“I got some good advice: never quit touring, ‘coz that’s the way we eat here in this rap game” – J. Cole, 1985 (Intro To The Fall Off)
As an artist who is slightly serious about the success of their career, you will need to tour or plan live events for your audience. As a black Zimbabwean young person whose start up is on events promo, I’m always saddened by the events I attend on a daily basis – they are disappointing to say the least. So I thought to outline what’s needed to make an event good or at least decent. Here are the 14 requirements:
A good venue is always important if you want to have a good event. When considering the venue, you should have in mind the approximate number you want or expect to attend the event, the nature of the event (whether you want it to be intimate or big), the accessibility, the acoustic, the pricing, and the landscape. For example, a poetry book reading will need an intimate space at a library or book shop or coffee bar or café – a big spacious venue will make it look like a rally and no-one will benefit from that.
Time is one of the most important aspects in an event. There is no such thing as an “African time”. Most events never start on time, this results in people deliberately coming late for events. Beyond punctuality, your event should always take into consideration all aspects of life in order to select the right time for event to start and end, such as the behavioural patterns and expectations of the target audience, the accessibility to the venue, the transportation, the crime rate or the perception of crime, the nurture of the event etcetera.
Good events are the most convenient to the audience they are trying to capture. The type of event that would enhance your life instead demand a trade off with something that you love. For example, it is not advisable to have an event when there is a higher ticketed event that will drown yours such as having your concert the same night Drake is in your hood.
- Sing along
There is nothing more orgasmic than seeing everyone singing along to a song in a concert. The problem with upcoming artist is that they expect people to prophecy or dream about the song they are going to perform in a concert. Here is some advice if you are not Eminem, try to tell people before hand which song you will perform & share a link or send the song so people can learn the lyrics and do a young sing-along.
- Fan Performance
I am a sucker for fan performance at a good event. Imagine you have a spoken word poetry night and you call a random fan to perform one of your trending poems – the audience will love you for it (forever, if you are lucky). I have seen it being done by all great artists such as Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar and Hopsin.
You should ALWAYS film your performance in HD as an artist. Always. After that, edit the video, make it cute and then share it with the planet on YouTube. But beyond HD, make sure you have people who are recording the performance with their phones and enjoying the show. Amateur phone recorded videos also have a thing about them.
As a good artist which you are, you should always sell merchandise at your live events. The merchandise should or can always include hoodies, t-shirts, cds and caps. These can create die hard fandom and rack in some good money in the process.
- Event Tags
Most events I have attended (with the exception of the big ticketed events), you don’t get anything besides admission from the event. Or you get a stamp – which is worse, those things have a strip club feel – not that there is anything wrong with strip clubs. My point is, make your tags to be souvenir like. I know we try to save money by using the colour coded paper tags, or sometimes name tags, but we should always strive to prioritise quality over price – or so I think. A recent event I had the honour to be part of organising and lend insight from the marketing and branding perspective, the [Zimbabwe] Debate Open Challenge, we had these trendy young people bangles as tags for the 5 day event instead of the usual name tags – which I will do for future events. I concede to the fact that we had the benefit a double digit thousand budget but the fact remains that tags should be added.
- Event Starterpack
Depending on the type of event you are having, you should always have an event starter pack sold, that is, the things that make the event go skrrrr paaah. For example, if you have a concert, always have glow sticks and licensed cheap alcohol being sold on the event. If it’s a live performance of national importance, have miniature flags to be sold. Also, you should be the one selling these things – make them to be as cheap as possible, they are not for profit but for ambience and aesthetics.
- Stage Management
Every moment, every move, every utterance on stage should be rehearsed, mastered and perfected. There should never be a time where the artist or the mc should not know what’s next or what to say. There should never be awkward silence. People should enjoy every moment of the show. Beyond the perfected performance, the stage should be well managed to communicate what one plans to communicate. It should have ample lighting; background, motion and all those nice things that make it look good. Remove all unnecessary things and have backup for everything you need.
- Quality Content, that is, Professional & Rehearsed
THE most important thing that is needed in an event is the quality of the content that is shared on the stage. Depending on the nature of the event, the performance should be of high quality. I have marketed events in the past where there is a huge online traction and turn up on the day of the event only for people to be disappointed by the product. Always have good content to exhibit.
- Social Media
Online traction is important. You should trend when you are having an event, that is, you should have people who are having conversations about you online. You should have people running your online handles to give a minute by minute update and directing and responding to people. And then you should have other accounts who are tweeting or Facebooking about you. Also, it always helps to have a hashtag tailored directly to your event. Generic hashtags are not ideal.
- Fun Moment
I know you can not directly program for ‘fun’ but strive by all means necessary that you ensure that the people who are at your events are having the most fun possible. That is, make your event a safe space. First of all, try to enjoy the event from the planning to the performance – fun is contagious and that’s one thing you cannot fake.
- Professional Bouncers
Your event needs to be secure, that is, people should feel safe. Also, as an artist, you need to feel safe least you are harassed by drunk fans. Beyond that, women should feel safe at events hence the urgent need for bouncers – bouncers who won’t be the abusers. Also, bouncers are there to make people feel safe not to be the DEA!
- Engagement With Crowd
A good event is the one where the artist get’s to be in conversation with the crowd. At one time my friend Mxolisi gave me advice with regards to a certain girl I fancied, he said, speak with her not to her or about her. This advice is true also for artists who are performing. Try to speak to people at the front and people at the back. Make everyone feel like they are part of the show. If you have watched enough shows by Trevor Noah you will realise that he is always aware of his audience and speaks with them throughout the whole performance.
- Live Band
Well, this one is a bit personal preference but you should have live band or backup for instruments in a show. Instead of just playing a sing along in your live performance, have a band that will play the instruments for you. It can’t get live-ier than that.
- Efficient Team
For All the magic to happen, you have to have a reliable team that works well together and that respect each other. For example, your team should have people who will focus on admission, catering, merchandise retail, social media, film, stage management e.t.c
In conclusion, I hope you will be able to organise and have a blast event from this info. If you need help with your event in terms of branding, marketing and planning for a fee, feel free to email me your request at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or check my About Page.