College/University Concert Planning: Things to Consider

If you want to produce a major concert at a college or university, be prepared, as it will take a lot of time, patience and hard work. Concerts at schools come with a specific set of circumstances that are usually not seen when booking with ‘for profit’ venues.

To make all of your concert planning efforts worthwhile, be sure to review our list of ‘Things to consider” before you start:

* The first step of this process, is to determine a clear purpose for the event. Why should this concert take place?

  • To entertain the student body.
  • To raise awareness and/or money for a cause or community.
  • Teach event committee how to produce a concert.

Identifying the purpose of your event will help determine what act to book, how much money to spend, when/where it should happen, etc.

* Next, consider the goals of the event and the factors that will impact the planning process- such as:

  • Is the concert closed to students or open to the public?
  • Does the entertainment need to meet certain criteria (ie: genre- rock, comedy, hip hop) to ensure community interest?
  • Will this concert be free or will attendees need to purchase tickets?
  • What (if applicable) is the break even point? Does money NEED to be made?
  • Will the event appeal to all student demographics? If not, can adjustments be made so it will?

*Having a purpose and defining goals are important but so is the date you select for the event. Timing is everything!

  • Evaluate all possible dates for the event and keep them on hand when booking talent (depending on the performer, your options may be limited).
  • Have a solid sense of all the activities, events and conflicts that may be happening on/off campus on the days being considered.
  • Make sure to have every available date in writing from the facility when making the reservation.
*Find out as much as you can about the venue before making a reservation / selecting the facility.
  • Is there a stage? If not, how big of a stage can fit/will be needed?
  • Will there be a facility-employed electrician available at the show?
  • What kind of additional power will be needed to run everything (if any)?
  • How many people can this venue hold?
  • What is the seating setup? Permanent, bleachers, removable chairs, standing room only…
  • Sound/Lighting: Can the venue handle flown rigs?
  • If the show is outside- rain date or back-up location?
*You could have all the answers to the questions posed above and still not be ready to go… and that’s because the budget needs some attention too. There are many different expenses that will have to be considered when planning a campus concert, such as:
  • Hall rental
  • Artist & management fees
  • Sound, lights and other rider requirements
  • Advertising
  • Catering
  • Security
  • Unexpected expenses
If you have thoroughly considered the purpose, goals, date, venue and budget of your desired event, and still feel confident in your plan- proceed!