How To Set Up And Organize A Small Outdoor Concert (Part 4)


If you want to make a bit of extra cash with your outdoor concert, then you might want to consider setting up a concession/merchandise stand.

TheRealMusician Recommends:

If you want to take marketing your music to another level, then I can't recommend enough John Oszajca's music marketing manifesto. My favorite aspect of his complete program was his stance on email marketing, where he really leverages the that "1000 true fans" philosophy.

His website is a bit hokey (Flaming guitars? Seriously?), but his program really shows independant artists how to get a leg-up on signed artists.

Not only will it keep your fans and friends from going hungry, but it will be a perfect spot for you to sell any band merchandise that you happen to have.

Aim for this level of quality in your Merch.

It really is up to you what you sell at your outdoor concert, but some things we found to be profitable (because they cost very little), were:

  • Pop (cans)
  • Bottled Water
  • Popcorn
  • Chips (In the little bags)
  • Hot Dogs (If you want to cook, this will take more effort and you’ll need a barbecue)
  • Burgers (Same as hot dogs)
  • Condiments (If you have hot dogs or burgers you’ll need ketchup, relish, etc.)

Some types of merchandise that I advise you have up for sale are:

  • T-Shirts
  • CD’s
  • Posters (For the show…you made posters, right?)
  • Autographed Posters (You can either only offer these unsigned, or charge extra for the autographed version)
  • Pins (the round ones with your band logo on it)
  • Bandanas
  • Guitar Picks (Signed by the guitarist/band)
  • Drum Sticks (Signed by the drummer/band)
  • Bass Picks
  • Extra Album Art
  • Art (If you know any local artists whose style fits in with the theme of your band, I would recommend showcasing their work here)
  • Live DVD’s of your band playing

Also remember that you are going to need someone to run this merchandise stand!

If you have access to anything else that you might want to sell, or any other creative ideas, I suggest you put them up here for sale. You will also need a cashbox of some sort for the stand, as well as a sign with all the prices of what you are selling (a printed piece of paper taped to the surface of the stand will work just fine).

Don't forget Cashbox at your Merch table!

Also keep in mind that if you want to sell alcohol at your outdoor concert you will need a liquor license, and that is fairly difficult to get, so I recommend you stay away from selling alcohol at your show.


You are going to need to get help with your outdoor concert. At the very least you will need volunteers to:

  • Take Tickets
  • Sell Concession
  • Mix Sound

You may also want someone to direct traffic (If you are doing the show in a field like we were), and maybe some people just to keep things from getting out of control if you have a rowdy crowd.

Out of these jobs, the ticket-taker is the most important. Without those precious tickets, you won’t really be able to break even in this event, and breaking even is pretty important if you ask me!

You can also double the ticket-taker as a traffic director, and have them point out where the visitors should park.

We were in an area where everyone had to drive through a narrow area, funneling all the cars. So we set the ticket-taker up there, and then had her let the fans know where to park.

Also, If you use the Bose system like I did, you most likely won’t need someone to mix your sound (because the Bose mixer is always within reach of the musicians). As well, you won’t need any monitors if you use this system as well (because it sits behind the band), so another plus there.


One thing to keep in mind is that lighting at your outdoor concert can sometimes use a lot more wattage then you think it will.

At the bare minimum, if you are playing earlier on in the day (before it gets dark), you won’t need any lighting.

At the maximum, you could have a very complex setup full of lasers and strobe lights and projectors to showcase your band in a good…light!

Come on over and get some lights all up in this...yo...

As a good medium, I recommend that you get 2 pairs of industrial lights. These babies can pack quite a punch, and they worked really well with our show.

Of course if you want to be a bit fancier, you can upgrade to lighting with different colors, gels, and even lasers and strobes like I mentioned earlier.

You will want to place your lights on either side of the band so the space in front of them is empty (except for maybe your monitors).

Remember that this is an outdoor concert and you might want to take a leisurely stroll out into the audience while playing (providing your patch cord allows you to go that far). A tangle of lights in front of you will most likely prevent that from being a possibility.

The type of lighting you use is all up to you, and it mainly depends on what type of lighting you have access to.

Some people I know will rent lights from music stores (Guitar Center or Long and Mcquade often has these options) and it's not even particularly expensive if you only rent them for 1 night. If you want to make your event more…flamboyant, you might consider taking this option.

If you want to get your own lights for the show, I recommend the Musicians Friend Lighting Department to see what types of show lights are available to you.

Part 5 (of 5) concludes the series by talking about other bands and important points from the series to remember.

Go Back To Part 3

Go To Part 5

New! Comments

Leave me a comment in the box below.

Learn To Build Your Band's Website

My free 48-page guide to building your band's website will take you from start-to-finish in setting up a professional website for your band. It covers:

  • choosing a web host & installing wordpress
  • choosing a theme
  • essential elements to include on your site
  • why blog, and what about
  • much more

Enter your name and email below to get this free guide today!

First Name

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you The Real Update.

About The Writer

My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.

If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.

Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot. 

I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.