To Benefit From A Benefit
By Chris Standring
I took part in a benefit last week. A charity
event for the red cross 911 disaster relief fund. Turned out to
be a very successful show. Lots of tv stars, comedians from Saturday
Night Live, day time soap actors, pop stars new and old and musicians
up the yin yang. Every body threw in their two cents for a great
cause. Egos were left at the door. It was a tremendous show and
a ton of money was raised. I felt good just being there among
friends, doing as much as we could. The spirit was wonderful.
But it also got me thinking.....
There were some very well known acts appearing on the bill as
well as a few not so well known acts. Some were not known at all
but were extremely talented performers who happened to know the
event co-ordinator. This was indeed a celebrity gala event. It
was also more than that. It was a platform to be seen in front
of a non judgemental audience.
It seems to me that there is an avenue here for creative people
to muse over. First I would insist that putting on a benefit has
to be completely and absolutely about that. The cause itself has
to be 100% top priority. You cannot hope to win if the benefit
is all about you! However, let's be realistic and assume that
you are sincerely interested in organising a fund raiser. Here's
what you might think about doing:
- Get together with three other bands
(very easy to find!) and propose the idea of an "independent
artists against blah blah blah" (insert charity here)
concert event. Possibly rope in a couple of comedians (try
to get good ones please - there's really nothing worse!)
Designate an MC.
- Find a venue and discuss the idea with
the promotions people, see what kind of break they will
give you on the rental. They may even let you have the venue
- Make sure all performing artists are
advertised in local newspapers, internet sites etc. Flyer
coffee houses and so on.
- Approach music trade magazines and local
newspapers and get them to talk up the event. (They will
be far more responsive to writing about a charity like this
than talking up your unknown band).
- Get t-shirts made up with all artists
names printed on them and sell them at the show. If you
can afford to - give them away.
- Give away your sample CD's.
- Host a silent auction before the show.
Get people to donate to the cause.
- Try to do a local radio interview announcing
the event. Involve the radio station if possible.
- Be as creative as you can about getting
the word out about your event.
- Collect names for your mailing list.
You will be surprised at
how incredibly helpful and responsive people will be if the
event is for a good cause. You can and should benefit with a
good amount of exposure as a result of your hard work. If you
raise a couple thousand bucks to help feed a few starving kids
then everybody wins right? Just some thoughts to be thinking
about if you are wondering what to do right now...
| Chris Standring
is the CEO and founder of A&R Online (www.aandronline.com).
He is also a contemporary jazz guitarist presently signed to
Ultimate Vibe Recordings. For more info on Chris' recording
career go to his personal website at www.chrisstandring.com
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