1. Email the Booking Agent
If you look in the “contact” section of your favorite artist’s facebook, website, soundcloud, etc. you should find an e-mail address under "Booking" or “North American Booking.” E-mail this person introducing yourself and saying that you are a student booker at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Make sure to specify "Wesleyan University in Connecticut," because “Wesleyan” could be any of the other Wesleyans — Ohio Wesleyan, Wesleyan College, etc. The location also can help the agent know if the band needs transportation and what kind. Explain that you want to bring the artist to Wesleyan, and ask his or her availability in for whatever time period you are looking at. Explain that you can’t send an official offer to them without approval from the Concert Committee and ask for an estimate of the offer they’d need to make the show happen. They’ll probably email you with an astronomical figure, but don’t worry! Those numbers usually go down.
DO NOT EVER ALLUDE TO BEING ABLE TO GIVE A BAND ANY CONCRETE OR OFFICIAL NUMBER UNTIL THE CONCERT COMMITTEE HAS EXPLICITLY TOLD YOU OTHERWISE. VERBAL CONTRACTS ARE LEGALLY BINDING IN THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT AND YOU CAN/WILL GET SUED IF YOU DEFAULT ON ONE.
2. Propose the Show to Concert Committee
Come to a CC meeting which happens on Sundays, in Usdan 104D (right outside of the WSA office) at 1pm. Knock on the door or wait in line. Concert Committee will hear your request and email you later that day with an offer to propose to the artist. Once a number is agreed upon by both Concert Committee and your artist's booking agent, you'll need to go to SALD's Orgsync page and fill out their contract information form. This will give Elisa Cardona at SALD the necessary information to write up a contract for your artist(s). We recommend doing this as soon as you settle on a concrete number for the show. With the new booking process, you no longer have to request funds through Org Sync to book show. I repeat: do not submit a budget request through Org Sync.
You should come to a Concert Committee meeting or email a member as early in the process as possible, that way we can help you with your negotiations and the other steps of planning a show! This should go without saying, but apparently enough people have already complained to the WSA to have us specify this further: Our budget is finite. Like all money. If you want to have some of this money for a concert that you want to organize, it would stand to reason that you should come to us as early as possible to secure funds before we run out.
3. Request Additional Funding for the Show
You should also apply for funding from SALD if your artist has requested a food or other things on their rider. Incredibly, they will not fund all of that alcohol or bagged ice that your artist labelled as "absolutely necessary" on their rider. SALD frequently gives $100-200 to each show, and allocates funds on Monday mornings. Make sure you request the funds at least five business days before the event. Concert Committee will also fund you an extra $20 per show for rider expenses if you request it. If you still need additional funding, the SBC may able to throw some your way. You'll have to submit an SBC budget request through the student group that's hosting your show and attend one of their meetings at 6pm on Mondays. Make sure to sign up ASAP for a meeting slot on their website the Monday morning of their meeting, when the signup form "goes live."
4. Become Host Trained
Make sure to get Host Trained, which is necessary to run any event on campus. Simply email stuact@wes stating that you would like to be Host Trained, and someone from student activities will provide you with more information. It can take some time to receive a response, so we suggest you request to be Host Trained sooner rather than later.
5. Meet with Elisa Cardona from SALD
She will help you finalize the contract with the band, and SALD is also a great resource for all aspects of organizing events. To make it clear, Elisa signs the contracts for the University. As you give the agent relevant info such as venue, set times, etc., give Elisa's name and email (ecardona@wes) as the "contract signatory." I repeat: you cannot sign the contract yourself.
There are two ways contracts are created for shows: either the performer will send you a contract that you will then forward to Elisa, or Elisa will have to draw up the contract. If the latter is the case, you should fill out a Contract Request form which can be found on the SALD portal in Org Sync. In either case you should definitely give her a heads up before the contract gets sent to her so she doesn't have to ask you what she's signing on to. You should also make sure your performer completes a Wesleyan W-9. Elisa can help you answer any questions you have about the process and will let you know if she needs any additional paperwork. This part of the process takes some time, so make sure to get on the paperwork as early as possible.
Once the contract is finalized, Elisa will send you an email instructing you to pick it up outside of her office. Along with the contract will be a Financial Request Form (Reimbursement Form) that you will need to fill out in order for your band to be paid. Most of the form is already filled out for you, just make sure you fill out the bottom half of the form with date of the event, name of the event, and sign. You no longer have to go through a student group to book at concert which means you don't have to put a student group name at the bottom of the form. When you are done with the form, turn it into the WSA office along with the contract as soon as possible so they can process the form and cut a check for your performer.
If your performer requested to be paid by check immediately after the show, you will have to pick up the check from the WSA office the day-off the show (or the Friday before if the event is on Saturday.) You must pick up the check before 4:30 and you must have your Wes ID with you when you pick up the check. Keep the check secure until after the show.
6. Secure a Venue
Once you have a date from the band, see if there’s an on campus venue that’s available at that time, and reserve the space. Bigger university venues are reserved through EMS (which is found in your e-portfolio under “Room Request”), but student-run spaces, like Music House or Middle House, usually require that you attend a house meeting to propose your event. After you have your space secured, it is ENORMOUSLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU REGISTER THE EVENT. This process is now much simpler than before, and to register an event all you have to do is fill out a Social Event Registration form that can be found on the SALD portal in Org Sync. Before you can host an event, you have to be host trained (see step 4.) While most events only require one host, we recommend you put down more than one host on the form. If you are having a show in a program house, oftentimes the house manager will act as a second host. It is extremely important that you do not leave this step until the last minute. Events with special needs (including furniture, staging, catering, electrical set-up, A/V equipment, or Event Staff, or an event with alcohol) MUST be registered by 1:00pm the MONDAY prior for events occurring that Thursday to the following Wednesday. Events with no special needs MUST be registered by 1:00pm the WEDNESDAY prior for events occurring that Thursday to the following Wednesday. If you do not register the event, there is a significant chance that Public Safety will come through your show and shut it down. Also, to ensure that your show does not end prematurely, register your event to the latest hour possible just in case you run later than you thought you would (it happens a lot). Sunday-Thursday = 11pm, and Friday-Saturday = 2am If it ends earlier than the time it is registered to, that's okay.
Here are Wesleyan's Venues:
7. Arrange for Sound Equipment
For most shows, all you need to do is fill out a request (at least 14 days prior to the show) for Sound Co-Op to staff and set up your event. If Sound Co-Op isn’t available because of broken equipment or if all the equipment is being taken for other shows, use IMS. For bigger budget shows, or at the artists' request, you may have to get nicer equipment from an outside company in the area like Ace Audio or Harvest Wood Audio, or even IMS. The agent or band will send you what is called a "tech rider" or "backline rider" that will list all of the equipment they need. You should check that list against the available equipment that Sound Co-Op has, and be sure to inform the agent of whatever equipment is unavailable. Sound Co-Op is being run by Luke Macdonald (lmmacdonald@wes), and Miles McLeod (mmcleod@wes) this year, so feel free to contact them with your questions.
8. Promote, Promote, Promote
Make a Facebook event. Put up fliers. Tell your friends. Tell your listserves. Get your show on Aural Wes. Submit it to Wesleying. Use some chalk. Whatever. You’ll probably want people there.
9. Day Of
Even if you’ve done everything right, your event day will be at least a bit stressful, but there won’t be anything you can’t handle — just keep your emergency contact list handy and don’t be afraid to ask a friend to help you set things up. It’s so much easier and more enjoyable to do it with a friend. When you schedule times, be sure to give yourself ample wiggle room for sound check, and set changes; OVER PLAN. Always be aware of the possibilities. The best feeling is when the night is over, your artist just did an unforgettable set, and everyone is happy. Give yourself a pat on the back.
And if you still have questions concerning the process, the following students who have booked shows in the past are willing to answer your questions:
Gabe Sunshine, Lucas Hegewisch, Chris Gortmaker, Kelsey Gordon, Michelle Rosen, Jay Sharma, Cayla Blachman, Michael Vaughan, Jason Mitchner, Ryden Nelson, Adam Rochelle, Ron Jacobson, Eric Poretsky, and Sophie Sokolov.