How To Organize A Live Music Event On A Budget?

Three times in the past month I was asked, “What do I need to do to get a concert?” In fact, the question could mean several things: How do I find a place? How to set up PA? How do I get an audience? Etc.

But there is one level above all: budget. I suggest that as soon as you start thinking about organizing an event, you write a budget. This budget spreadsheet tells you most of the things you need to consider and shows you the risk, estimated profit, and winning points. If the budget numbers don’t seem to work, the event may not be for you. If you don’t like the level of risk, you may not be designed to be a promoter. If you are looking for live music you can go to


So the starting point is a table. This should include all expenses and all income. The main expense headings should include: contractor costs, PA, lighting, rent, marketing, box office costs, etc. Most of the revenue will likely come from ticket sales, but don’t forget the opportunity to add sponsors to the event.

The table will help you determine the break-even point for the event, e.g. how many tickets you have to sell to cover all costs. Every sale beyond profitability is of course a profit (except for cash commissions). The added bonus of creating an event table is that it helps define all the important tasks that need to be performed.

The realization of the forecast figure, turning into a real number, implies that all parties have reached the desired or agreed-upon agreement. The sample table also makes it clear that everyone involved in the concert is mostly paid a flat fee and therefore only the organizer bears the financial risk.

So if you’re thinking of hosting a live event, I invite you to work on the numbers first. This will help you put on a great show and control your money.