Has anyone set up a free (probably unplugged) gig, where unsigned acts come on to play 3-5 songs, to an audience of say around 100-200? Would anyone here, through a little bit of imagination, be able to give me some ideas on how that could work?

I realise the concept sounds very much like an open mic in a bar. I think what I'm looking at doing is taking that out of the pub/bar scenario and putting it in it's own limelight so to speak. The area where I live, and most surrounding towns/boroughs are really lacking in music events, and yet it is absolutely saturated with young musicians with real talent. And I know that people would love to see a showcase of this sort which isnt somewhere in Leicester Square or something.

So, if I were to describe exactly what I have in my mind, it would be an event advertised as a free gig, (alcohol wouldnt be free), about an hour or so long, where people can come and enjoy some live music from unsigned musicians. Whether it would have to be outdoors or indoors is something I havent worked out yet as well, but I have a guy who runs his own open mic in Hammersmith with an outrageously good sound system/pa system, all that. So, technically, the musicians are there, the equipment to mic up is there, all it's about is venue, audience, and I guess, my own desire to get it together. Which at this point, an hour since I thought of it, relies a certain amount on whether anyone here has experience with this sort of thing.

Wish I could have typed that in a few lines, I really do.

Edit: Completely forgot to mention, I live in West London, about 30 minutes away from Central London by underground. If that helps anyone.
Last edited by voodoochild23 at Jul 25, 2011,
i guess that puts you around the brent / hounslow area ?

i'd be tempted to say the reason this isn't going on near you already may be a lack of a market to be honest

if you're taking it out of the pub/bar scenario and putting it in its own light but selling alcohol doesn't that mean you're going to have to deal with the costs of supplying those drinks?

if it's not on a licensed premises you'll need a NCPLH lv 2 license holder to apply for a temporary events notice to sell alcohol and provide live entertainment btw!
aim for something a bit smaller scale. you're never gonna get 100 people to see a bunch of acoustic crap they've never heard of before for only an hour. hold it in your basement/attic/house. if you don't have any of those, ask a friend. make it byob and ask for donations at the door. that's pretty much how it goes down in new brunswick
First off, props to you for attempting to organise something like this. (I live in SW london).

Anyway, the key to something like this is venue. You need somewhere the right size, for the right price, that you can rent out for a night. Lots of local-ish halls do stuff like this, usually for parties or other similar events. Book well well in advance to give yourself time to organise and promote it all. Make sure its easy to get to, and cool. etc etc. Also check the licensing regulations, with regards to alcohol. Most places (and the police) are pretty uptight.

Think then about the sound system. Which will also depend on what stuff the artists use/need. Do you know any sound engineers to do the front of house stuff? what about monitors?

Then, security. Outside, are you going to make a queue? a team to man the doors? deal with any drunk****s? stop stage invasions? security teams can usually be hired too.

Then, the musicians. You'll probably have to approach them directly. Are they going to be allowed to sell CDs/Merch there? Youll need them to promote it too, and maybe pay them?

So all that is a massive amount of money. Which you wont make back up until you sell any tickets - how are you going to promote it? How are you going to make sure people can buy tickets, and not make any fake ones? Pricing?

To make a profit, you need to cover all the costs. So you need to get enough people, paying the right amount - cheap tickets might not get you enough cash, but costly tickets might discourage people from coming.
call me ziggy.
lol thanks guys.

as i say, i only thought of it a while ago. I mean, alcohol aside (though good tip, funeral, cheers), i really am desperate to create more of a live music scene, and there are so many musicians who would perform if it were possible.

i appreciate what you're saying jake, perhaps 100 people is a lot, it's just a rounded number i chose on a whim for the purpose of the description. I dunno, in a student area, i just see it being something which would attract a fair few people. But you have made me think, maybe i could bring the idea to the attention of an already existing venue. the fact that there are so many artists waiting in the wings should be some sort of encouragement to them.

i dunno.... i'll throw the idea around for a while, see how many people i can get on board.

thanks again
ah, earthisearthis, more fuel for thought! just read your message.

in terms of venue, there are a few places i could rent for it, but i would have to look into the prices, and licenses, and all the rest of it.

the sound system we have is more than good enough, since the guy's been using it a lot in a bar in hammersmith, to run open mic sessions.

i initially thought of it being a free event, but selling tickets does seem like an obvious necessity at this point.

i know a few of the artists personally, and a few i see every other week at venues, they're fairly prolific performers so im sure they'd be up for it, and i know i wouldnt need to pay them. the whole idea behind it was born out of the fact that they love performing, but they want an audience. and, well, that's a pretty self explanatory problem for anyone who's been on the unsigned-music scene in greater london.

you've given me a lot to think about, thanks.

once i look at the numbers, and if it's feesable and goes ahead, i'll be sure to update this thread.