Contributed by Grant B.

  1. Start Early. This is the golden rule. This allows you to do things right. The more time you give yourself, the more time you have to promote and organize, and the easier it will be on your nerves since you won’t have to rush.

  2. Venue. Obviously, without a venue there’s no place to party. I can’t count the number of times some newbie has jumped the gun and reserved a date or released a flyer without having a solid venue lined up. If you expect 300 people, don’t get a 10,000 square foot venue. If you expect 10,000 people, don’t have it at your house. The rule is 10 square feet per person, measured against total floor space – fire code permitting.

  3. Permits/Insurance. These go hand in hand with the venue, and are not always required, but your reputation will take a serious hit if 1:00 am rolls around and the cops tell you to shut it down because you don’t have your paperwork or permitting documents from the city/venue owner. Insurance may already come with a particular venue if it’s frequently used for special events. Check to be sure. If it doesn’t, get some – it’ll cover your ass if someone hurts themselves and decides to sue you.

    Having items like several fire extinguishers on hand is wise. A set of walkie talkies is also smart, and will save you some walking.

  4. Power Supply. No power – no music. You’ll need a good source of electricity to run any decent sound system and light show. Make sure there’s either plenty of outlets, an electrical panel to tap into, or get a suitable generator with some killowatts to spare.

  5. Sound. My motto is quality, not quantity. A system that looks bigger doesnt always sound better. But you also don’t want a tiny PA in a big room. The sound guy needs to get there a little earlier to set up, test everything out, and tune it to the location. Getting this done early on the day of always takes some stress off. Don’t skimp on sound – after all, it IS all about the music, right?

    Decks & Mixer. Make sure you, a friend, the sound guy, or someone are bringing the tables, mixer, and cinder blocks. Have an extra deck, mixer and set of needles in case you experience “technical difficulties.”

  6. Security. Security is your extended set of eyes and ears at the event. Security is not there to kick people’s asses. Security is there to prevent ass kickings from even starting, and prevent drugs and alcohol from getting in. “Tight, but friendly” is the key, and is also essential to helping everything run smoothly and supports a good vibe. Security also makes sure people pay to enter your show. Have them show up a little early to survey the location if they need to, and to prevent a runaway train of early ravers from sneaking into the show.

  7. Water/Concessions. Water is essential, concessions are not. Meaning you don’t have to sell food and drinks. However, you must provide water – free if neccessary – so people don’t dehydrate. Make sure you’ll have enough. As long as people have enough water to drink, you’re good. People will even pay for a bottle of water, but don’t rip people off. That’s lame. Candy, fruit, and snacks are great for people burning a bunch of calories from dancing. Free water can be provided from a dispenser with dixie cups. Keep consumables somewhere they will be under supervision regardless of whether you are selling them or not.

  8. Flyers/Advertising. If no one knows about your show, no one’s gonna come. Get your flyers out a minimum of one month before the event – 6 weeks is ideal. Flyers represent the name and theme of the event. Print at least two to three times the amount of people you expect at the event. Most printers have a minnimum run of 5,000. They should be catchy but tasteful. Remember that all sorts of people from the community may see your flyer, and even show up, so don’t go printing flyers with giant pot leaves or naked girls on them for shows called “the dope den” or “exxxtacy” or something. Just use your head here. Display, promote, and follow a path of responsibility.

  9. Production Staff/Help. Don’t do everything yourself, unless you’re insane like me. You always want someone trustworthy at the door taking money – that is, if you don’t do it yourself. If you need to, hire people that know their stuff in other production areas. People like rigging/lighting techs and decorating crews can be trusted to do things right while you’re doing something else that needs your attention. A cleaning crew is a good idea too, unless you are willing to do that yourself. However, it must be done – clean up! After a while, you might not need to hire these people because they are willing to offer their services for free, or in exchange for entrance/guest lists to the event.

  10. DJs. Notice that the DJs don’t show up until now on the list. This is because there’s no sense in booking anyone unless you’ve done or prepared to do everything listed before this item. Otherwise, you’ve had them drag their vinyl to your event and not even get to play, or they play late, or for no audience, etc. That’s lame. Plus, there’s no shortage of DJs – anywhere – except maybe antartica. ***EGO WARNING*** most veteran DJs are mature, and also a good bet for rocking your crowd, but don’t let DJs push you around regarding their slot or the lineup. Come up with a decent lineup that follows a smooth energy arch (like a bell curve), and stick to it. Figure out what the time slots are, find people to play them. Confirm/remind your talent bookings on the week of the event, and day before.

  11. The Vibe. The most elusive element. It’s not really a “party” without it, and you can’t have it without people at the party. This is what makes the people who attend the show so important. Remember to set the tone: smile. Have fun. Be a jackass. Make people laugh. Be compassionate. Stay cool. Welcome people. Thank them for coming. Give them a compliment. Flirt – create an environment and atmosphere that invites people to have fun and let go of their usual reluctance to socialize and be extroverted. But most of all:

    Be Responsible * Be Respectful * Be Safe
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