We had £3250 to spend on this project , courtesy of the support of Youth Music x Numbers. As we discussed in the breakdown of our preliminary budget, we were responsible for recouping £800 of this amount to numbers. £1250 was designated for promotion (anything that brought people to the event) and £2000 was nominated for artists, fees and production. I’d recommend comparing this budget with our preliminary budget so that you can see what we got wrong - where we spent more and maybe where we spent less.
You should be able to either read our final budget via the embed below, the viewing link here or the download link here
Acknowledgements and Caveats
First, it’s important to acknowledge that even with the significant and generous funding we received for the project, we could not have achieved half of what we did without calling in many favours and getting some friends to do work for us at a lower rate than they might receive otherwise. I used to work at Ranjit’s kitchen and hence was able to ask for a slight discount, Hamish is a friend from Subcity Radio who did the lights charged us a lower fee than he normally might, Jack who handled this website and the amazing visuals was keen on the concept of the project when I bumped into him at Counterflows festival did not receive a typical rate, Abby who did some wonderful photography was essentially paid in food and travel, Robin the licensing lawyer helped us get our temporary licence completely in his free time, Subcity Radio allowed us to borrow some speakers to use as monitors. All of this is not to mention the hundreds of other favours, advice and ideas of many many people throughout the process.
In an ideal world we would be able to reimburse every single one of these people, and we are looking to try to do some of this with the small amount of profits we made. I suppose I mention this though to emphasise the importance of having a lovely network of people that you can reach out to when needed. Promoting is definitely a team sport and as much as sometimes it can be tempting to do as much as I can yourself, there’s such a different feeling to an event that has been put together with some (*overused word alert*) community intent than a corporate equivalent. Putting time into building relationships with nice people who maybe have similar interests I don’t think is ever wasted. Show up to your friends' night, support a performer, buy someone’s music etc etc you know the drill.
Something else I should point out, that you may have already spotted, is we have hidden all the final artist fees. This was at the request of one or more of the artists so that they would be better able to negotiate with larger promoters who might be able to offer higher fees. It can be a funny dance sometimes between promoter and artist when negotiating fees, especially if a booking agent is involved. We were very lucky that this was very smooth with everyone we approached for this event and completely understand the need of these artists for some fee discretion. Hopefully with a little maths you should be able to get a rough idea of the figures involved so these numbers are still useful to reach a ballpark figure.
Something that definitely benefited us when we were approaching artists was being able to show them the breakdown of our total budget from the start and putting a lot of time into a summary document that explained as simply as possible the concept and aims of GUTS (I’ve put that document here for the interested). The artists could see how much money we had, that the amount we were offering them and other acts made sense in the budget, and was part of a concept they could hopefully get behind. I (Tom) really liked this transparent from the start approach and it’s something I’m going to definitely try and continue to use in the future.
Travel and accommodation costs ended up being a little higher than we expected, largely due to the rail strikes that happened to be taking place on the day of the event. As you’ll see in the budget we ended up being £45.03 over budget, and this was pretty much entirely due to the number of Ubers we ended up having to get to move equipment and the performers. We ended up booking Jennifer’s train a day early and paying for an extra night in hotel accommodation to avoid domestic flights and the strikes. Again we were very lucky with how relaxed she was with this and with having to spend another day in Glasgow. Having the buffers that we had put in place during the preliminary budget came in very handy for these unexpected expenses that would have been hard to predict in the beginning of the project.
For almost all the artists we ended up paying a buy-out instead of offering a food/drink rider - this ended up being simpler on a day that already required a lot of coordination. This means that instead of taking the artists out for a meal with a budget per head, or providing requested agreed upon items, we ended up sending the budget for these things directly to the artists for them to sort themselves. We did still want to make sure we had food and some drinks available at the venue for ourselves and the artists but mainly for the crew (bar staff, lighting and visuals and the photographer).
You might also notice that two DJs were not paid - H3L3NA and Body Parts aka us, the people who put this event together (Tom and Heléna). We both think it is important to make sure that you get paid for work that you do and if we had not been paid a wage by Youth Music for participation in the programme or we had extra profit remaining, we would have insured our performances were paid for. Putting on your own events can be a great opportunity to play an event with an audience who are likely to appreciate the music you enjoy playing and it is a good way to save some £s to spend on other artist fees but as we said know your worth and make sure your time is as valued as everyone else’s.
Our event took place at French Street Studios. It’s a lovely building and we are so glad we got to hold GUTS in a new venue that hadn’t previously hosted many other parties. There were some benefits and some extra care required running an event here. Firstly, the hire fees were lower than other similar sized venues in Glasgow. Typical venue hire has increased since the pandemic and although it varies on the night of the week you plan to hold the event, the numbers of people you expect to bring etc club hire normally ranges from £250-400 for a 300 person capacity venue. While French Street hire fees was only £200 for a capacity of 160, we did have to bring our own sound system, DJ Equipment and lighting. I’ll break this down below.
Hiring equipment was one of the things I found most intimidating when I first started doing it. Luckily it’s not half as scary as I thought. I’ve used GBR Scotland for nearly all of my hires - they don’t have the widest selection but they are very friendly, they do both lighting and sound, their website lists all their prices (this is surprisingly not always the case) and they include all the wires and extension cables you could need for no extra fee. As we didn’t have access to a car or van of our own, hiring the sound and lighting from the same place saved some extra logistical headaches. Most hiring companies will offer delivery and collection for an extra fee however we ended up hiring an external van man as GBR didn’t have any delivery slots left for the day/time we needed. Our final hire amount again was slightly higher than expected because we hired some extra trussing to hang televisions on but we were still very happy with the final set up - it was economical, loud and we felt like it did a good job filling the room.
Something that can be difficult from hiring places as a smaller promoter is getting a response to any email inquiries. These companies hire equipment to corporate events that are hiring thousands of pounds worth of equipment and your event with £80 of lighting can get bumped down the priority list. My advice is to be persistent, call by phone for faster responses and once you know what you want try to get an invoice as soon as possible so you know your order is logged in the system. Double check with whoever the techie for your event is if there are any funny adapters or wires that they might need.
The sound hire for the event was honestly a bit of a stab in the dark. We didn’t know until the day of whether it would be enough to fill the room. It definitely took some tweaking during the event to balance out the 4 tops and 3 sub speakers. The extra subs were a godsend and were only £10 each to hire for the day. We did look into hiring a professional sound system for the event - Glasgow has a lot of options such as Ira’s Bass Warrior Sound-system and Ragamuffin Record crew’s Hometown Sound System but it was all a bit far outside our budget (between £400-550 for the night). GBR did help advise on what might sound good, but if you have the resources or a friend that knows what they are talking about it’s worth consulting someone. Sound tech is a dark art.
GBR doesn't offer DJ deck hire, so we used the company Audio Elements for this. Stevie who helps run the company and is an incredibly knowledgeable DJ tech (and one of only a handful of people in Scotland with that job title). DJ equipment hire can be scary because these items are worth a lot of money to buy and repair - a single CDJ can be worth over £3k a pop. Our advice is to keep them in the flight cases (the name for the large boxes that the equipment will invariably come in) as much as possible.
Lighting hire was handled by our lighting tech Ham. Hamish is incredibly good at getting a lot out of not a lot - largely through paying careful attention during the event to what is being played and adding in the necessary tension and release when the music requires it. We will hopefully be publishing something soon from Hamish with a more in depth look at what he did on the night.
Visuals for this event were handled by Jack. The original plan for this was to hire a number of old CRT tv’s to have around the venue, however we were struggling to locate enough that we would be able to get to the venue. In the end we were able to hire a massive (and very heavy) 50” screen from the Dream Machine which we propped on some crates that happened to be at the venue. I also took my 32” tv from home, removed the feet, and mounted it vertically on some trussing (the lighting equivalent of scaffolding). Jack used visual software to play various videos of renders of the 3D models across the screens and display fun messages like the BPM of the songs. Again we are looking to publish a more in depth look at how Jack pulled this off soon. I think this is hopefully a useful demonstration of something really fun that we were able to pull off for about £25.
Security + Door Staff
Generally security is handled by the venue and the person in charge of checking tickets is handled by the event promoter. The rates listed are pretty typical for these roles. We hired a bouncer who was a friend of a friend who works in a local venue, however if you have to arrange this yourself this would generally be done through an agency such as In-house. I think putting some thought into who you would like to do these roles is underrated. These people can set the mood for people when they arrive at the venue. If you are hoping to make sure the space is welcoming to minority groups who might want to attend, careful bouncer selection is also important. There are too many horror stories of dodgy bouncers treating black and trans clubbers in particular very badly. It can be difficult to know someone is trustworthy until you have worked with them but it’s worth reaching out to other promoters to see if they have any recommendations for who is or isn’t worth contacting.
If we were to run the event again I think I would probably try and hire two bouncers and two people managing the door to make this a bit smoother.
Jack who made our website built it very cleverly to make it a cheap operation to manage. We knew our funding would likely be spent on the project and that we wouldn’t be able to continue paying hosting costs indefinitely. Our original plan was to use Wordpress to build this website - a free, open source program that doesn’t really require knowing about code to get a site up and running. However, hosting fees for Wordpress sites are often quite high and are hard to predict ahead of time as it is often dependent on the number of visitors. Using the free Netlify package we were able to eliminate hosting costs. Again we are hoping Jack will be able to spare some time to talk through how he built this site. He has also already made the source code of the site available on his Github here.
Link rot (where hyperlinks slowly disappear) is a real problem and it’s very difficult to ensure the longevity of any website without constant maintenance and care. Additionally storage costs of images and data are often paid for via subscription which will eventually run out when our funding runs out. We have therefore budget some money to purchase ArWeave credits to allow us to host the documents on this site for theoretically much longer than we can hope this site to last. Ardrive (which operates using the ArWeave blockchain) promises that data, which you can pay for with the aforementioned credits, is likely to be safe on their platform for at least the next 200 years. Additionally this storage is all paid for upfront which is ideal when we have finite and up front funding.
Graphics and Posters
The excellent Sam Wood produced 3D assets for this event - which will be published to this site in due course. We were able to save a lot of money by using these 3D assets to generate the promotional materials ourselves as we needed it. For this project we had a master Blender file (another free open source program) that I added various cameras, character poses and could adjust aspect ratios and layouts for as needed. Once we had decided on the font combo (Picnic and Serial Blur) and purchased the licences for these, we could render out the 3D images and add whatever text we needed.
This was how we ended up with our final poster (high res file here). We used Merchant City prints for printing - they were quick and cheap however they did lose our files when we sent them through their online form. I’d recommend emailing them directly. 300 posters was overkill and we managed to distribute maybe half of those before the event took place, but having lots of extras to give out to people who came and to artists was worthwhile.
We had intended to print flyers and stickers for the event and would have likely also got these printed at the same place but time got the best of us!
Online advertising is a scam! We paid for 2 separate instagram ads, honestly more because we were curious how useful this tool was. We will write up more about the stats from these but the TL:DR is that we don’t recommend this.
It’s hard to establish how effective our poster distribution was but you can see our spreadsheet of who/where will accept posters here.
That’s the big money breakdown! We made some mistakes, we went a bit over-budget and we are extremely grateful for anyone that helped us out along the way. Get in touch with us over at our instagram page or via email if there are any gaps you’d like more info on!