract and be your main point of contact for general enquiries. If your event involves a substantial tech element (e.g. live electronics as well as video projection) you might discuss requirements directly with the venue’s tech staff. In the lead-up to the event, you will probably discuss marketing options with the marketing staff, while on the day of the event you and the performers might be looked after by a concert/event manager.
Lastly, in the days after the concert, you might be in touch with somebody from accounts about the transfer of the fee and the reimbursement of the travel costs. At small venues, however, many of these diverse roles will be carried out by the same person, e.g. with marketing as well as accounting being done by the administrator.