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Venue Finding To Please The Critics

Sep 6, 2008
Location, location location! Usually synonymous with purchasing real estate, the cliche has just as much clout when looking for a venue to host an evening of entertainment. As any promoter will tell you, scouting for a suitable place to put on an event takes many hours of worthwhile research and the location is one of the most important factors. Finding a suitable place starts with understanding who the audience is, where they live and then working out how far they may be willing to travel.

As a critic in the entertainment industry I have seen many potentially good acts in music and theatre have a bad night because the promoter hasn't done the research and booked an inadequate or inappropriate venue. The importance of location is paramount. A very basic example is promoting a comedy act that focuses on an anti-gay theme and booking them in to a comedy club in Brighton, infamous as the gay capital of the country. Or having a hardcore skin head punk music event in Brixton. I have not come across such booking blunders to date, but have witnessed many events that have flopped due to poor venue finding.

Events that are correctly placed geographically to the target audience still need to pick the most suitable venue for the type of event. Once again, a simple thing such as seating. If the act is a crooning man in a dinner jacket sat in a rocking chair, you can be pretty sure the audience won't be requiring a mosh pit, and instead would like some comfy seats and sophisticated lighting. This type of mistake I have come across many times, but from the other end of the spectrum. I once attended a gig where the band were renowned for being 'energetic' and their fans liked to join them on stage, stage diving, head banging and generally behaving like a bunch of kids that have eaten too many Smarties. The place these guys got booked into was essentially a small theatre with seating and carpets that were virgins to vomit, beer and blood. I do believe there was a large amount of money claimed for damages after that evening.

There have also been times when the popularity of the evening has been severely underestimated and hoards of fans are clamouring to get into a building that has reached capacity and giving the health and safety guys a veritable heart attack. There was one event where the venue had sold out several times over, leaving a lot of angry people with tickets feeling like they had, quite justifiably, the right to enter the gig. When a crown reaches a point of mass hysteria and anger, it is time to evacuate, which is exactly what I did just moments before there were several stabbings and a mass stampede.

To avoid avoidable catastrophes like these, I strongly advise anyone in promotions and booking of bands, comedians and anyone in the performing arena, to swallow their pride and take advice from the professionals. Enlisting the help of dedicated location scouts as it were saves time and embarrassment. Relevant details will be prioritised, required services and facilities will be established, all on your behalf. This will boost the reputation of the act as well as that of the promoter and make it much more likely to receive a positive review from critics such of myself. It is true that attention is in the detail, but finding the right location is one big detail that you cannot afford to overlook.
About the Author
Dominic Donaldson is an expert in the entertainment industry and event management.
Find out more about venue finding and locate the perfect venue for any event visit Venue Directory.
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