So you’ve chosen your venue and the wheels are starting to turn. The next biggie when it comes to decision making is of course the date. After picking your venue, picking the concert date has to be the next most important choice you will make.
First up, have a think about the kind of audience you might attract, and the kind of audience you would like to attract. Mainly friends and family? Sometime on Sunday might be the best bet. Working professionals? A weekend time then, or even perhaps a 6pm concert in town on a weekday for something different. Are most of your audience retired? Why not consider a weekday morning?
In short, a concert doesn’t have to be on a Friday or Saturday night, or the ubiquitous Sunday afternoon.
The next port of call is of course your own diary. And when checking your availability, don’t just look at the date in question. What else do you have on that week? Do you have a big programme to play with the local symphony that month or any other call on your practice time? And is there an appropriate amount of lead time for advertising and music preparation? (Notice again how at this stage the music prep thing still seems to be down the list!)
Other things to consider are important events in your part of the world. Melbourne is nuts about sport, so it’s always worthwhile checking the Australian Rules football schedule before naming the day. Even if it isn’t the Grand Final weekend, traffic might be a consideration if your venue is near a big sports ground. Is there a major arts festival on at the same time or another cultural event that might draw your potential audience away? Or will school holidays see a large chunk of your audience leaving town?
I’ve even been known to interview a few key audience members first about their availability, especially if they always come to a concert with a few friends. It helps to guarantee that there will be at least a few of the old reliables there, and gives some all important audience feedback.
As a basic rule of thumb, there should be no less than 6 weeks between when you commit to the concert, and the actual performance date. And each one of those weeks will have a specific task to be managed, as well as putting together your programme and sourcing and learning any new music you might choose. (There’ll be more on this 6 week breakdown in a later blog.)
Have you ever tried putting on a concert on a weekday?