Music Festival: It’s All About The Music

music & arts:Entry 2 of 3 in Festival Event Planning

Erie Art Museums Blue and Jazz Festival

Drummer at the 2008 Erie Art Museum’s Blues and Jazz Festival


This blog post is the second in a series of 3. It is a look into musical festival planning through the insights of one of Erie PA’s best event planners, Tammy Roche. If you haven’t read the first article, “Event Planning: Its All About the Creation,” check it out here.


The music! Tammy has an entire committee dedicated to band and art sit selection, communication, negotiation and booking.  When you are planning on booking any acts, it is best to start as early as possible; especially if you are trying to acquire a national act.  Once the contact is made, the rest is all about striking the deal and following through.


Typically with a national act, you need to get in contact with the agent. A lot of times, musicians will provide the contact information on their website, or the promoter of the event, pending their experience, may have a rolodex of contacts.  After making contact with the representing agent, Tammy’s music committee establishes themselves and their purpose.  The first two things that are brought up are availability and range of performance fee. These two pieces of information are the first cut off in whether or not that musician will be booked for your event.


The music committee, and whomever handles the festival finances, has an idea of their price range for performers.  This criteria is used to whittle down the multiple contacted artists into a pool within which a verbal agreement is made and immediately after, a written offer is sent. A similar process is used for regional and local acts, but typically, the contacts are not agents but band members or close relatives that act as managers.


Once verbal commitments are made, a legal contract is drawn up and processed.  Some of the clauses included in a performer’s contract could include:
- back line and provided instrumentation
- a technical rider and requirements for the PA
- hospitality including transportation, hotel, food, alcohol, etc
- merchandise sales
- promotion
- recording rights

A lot of times contracts will include a cancellation clause. It is really important to look at this line of the contract. This clause could specify weather, or stage conditions in which the performer WILL NOT have to perform. Make sure you check this or your show may not go up due to a small drizzle!


The music you pick will be the ultimate vibe setter at the festival.  It is what will set your event apart from any other experience. People don’t often remember the vendors or promotions that went into the event. They remember the show that they saw! So keep the music in mind when planning all aspects of the festival.

Event Planning: Its All About the … Planning – Next week’s post will focus on logistics, people movement, and how to handle the actual day of the event.

The Blues and Jazz Festival is one of Nick’s favorite gigs at Raven Sound. Not only is it amazing to experience the atmosphere and music, it is just as great to be apart of it.

Work Hard, Take It Easy

Nick Corsi

Follow Me on Twitter: NickCorsi

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2 Responses to “Music Festival: It’s All About The Music”

  1. Thinking Big Works » Blog Archive » Music Festivals: It’s All About … Planning Says:

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