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Woman playing a live performance on stage. Standing behind a microphone playing a bass guitar. Her brown hair is covering most of her face. Bright purple lights shine behind her.
August 8, 2022

A live performance checklist for every musician

A live performance checklist is always handy to have to ensure you haven’t forgotten any key tasks before a show!

So, you’ve locked in a live performance date with a booking agent or a venue to perform with your band. What now? 🤔

Create an event poster for your live show ✔️

This poster should include the door time, date, ticket price, where to buy tickets, social media handles, location and bands performing. A well-designed event poster can be the thing that gets someone to stop and pay attention. Bold colors, big impactful text, and high res. imagery is important in capturing the onlooker’s attention. Make sure you have all the correct sizes, versions, and file types of the poster for maximum impact. If you are having it professionally designed, ask the designer to include the following:

  • Square 1:1 version jpg. and/or png. for Instagram feed and Twitter
  • Portrait 4:5 version jpg. and/or png. for Facebook
  • Portrait 9:16 version jpg. and/or png. for Instagram and Facebook stories
  • Horizontal 16:9 version jpg. and/or png. for ticketing provider and Facebook Event page
  • Portrait A4 version pdf. for printing posters to put up around the venue
  • Portrait A3 or A0 version pdf. for street poster distribution

An event poster has many uses. You should send a copy to the venue booker, post it on your feed and stories, update your banners, create a Facebook event, print your own posters, and hand out or engage with a poster distribution company to have your poster plastered up in nearby neighborhoods.

Send the venue any promotional assets you have ✔️

Collate all of your assets together in a drive or Dropbox. Assets that venue bookers want to receive include at least two high res. press shots, your event poster in the correct sizings and formats, your bio, a show blurb, your social media links and website, a press release if the show is tied in with any new music, and any video content that is relevant to the promotion of the show.

If you give the venue everything they need to help promote you from the very beginning, not only do you show the venue that you are organized and professional, but you give yourself the best chance at being promoted on the venue’s social platforms in the lead up to your show. Venues often have large followings that they have cultivated over time, make sure that you leverage this!

You should also provide the venue booker with your tech sheet which includes your stage plot and any gear you require. If included in the deal, you should also provide a hospitality rider which tells the venue exactly which food and drink you require from them.

Create a Facebook event for your live performance ✔️

Most venues will either ask you to make your own Facebook event or they will create it for you. Either way, it is an important promotional tool and something to tick off the checklist. Don’t forget to include the geolocation of the venue, the correct date and time, the official ticketing link, and add the venue and any other support acts as co-hosts.

After that, share with all of your friends and get the word out!

Send a mailout to your subscriber audience ✔️

Ever seen that ‘sign up’ sheet at gigs and people write down all of their emails to be on the list? Now is the time to use that! If you have a subscriber following you should send them regular news about your live performances. It could be argued that as a reward for being loyal subscribers, they should know about the event before anyone else.

Make sure to include the event poster in the email and add links to the ticketing page so that if people click on images they are redirected correctly. Give your audiences a run down about the show, why you are performing it, what special merch there may be available and that you can’t wait to see them there. Ensure there is a clear call to action at the bottom such as ‘BUY TICKETS HERE’ so it’s easy and obvious how they can support you.

Post about your incoming live performance ✔️

Announce on your socials with the correct sized event poster that you will be performing a live show! Don’t just announce and then go silent right up until the gig. Drip feed out important enticing information about the incoming show so that your promotion is steady and regular. You may want to champion your support acts and give a bit of information about them and why they are an asset to your live show. Mention any merchandise you will be selling at the live show. Be sure to make it clear if there are exclusive items available in a limited run. Use older video content or teasers to show audiences a snippet of what they can expect. Include pre-save links to incoming music if the show is a launch and be sure to remind people when your new music is out and available. Every post doesn’t have to be ‘salesy’ or ‘promotional’, there just needs to be quality content so your audiences are engaged.

When there is limited time left or limited tickets, be sure to say so – ‘ONLY 10 TICKETS LEFT!! Hurry up or miss out!’

Don’t forget to re-share stories you are tagged in on the night as well! Plus, everyone loves a good throwback or thank you post the next day.

Get your support acts to post about the show ✔️

The more coverage you can get, the better. Support acts should have relatively similar audiences to yours and you should ensure you encourage any supporting band to post and promote the show. Give them your event poster in all formats and you can even send suggested copy to make it very easy for them. Reshare any stories they tag you in and vice versa. Always encourage tagging for more reach and engagement!

Rehearse and prepare for the gig ✔️

Make sure that what you are offering is something of high quality. If all of your marketing attempts are successful and you sell out all the tickets to your show but you play terribly, no one will want to come to see you again. Rehearse regularly before the gig, get your band tight, and organize your set list in advance. Make sure you write this down somewhere so you can collect on live performance royalties afterward!

Plan something unique and special for each gig if possible. No one wants to come and see the exact same thing every time you play. Maybe you bring a guest vocalist on the stage to perform as well? A special dance break? Do you go down into the audience and perform from ground level? The more creative you are the more memorable it will be!

Introduce incentives ✔️

Everyone loves a discount or a prize. You could introduce a competition on your socials and offer discounted tickets to the winners. This is a great way to get your audience to spread the word for you. The rules for the competition could be, ‘share this post to go into the draw to win a free ticket to my live performance.’

This could also be a great way to spotlight some of your exclusive merch. ‘Whoever purchases the most tickets will win our exclusive EP vinyl in limited cherry red. You must attend the show to receive the prize!’ You shouldn’t give out prizes at every gig as this will reduce the effectiveness, but every now and then can be a game changer.

Book a live performance photographer and/or videographer ✔️

You have put in so much work to prepare for this performance, it is always worth capturing these moments so you can repurpose them for future promotion and social proof. It can be quite expensive to have both a videographer and photographer so you may need to prioritize one over the other. If you have plenty of great photos saved up, then opt for a videographer. Remember, video has the highest performance across all social media, so this is a worthy investment. An alternative and affordable option is to ask a lower-level photographer and offer a few free tickets and drinks in return.

Run an ad ✔️

Ads are very affordable and effective to run via Facebook/Meta Ads Manager. The great thing about having already created a Facebook event, means you have already done half of the work. You can run an event ad that asks people to click interested/going or a traffic ad that takes audiences directly to the ticketing link for the live performance. Both are useful and do not require much spending. You can spend as little as $5 a day on Ads Manager.

Do a radio interview to promote the performance ✔️

Radio interviews are a great way to create more awareness about incoming performances. Look up your chosen radio station online. Go through their list of presenters and find the ones that are most suited to your genre and audience. Also, make sure that the show times are at times that your audience will be actively listening to the radio. Each radio station will either have the individual presenter’s contact details or they will have one main person you can reach out to who will organize the interviews and send you to the right people.

Make sure you have a clear and concise email ready to send. It should be short and sweet and include key information like who you are, your band name, the date, a link to the ticketing page, and an example link of your music. Specify the time and date of the radio show you would like to be interviewed for.

When you hear back, be prompt with your response. Radio presenters often don’t have a lot of time to prepare and they like to line up their guests well in advance. You may be asked to come in and do a live interview, a phone interview, or a recorded interview. Whichever one you get offered, be on time and prepared.

Let your audience and followers know when they can expect to hear you on the radio and give them a link to listen when the time comes!

Obtain press ✔️

Online and street press can be another helpful way to boost ticket sales. The important thing to have ready for this is a press release. A press release includes everything a publicist or journalist will need in order to write a story or article about you. Collate a list of your favorite publications online and hard copy and do some googling to find the right emails to send your press release to. Once again, short and sweet with all the information they could possibly need. Don’t send anything they will have to download. These people receive hundreds of emails a day so make it as convenient as possible for them to help you!

Some of these people will not respond, some will and some will just publish without telling you. It is important to check back on all of these publications so nothing slips through the cracks and you can re-share this on social media. Be sure to follow up politely with the people who don’t respond and get back to those who do respond promptly.

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