Updated Feb 2, 2024
Note By Note, A Guide to Concert Production, a review
Redwood Cultural Work, Community Music, and Friends, edited by Joanie Shoemaker
by Ryan Thomson
This book is written from the perspective of folk performers who have been put repeatedly into the position of the dual roles of "providers of entertainment," and "concert production consultants." From my own experiences the scenario goes like this: An organization calls me on the phone and asks if I would be available for a performance. After settling on the date and price I'm asked questions such as: Where should we advertise the event; How much should we charge for tickets?;
What kind of sound system should we provide?
Sometimes I'll receive several calls before the actual concert date, with various requests for advice. I've always felt a bit uncomfortable in this capacity. What if I recommend a ticket price that is too high, and no one comes? What if the sound system sounds awful? Performer Holly Near addresses these issues in the book's introduction: "......the book I've been waiting for! I want it to be mandatory reading for all of the producers I work with so I'll know we are meeting on common ground."
From this point the 274 page book proceeds with detailed information about all aspects of concert production including event organization, halls, tickets, promotion, publicity, sound, lighting, childcare, and fundraising. Several different contributors have combined their expertise in creating each chapter and the resulting information covers so much ground that the book would be useful to both beginning and experienced concert producers alike. Half of the book is devoted to sample forms, charts, contracts, and worksheets which will prove invaluable for organizational and record keeping purposes.
Although this book is targeted for concert producers I would also recommend it for performers so that they will better understand the various tasks of concert production. Everyone wins when performers and producers understand each other's jobs and can work together efficiently.
Published and distributed by Redwood Cultural Work, PO Box 10408, Oakland, CA 94610
Written by Ryan Thomson, 1997