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Tips for your best (and most profitable) concert ever

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

It's that time of the year again already! But before you start raiding the fridge for sugar and/or wine, remember that concert time doesn't have to mean stress and sleepless nights.

The concert - or recital - is undoubtedly THE most exciting event of the year for your students and their families. Particularly after the chaos of the past few years, the chance to dance on stage in front of a full house in full costume, hair and makeup will hold extra significance this year.

But as the excitement grows amongst your dance families, chances are your stress levels are rising in direct correlation! It's no secret that concerts are a HUGE undertaking for modern studios. Production values and costumes are becoming more sophisticated and some concerts have become akin to professional productions.

So how do you, as a studio owner, manage to produce a professional-level show year after year that manages to produce a profit without completely burning out?

The truth is that the concert can be an enjoyable (and profitable) time for studio owners too. It can be the perfect opportunity to generate additional revenue, increase retention, gather testimonials and marketing footage, and even market your other programs.

The key is organisation - and a few insider tips!

Communicate, communicate & communicate again

It will be no surprise to anyone who has read this blog before that I am a HUGE advocate for open and clear communication with your team and dance families.

Chances are that you already have a comprehensive concert handbook that parents are expected to read which contains ALL of the information about rehearsals, costumes, and concert day procedures. So why aren't they reading it? If you're repeatedly finding that parents are asking you questions that are clearly answered in your concert handbook, maybe the problem isn't them but instead, it might be how the information is presented.

In my own studio, after years of sending out a hefty PDF with every imaginable detail about the concert, a few years back I switched to an online concert hub which was basically a mini website dedicated to all things concert.

Suddenly parents knew what was going on and could easily access the information via their phone at any time. It truly was a game changer and made the lead up to the concert SO much less stressful for me because I wasn't spending hours in front of my laptop answering the same questions over and over and over again!

Think outside the square for extra revenue

Many studios rely on concert revenue to see them through the summer but once you've paid venue hire, production costs, event staff and all those other 'extras' that seem to add up very quickly at concert time, sometimes the bottom line is barely enough to cover your January rent bill (if you're lucky).

But don't think you need to raise ticket prices to bring in some extra cash (although if you're barely breaking even, maybe you need to rethink your ticketing). There are several ways you can bump up your bottom line without too much extra effort.

  1. Selling 'sponsorship' packages to local businesses is a great idea - you can run an ad in your program (or even project it during intermission) or offer signage in the foyer.

  2. If you have somewhere near you that sells flowers in bulk (Hello Costco!) think about grabbing individually wrapped roses and offering them for purchase to parents at the concert.

  3. If you don't charge for your concert program, consider adding a small fee (even if it's just $2 per program). Insider tip: if you can list student's names in the program, you're more likely to sell more!

  4. If your venue allows, consider selling refreshments in the foyer before the show and during intermission.

Don't just 'wing it'

As the old saying goes "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail" and - surprise, surprise - planning is absolutely key to a stress-free concert.

Start by clicking here to download our FREE Ultimate Concert Checklist to make sure you're not missing anything in the lead-up to concert day!

When it comes to the logistics of the concert, here are my top planning tips to ensure a stress-free concert day where you can actually enjoy the show without panicking about lighting design, prop placement or whether the dressers know little Janie has just 40 seconds to change into her jazz costumer!

  • Ask teachers to co-ordinate entrances and exits so groups aren't clashing backstage

  • Think about quick changes when staging numbers and make a 'quick change list' to hand out to dressers & backstage so they know who to prioritise

  • Consider adding special 'entrance' music for pre-schooler routines to give them time to get set on stage

  • Create a 'stage flow' so your backstage staff know exactly when, where and how they should be lining up dancers backstage

  • If you do a speech or give awards during the concert, consider where that is placed in the program with regard to the pace of the show and/or dancer involvement

  • Have comprehensive production notes (ask your teacher to compile their own) to hand out to lighting, sound and backstage technicians so you're not wasting time on concert day explaining yourself or worrying that you've reminded your stage hand to set the props for Act Two

  • Compiling 'concert folders' to hand out to all of your event staff with copies of your concert day schedule, dressing room lists, production notes

We're making concert time a little easier for studio owners this year with our value-packed Concert Planning Bundle! Get yours today and start using our 12 tried and tested templates - from production notes, costume spreadsheets, fast change lists to email sequences, backstage signage, essential procedural documents, invite templates and social media graphics - you'll get access straight away! You'll save hours of time and reduce some of the stress that goes with this busy time of year.

Ask for help!

Now I know this will be a hard one for those control freaks among us but your concert isn't a one-man (or one-woman) show. Make sure your core team all have assigned roles on concert day so no one is left hanging. Don't be afraid to ask your network for volunteers - former students make excellent backstage helpers! Have regular check-ins with the volunteer team to get updates and make sure everything is on track.

Bring the magic

The concert is one of the most effective retention tools in your arsenal! Above everything else, in the eyes of your dancers and their loved ones, this special day is all about making memories. Think about ways that you can bring some magic to the concert each year and create memories that your dancers can cherish for a lifetime.

Photo opportunities like Instagram frames, balloon arches, step-and-repeat banners, red carpets, and props are simple and effective.

We're making concert time a little easier for studio owners this year with our value-packed Concert Planning Bundle! Get yours today and start using our tried and tested production templates, fast change lists, email sequences, invite templates and social media graphics straight away! You'll save hours of time and reduce some of the stress that goes with this busy time of year.


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