The second part of our blog into how to open and run a successful music venue continues with the operational details that will need to be addressed. In the first part of this blog we touched upon taking sound financial advice and finding the correct location. Now we look at the mechanics of making the venue operational and suitable to hosting live music and delivering all the amenities that a music crowd expect. This includes the décor, PA System, lighting, security, bar and hospitality management etc.
You probably have an idea of the theme you wish for your live music venue and this should marry with the type of bands that will play at your venue. But pay attention that you comply with building and fire regulations this is critical. The other issues you will be forced to tackle are bathrooms, venue capacity, emergency exits, seating, handicapped access and sound proofing. The application for the correct music, liquor, and food licenses must also be filed with the relevant bodies.
A live music venue has a main priority to deliver great music and spend the most you can afford on a top PA System. You can hire the best bands but if nobody can hear them then it is pointless, make sure the speakers, amplifiers, cords are of the best quality to deliver the best possible sound all over the venue. The next issue that needs to be addressed are the staff, you will need professional doormen, security that is competent but friendly. Many venue owners do not realize the importance of good doormen, but this position is vital as it can make or break a business.
Next thing to be addressed are the hospitality aspects of the venue, the bartenders, waitresses, dishwashers, cooks, cleaners, ticket collectors and sound and light engineers. The cost implications of wages and training must be added to your financial business plan.
Marketing and advertising of your venue is also important, a good booking agent can help in this respect as they have many contacts and will know the best musical outlets to advertise your business. There are two aspects to your marketing, the first is the actual venue and this needs to be part of a strategic marketing plan. The second aspect is to promote an actual gig or event and this is normally done by bill posting and social media advertising.
At the start of your venture it might be difficult to attract top bands and again the engagement of a reputable booking agent can be invaluable. You need to maintain a strong lineup of bands that perform on a regular basis at your venue.
Use the internet to network with local and international bands that may be interested in what you are trying to achieve at your venue. You need to decide how you wish to reimburse the bands, payment types vary and you have to be fair to both the band and your business. Some bands will want a cut of the door takings, others just a flat fee and some want both. Amateur artists may be happy to play for free or just for drinks to get recognition. As you can see opening up your own music venue is not as easy as it first appears, but address all the important issues and you may have a great business.