1. Email the Booking Agent
If you look in the “contact” section of your favorite artist’s facebook, website, soundcloud, etc. you should find an e-mail address under "Booking" or “North American Booking.” E-mail this person introducing yourself and saying that you are a student booker at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Make sure to specify "Wesleyan University in Connecticut," because “Wesleyan” could be any of the other Wesleyans — Ohio Wesleyan, Wesleyan College, etc. The location also can help the agent know if the band needs transportation and what kind. Explain that you want to bring the artist to Wesleyan, and ask his or her availability in for whatever time period you are looking at. Explain that you can’t send an official offer to them without approval from the Concert Committee and ask for an estimate of the offer they’d need to make the show happen. They’ll probably email you with an astronomical figure, but don’t worry! Those numbers usually go down.
DO NOT EVER ALLUDE TO BEING ABLE TO GIVE A BAND ANY CONCRETE OR OFFICIAL NUMBER UNTIL THE CONCERT COMMITTEE HAS EXPLICITLY TOLD YOU OTHERWISE. VERBAL CONTRACTS ARE LEGALLY BINDING IN THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT AND YOU CAN/WILL GET SUED IF YOU DEFAULT ON ONE.
2. Become Host Trained
Make sure to get Host Trained, which is necessary to run any event on campus. Simply email stuact@wes stating that you would like to be Host Trained, and someone from student activities will provide you with more information. It can take some time to receive a response, so we suggest you request to be Host Trained sooner rather than later.
3. Secure a Venue
In order to submit a contract request, you must have a room/venue space reserved on EMS. This means you have to secure a venue and register the event before you can even begin to finalize arrangements with the artist. Bigger university venues such as Beckham and the Chapel are reserved through EMS (which is found in your e-portfolio under “Room Request”). We will get into how to register the event in the next step.
Student-run spaces, like Music House or Middle House, usually require that you attend a house meeting to propose your event. If you would like to book a show through a program house, reach out to the house manager as soon as possible. If they approve of your event, the House Manager will okay your event when you register it.
4. Register Event
Yay you have a secured venue! Now make sure you register the event through Room Request (EMS). If you don't register the event, you cannot submit a contract request form. Even if you are booking a show without a contract (ie an all on-campus artists event,) PLEASE still register your event. If you don't, there is a significant chance that Public Safety will come through your show and shut it down. Also, to ensure that your show does not end prematurely, register your event to the latest hour possible just in case you run later than you thought you would (it happens a lot). Sunday-Thursday = 11pm, and Friday-Saturday = 2am If it ends earlier than the time it is registered to, that's okay.
You will need to list event hosts (see host training above), and we recommend that you have two hosts per event.
- Social Event Registration or Woodframe Social Event Registration must be input in Room Request (EMS) by 1:00 p.m. the Monday prior to events occurring that Thursday to the following Wednesday for any event with special needs(including furniture, staging, catering, electrical set-up, A/V equipment, or Event Staff or an event with alcohol). Events with no special needs must be registered by Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. for events occurring that Thursday to the following Wednesday.
- Events that will involve any external artist or vendor being paid (ie. a band or inflatable) will require submission of a Contract Request Form or artist/vendor contract two weeks prior to the event.
Once registered, you will have the EMS number needed to complete the contract request form.
5. Propose the Show to Concert Committee
Come to a CC meeting which happens on Sundays, in Usdan 104D (right outside of the WSA office) at 2pm. Knock on the door or wait in line. Concert Committee will hear your request and email you later that day with an offer to propose to the artist. Once a number is agreed upon by both Concert Committee and your artist's booking agent, you'll move forward with creating a contract through the contract request form in OrgSync. We recommend doing this as soon as you settle on a concrete number for the show.
You should come to a Concert Committee meeting or email a member as early in the process as possible, that way we can help you with your negotiations and the other steps of planning a show! This should go without saying, but apparently enough people have already complained to the WSA to have us specify this further: Our budget is finite. Like all money. If you want to have some of this money for a concert that you want to organize, it would stand to reason that you should come to us as early as possible to secure funds before we run out.
6. Request Additional Funding for the Show
You should also apply for funding from SALD if your artist has requested a food or other things on their rider. Incredibly, they will not fund all of that alcohol or bagged ice that your artist labelled as "absolutely necessary" on their rider. SALD frequently gives $100 to each show, and allocates funds on Monday mornings. Make sure you request the funds at least five business days before the event. If you still need additional funding, the SBC may able to throw some your way. You'll have to submit an SBC budget request through the student group that's hosting your show and attend one of their meetings at 6pm on Mondays. This is a great option if your artist is leading a discussion or teaching a masterclass.
7. Submit the Contract Request Form on OrgSync
First off, you do not sign contracts. To make it clear, the WSA office signs the contracts for the University. As you give the agent relevant info such as venue, set times, etc., give (wsacontract@wes) as the "contract signatory." I repeat: you cannot sign the contract yourself.
Once you have registered the event, and secured funding and a venue, you need to fill out the contract request form on OrgSync.
There are two ways contracts are created for shows: either the performer will send you a contract that you will then upload it to the contract request form or the WSA office will have to draw up the contract. You should make sure your performer completes a Wesleyan W-9 and sends you any tech/hospitality riders, as this information is needed to draft a contract.The WSA office can help you answer any questions you have about the process and will let you know if they need any additional paperwork. This part of the process takes some time, so make sure to get on the paperwork as early as possible.
8. Arrange for Sound Equipment
For most shows, all you need to do is fill out a request (at least 14 days prior to the show) for Sound Co-Op to staff and set up your event. If Sound Co-Op isn’t available because of broken equipment or if all the equipment is being taken for other shows, use IMS. For bigger budget shows, or at the artists' request, you may have to get nicer equipment from an outside company in the area like Ace Audio or Harvest Wood Audio, or even IMS. The agent or band will send you what is called a "tech rider" or "backline rider" that will list all of the equipment they need. You should check that list against the available equipment that Sound Co-Op has, and be sure to inform the agent of whatever equipment is unavailable. Feel free to contact Josh Davidoff (jdavidoff@wes) with questions.
9. Promote, Promote, Promote
Make a Facebook event. Put up fliers. Tell your friends. Tell your listserves. Get your show on Aural Wes. Submit it to Wesleying. Use some chalk. Whatever. You’ll probably want people there.
10. Day Of
Even if you’ve done everything right, your event day will be at least a bit stressful, but there won’t be anything you can’t handle — just keep your emergency contact list handy and don’t be afraid to ask a friend to help you set things up. It’s so much easier and more enjoyable to do it with a friend. When you schedule times, be sure to give yourself ample wiggle room for sound check, and set changes; OVER PLAN. Always be aware of the possibilities. The best feeling is when the night is over, your artist just did an unforgettable set, and everyone is happy. Give yourself a pat on the back.