A Checklist for the Perfect Venue
Remember that night you went to see a great band but had a terrible night out? There was horrible reverb from the speakers, vomit all over the only toilet, no taxis, and completely overpriced drinks that ended at midnight anyway?
As a promoter, you do not want to throw that party. Here’s what to consider before you jump into bed with a new venue.
This is where you’ll need to dig up your old info of similar events and check out how big a crowd your artist has been pulling in other concerts. If the venue is too big it can lead to reduced vibe and overall profits, but if the venue is too small you will also lose out on money and the place might get overcrowded. However, with the right crowd a small venue can come off as super exclusive.
2. Test the sound system and visit the club on a busy night
How well is the venue’s sound system going to hold up for your event? Go and check it out on a busy and loud night to make sure they don’t have any issues. Artists (and club goers) get mighty annoyed when the sound isn’t up to scratch. Is the bass strong enough? Are there any mic issues? Make sure you check it out before you sign a contract.
3. Understand what the venue wants in return
For some venues, you’ll be making 100 percent of the door profits, for others it can be as low as 50 percent. If your event is free, you might get paid on how many people come through the door, or get a cut of the bar proceeds at the end of the night. Work out when is the right balance for you and the venue.
4. Line of sight to the stage
Your patrons are filling into the place because they actually want to see who’s playing. A venue littered with structural posts obscuring the line of sight to the stage or DJ booth is a big no-no. That is, unless you have a very large, multi-area space. Check out the venue to ensure maximum vision for everyone. Additional balconies can help more people see too.
5. Dancefloor space
Dancefloor size is crucial. A small dancefloor means that more people are stuck on barstools or hugging booths when all they really want is to be part of the action.
6. Council regulations and neighbours
Some venues are in areas where neighbours are close by and they have to adhere to sound restrictions. If you have a venue in a city centre, there’s less likely to be issues and you can keep the volume turned up all night long.
7. Public transport
Holding a profitable event inevitably means there’s going to be plenty of money spent over the bar. If you choose a spot that’s super close to reliable public transport you can avoid the hassle of intoxicated patrons waiting around out the front for a lift. You also ensure everyone gets home safely.
8. Entry way
A large entryway for processing makes your life a hell of a lot easier. If you have a narrow walkway with patrons coming in and out at the same time, it will be hard to keep track of who’s coming in and who’s going.
9. Liquor licensing regulations
Check in advance to see what time your venue is licensed to sell alcohol. You don’t want to be forced to cut the booze off three-quarters through your show. Not only will your crowd be annoyed, you will be missing out on those extra profits.
10. Smoking area
For the smokers in your crowd, when they have a drink in their hand they’re going to be craving that nicotine. Have an easily accessible smoker’s area that doesn’t involve them having to exit through the entry way to avoid crowd flow problems.
Always have enough loos for your capacity. A good rule of thumb is at least one toilet per 80 patrons, plus a urinal area for males. The longer they’re waiting in the bathroom line, the less time they are spending money at the bar!
12. Venue “cool” factor
If you pick a bargain venue, people might come because it is cheaper or they won’t come because it’s not cool enough. You need to gauge your crowd for this one. Some people will care, others won’t.
13. Chat to the venue manager
If you spend most of your time chatting to the bar manager or duty manager, it may be because the venue manager is notoriously difficult to interact with. This opens the door for the venue manager to swindle you after the fact. Since they don’t know you, they might try to undercut your price. Speak directly with them and get a concrete contract in place before going ahead.
That covers the basics of what you need to know. Keep these things in mind and you are sure to pick the right venue each time. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.