Lesson #16 How to create an all ages show (pt3)……………..

So parts one and two covered looking for a place to stage the show, figuring out other bands to book, getting together some money, sound system and sound man, cops and fireman and some other general tips.  Let’s move on. If you’ve figured out most of this stuff by now you are well on your way to generating your first rock n roll rumble.  If you thought being in a band would make you more popular and help you get the girls (or the admiration of all the boys – depending on your sex and particular leanings) just wait. If you can pull off staging an all ages show you will become the person everyone wants to know.  It will increase your bands status, and popularity ten fold.  On top of this you will learn the details of how promoters think. When you try to get your band gigs then this experience will give you the “magic touch” when talking to promoters and club owners.  You’ll be able to see it from their side and this will allow you to sell them on the idea of booking your band.

Let’s back track a little.  I realize that I left out one possibility when talking about potential venues  – bars. But we’re under age!!! How could we stage a show in a bar?? ( Don’t ya just love it when I use lots of exclamation points and question marks???!!! It means I am trying to be clever or funny or insightful) 

When I was 20 and going to college I decided to start booking shows.  I would have booked the shows at the garbage dump or the National Retirement Home for Elderly Circus Clowns. I didn’t give a damn. I just needed somewhere to put on the shows.  I stumbled across a bar called Pogo’s.  It was a typical irish bar. There was absolutely nothing special about it.  There was only one thing you could say about Pogo’s. If you went into the bar, on any night of the week, it was completely empty.  You could fit 200 people into both rooms of the bar and a normal night would be three old men sitting at one end of the bar drinking.Pogo’s was ideal because the owner would do anything to bring people into his bar. In those days the drinking age was 18. Yes, America was once a much cooler place. I talked to the owner and explained that I could fill up his bar with kids. He was kinda nervous about it but agreed to let us do one night. The first night we booked drew a hundred and sixty kids. The bar owner made thousands at the bar. He never argued with me again.

Nowadays you can’t let kids drink at a bar. Damn shame really, but I can’t change that. But you can offer the sales of tons of soda and bar food in exchange for a percentage of the door. Try to find a bar that has a separate room. That way you stage your show and the bar can stay open for business.


So far you’ve found the venue, gotten the sound system, picked out some bands,picked out and confirmed a date with the venue, gotten together some of the money that you’ll need, and planned out the money side of expenses and possible income.  Now it’s time to start to tell people. Start with the bands that are on your list. Call them up and tell them you are putting on a show on so and so date to try TO RAISE MONEY for recording.  After they get finished picking themselves up off of the floor tell them that you are considering letting them in on the deal. Remember, whenever you try to talk someone into doing something always talk about how it will HELP THEM not you. If you approach someone and say “help me out” it rarely works.  Tell them it will help them get more popular and they might make some money. Then ask them to kick in some of the money for the show.

As I said earlier most of the money is coming from your band. The deal you offer should be fair to them as well as you.  Do a deal something like this — you put in 60% of the money and get 65% of the money paid at the door. They put in 20%of the money and get  17.5% of the money from the door. (remember there are two other bands so it all adds up) You also make it clear that first the hall gets paid first, then the sound system, then security and insurance then after everything is paid off you split the money 65%/17.5%/17.5%. If you really want to be slick and pro write up a contract and make everyone sign it. If the show is a complete disaster than everyone loses the money they put in. It’s extremely important that everyone knows what the deal is and agrees to it.  If on the night of the show you sell out the hall and there is a pile of money DON’T GET GREEDY! Stick to the deal. If you ever rip off another band the news will spread like wildfire and soon you’ll find yourself blacklisted.

Here’s an overview of how a show might work out.    Venue Capacity 220    Ticket price $8  ( a little pricey but OK for three bands)

                                                                                                     If it sells out $1760

Venue rental  $400

Rent a cop         $60 (the venue insists you gotta hire a cop to stand around and look important)

Sound system$240 (includes soundman)

insurance         $88


and ticket takers   $120

Total                            $908

Possible profit      $852

Your band puts in 60%  = 548     gets back   $1144

Band A puts in  $189      gets back 308

Band B puts in  $189      gets back 308

Sweet deal huh?   Take it from me it won’t work out quite so sweet but if you can pack the room everyone will make money.


This is also the point where you tell your friends and start to look for a couple of bouncers that can be security at the show. For this job you are looking for an extremely large, strong looking gentle person. Look around your town. I’m sure that someone fits the description.  You usually have to talk the person into the job. If someone comes to you and says they want to be a bouncer say NO and stick to it. Anyone that wants the job probably wants to pick a fight or be an official asshole. Bouncers are supposed to be the kind of person that discourage fights and problems by being big enough to scare people.

Well that’s enough for this installment. I hope to get to the running of the show in the next installment.

Copyright Brad Morrison/Billiken Media 2010


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