5 alternative places to host live shows


Live performance is an important part of the marketing mix for artist. the problem sometimes though, is where to host shows. In this article I’ll share 5 different venues ideal to host your shows.

School auditoriums

Many schools have small to medium sized auditoriums, that can be used to host concerts. These spaces may be booked for tours across the country. Also, these tours are perfect for targeting music fans in that age group.

The advantage is that they already have basic facilities to host the show. This include bathrooms for patrons, a stage, back entrance, and an enclosed area to suitable for ticketing and payment traffic. Additionally They have security on campus, and you would only need to supplement their security.

Most schools have a PA system, but to ensure that the music sounds good, you will need to hire a live PA system. This takes you several steps ahead with planning, as you’ll only need to confirm the rental of the school facility. Overall, the total production cost will be cheaper, compared to when using other facilities.

Drama Performance theatres

Theatres that host plays can be another venue to host shows. These venues vary in size as well but generally, the holding capacity tend to be under 1000 persons (that’s in Jamaica).

For an intimate set up, these places can work and they already have an excellent sound system, for their performances so your only cost would be renting the facility for the evening.

The only drawback is getting the date booked during a time they don’t have performances going on. They also have an area to buy food which can also be negotiated. So if you are looking for an intimate setting for a live show consider a drama performance theatre.


Churches are another venue to host shows. These also vary in size, and the same consideration for the school auditorium, will apply. They will have basic amenities such as bathroom, parking , etc. .As for a PA system, there may be need for supporting equipment

Something to keep in mind though is that when working with churches, belief system might be a problem because not everyone will be open to renting their facilities to an outsider. Meaning someone who doesn’t share the same belief system as the church.

Sports arenas and stadiums

Sporting arenas and stadiums are on the larger side of the spectrum. They will cost a lot more money to rent, but you will have more space. This can be great for hosting larger concerts which will bring in artist with a lot of pulling power.

Eg: The promoters of Unity in the city hosted the show at Jamaica’s National Stadium on the field. Not many shows are hosted there locally, but it was a good look to see someone do it.

The size of the stadium, will determine the number of persons for the venue.

Large Car Parks

Many corporate spaces have large outdoor parking areas or fields, that can be used to host events. A Lot more is required for the planning of an event, to be hosted at that venue.

You’ll be dealing with an increased production cost. For instance, you will need a stage, live sound system, instruments, power, lighting, barriers for the backstage, security and bathroom facilities and so on.


This list is not conclusive, but I do hope it gave you some ideas as to various places where you can host live shows.

Instead of pitching event promoters do this

Performing live shows is very important to for your career as an artist. It will go a far way in growing your fan base and helping you earn money. But to get live shows one has to wait to get booked. Or even go out and try to convince a promoter to put you on their show.

What it if you don’t have to do that and take matters into your own hands and host a few live shows of your own. In this article I will be sharing why doing so can be an advantage.

Expose your music to other artist fans

One of the main advantage is exposing your music to other artist fans. When putting together the line up for your shows, you can book other artist that has a similar fan base to yours. This can be a way for you to cross promote your music. This will help you gain more followers and increase your earning potential. This is even great when you are trying to break into a new market.

For example, in Jamaica there is a show called Unity in the City. It is a gospel music event with a mix of local and international gospel recording artist. The promoter I believe is Jermaine Edwards. This is no confirmed but he has been on the line up of the show since it started a few years ago.

The international artist booked are from the United States of America. All signed to a major label, with a fan base worldwide. There is an advantage for the local artist sharing stage with international acts. The fans of the international artist will want to check out the music of the local other. So it’s a win win.

Promote yourself as a headliner

The next advantage to hosting your own shows is to position yourself in the market as a headliner. This is huge because you are sharing stage with headlining artist. Their name can pull people to the show and help boost your image.

When you promote the show, ensure you position yourself as a headliner. That way you will be seen as a headliner by the concert going public as well. You can give yourself a longer time to perform and expose the people to more of your songs.

Positioning yourself as a headliner, can have a huge impact on your career. More persons will want to book you for shows because they see you as a headliner. Your name can pull more persons to shows overtime.

So what this means for Jermaine Edwards and the other local artist on the show?. This can open them up to collaborations on future projects. Also position themselves as international headliners in the same light. Which will only boost their careers for the future it is a genius move and brilliant marketing.

Diversify your income

Last but not least is the diversity it gives your income. Because you are the one hosting the event and producing the show. Part of the profit goes into your pocket. Think about it, you are not only an artist but a concert promoter. This will help to boost your income in the long run.

They are other spill off effects as well. This includes boost in music sales as more persons are discovering your music. Streaming platforms make it easier for persons to listen to your music. There’s no big upfront commitment. If they like your stuff they will listen it more than once.

Unity in the City has establish their brand as a local gospel event of quality. With a quality lineup of performers and will have fans that will visit the event every year. And overtime will be able to stand on its own two feet to get even more international artist.


Hosting your own shows can remove the shackles of depending on promoters to book you for shows. This will put the power in your hands to grow your fan base and increase your income.

Creating the Perfect set list for live performance


Part of being an artist is performing live. I found this post awhile back by Wade Sutton and he explained how to design your set list. Below is some of the main points he shared to designing your set list of live performance.

Website link: http://www.rockettothestars.com/#!creating-the-perfect-set-list/c1io3

  1. Make a list of nine songs you perform at your shows
  2. Now rate each song from 1 – 5 base upon tempo.
    • 5 being extremely fast and energetic
    • 1 being slow emotional ballad.
    • 3 would be in the middle.
  3. Take a look at the ratings you have done. If all of your songs have similar ratings you have major problem because your set lacks variety.
  4. Create moments in your set. Meaning the thing that you do that fans remember you after you finished performing. It can be anything.
    • swinging from a rope while singing a particular song
    • musical solo

Picking your songs in the right order

This is where you’re gonna control the emotions of your fans

  1. from your set list pick a song that is rated 3 for your first song
    • it must be short 3:00 – 3:30 in length.
    • no extended breaks or solos just get into the lyrics quickly
    • this song is the icebreaker and builds relationship with your audience.
    • end with a trash can ending. this is where everybody ends at the same time.
  2. After the song ends do a quick introduction and thanks everyone for coming. Keep it short.
  3. for the second song choose a song that has a 4 rating from your set list
    • ensure it doesn’t sound similar to your first song. If it does people will start to tune you out.
    • get into the lyrics as quickly as possible
    • end with the trash can ending
  4. For song # 3 choose a 3 rated song.
    • ensure its very catchy so people can get into it and sing along
    • you can use a cover of a very popular song  because it draws more people into the show
    • no talking between songs
    • After the songs ends thank everybody and point out that you have merchandise at the back of the room for sale. Word your free off like this:
    • “I am actually giving away some of my music for free and I would love to get it out to each and every one of you here. For me to do that, I need you to go to the merch table and write down your e-mail address so I have a way to get that music to you.”
  5. 4th song you slow things down this is where you choose a song that is rated 2.
    • this is where you ease up before bring up the energy
  6. 5th song is where you start to build excitement. Choose one of your stronger songs rated 3 – 3.5
    • this is where you include your musical moment. something you can have fun with
  7. 6th song is when you increase the energy with a song rated 4 or 4.5
    • choose a song you can include the audience in.
    • a sing along, a call and response but it has to have a moment where the audience is having fun.
    • This sets you up for thanking your fans and reminding them of your merch table and email list sign up.
    • be sure to introduce yourself again for new people entering the venue. Introduce the band members as well
  8. 7th song this is when you slow things down. do something acoustic to create an intimate touching moment with the audience. A song rated 2 or lower is best.
    • different perspective musically
  9. 8th song: this song should bridge the gap between the previous song and the finale.
    • Thank the venue for having you and thank the audience for coming out.
    • Never mention that the next song is your final song
  10. 9th song: This is when you break out your # 5 rating song to end with a bang.

The ultimate aim of this is to let fans enjoy your live performance and want to see you again. These tips are very helpful in planning the show to ensure this happens.