One of the most common frustrations we hear from local venue owners is that many bands don’t know how to properly advance their shows. “Advancing a show” is music-industry lingo that simply means confirming all of the details of a show before, in advance of, the show date. If you’re working on playing larger and larger venues to bigger audiences, you’ll want to be familiar with the following aspects of advancing your show.
Whether it’s you or the venue promoting your show, it’s good to know the details and amount of publicity going into it. Decide who will design the posters, how many of them are supposed to go up and where they will go in the town where you will be playing. Getting the local media involved, including radio stations and TV shows, will increase the public’s awareness of your show and invite them to the experience. Once the details of your show are buzzing in the ears of concertgoers, figure out when tickets will go on sale, and through what outlets; will they all be online? Will they be available at the venue? How many can be sold before maximum capacity is reached?
It’s good to iron out what may seem to be minute details like sleeping arrangements, especially if you and your group are going on tour. Where is your hotel, and who is paying for it? Where is it in relation to the venue? Once you get to the venue, there are a few times you should know and follow pretty strictly to keep things running smoothly and cause as little stress as possible; the loading time, soundcheck, door time, and show time. Running behind on loading or soundcheck can push the start of your show late, which inconveniences both the venue and and your audience, who paid to see your performance.
The most important thing you will need to give the venue that will help them understand your tech needs is a stage plot. This is a diagram of where band members will stand on stage and include gear information, electricity requirements, and non-tech needs. For an example of an in depth stage plot, here is one SoundCorps put together for your viewing pleasure. This map does a good job of showing where instruments (including vocal mics), DI’s (direct inputs), monitors and cables need to go and how many there should be.
It’s good to remember that no matter how much you prepare for your show, last minute changes are bound to happen. Things can go wrong, things do go wrong - often, you can count on the fact that things WILL go wrong. Be ready to go with the flow - it will make things much easier for you. This is especially important for smaller, up and coming indie bands who may be working with smaller venues and part-time promoters. Before flying off the handle, however, try to step back and weigh the situation. Trying to fix the problem and learning for next time is the best remedy for any show night disaster. Properly advancing your show will maximize the chances that your show will be a success no matter the situation.