Digital DJ Tips reader Alex says: "I came to visit Finland this summer over from Japan where I currently live, and came across something very frustrating. I've DJed a lot at places such as schools and house parties which have a 'permanent audience', but this time I went and tried something that I've never tried before. My friend and I decided to organise a gig at a quite well-known place. Man, we worked so hard to make it happen, planned it a month ahead, invited nearly 1,000 people, and spent many long hours getting the place into shape. But, unfortunately when the day came, guess how many people showed up? Three, one of them by accident. Any ideas on what went wrong? Suggestions for pulling a crowd?"
Digital DJ Tips says:
I promoted event for the best part of 15 years, and saw this many, many times. I was lucky enough to be very successful as a promoter, but I wasn't immune either - I put on events that did badly too. I am going to throw out a few pointers to what went wrong, just based on what you've told me. Firstly, sounds like you weren't from the place you threw the party - bad move in my experience, as you fill venues from the ground up, and it helps to know local attendees very well to start to get the ball rolling. I saw many out-of-towners flop when they tried to promote in my town.
Secondly, aiming to fill a well-known venue and inviting 1000s is not the way to throw a first party - 50 people in a small back room is the way to do it, and you build from there. Promoting isn't easy, and working at it for a month is really just scraping the surface of what really makes an event work, as any experienced promoter would confirm to you. And finally, hours spent making the place look nice are wasted hours when you have limited manpower - you should have spent those hours grassroots promoting.
We have lots of articles on this, and I've linked to a few below, but I know among our readers we have many who have promoted their own parties, and I think they could help you a lot here too.
So, over to you! Please share what's worked and what hasn't for you, and especially let's hear about errors you made when you promoted parties in the past and what you did to solve them. Your help in the comments will I am sure be much appreciated by our reader.