This is it. Your victory march—or your funeral.
As long as you have advanced the show properly, the day itself should be comparatively smoother than if you had not.
You will need to be clearheaded and have a list in front of you of what is required. You will also need a full stomach. You have a long day ahead of you, and you need to be energetic.
Make sure that everyone else with responsibilities has a list of what’s required of them, too. These are your day sheets. You should have organized everything before time and advanced it five to ten days ago. You’re ready to go. Now it’s time to execute.
Strange as it may sound, it can actually be a lot of fun to be on top of things and handle anything that goes awry. When you’re not worried about a dozen things going wrong at once, taking care of the one thing that needs your attention can be an expression of how well you have everything under control.
Assuming you like doing this (and if you didn’t, you probably would have subbed out by now), a minor mishap can be your opportunity to rise to the occasion and be a problem solver. You’ve chosen to take responsibility for producing this event, and this is your time to shine. Allow yourself to get excited about that.
Of course, this means that you don’t get to make out with your girlfriend in the bushes. It means that you don’t get to decide the show isn’t vibing and go downtown to grab a burger. You don’t even get to leave the venue to go top off the band’s hospitality rider. You have to be a visible presence at your event.
Before the entertainment arrives, make sure that the checks are written and that you have some backup checks in case you spelled someone’s name incorrectly and he needs a do-over. Keep adequate cash on hand in case there was a misunderstanding even in the advance.
Sometimes the same person who told you a check was fine four months ago told you the same thing four days ago, and was wrong both times. It happens. It’s not your fault, but that’s cold comfort when you’ve got performers asking for cash and you don’t have it. It’s a good idea, too, to have enough cash on hand to purchase any last-minute items you might need.
Get the hospitality rider in early, and keep the food and drinks cold. Not only is a disgusting hospitality setup a waste of good food, but it’s also demoralizing for the band. They live on the road, and when all they want is some cold water and decent food and you’re offering them lukewarm drinks and sandwiches that have been sitting in the sun all afternoon, it’s disrespectful of their needs as human beings.
It hardly needs to be said that if you offer your band repulsive slop, it will affect their mood and probably their performance. Acknowledge your obligations and take care of the people who have come to play a great show for you.
In the event that it’s your responsibility, organize ground transportation so that your artists aren’t waiting to be picked up. Especially for bands that are at least somewhat famous, waiting around can be very annoying. They’ll be accosted by every random sorority girl in the vicinity, want- ing a selfie with them. You want them to be ready on time, so do them the courtesy of making sure that whoever is tasked with collecting them is also on time.
If you have more than one band on the bill, make sure that you have planned the schedule carefully. You’ve either hired a stage manager or you are the stage manager; if the latter, make sure that you have the right mind-set and energy to take the job on.
After the show, you still need to be alert enough to oversee breaking down the stage. There will be people wanting to be paid, and they will be looking at you. You need to have checks written or cash on hand.
Maybe you hired a tent to use as a green room, and the vendor asks you whether it’s OK to come and get it on Monday morning. You want only to crawl into bed and sleep for a week, so you say yes, not realizing that your adviser and your neighbors won’t be happy about your front yard looking like Jonestown on Sunday.
All the questions, and all the problems, will be coming to you. This is why you need to plan well, sleep well the night before the show, get a good meal inside you before you start, and stay sober. If you’re exhausted, hungry, and then you get drunk, you won’t have the mental energy to handle everything you need to be on top of.
Of course, many of these questions can and should be addressed in advance. You need to know how you will pay your vendors and who will handle the breakdown long before they’re holding their hands out at 2:00 a.m. and you have a stage full of gear to deal with.
As long as you do that, the show should run smoothly, and you will give your fraternity brothers a memory they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives. At the same time, you’ll discover a sense of competence in yourself that can win you massive respect and leave you walking taller for months.
TREY MYERS is the president and founder of Turnipblood Entertainment, a full-service private events company specializing in Greek life.
Over the course of 7 years in the entertainment industry, Trey has worked in various capacities at leading agencies, including the Agency For ThePerforming Arts (APA), The Agency Group (now owned by United Talent Agency), and Nimbleslick Entertainment.
Trey’s other experiences include artist management, tour management, event production, and promotions.
He wrote the definitive book that this content comes from, The Perfect Southern Fraternity Party.
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