If you’re a musician, a hall committee, or just a group of people who love live music, turn your local hall into a live music venue. Treat your community to events with great musicians. Supplement your income as a musician, raise funds for your hall, or for charity. Your barn would do just as well.
Halls are cheap to hire. Depending on where you are, you may only pay $10 an hour. Hall committees and councils want their spaces used and often will reduce fees for events that benefit the community – by bringing great live music and people together.
Create a listening environment, a space where the artists are given the respect their years of dedication deserve. Audiences love music this way as well. Create mood with lighting, furniture, flowers, candles… and positive MCing.
” Sitting there up close and feeling the vibrations in the air and through the floor, hearing the smallest detail of finger on wood, fibre on strings. Proximity has tremendous effect, and it makes no difference that I’m not a Celtic folky or bluegrass fan — being there really is the thing, and how music fills you up in that setting is, in an unverbalisable way, what music actually means.” (WH Chong Crikey.com)
Raise money by charging an entry fee. Provide food and drink and raise more money. If you don’t want to do food yourself, team up with someone to take care of that side of things. Food makes your venue more attractive as a destination. Allow BYO.
If you are wanting the best local and touring artists, offer them the door takings less your overhead costs or a percentage (e.g. $5 per head). In this way they won’t be discouraged at having to outlay hall hire before they perform. You both will be working together to get people to the event. You can make extra money with food and drink. They can sell CDs and other merchandise.
Start small. Don’t expect it to be huge straight away. You only have to attract a few people to cover your initial overheads. Make the event regular to start so people know it’s once a month for example.
Build your following. Invite people to join your email list, hand out business cards, create a website (there are a number of free template based website creators), set up Facebook and other social media. Other publicity ideas include hanging a banner or blackboard outside the venue, posters, local newspapers gig guides, (send them good press releases as well), radio, community bulletin boards, council what’s on etc… Start with a good name for your venture, so people get to recognise your “brand”.
Love blues or jazz, country, folk, spoken word, or a variety? You decide.
If you are an artist, you get to play regularly to a receptive audience, and earn some income.
Find great artists, so people will want to come and be encouraged to come again. As an alternative, there are many talented amateurs who are looking for a place to share their music. Fifteen minute slots are good for this type of show. Have a look at the great musicians available here.