MA500: top tips on holding live music events

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Play time: music expert and former licensee Ethan Allen advised delegates on holding events
Play time: music expert and former licensee Ethan Allen advised delegates on holding events

Related tags Live music Nightclub Music venue Music

Music maestro Ethan Allen gave delegates at last month (May)'s MA500 meeting in Liverpool, his top tips on how best to use live music in their venues:
  • Where to put music on

Think about the best place for music because it’s not always the place that’s closest to your plug.
So many people run live music venues or venues that put live music on and they haven’t actually thought about the live music element in it. They just want to have it because the next pub has it – but the right location is crucial.

Are you in the club?

The MA500 club is open to multi-site pub operators and runs three nationwide events a year that include business-focused presentations from top experts and owner-operators.

Each event is followed by an evening networking study tour of new and exciting venues in the area.

To register your interest in attending the next MA500 meeting in Edinburgh on Thursday 14 September, email

  • Clashes – big sports and events

This is the one that gets me every single time because operators tend to confuse the two crowds as they just see punters. Pick one, don’t try and do both in one room because it doesn’t work.

  • Continuity of gigs

If you decide to put someone on because it’s a bank holiday, that’s OK. But if you put someone on to play on a Friday but then if you aren’t going to do it next week on the same day, your customers don’t know what’s going on.

If you are going to give it go, do it, but come up with a plan and a structure.

  • Volume – kill or cure?

There is a really fine line with volume. Musicians will turn it up to 1bn decibels and you will turn it down until it is almost off. Too loud is terrible, too quiet is equally terrible. But, there is a happy medium and that is the one that creates the atmosphere.

  • Social media – is it the be all and end all?

Just advertising the event on Facebook is not enough. While social media is a great tool, it is only one of the tools in your arsenal. Going traditional works brilliantly with advertising such
as posters in toilets and posters in alleyways.

Related topics MA Leaders Club Events & Occasions

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