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DIY Projects

[whitespace] Rock Concert Concepts

Bill Graham started by booking the fledgling San Francisco Mime Troupe on the cheap. Just imagine booking the next Green Day in your back yard. This job isn't for wimps--only workaholics need apply--but the rewards of successful rock-show production are many.

  1. Start planning at least two months in advance. Seriously.

  2. First thing is to find a venue that rents itself out. Getting a venue is a lot like going for a job interview. Avoid using the words "punk rock," "gangsta rap" or "death core" when questions arise. Just smile and say it's an "old-fashioned rock & roll show to give the kids something to do." You'll be surprised how eager some hall owners are to help. Check out Knights of Columbus halls, library meeting rooms, YMCA halls, veterans halls, community centers, school cafeterias. All are good starts. Some venues require a security deposit, so be ready to pony up. Most halls have sound permits already, but it doesn't hurt to check. If not, get ready to pay for a one-night permit from the city.

  3. After you get a venue, get two or three bands. Set a date and a price, then stick to it. Keep in touch every week or so.

  4. Assemble a group of nonflaky friends. You'll need them for security, to run the door, to check the parking lot for druggies, to clean up during and afterward, to help move things, etc.

  5. Get a decent PA system and someone who knows how to run one. A decent system--speakers, monitors, mixing board, a couple mics--runs about $700, but can be had for less if you have musically inclined friends. Guitar Showcase, Starving Musician, JK Sound and Sound on Stage all rent equipment. Don't forget to agree on a price for the sound person, and don't forget the cords.

  6. Make fliers and posters for the show. Promote the heck out of it. You can never oversaturate the market. Send a flier to newspapers and radio stations at least two weeks in advance.

  7. Get a show kit together: duct tape, paper and pens, thick markers, extra cables, garbage bags, power strips (a godsend), a drum mat (a large slab of carpet will do), flashlights, water and towels for the bands, a mop and bucket, a broom, Lysol.

  8. Get to the show at least two hours before the doors open. Set everything up. Make sure your friends know their jobs. Have some loose bills together to give out change. Don't forget the hand stamp and an inkpad!

  9. To make a little extra cash, buy a couple cases of Select Soda and sell them at the gig for 50¢ each. Bring ice and a cooler.

  10. After the show is where you find out who your true friends are. See who sticks around to clean up afterward. Reward them with a late-night trip to Taco Bravo. Invite them to your wedding.

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From the March 5-11, 1998 issue of Metro.

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