MY DEAR PROMOTERS….
My dearest promoters…your enthusiasm and energy lights the fires of nightlife and I humbly respect those who have made giving others a good time their raison d’être. Play is important, and here are a few tips to help you trim your game in order to pack the floor and create the right vibe at your next party:
1. Don’t talk about how awesome you are. Talk about how awesome your party is going to be, no doubt, but saying things like “such a fantastic crew is putting this show on” and “we are making amazing things happen” – um yeah homie you are throwing a party, not curing cancer. Let other people toot your horn, because when you do, it feels like you are trying too hard.
2. Make sure the crowd can see the DJ’s hands, and feet too if possible. At some shows, the DJ table has a little ledge up that shields the performer’s hands from view. Ix-nay on this. We want to see as much of the person delivering the music as we can.
3. Avoid using superlative cliches in your promo language. Words have power, so get creative. Audiences have become deaf to meaningless superlative statements such as “Not to miss” or “Epic lineup” or “Party of the year” or “Mark your calendar.” Don’t just tell us that your event will be amazing; tell us WHY. And “because it will be the best event EVER” doesn’t work!
4. When you send out a “thank you” note via social networks, thank the people who came but please don’t go on and on about how incredibly fantastic your party was. Please quit using the word “EPIC” to describe every single event you throw.
5. Give some thought to your lineup. Lineups shouldn’t be a “fruit basket turnover” with the acts going from techno to dubstep to funky house. Parties should flow.
6. Don’t book all artists that no one has ever heard of. When someone recognizes a name on a flyer, it creates a live connection between that person and your event. If they do not recognize any of the names, the probability of them attending drops very low. Book new artists for sure- but book only new artists at your own peril.
7. Don’t book all your friends. When people see the same names on flyers 15 times a month, they think, “oh well I can see them next week. No big deal, I’ll catch them then.” I know crews want to promote their own artists, but mix it up. Make a few artists sit out each event instead of having the same lineup every time.
8. ONE FLYER PER CAR. Tell your street team. I am one of the rare people who loves to get flyers on my car, but getting five or even two from one show makes me think the promoters and their team are lazy and a little bit bullshit. It puts a bad taste in my mouth.
9. Keep things on the up and up. We all know things can change quickly with venues and artists, but when your flyer says $20 for a party that goes until 4AM and then guests arrive to be charged $30 for a party that ends at 2AM, sure they will probably pay this time- but next time those guests will remember that you’re a shiester with shady business practices. Don’t fib with your promo; people will find out sooner or later and ultimately you will suffer.
10. Get on Twitter. If you are not using Twitter, you are missing out on one of the most effective and inexpensive promotional tools in existence.
11. Bring girls in. IN GENERAL: Girls like working restrooms with light, mirrors, toilet paper and hooks for their purses. Girls also like pretty things and shiny things and soft things and parties with themes where their other girlfriends are at. Get the girls, and the boys will follow. And for the love of God, please make merchandise in ladies’ sizes and cuts- we buy way more clothes than guys do, and are also much more likely to wear a shirt with a male DJ’s name on it.
12. If you are throwing an afterparty, promote your afterparty at the party, or rave, or festival, or art walk, or street fair, or whatever the ‘main’ event is. Many promoters miss this crucial promo opportunity for some really weird reason.
13. Listen to other people’s ideas. Most promoters are the bossy make-shit-happen type people with heaps of good ideas- well, even more people will have even more good ideas. Listen to them. Hell, invite several of your fun and creative friends to dinner and brainstorm crazy party themes and wild shenanigans.
14. Flyers still work. I know they kill trees and about 90% are thrown away, but a well-designed flyer can capture eyes and flyer freaks (like me) will want to save them- and flyer freaks also tend to tell other people about shows and be instigators in going out. Online promo is definitely just as important if not more so, but believe it or not, there is a segment of the event-going population that doesn’t really do the online thing. Don’t assume everyone is as connected online as you.
15. Small details can make a big impact and people will remember your show. Think very cheap and really creative ideas for your party- don’t be afraid to be unique. People are tired of the same old “cool” shit, so go for weird: put a disco ball in the top of the port-o-potty, hand out glowing blue jello shots at midnight, hire a body painter with black light art, throw a no-pants party, make people walk through the back of a wardrobe or crawl through a giant hamster tunnel to get into the show, put a sandbox in the middle of the dance floor, have a D-I-Y graffiti wall, hand out fortune cookies with wild fortunes, hire a mime, do a mullet party with kegs of PBR, give out little jars of Play-Doh as parting gifts, have an arts and crafts table for making crazy hats, put a mummy in the bathtub at a Christmas party, throw a barbeque and give away random door prizes that will freak people out like a gigantic stuffed rooster, a bag of dirt or a goldfish…obviously all these ideas won’t work for every party, but get creative! You are in the best business ever- manifesting FUN! Get inspired.
My dear promoters, thank you so much for bringing us many happy hours of play! Here’s to many more great parties!
Please feel free to add your comments and other ideas for promoters below!