How to Organise a Gig or a Live Music Event - the Budget

Three times in the last month I've been asked the question, "what do I need to do to organise a gig?" In reality, when this question is asked it can mean several things: How do I find a venue? How do I sort out the PA? How do I get an audience? And so on.

But there is a stage before all of this: the budget. I would suggest that the moment you start thinking about organising an event you should write a budget. This budget spreadsheet informs you of most things that you will need to consider and will also show you the risk, projected profit and the breakeven point. A sample spreadshhet is available to download from this address http://www.josaka.com/features/2005/Organise-A-Gig/Event-PandL.pdf

If the budget numbers don't look like they are working perhaps the event is not the right thing to be running. If you don't like the level of risk, perhaps you aren't cut out to be a promoter.

So the start point is a spreadsheet. This should include all costs and all incomes. The key headings for costs should include: performer cost, PA, lighting, venue hire, marketing, box office costs etc. The income is likely to be largely ticket sales but don't forget the opportunity to add a sponsor to the event.

The spreadsheet will help you work out the breakeven point for the event i.e. how many tickets you need to sell to cover all costs. Every sale beyond breakeven is of course profit (exluding any box office commision). The added bonus of creating an event spreadsheet is that helps define all the key tasks to be performed.

The realisation of the forecasted numbers becoming actual figures suggests that all parties have got the deal they were looking for or agreed to. The sample speadsheet also illustrates that everyone else involved in the gig is largely earning a fixed fee and therefore the only person taking a financial risk is the promoter.

So if you are thinking of organising a live event I coomed you to work on the numbers first. This will help ensure you deliver a great show and have control over the money.

Kevin Harrington is the founder of josaka http://www.josaka.com the site that supports live music in Berkshire, UK. He is also director of marketing for Arkade http://www.arkade.com the mp3 distribution business.

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