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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Creating Events from Scratch to Completion

In entertainment, there are events that always happen. In the world of electronic dance music, it takes several steps to have an event really be memorable. The first part is your brand for the event. Your brand is the promotion engine you create for people to become familiar when going to these events. It is even more important to give homage to your brand, if that brand is you. As a DJ, I recognized that creating my own events is essentially in catapulting my career as a DJ, event coordinator, and brand. When you create events, this also gives you the opportunity to expand your fan base and audience for future events. There are 15 key elements to having an event be successful and without breaking your bank.

1.     Involved people – There are several key people involved in any even happening. Depending on the size that can be as little as the promoter(s), street team, venue manager, talent, booking agent, sponsor(s), and financial backers. In a smaller club environment, this is usually the core team for an event to happen. Now when you are working with medium sized to large arenas that are always more people involved.

2.     Date & time of event – What day is your event(s) happening. What is the time? What other events are happening the city that may be competition for your event? Is it a one-off (one time event) or is it a series of events for a period of time? Does your event happen with any other competing events? 

3.     Event details – All the details of the event include the venue, venue size, equipment used, talent, promoters, sales (ticket or door), sponsorship(s), insurance, event staff, marketing, merchandise, catering, permits, and bar.

4.     Venue – There are several questions that must be answered in any event. What is the size of the venue? Is the venue large enough? Is the venue up to safety codes? What are the power capabilities of the venue? If you need to rig things in the air, can you do that? How can you decorate the venue? Is there a green room for talent? There is a great website for finding venues for your event called This is a great alternative source if you do not want to throw your event in a nightclub environment. Furthermore, renting your own venue can bring more expense to your budget though. You really have to look at how much of a budget you are willing to create. But this can actually help with receiving more sponsorship for your event.

5.     Contract lengths for venue – Every venue you work with, you must have a contract in place. If a venue is not willing to be a part of a written agreement, that is a red flag! Most venues are on a rental basis, contract, or both. How long is the contract?

6.     Cancellation clause in contract – Every contract should have a cancellation clause for all parties who are signing the contract. Normally a 30-day advance, in writing, can cancel the contract by any party. This is a great protection for everyone involved. If the venue decides to go out of business, remodel, and cancel your event date, you still have the right to collect any money owed. This is the perfect way to make sure no money is lost. This cancellation clause also can be look at as the Act of God clause. This also covers everyone involved in the agreement.

7.     Talent – This is reason the event is happening. You must have a contract for every talent involved in the event. The talent agreement has the definition of performance. In this talent agreement, you will also want a tech rider. A tech rider is the specs for what the talent needs to perform their show. What type of equipment? Talent fees. Dietary needs for catering. Accommodations. A particular way the stage is set up for the performance. Sound. Lighting. Everything the talent wants. You want to keep the talent be acknowledged, known, and listened to. This will give satisfaction to the talent and lead to a very successful show. Besides, don’t you want to work with that talent again in the future?

8.     Equipment – What equipment will you need to have this event be successful? Sound? Lighting? Instruments or DJ equipment? Props? Depending on if the venue or an outside supplies the equipment, you may need a service agreement and rental agreement. 

9.     Liability and Insurance – What type of insurance does the venues have? What type of insurance does your company have? It is also good to have some form of liability insurance. It is also an important aspect to find out what type of insurance your talent has also. 

10. Staff  – The staff for your event should be door/ticket manager, sound engineer, lighting engineer, stage manager, talent services, catering, security, promoter, merchandiser, booking agent, and event coordinator. There are times in an event where your booking agent is also the promoter of the event. It isn’t unusual for team members to wear several hats for the event. 

11.  Marketing and promotions – How are you going to market the event is one of the most important aspects. The advertising budget is the second most important aspect of the event. What is your target audience? How are you going to advertise? Are you going to advertise on the internet?

12.  Money – At the end of every event, if you are getting a percentage of the bar, you must be there to count all the money with the venue manager to make sure you are getting your fair share. Always ask to see the final tape for the evening. It is normal to receive 10% up to 20% of the bar. This percentage is negotiated during the contract signing.

13.  Payouts – It is customary for talent to receive a 50% deposit even before the gig happens. Other aspects to look at are; Is the talent also being compensated with the inclusion of accommodations, travel, catering, and transportation to and fro the venue.

14.  Merchandising – Does the venue allow you to sell merchandise? Does the venue want a percentage of merchandise sales? Where will your booth be set up in the venue? What type of merchandise can you sell? You must ask these questions when signing a contract with the venue. This should be a clause in your final venue contract.

15.  Ticket/Door sales – It is normal for all door and ticket sales to go to the promoter or event coordinator. These funds help to pay for all other needed services for the event. This also guarantees being able to pay the talent for their event. This also pays for any staff paid for their services during the event. How are your ticket sales going to be generated? Online ticket management websites can assist you in your pre-sale venture. I have found club planet a great way to advertise, promote, and manage your pre-sale tickets for an event. Also you can have ticket sales managed directly form your website. On the other hand, you can also have the talent put links for ticket sales directly on their websites and social networking pages.

Of course, there are several ways to expand opportunities for a larger bottom line. Get volunteers or interns. People who love to get something free and having them volunteer or intern is the perfect way to do this. Make sure you stay within your budget for the event. Establish your budget early. You can also expand your budget by getting sponsorship from liquor distributors, t-shirt companies, equipment manufactures, and marketing firms.  Most companies are looking for several ways to integrate their products into another event. Another important aspects is having credentials. Credentials are used to separate your staff from the patrons and venue staff. This also gives everyone an idea of your involvement in the event. This also very important aspect assists your security team to differentiate staff from the patrons. Credentials are the passes that hang around your neck during an event. Moreover, everyone loves to leave a gig with extra swag and proof of working the gig.

Several other aspects to look at are photography releases, internet broadcasting agreements, and video recording.

Overall this article can go on and on about all the things that you should look for in an event production. The basic are covered though. Make sure after you have all contracts signed that there is some legal counsel advise to make sure everything is correct for the agreements. 

Great references: 

This article is written by Garnetta. Garnetta is the CEO of Jewel of Garnett inc. Garnetta has over 15 years experience in the entertainment industry. She started as carpenter and set designer at the local theater Rock Valley College Theater. Over the years she has emerged into acting in a musical called Cotton Patch Gospel, lighting designer, live sound engineer, music producer, publisher, promoter, television producer, blogger, web designer and event planning. She took all of these aspects into her DJ career, reaching new heights. Her next venture is taking the world of internet downloading.