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HOW TO MAKE MONEY BOOKING AN ABNEY PARK SHOW

Making money on an Abney Park show is easy. With hundreds or even thousands of people giving you money to attend it adds up quickly. Still, its good to spend as little as possable, to make sure you make as much money as possable.

robertAvoid spending too much.
Many promoters spend more on promoting the event then they make at it. The most common way to do this is to get a venue larger then you need. We've had promoters rent venues that hold 10,000 people or more and lose their shirts when a much smaller crowd show up.

Our largest show as of me writing this (Oct 5th, 2011) was around 6,000 people. This was at a big convention in Atlanta. But if a promoter assumes Abney Park will pull 6,000 people in their home town they may end up spending too much on a venue.

What you want is a venue just a touch smaller (cheaper) then you need. If you only have to turn a few away at the door, you've just made your maximum profit. If the place is too big and there is a lot of empty space, you probably spent more then you needed to on the show.

What is Abney Park's "Draw"?
We are often asked "what's your draw?", meaning, "how many people will come to your show?". I wish it was that simple! In Seattle in 2010, a great promoter has gotten as many as 2,000 people to an Abney Park show, while that same year a terrible promoter pulled 143 to their very unappealing event ("Erotic Steampunk for the whole family!" - I wish this was just a joke, but it happened). This proves that its not about the town we play in, or how many fans we have, its about how many potential ticket buyers the promoter will appeal to.

What should the Ticket Price be?
This really depends on what you are giving them for the show. If its just Abney Park, I typically have 21 and over tickets set at $15, and teen tickets set at $5 or less, since teens don't have a lot of extra cash. However, we've played sold out shows with ticket prices as high as $125 each. Those events were in amazing locations, or with fantastic other features (fountains of Absinth, wandering circus performers, etc.). Your goal is to make the most appealing show you can for the least money.

What TYPE of venue should we have?
There are three types that I have seen: stadiums (too big and expensive), rental halls (too expensive, too tacky, and not equipped for live concerts), and music clubs. Club shows can charge you a split of the door, or even not charge you at all, since they sell drinks. They will already have sound systems, and stages, and sound men, so you don't have to pay for any of those things. This is the cheapest, most reliable way to have a concert.

joshThe draw back of a club show is often that its harder to have an All Ages event at a music club. You absolutely want to have your Abney Park show as an all ages event. Many of our fans are either teenagers, or parents. By having a 21 and over show, you exclude the teens from coming, and you exclude the parents from coming (as the cost of babysitting can be really high). So look around to find an all ages music club, so the most people can come while you spend the least.

Small first year Convention?
If you are having a convention and you are trying to budget in the cost of an Abney Park performance, know that many conventions charge a small additional fee to see our show. Here is how that works. Charge your attendants what ever you normally would have charged them had Abney Park not shown up. When you announce Abney Park is performing a whole new crowd will attend that would not have otherwise been there, so now you've made more money at the door then you would have. Then, charge an additional $10 for the Abney Park concert. $10 won't feel like much to your attendants, but the additional revenue will more then pay for our costs. Now you've increased your event size, and made more money, not less.

How much should you spend on opening acts?
An opening act is only finacially worth the draw that they will bring, IN ADDITION to the draw Abney Park will already bring. Lets make up two bands to use as an example:

Dusty Cogs & the Wrist Rockets
75 people will come to see them at $10 each. Which means they can bring you another $750. However, the crowd they bring is the same crowd as the one Abney Park will bring, with the exception of the 5 moms of the band members. This means your only really making $50 off of Dusty Cogs. Their fans would have come to see us anyway.

Penelope's Porcelain Circus and Aerial Troupe
75 people will come to see this troupe. Penelope however, has a completely different draw, but one that would really get along with Abney Park fans. Since Penelope's crowd is not already fans of Abney Park, inviting her troupe to attend will not only add to the number of people who will attend, it will add to the appeal of the show and therefore you may increase the ticket price! Higher ticket prices, and a greater turn out means you just made a ton more by including this performer.

robertOther Ways To Cut Costs
Don't put off buying plane tickets until the last minute. They will go up.

Don't hire your friends to help decorate (unless they are helping for free). In some cases, we've seen promoters fly their friends in from across the country to help decorate. Nobody ever came to a show just for the decorations - so don't consider this something that will increase your revenue. Decorations are nice but don't spend a ton on them.

 

Vendors
We are a huge fan of having themed vendors at our event. They help to make the event look more classy since they typically have very nice booths, and they help promote the event by advertising it to the clientele (require this of them).

Some conventions even charge vendors, which can help cover your costs without accruing new costs.

If you have any questions, ask me!
We've been doing shows, and paying our mortgages for years with this, so we've got a pretty good instinct. If you want help guessing a show size, or figuring out the value of an opening band, just ask. I will gladly throw in my two cents.

 

You can download our technical specifications here. Or view a sample of our live performance contract.

 

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