London is a hotbed of opportunity for up-and-coming musicians but that doesn’t stop it being wildly competitive, particularly within the indie scene. If you’re planning to put on a concert, then, it’s vital to do it right – and the venue will play a big part in the success or failure of your event.
Consider your audience
Knowing who’s likely to be interested in your event will be a key factor in identifying the right venue. If your audience (target or existing) is mostly made up of young people, then somewhere a little cheaper is a good choice – and they’ll be more forgiving if space is a little more at a premium, say in a dive bar or otherwise slightly DIY location.
You’ll of course want to know how many fans you might reasonably expect to be able to attract who already know and like you. You’ll want to avoid booking somewhere that you can’t be confident (or at least reasonably hopeful) of filling – smaller but full is likely to give you a better atmosphere than bigger and half-empty.
Location and accessibility
If people can’t get to a venue easily, they’re much less likely to make the effort to show up. London’s Underground makes it easier to access a wide variety of venues, particularly the more central that you get, but locations within convenient distances of public transport like rail stations are worth their weight in gold. This is especially true if you’re hoping to be able to draw in attendees from outside London itself.
Also worth bearing in mind here is the proximity to bars and other nightlife venues, as well as the physical accessibility of the venue – is it wheelchair-friendly? You can get more fans through the door if it is.
The audience is coming to hear you play music – so the quality of what they hear should play a part in your decision. Do your research either by attending a venue in person or seeing what others say about it online: is it easy to hear clearly in the space? Is it frequently troubled by noise from traffic or loud air-conditioning systems? Is it plagued by carpeted flooring that deadens sound? Bad acoustics can mean a poor experience – which might not affect whether someone attends your concert in the first place, but definitely could put them off coming to another one in the future.
Reputation of the venue
If people don’t already know your music then they’re likely to be making a decision to attend in large part based on their familiarity with the venue as a place to spend an evening. When you’re researching possible venues, then, it’s good to get an idea of how well-known it is. Look at lists of other artists who have performed there – how many do you recognise? If it’s attracting bigger names, your chances of incidental footfall go up.
You can take a quick look at the venue’s social media (or lack thereof) to get an idea of how good it is at promoting itself and its events. Partnering with a venue that takes an active role in spreading the word makes your job easier, so capitalise on that if you can by looking out for canny marketers.
The Bottom Line
When people find a venue with the right mix of informality and professionalism – a comfortable space where they can appreciate what they’ve come to see without feeling constricted – they can fall in love with both it and the acts they see there. But there are a whole host of considerations that you’ll need to make when picking the right place. Be sure to take time with your venue choice consider what will show off you and your music the best, and the results will speak for themselves.
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
Interviewing and reviewing the best in new music and globally recognized artists is his passion.
Over the years he has been lucky enough to review thousands of music releases and concerts and interview artists ranging from top selling superstars like 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, Boyz II Men, Roxette, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Loeb and iconic Eagles front man/songwriter, Glenn Frey through to more recent successes including Newton Faulkner, Janelle Monae and Caro Emerald.
Brendon manages and coordinates the amazing team of writers on RenownedForSound.com who are based in the UK, the U.S and Australia.