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Juneteenth

 

How to organize an event
the Voidstar Productions Way

So you want to organize an event...but never have?
Time to draft up some instructions for you...

The goals:
1] Give the audience an great experience (#1 motivation).
2] Don't loose your shirt
3] Don't loose your mind
4] Throw the event so that all the people who play or help put it together enjoy themselves thoroughly including yourself.
5] In the end, you and all involved should want, and be able, to make it happen.

Note - the easiest show in the world is a show with few requirements, performers who have simple setups and no egos, and is in a venue that handles just about everything (soundman, system, door, security, bar etc.). Anything the venue doesn't handle is important for you to handle or else it will detract from the show on the whole and you will wind up running around putting out fires rather than enjoying your show.

Ingredients:
performers (musicians, performance artists, dancers, video artists, DJ's, etc. - anything that ocupies a segment of time that is there to be experienced by the audience).

Requirements: usually this will include:
- A Venue that suits the needs of the event and its performers
for example; size of room, proper flooring for dancers, grid for hanging lights & other gear.
- Is fire, nudity, 18+, or all ages allowed? etc etc etc. ]
- Places where there is AC power.
Note: Will you need to bring extra powerstrips and extension cables for any gear you are bringing with you. Not all venues have extra gear to provide to you. And just so you know, it's not their responsibility to have it.
- Can the venue handle the amount of AC power you plan to use (note: This is almost never an issue, but it's good to check as a precaution. Anyway, most gear uses very little power, except powertools, projectors and amps).
- Sound System (Stereo or mono? Are there stage monitors? Where to patch into the board if you have your own mixer on stage?)
- Sound Man

Step 1 : Analyze your resources VS your needs.

Start by listing ALL of your expenses including :
- Venue rental
- Sound system rental
- Sound Man
- Performer payment
- Gas money in the worst case scenereo - remember performers includes; DJ's, video artists, dancers, etc., etc., etc.)
- Promotion (flyers, ads, etc.)
- Door man
- Stage manager

Note - that if you have enough clout and/or reliable friends, you may be able to get volunteers to help out with several of the roles you would otherwise budget ... but make sure they only get one simple responsibility and if they're volunteering don't stick them where they can't see the show for the whole night (Door man in particular is the job I hate doing and am horrible about getting some one to be responsible for ... I'm told some people actually like that job but that just baffles me).

Step 2 : Booking the venue

You've analized the requirements and the budget and now you can contact venues that fall within budget or that have an opening where a rental isn't necessary.

Recomendations:
1] Avoid booking on a holiday of any kind. Even memorial day weekend. For various reasons you'll get a low turn out.

2] When in a college town/state try to book while class is in session but not near finals. Hot points in the year are September through November, and March through May.

3] When you have a choice in the north try to avoid winter bookings.

Step 3: Booking the line up

Now that you have a date and location, before asking even a single artist to play you should always break down how much time there is that people will be able or want to play on.

So now for example lets say your venue is open from 9-12:30. Your typical line up will have 30 to 40 minute sets with 15 minute break down times (yes this sounds hard to pull off but I'll explain how later on). You'll notice that there is a 5 minute buffer between the change over and the next performance start. This will save you many times and can be used to shift the event schedule throughout the night.

Here's a sample schedule:
DJ / 9-9:40 (People are walking in - DJ's are great in this slot)
Performance / 9:45-10:25
Change Over / 10:25-10:40
Performance / 10:45-11:15
Change Over / 11:15-11:30
Performance / 11:35-12:05
Change Over / 12:05 -12:20
Performance / 12:25-12:55
(obviously they can play over if the schedule is followed exactly)

OK so there it is. In that room you can book no more than 4- 30-minute performances with a DJ to cover the painfull silences that would otherwise clear the crowd out during the set up break down times. Yes, depending on the artists you book this may vary.

Now dream up the line up you want and ask those artists to confirm. Have a backup line up ready. Rotate till the line up is full. Note - much as I'd like to say that you can book a show for your friends who have never played out in a real venue, the artists you select and the location of the venue will help determine the turn out you can get.
for example;
"BAND X" sells out shows in "CITY A" to hundreds of people, but attract less than 30 people in "CITY B" or "CITY C"on a Saturday night.

Step 4: Set up

The earlier bands can get there and set up the better. This is usually determined by the venue.

Best case scenereo:
Set up and soundcheck the last band first and then push their gear to the back or side of the stage. Set up next from last next and repeat untill the opener is soundchecked. Doors open and after each band plays they clear their gear and the next band only needs to move their gear forward.

Realistic scenereo:
Set up who ever is there first and get them to move gear as needed. Any bands that show up late, set up just before they're on and don't get a sound check thus sounding like ass for AT LEAST the first couple minutes.

Unusual scenereos:
"BAND Z" will show up 5 minutes before they're supposed to go on. They will send 1 mono line and get dressed in front of the audience off of the stage as part of the show AND as their soundcheck. Once done, they'll pack up and go home.

Step 5: Keeping the show on track

Soundman is responsible for making everyone sound as good and loud as is possible.
Stage manager makes sure artists get sound checks and are set up and broken down on time and keeps the show on schedule. If you have someone who knows what they're doing in each of these roles, you may be able to enjoy your show with minimal stress.

I'm forgetting a lot here, but this should get you started and well on your way.

Contact us if you have any suggestions or inquiries: contact@s6k.com

Best of luck ...
Deftly


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