Concerts and Carnivals


One year ago today I produced my last major concert and carnival for a local university.  A lot of work goes into an event like this.  And a lot of help is needed too.  To a produce an event like this you need to break it down into a few different pieces: Concert, Carnival, Logistics, Food/Beverages/Vendors, Volunteer Coordination and Promotion.  If you are looking to produce a big show like this I will break it down the basics for you on how I coordinate this type of event.


  • Work with a middle agent to book your lead act because for the most part agents aren’t going to talk to you! I always worked with a fabulous agent.  Todd from Babco Entertainment I highly recommend them and Todd! Their website also an artist search function.  Ever wonder how much an artist costs?  This tool will tell you.  For example I had Kate Mckinnon from SNL come and perform a few years ago for my welcome week.  I think I paid maybe 15-20k  looking today she’s quoting 75k.  That’s what Ghostbuster money will get you (side not she’s great to work with book her)!
  • Use their data to do research as to which artist will be a good fit for your event and put out surveys into the community to make the right pick.
  • Go through endless paperwork of offers and contracts to secure the artist with lawyers and agents.
  • Book an outdoor stage, sound, and lights though a staging company.
  • Order barricading, arrange for dressing rooms, and bathrooms by the stage.
  • Order meals or buyouts for crews and artists.
  • Make sure there is room for big trucks and tour busses to park and back up in your venue.
  • Arrange hotels and day of drivers for artists and crew.
  • And of course you will need lots of volunteers for set ups, tear downs, stage changes and drivers.
  • You’ll need to book your opening acts and your security for the stage.
  • And if you’re having more than one stage going everything on this list times 2.
  • And of course lets not forget our PERMITS!


  • First you need to book a carnival company to get your rides and games.
  • You can also do your own games by purchasing some carnival games online. I did that a few times and had organizations run the games and give out prizes.  Candy and free food or ride tickets are also a great prize.
  • You will need to arrange for volunteers for the games if your carnival company isn’t running them.
  • You can also get more carnival fun items like face painters, clowns, stilt walker, air brush tattoo artists, fortune tellers, etc.
  • And of course get your permits!


  • Book your space.
  • Book fencing.
  • Book trash and recycling bins and dumpsters.  Hire people to handle that throughout the day.
  • Book a security company and police/health care.
  • I added separate logistics up in concert for everything to do with the stage.
  • Order tents tables and chairs for all of your vendors, food, dining areas, health center, entry tent, info tent, to use as a dressing room if you need to.
  • Book porta potties and porta trailers.
  • If you’re doing tickets for food or rides you will of course need to purchase those and create a system for selling them that works for you.
  • Come up with an entry and re-entry system that works for you.
  • Make sure to get cord covers for all of the wires.
  • Have enough generators for all of your power needs.
  • Book barricades for entries.
  • Arrange for walkie talkies or another form of communication for staff and volunteers.
  • Create and place signs around your event to point to important places like information, food, water, and bathrooms.
  • Rent vans, trucks, and cars to transport your supplies, people, and artists throughout the day.
  • Create a supply list consisting of items like: Signage, Money boxes, Tickets, tape, scissors, arts&crafts, tents, shirts, masonmmoney swipes, Card swipes, directional signs, stantions, big dry-erase signs, dryerase markers, papertowels, ice packs, suntan lotion, volunteers snakcs, bug spray, tye-dye, tarps, clickers, water key and the water coolers on wheels,
  • Create a system for money coming into your event.
  • Create a safe flow for your event in case of emergency your layout should have good egress.
  • Create and update your event website with all important information.



  • Come up with a system for all vendors.  Are they paying to be there, are they giving something away, are they allowed to sell items.
  • Make sure any food being sold comes from reputable companies with good track records and proper permitting to sell and cook food.
  • Have a lot of options out there for water for guests.
  • If you’re serving alcohol make sure you are following all local rules and get permits accordingly. And are IDing.
  • If you are doing food tickets make sure all vendors are aware of your system.
  • Make sure there is sufficient space for all dining needs.
  • Don’t run out of food and drinks especially water!

Volunteer Coordination

  • Decide when, where, and how many volunteers you will need throughout the event.
  • Come up with a system for procuring your volunteers.
  • Come up with a way to reward your volunteers.
  • Have a check in and out system.
  • If you need a volunteer training make sure you develop one.
  • Have a system in place for placing and releasing your volunteers.
  • Order shirts for them to wear and food for them to eat.
  • Have items in case of bad weather, to much sun, or bugs  and water.  Lots and lots of water.

Event Promotion

  • Promotion can depend a lot on the money you have allocated.
  • TV ads, radio ads, print ads all cost a lot of money.
  • Flyers, chalking, yard signs are all good methods.
  • Having teaser events are a great promotional tool but cost a lot as well.
  • Get out into the community get on list serves and talk to influential people.
  • Not to mention using social media and your website as much as you can to help get the word out!

Good luck putting on your large scale events!!! I hope a list like this is helpful for you! Please let me know if you have any questions.


Thank you to Craig Biscare for taking these photos.


%d bloggers like this: