Primer Concerts/Events

A SHORT PRIMER ON CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN CONCERTS and EVENTS

 

How we select artists is a common question to us.  We prequalify their doctrinal values by calling churches where they previously performed, reviewing their website and blogs.  We have an unofficial ad hoc song/artist critiquing committee made up of people in different age groups and social and marital standings.  Their only role is to let us know, truthfully, from the list I send to them whether or not they would buy a ticket to see the artist’s performance and what would be the maximum price they would pay for that ticket.  All the artists mentioned on the “WITW in 2011” list have received a “thumbs up” from the committee.   The committee notwithstanding, all artists are subject to the host church’s acceptance before an offer is made to them.  Of the 26+- Christian music genre’s, we are seeking artists in the contemporary/pop; contemporary/adult; inspirational; youth; gospel; soft rock categories.  We are not very interested in Christian hard rock or rap music.  There are some good artists who would be considered “soft” rock whose song lyrics are not drowned out by the music.   

 

Artist selection is complicated by the dynamics of our society.  Those artists that would readily attract an audience are too expensive at this time in our ministry.  Conversely, not so well known artists are less expensive, but there was the chance that attendance may suffer.  Our May ’10 concert dispelled the idea of an unknown artist not being able to attract a large audience:  85% capacity; 50% non-host church attendees.  Christian artists understand that low attendance is a possibility, but are not offended.  Their disappointment is not having more people to witness to.  Their talent is considered just a means to that end.  It all comes down to how well the concert is promoted.  We believe, not only do we have a handle on the promotion process, Jesus is going before us.   

 

What do we anticipate our ticket prices to be is the number one question to us.  Ticket pricing will vary depending on several factors:  the number of people in the group; the host church’s seating capacity; the cost of air transportation; the honorarium; whether or not a love offering is possible; the minimum amount we expect to give to the benefit recipient.  Our selection committee has budget forms to evaluate the expected financial outcomes.  Our desire is to breakeven, but budget overruns are not a deterrent when we believe in the concert/event. 

 

Who determines the benefit recipient is frequently asked.  The hosting church has first choice as to who that will be the benefit recipient(s).  If the hosting church does not wish to name a benefit recipient, WITW will make suggestions, starting with the neediest, subject to the hosting church’s approval.

 

Sound and lighting are important subjects to the artists.   Most artists have sound people accompany them on tour or to stand alone concerts. Sound and lighting equipment can be operated by the host church, especially if the equipment is new and/or technically advanced.  Some artists require items that are not reasonable.  In those cases, if the cost to provide the items makes a significant negative impact on our breakeven position or they are not available, we will not make an offer to that artist.  For example, some artists' sound and equipment riders are 6-7 pages long.  It’s too much to consider.

 

We have heard that obtaining volunteers is a struggle for non-profits.  Our experience, albeit three concerts, has been anything but a struggle.  Our  concert volunteers have said they had so much fun they can’t wait for the next one.  We will admit that providing a Volunteers’ Appreciation Dinner with the artists did put a smile on their faces and joy in their hearts.

 

Who and what determines the Host Church for the concert or event?  Being the host church is an important consideration which most churches initially shy away from.  Many churches don’t have experience in this area or have had a not so good experience which they still remember.  WITW helps move them back from the frontline while communicating as often as they want.  It is by their trusting in the partnership with WITW that they can experience the joy of hosting a concert or event.

 

The hosting church has to meet certain criteria depending on the benefit concert or event.  The host church’s seating capacity, location, available parking, and equipment are considered against the artist’s honorarium, travel, hotel, meals and transportation costs.  The aim is to breakeven on all concerts and events.  The higher the expenses, the larger the host church needs to be.  We, therefore, look at each host church’s request on a case by case basis.

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