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Turning your gig into an event

June 28, 2013

A preceding article alluded to the ultimate goal for building your audience: make it more about them. One of the best ways to make your show about the audience is to turn it into an event. Think about content that is do-able and incorporate as much as possible.

Starting small
An easy way to start small is to simply throw a birthday party for a fan, or an anniversary party, a stag party, bah mitzvah – you get the idea. And you’ve certainly seen the tacky cliche: bring the bday boy or girl up on stage to shake the tambourine to the Beatles.

Come up with your own unique take on this or find something else that works. Birthday spankings? Pin the tail on the bassist? In any event, you can’t go wrong with free birthday cake.

Stepping it up a notch
Themes are the best way to stay focused and create a unifying vibe. Let the audience know what the show is going to be about so they can join the activities. Chances are, your fans are as creative as your band and will raise the show to new heights.

This theme can also tie-in with your overarching mission. Logical connections and symbols will spring up once you’ve committed to a solid mission. And are there specific holidays or other yearly events that might make sense for your show? You might do an event on or near a major holiday with or without a twist. Here are some twists:

Hangover Party (the day after New Years)
Anti-Valentines Day
St. Patricia’s Day
Seis, Siete, or Ocho de Mayo; Cinco de Julio? May the 4th be with you…
Suddenly, a plethora of pseudo-holidays could fill up your calendar. Or just keep it simple and host a regular, old holiday party.


The Extras
We previously discussed lighting, special effects, backdrops and props, but here some other aspects of an event to up the ante:

*Band merch – beyond your basic band merch, you could make a little extra margin by selling event-specific merch at a show. Everyone wants a keepsake reminder of a good time. Something to hang on the rearview mirror or in the den.

Sometimes it makes sense to build the merch right into the cost of admission. This particular band leader has done “Ticket and a T” shows. Build the T-shirt cost into admission price and let them select a T of their choice. This one is especially effective with a multiple band lineup so you can create a contest (the extra money goes to the band whose T-shirt was selected).

*Atmosphere – any efforts at general decoration can go a long way towards setting a mood. Creating a separate, colorful area for key photo ops and special VIP areas are always great. One venue in town sections off a special portion of their establishment for the VIP seating (with special pricing and services, like champagne).

*Video – combining cameras with live feed is a great way to add excitement to the show. Flash it on the crowd and you’ve suddenly included them in the production. Just make sure you get those release waivers signed…

*Additional performers: dancers, models, actors, fire spinners, clowns, a celebrity appearance, animals(?). Get creative and see what fits for your particular theme.

In the next article we’ll talk about what works and what generally doesn’t.

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