Top Tips For Planning A Student Gig
band practicing on studio
Photo by Hans Vivek on Unsplash

Top Tips For Planning A Student Gig

Jasmine Sandhar March 28, 2022

In my role as Co-Head of Music (External) for my university’s radio station, I have had to organise a gig every semester this academic year. While this initially may not sound like a lot of work – arguably, it does amount to just two – there are a lot of extra behind-the-scenes tasks that people tend to overlook. I’ve learnt a lot of things along the way that I wish I knew initially, so this article contains my top tips for planning a student gig.

Collaborate with other music societies

This one seems pretty obvious, but make sure to find out about all the music societies at your university. Whether it takes a casual browse of your student union’s website or a more in-depth stalk of some social media profiles, there are plenty of societies already set up that can make the process of booking acts ten times easier than having to start from scratch. One of the best things about this method is that a lot of the societies seem to know each other too. So you can tap into one of the music networks from any point and end up with something by the end, whether it’s what you intended or not.

Create a Google Form

If the music societies are a bit of a miss – which has recently been the case due to the pandemic preventing bands from practising together and artists from performing live – then a survey can be a good starting point. I would recommend creating a Google Form that not only has the details of the gig but also asks for key information about the musicians, including their previous performance experience, the original to cover ratio of their repertoire and links to their most recent work. In order to garner as many responses to your form as possible, ensure that you are sending it into university-wide Facebook groups or course group chats.

Photo by Luana Azevedo on Unsplash

Keep it close to home

The main purpose of a student gig is that it is designed for students. Therefore, in order to make things as accessible as possible for both your student performers and student audience, you will want to host your gig somewhere fairly close to campus. Although there may be bigger and flashier locations nearer the city centre or elsewhere, nothing is going to be more attractive to students than having somewhere within walking distance rather than having to Uber.

Consider doing it for charity

Putting on a gig for charitable purposes can be beneficial in so many ways. Not only are you able to contribute to a good cause, but bands and venues are much more likely to perform and host for free, which can be much needed with the limited student budget. A great way to encourage people to donate is through a raffle. This can also serve as a good way to break up some of the acts in between. Something I would definitely recommend is setting up a GoFundMe as well as taking cash.

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Jasmine is currently a second-year English and History student at the University of Birmingham and the Deputy Editor of Redbrick Newspaper. She has experience writing for a variety of sections, including Comment, Culture, Music, TV and Food&Drink. Her interest lies in amplifying the student voice through providing younger people with a platform to voice their concerns, and this is the activism she aims to achieve through her journalism.