A live music event or festival can be an incredible addition to your local community calendar. When planned properly, it is possible to create a truly unique music showcase that will attract many attendees from your local community and beyond without a substantial budget. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to plan a successful live music event from start to finish.

  1. Find the purpose of your event 

All good music events start with a concept – and this should be the first step of your planning.

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Would you like to create a family festival in your local community?
  • Are you planning a music event that focuses on a specific genre of music?
  • Would you like to bring live music to a totally unique setting?
  • What is it that makes your event unique?

Once you’ve established a clear concept for your music festival or event, the rest of your planning can fall into place.

  1. Collate your assets

Once you’ve defined your concept it can be incredibly tempting to start making plans to bring your event to life right away. However, step 2 is to collate your assets. It’s important you do this upfront so that you know exactly what resources you have.

Assets can include everything that’s already in place to help you bring your music festival or event to life. That includes a budget – finance you already have and finance you could have access to, your initial team and human resource, and any connections or music acts that you know will immediately agree to perform.

Once you know what your budget is, you will be able to allocate your funds appropriately when it comes to bringing your plans to life.

  1. Organize a venue 

Next, it’s time to choose the venue. Venues which are available to you will naturally depend on your budget, but for a music event or festival it can pay off to be a little creative when choosing a space – as long as you keep in mind the scale of your event.

With music festivals in particular, the actual space itself can be relatively low-maintenance if you have the right equipment. Glastonbury festival, while on an enormous scale, is essentially held in a large field – so be creative when you’re looking for your event space.

Be sure to keep your event purpose and target audience in mind while finding a space. If your event is designed to be family-friendly, your space will need to accommodate this. It’s also important to remember which kinds of amenities you might need and to make sure that your venue is big enough for your artists, your services, your stage(s) and of course – your attendees.

If you’re planning a community event – consider running your music event or festival across a selection of smaller venues, or alternatively all in one space. While outdoor festivals are incredible – you’ll need a permit from your local council which can sometimes be pretty costly. Make sure you do your research as to what permit you’ll need for what type of music event before you get any further with your planning process.

  1. Secure permits and insurance

If you’re organizing your event in a purpose-built venue then it isn’t necessary to consider licenses and permits, but there are many more restrictions when it comes to organizing events outside – even if you’re planning your event on private land.

You’ll need public liability insurance or property insurance to protect both your business and your attendees should an accident unfortunately occur.

For events with 499 attendees or fewer, you may need to apply for a Temporary Event Notice. The Temporary Event Notice applies if you plan to sell or otherwise supply alcohol at your event, or if there will be any sort of entertainment or hot food provided after 11pm.

If you’re planning 500 or more attendees, you will need to obtain a premise license. For alcohol provision, you will need a Designated Premises Supervisor who holds a Personal License.

There are also specific permits required if you’re planning to broadcast copyrighted material (such as music, films or plays), and if you’d like to host your music event on public land then you will need to apply to the local council. You might also need a temporary traffic regulation order if your event requires street or road closures.

Of course – by planning a smaller event in a purpose-built music venue you could avoid some of the tricky permits required, but if you’re looking for an outdoor event be sure to contact your local authority in plenty of time.

  1. Gather your lineup 

You can’t plan a music event or a music festival without music – so making sure you can fill your lineup should be your next step.

Again, you should know how much budget (if any) you’ve got to play with here to see whether or not you can splash out on acquiring established talent to play at your event. Alternatively, there could be plenty of exceptional local bands and artists who would love the opportunity for some good exposure.

Try and have an eclectic mix of up and coming talent, unsigned local talent and a relatively big name or two if possible.

  1. Organize your staff

At the very least, you’re going to need some kind of security to ensure that your attendees are safe – so now it’s time to organize your staff.

There are a multitude of different things that event security will need to keep an eye on – slips, trips and falls, wandering children, unruly crowds and more – so it could be worth hiring professionals if your budget allows.

You’re also going to need volunteers to bring your event to life. Whether they’re manning the crowd, scanning tickets on entry, or taking care of your artists, volunteers are going to be essential for ensuring your event runs smoothly. You’ll also need to consider who can help with the post-event cleaning up.

If you’re planning a local community event – why not advertise for volunteers on local Facebook groups or in the local paper? Reach out to friends and family and drum up as much support as you can because an extra pair of hands will always be welcome.

  1. Sort technical and production support

If you’re planning a music festival then you’ll need a sound and production company. Technical support can help ensure the sound is great, the atmosphere is great and the production is great too.

You’ll want to ensure you have someone on hand who understands how to set the lighting, manage the sound production and to create a great experience for your audience.

It’s also a good idea to have someone managing the stage(s) all day to ensure your acts run smoothly and that you’re on top of your schedule.

  1. Plan your space 

Your entertainment is just one element of your event planning to tick off – and organizing your designated space at the venue is the next important step that you need to take.

Do you need to hire portable toilets? Will you need to book a fencing company to add barriers if your music event is outdoors? How are you going to provide food for your attendees – will there be space for food trucks or local vendors to set up? Where is the stage going to go?

These are all questions you need to answer before you’re ready to begin advertising your event. If you’re running your music event in a purpose-built venue, a lot of logistical things like toilets will be taken care of, so consider this option if you’re a little tight on budget.

  1. Utilize an online ticketing platform

With a live music event or festival, there are so many different moving parts which need to come together to create a successful event. That’s why it’s important to choose an online ticketing platform which is intuitive, easy to use and flexible so that you can sell your tickets and manage ticket sales quickly and easily while on the go.

TicketSource allows you to create a listing for your event and build an online box office for free in a matter of minutes. You’ll be able to sell tickets online, share your event through social media and even build a newsletter keeping your attendees up to date with any exciting developments thanks to its seamless MailChimp integration. Sign up today and try our ticketing system completely free of charge for event organizers.

Its real-time analytics let you manage your ticket sales on the go so you can see how successful your event is and when you need to pick up the promotion, while its registration solutions let you track who shows up. You can also take advantage of its innovative platform to run discounts and sales to incentivize your customers to sign up to your event.

Having an online event will allow your attendees to share it with their friends and family – hopefully securing you a bit of extra promotion too!

  1. Plan your promotional strategy

You’ve worked so hard on preparing for your event that you need to ensure you hit your attendance goal to do your planning justice!

Your marketing strategy is a vital part of planning your festival or music event. You’ll need to consider your online and offline techniques to maximize exposure and reach potential attendees.

When it comes to online marketing, ticketing platforms like TicketSource offer seamless social media sharing, letting you regularly push out your event to your followers and encourage them to like and share to increase exposure.

How to Plan a Successful Live Music Event in 11 Handy Steps
As we previously mentioned, you’ll also be able to develop an email campaign and send out updates to your ticket buyers to encourage them to bring their friends to your event.

Encourage your artists to promote the event to their fans and followers too – a dedicated audience might come along to see their favorite acts perform and will happily enjoy your festival too.

Don’t forget to tap into your local community – reach out to local Facebook groups, tag local Twitter accounts and email local institutions and businesses to help you promote your event.

This activity can be echoed offline too. Contact key businesses and individuals within your local community and ask if they can share your event. You could also create posters and flyers to be distributed within local coffee shops, libraries and even schools.

  1. Prepare for the actual event 

Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to prepare for the build-up of your music event or festival. You need enough time to figure out if you’ve missed something, enough time to correct anything which may go wrong and plenty of time to ensure that your event is as good as can be.

Ensuring you’ve got plenty of time also means that you can play around with decor until you’re happy and enjoy watching all of your plans materialize.

Don’t forget essentials like first aid kits, and keep records of absolutely everything so that you’re covered.

When it comes to planning your live music event if you follow these 11 steps you won’t go far wrong. Utilizing Ticket Source’s innovative platform to elevate your marketing strategy could be the difference between a good music festival and a great festival – so be sure to make the most of the tools which are readily available to you.


Ramy Ayoub