What I learned from hosting a concert tour

I played the main coordinator/host role in the Proof of Your Love Tour we hosted last Friday night at our church. While it’s not the first concert event I’ve done that for, it was certainly the largest. Thankfully, we had an amazing turnout – my goal was to sell 500 tickets, and we ended up selling 545 by the end of the night. I learned a few things along the way …

  • Don’t take on more of a financial commitment than your budget can afford to lose (actually, I learned this one on my first concert ten years ago … when I lost almost the whole cost!). Of course you want to succeed, but if the crowd doesn’t come out you have to be able to handle the loss.
  • Presales are key. We put a HUGE emphasis on selling tickets ahead of time which made a massive difference both in my stress level as I saw the numbers increase and in building momentum – when we hit the point of being able to say we had sold hundreds of tickets people started getting interested in coming who weren’t before – they didn’t want to miss out if everyone else was going to be there!
  • When it comes to preshow promotion, in the months before hand even if people commit to taking care of different pieces, I have to be more aggressive about making sure it actually happens. Turns out, as much as it may matter to me, no one cares about an event several months out the same was as the guy who is responsible for the budget breaking even.
  • I actually wish I had charged more for tickets. I kept the price as low as possible, but in hindsight I probably could have charged $2-5 dollars more per ticket, which would have given me the $2500 I would have needed to do a full scale radio ad campaign, which may have resulted in a sellout crowd (700 people).
  • We sold about a quarter of our tickets online through iTickets.com, which was great. It’s a Christian event website which lists events for free, and can also sell tickets at no cost to the event (they charge a service fee to the buyer instead). This was a big help and where a lot of our sales from outside our church came from. I’m really glad we went that route.
  • I used Facebook ads, with the link going directly through to iTickets. We ran the ads for the four weeks before the event, with them appearing more and more often as we got closer to the date. We sold FAR more tickets through iTickets than I have for events in the past, which I think connects directly to our Facebook campaign since that was the major communication tool directing people to iTickets. I loved that I could target by region, age, interests, etc.
  • Social media in general is a great tool, but it’s hard to motivate students to use it to promote events. The tour sent me a box of cd’s to use for giveaways/promotion, so I ran a contest – during a period of time, every time I logged on to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, the first post I saw about the concert with the link to the event page or profile picture changed to the tour poster would win a cd. I gave away a bunch; at first it was slow, but as people saw their friends winning cd’s, they started posting as well … which had their friends from outside the church posting questions about the event and getting excited it was coming. It was great because I timed it in the days just before the concert so what happened was a lot of social media chatter about the event as it was just about to happen. I wished I had thought of doing it sooner so I could have teased the contest for a couple weeks before it happened.
  • We did a giveaway during the event; I scored cd’s from the different artists and a tour t-shirt, as well as some cd’s I already had. My total expense was probably $10-15, but I ended up with a prize package worth $80. We had people fill out info cards to enter the drawing … now when I do my next event I have a mailing list and an email list with hundreds of names on it that already turned out for a concert. This is promotion gold in my mind and a huge key in being able to build with future major events.

All in all, the event was a LOT of fun and a huge win for our student ministry both in terms of people having a blast and making our church the place to be that night.

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