One of the biggest factors that will shape your concert is actually not the music. “What,” I might hear you say, “what could be bigger than the music?!”
And I’m so glad you asked that.
From my experience, nothing, absolutely nothing, will impact upon the success of a performance more than the venue.
The reasons for this are twofold- the venue will determine what kind of audience turn out you will get. It will also be the single most important thing when determining a ticket price. Which in turn will also influence your audience turn out.
Realistically, you might have the world’s most amazing programme all sorted, and be playing like a total gun, but with no audience, then technically you have no concert. And it all comes down to venue.
With the four concerts I have coming up I will be using two different venues. The first concert venue is closer in to the city and I will only be using it for one date. The other venue is about 45 minutes out from the city, but has some other significant features that I’ll share with you in the next week’s post.
I confess the first concert venue has got me a little worried. By choosing it, I am taking what you could call a ‘calculated risk’. Let me go through the pros and cons.
INNER CITY VENUE
The venue is in South Melbourne, so just out of the city centre. This means that it seems more accessible to a wider range of people. Note the word ‘seems’. A venue might not be that far from your target market, but the perception of that venue can vastly shape whether people come or not.
I once had someone come to visit me in the ‘burbs. At the time we lived about 30 minutes down a freeway from the city. This person never travelled out of the CBD and inner suburbs. He allowed 90 minutes to get to where I lived as his perception of this suburb was that it was in the sticks. He was amazed that a) it was so quick and easy to reach and b) we actually had good cafes and interesting shops.
So an inner city venue is great for an inner city crowd.
On the flip side, I’ve also had feedback from potential audience members who are grateful for an excuse to travel to South Melbourne, which is known for its wonderful market and fabulous eateries. If Melbournians know there is good food involved, they tend to travel very happily indeed.
If your audience is likely to be coming be public transport than an inner city venue is quicker, easier and cheaper to get to by trains, trams, buses etc.
For this concert I wanted a relaxed, interesting environment with food and drinks available for the audience. The venue I’ve chosen has a bar in the same area as the performance space, and I’ve managed to negotiate with the managers to provide a glass of wine/cup of coffee as part of the ticket price. (See my above comment about Melbournians and food!)
It’s also an art gallery/function space in a converted warehouse, so has LOADS of character and interest. This means I can market it as a ‘destination venue’ not just somewhere you go to listen to some music.
As an art gallery/function space, this is a venue with a public reputation, and a mailing list and social media presence to match. Any help in getting the word out about the concert is a good thing. And potentially some of the people on the venue’s mailing list will end up on yours!
But there are risks involved-
An inner city venue immediately costs more to hire. Which bumps up the ticket price. A lot of my usual audience are retired, so disposable income is a big factor for them.
Most of my audience is based in the east and north of Melbourne. A lot of them are elderly and don’t like travelling to the big, bad, city. So that perception of venue thing comes into play again.
Most people are likely to be coming by car. There is only street parking available which may impact some potential audience members’ decision to come.
On reflection, the biggest risk factor was choosing a venue outside the demographic of my main audience base. But I’ve decided to challenge myself by not keeping on doing the same thing, in the same place to the same people. I have had a few sleepless nights about this! It’s still early days for ticket sales, but the response so far is good. And it’s chance for me to test my marketing skills (more on that in another post!)
What factors do you look for in a concert venue?