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Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
I've been asked by a local community band to develop a marketing plan for the group. As part of that, I'm looking at the way the band promotes its concerts.

For those of you in community bands, would you mind telling me how your group does its concert promotion? I'm especially interested in out of the box thinking, but any and all methods are appreciated. I'm just trying to get a feel for what local community bands are doing to let the audience know of their upcoming shows.

Oh, and in a similar vein, would you be able to let me know if you charge for your performances. If so, how much the cost of a ticket is. Thanks!


Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
The WCB does the following:

1. Promotes heavily on Facebook.
2. Does some free announcements in local paper websites.
3. Works with members of the band to get family and friends to attend. If all 60 of ours did that and only brought 3 per player, that would be our best turnout evar.
4. Solicits for donations at the door, sells pastries, and generates ~$150 a concert that way. BTW, the performance hall costs $1200 per concert.

So I too am very interested in this subject. When it comes to the yearly budget for this band, the majority of which goes for practice venue rental, $1 million insurance required by schools, and performance venues we do the following:

1. Band dues starting this year, $60 per player, per band (we have three bands in our 501c organization).
2. Donations for new music. This year over 10 charts were purchased by band members and alumni. The director selects the titles and lists them on the JWPepper site.
3. Donations from other than band members, business charity matching programs, grants, etc.

That is all I can think of right now.
Our ticket prices vary depending on venue

If we hire a performance hall, we charge £10 full adult, £8 concession (student, over 65yrs), £4 child
Hall hire is about £450 and profit about £450 for the event, but that includes a raffle too, which band members donate prizes for.

Our most profitable gig is our Christmas Concert at a church. It starts at 3.00pm in the afternoon, 2 or 3 Saturdays before Christmas. Venue hire is only about £150 and we always share the stage with a school choir. This already means that that school choir members bring a couple of audience with them, if not more. Tickets are £8 full price, £5 for family of the choir through the school and children are free. We do tea and coffee and a mince pie in the interval charging £0.50 for a drink and a pie. We also have a raffle. Profit is about £700

We often do joint concerts with guest soloists, or another band, to attract an audience. If we do, we have get people to give us their email addresses on a piece of paper, in return for entering their name in a free draw for a bottle of fizz. We can build our mailing list from that.

We also sometimes play in aid of a certain charity, and the charity is involved in audience generation too, from their mailing lists and contacts.

I design all our posters and they are professionally printed. The band distribute them (friends, work, local libraries etc). PDFs of the posters are sent to our email mailing list.

We also advertise from our FB page.

Subs from the band only cover rehearsal venue and conductor fees. All music and other expenses are from performance profits.

I have done a fairly simple, but very helpful spreadsheet for "what if" calculations. Plugging in various variables gives you how many tickets you need to sell to turn a profit, and likely profit calculations. Happy to share to anyone who lets me know they would like to see it.



Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Chris, that's a good gig. I'd also love to see your spreadsheet.
Thanks for the screen shot - to explain the spreadsheet, once you download it you will see some cells are white - these are the ones where you enter the variables. All yellow cells are locked to make it "fool-proof"

Under the expenses heading you have the venue cost, costs for designing the poster and then costs for printing the flyers and programmes. PRS is a payment made to an organisation that distributes royalty payments for the music we play. The last box here is for any miscellany left as an expense.

In the ticket demographics section, you enter the percentage split you might think represents the audience, in terms of different price groups. A child for us is below 16 years old. An adult therefore is anything older. To answer your question here, Gandalfe, a concession is the accepted term in UK for what we used to call an "Old Age Pensioner" - person over 65 years of age. That is all we mean by concession. It can also, in UK, include students (age 16 to 25), veterans, people with disabilities, people on state benefits and others. Back to the spreadsheet, you enter the percentage of tickets you think might be sold to children and concessions, and the formula automatically fills the full price box to make the total 100%

In the income section, I have put variables to enter for any hoped for donations, and raffle income and we add interval refreshment profits to one of those.

The last section asks for the entry of what the ticket prices might be for a full price, concession and child.

Once all that is fed in, then the bottom row tells you how many tickets, for those variables, must be sold to break even.

The second off last row gives the opportunity to enter a number of tickets that you think may be sold, and a profit is calculated.

Change any of the variables, and you can see what happens to the break-even point and profit.

There is nothing complicated in there, but it just helps quickly answer the questions of "what if". To see the formulas or modify it for yourself, just un-protect the cells. Once finished, protecting the yellow cells again does prevent the accidental destruction of usefulness of the spreadsheet!

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Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Okay, here goes (it may be a bit different here than elsewhere in the world)

Our band is organized as a registered association (we're currently working on getting tax-exempt (ie. not-for-profit) status).
We have passive and active members, each one pays some $20 membership fee per annum (more is welcome, of course). The passive members are simply "friends and family plus the usual suspects" who just support our band without actively participating. Active members pay a bit more to cover expenses for sheet music, food and booze etc. We get subsidies which just about cover our director's salary.

We have two concerts a year, one in summer ($15 for 16yo and up, kids free) and one before Christmas (free). Summer concerts have (simple) dinner, a raffle, a bar, and some after-show dance and music. Christmas concert has cookies, mulled wine and a tip jar. Audience is about 120 in Summer, 200 in Winter. Net profit on each is in the $1000 ballpark.

Promotion is done via (paper-)mailing the passive members, putting up posters in the neighbourhood, and advertising on homepage and facebook.

Usually we have the same audience each time - friends and family, plus the odd boss/employee/politician or other "furrin" folk. Average age of the adults is ~55.

We sometimes think that half the money for promoting in thrown out the window - but which half?


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
FWIW, when I was a student at Fredonia State college in NY, I made an effort to attend any free or low cost music event (which included at least one opera, if not more). While all were sparsely attended, they were always attended, and not necessarily by just the same few folks. That was kewl because Fredonia is a very small town and all the nearby towns are also pretty small. I really can't do any of that, now: I live too far away from anyplace to go unless it's a weekend. In other words, attendance might also be a little dependent on where you're playing.

Another thing is that if I know that a group that's even partially interesting to me happens to be playing even somewhat nearby in the near future, I can make plans. For me, it's helpful to see something like, "Playing at The Old Oak Theater, near the US 60 and the Loop 101." That little location detail tells me that it's 15 miles away, rather than 80.

Also, again speaking as just a person from the general public, if your promotional material looks terrible, I'm going to skip it.

I also heartily recommend that there's some way to get your audience on an e-mail list AT the concert. Get people to write down e-mails and put 'em in a bag or something; don't rely on a line of text in your set list. While I'd make the effort to get on your mailing list if you're good, a lot of us are lazy. Hey, I can't go to your concert if I don't know that you're playing.

On a different subject, a lot of churches have really good acoustics and sound gear and would love for you to pay them rent. I know this from ... being a pro church musician and head of a church music department. However, availability might be limited. Most of the churches I've worked at/for have the main auditorium in use on Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, and usually Friday. But, if you want to rent the place and clean up, we'd be happy to even provide music stands. Heck, if you're really nice, we might have some tympani or something y'all can use.

However, I love youse guys, but your prices are a little high for me. My cut-off is the price of a decent CD, and the last one I bought was about $9 (I preordered. Album review: average). I definitely like the, "Kids under 15 (whatever) are free," but I probably wouldn't take my young'n. (Oh. Churches also generally have crying rooms that have audio pumped into them. Another benefit!)