Rock for Rights: How to Organise a Fundraising Gig

If, like me (and fellow Amnesty blogger Niluccio) you like a little bit of live music, you can’t beat local gigs. Intimate venues, a great range of music, and the knowledge that you might just be watching the next big thing, make them far more interesting and personal, than craning to get the guitarist in focus when they’re the other side of an arena. Add ‘benefit gig’ to the mix, and I’m sold.

That’s exactly what young supporters Hannah and Katie thought as well. They wanted to use their love of music to raise money and without an Amnesty group at their school they took it upon themselves to organise a gig in their Portsmouth hometown, raising over £450 for Amnesty. And all organised inbetween classes!

When they told us all about their success, I asked them how they found the gig, the challenges, and what tips they could share.

Their biggest tip was to start early! “We started in January by getting in contact with the Wedgewood Rooms (our local venue), who were very happy to give us lots of advice on how best to start. As we went through their suggestions we realised we’d need more time, so we put back our gig from March to July to give us enough time to do everything!”

This sensible delay gave the girls long enough to confirm all the bands and then start promoting far and wide. They made the most of their enthusiasm and local contacts: “we began postering the local area like crazy! Most small shops were happy to promote our gig and local colleges allowed us to put up posters and leave leaflets around, and a Facebook event helped us advertise to everyone we knew”.

Another of their top tips was to know your audience – “we found five young, local bands that were happy to play for free, and made sure we had a mix of pop, rock and indie music so we could cater for a variety of musical tastes, and that meant we had as many adults as teenagers turning up!”.

And our biggest tip from their event? You’re never too young (or old) to run a successful fundraising night! Well done both.

Katie and Hannah’s top event tips:

·    Start early! You’ll need to dedicate a lot of time if you want your event to be successful.
·    Remember that if you have to pay to hire the venue, there’s a chance that you may make a loss. Choose the price of your tickets carefully, and be realistic about how many people will attend.
·    Be very clear about what equipment you need to bring yourself. We had a last minute panic as it turned out nobody had an amp - and we didn’t know what amps were.
·    Collection buckets are a good idea, especially if you stand with them at the exits.
·    Be keen! It won’t go well unless you’re really committed, and enthusiasm is infectious!

Inspired? Have a quick look at our fundraising tips and try it yourself. You never know, you could get the next big thing playing at your fundraising gig.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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