Venue Selection & Management

Seeing your favourite artists playing at the perfect venue is hard to beat. Likewise, we all remember those gigs which have been ruined by the wrong venue. This page attempts to guide artists, promoters and even customers through venue selection and management.

Venue Selection

Whether a promoter looking for the right venue to host an event, or an artist deciding which venue to play, ask yourself 'What is the most suitable venue for me?'

We've put together some important facors to consider:

  • Location (for customers and artists)
  • Production values (Good PA/acoustics/lighting/visual qualities)
  • Good access points, disabled access, viewing platforms, fire exits, toilets, cloakroom, etc.
  • Sightlines/visibility- pillars, sloping floor, etc.
  • Reasonable cost/venue agreement
  • Staffing - door staff, bar staff, box office staff: speed and quality of service from customer, artist and promoter perspectives
  • Effective ticketing and access procedures upon arrival
  • Effective emergency procedures and medical care if needed
  • Parking spaces
  • Landline for bus or tour van
  • Good access points for load-in/load-out and for technical crew
  • Good, spacious dressing rooms and access to a production office with Wi-Fi
  • In-house catering
  • Capacity suited to scale of operations (i.e. most shows likely to be busy / profitable according to target audience)
  • Licences
  • Health and Safety certificates
  • Public and equipment insurance
  • Day-to-day office admin


It is vital that you use a venue with all the relevant licenses and insurance provision. All venues should have public liability and employer liability insurance. If a venue isn’t properly licensed then the operator is the one in trouble but the last thing you need, having paid hefty deposits for your acts as well as covering the cost of marketing/advertising costs, is to discover that the venue won’t be allowed to open. If the venue does not have public liability insurance and there is an accident it is possible that you could be held responsible for any damages/law suits resulting from someone getting injured.

Hire charges

A typical venue hire charge will be a straight fee, including all in-house provisions and an in-house engineer charge. Occassionally, promoters are asked to pay a straight hire fee and a separate fee for additional staff.

You may arrange to pay a % of door take. Or it might be termed as a fixed cost per head. In this case you should always try and strengthen your position by pointing out that the venue usually take the bar income and the lower the hire fee percentage the lower the ticket price and therefore the larger the potential audience may be.

You should pay a minimum hire fee or a percentage/so much per head but never both.

Always compare and check with other promoters in the area that you have been quoted a fair and comparable price. Having a great reputation for quality events and strong relationships with venue managers obviously enhances your chance of attaining a better deal and allows you some leverage and bargaining power.

Useful Links:

The Unsigned Guide (which lists most UK venues)

Audience / Live UK

For further advice and support:

Book a Music Clinic / Check out our latest related Events / Sign up to The Gen on our homepage.