In a perfect world, you’d be playing sold-out gigs in stadiums all around the world, with thousands of adoring fans chanting your name. But until those stadium gigs become a reality (hopefully in the not-too-distant future), you need to make do with much more humble venues and smaller crowds.
But regardless of whether you’re booking for a big band or a solo artist, finding the right concert venue is far from easy. There’s a whole lot to consider before you can find a concert venue that offers the right capacity, facilities, and ambiance for your needs, so there’s much more to it than just picking a venue at random.
To help make the process easier, check out our six simple tips on choosing the perfect concert venue.
Location and accessibility
Just like in the world of real estate, location is crucial when choosing a concert venue. Accessibility is the first consideration, so look for something that’s centrally located and within easy reach of public transport.
But it’s also a good idea to check out what other attractions are located nearby to any potential venue. For example, are there bars nearby where concert-goers can quench their thirst? Are there nearby restaurants for those who want to treat their taste buds before you do the same for their ears?
Location can also play a part in determining the feel of a venue, so don’t rush this part of the process.
Next, the size of the venue will also play a big part in the space you choose. While it may be tempting to book those big-name venues where you’ve seen some of your favorite bands in action, you need to think long and hard about how many people you can draw to your show.
The key is to choose a venue you know you can sell out. While you obviously don’t want to miss out on potential extra ticket sales you might get at a larger venue, a sold-out show has an atmosphere 10 times better than playing a venue that’s only half full.
You’ll also need to consider the age range of your audience when choosing a concert venue. For example, if you mainly attract tweens to your concerts, that grungy dive bar with a 21+ age restriction may not be the best choice. On the flip side, if you’re hardcore rockers known for your wild live shows, an all-ages community center probably won’t be the best fit, either.
The money side of the equation will always be an important part of booking any concert venue. You’ll not only need to consider how much fans will have to pay for tickets, but also what your share of ticket sales will be.
Don’t forget to find out exactly what is and isn’t included in the agreement. For example, will the venue provide a rider? Will the venue do anything to promote your show? There’s often a whole lot up for negotiation, so don’t be afraid to haggle for a better deal.
Yeah, we know. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out that sound is an all-important consideration when booking a concert venue.
If you’ve got your own trusted sound engineer you can take with you everywhere you go, lucky you. If that’s not possible, make friends with the sound engineer at your chosen venue — a little bit of courtesy goes a long way to ensuring the best possible results for your show.
Finally, don’t forget to check out lots of reviews from previous concert-goers. They’ll help you form a clearer picture of the venues with a reputation for great sound quality.
Last but definitely not least, this is the factor that plays a crucial role in determining the success of any live performance. Every concert venue, no matter how big or small, has its own unique atmosphere. Some spaces can be intimate and inviting, others can be raw and edgy, and some simply feel like they’re soaked with the blood, sweat, and tears of musicians past.
There are even venues that can have a completely different vibe from one night to the next — sometimes it all depends on who’s playing and the crowd you have in.
When you’re choosing a venue, it’s all about finding a venue that matches the on-stage talent. A rough and ready punk band, for example, will seem very out of place on a stage where a piano-playing singer-songwriter would feel right at home.
So if you get a chance to visit a venue before you book, do it. If not (if the venue is in another city, for example), lean on any local contacts you have or check out as many online reviews as you can. This will help you avoid those spaces that aren’t a good fit, and find a venue that will be the perfect match for the music you play.
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