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Hello Fellow Promoters,

Since the first printing in late 2000, HOW NOT TO PROMOTE CONCERTS AND MUSIC FESTIVALS has helped thousands of promoters, newbies, wannabees and established promoters around the world, in prisons, in war and in Cambodia. People everywhere need this hard-to-find concert and music festival promoting information.

A sincere thanks goes out to all of the book’s readers who emailed, called or wrote to express how the book gave them the insight they were looking for. “It was a great guide” many said. “You really helped me turn my shows around”, “I really appreciate you telling new promoters all of this inside stuff”, “This information can’t be found anywhere else”, “the book is awesome, thanks!”..

The reason this important information provided in the book is not available elsewhere, is because other promoters are really not interested in helping you. Other promoters want to gain what they can from you and can pretend for years to be a supporter. Other promoters have their own selfish interests. They are notoriously a closed-mouth group. Everybody is running around in fear of what someone else is going to do to them, instead of helping people.

How do you teach this negative but real-life perspective in a book? How do you teach the endless ways people are getting screwed these days and at the same time carefully explain the basic promoter’s duties and what you are supposed to be doing to make a show profitable?

In my effort to offer real and substantial help, what I leave out are the case studies. That is all of the funky situations you all (and myself) find ourselves in promoting concerts and festivals in this new millennia. That book is coming.

This decline in concert promoter ethics is not a modern phenomena. the concert and festival business has never been filled with altruistic people. But with increased population meaning more bad promoters, a decreasing interest in doing things right, progressively polarized population, modern liability and an increasingly aggressive and angry society, just in the last 5 years,

Unfortunately for the state of promoter ethics, or lack of it, I’ve met more bad operators than in the previous 30 years. In between some great successes in the last 5 years, these operators proved to be the worst:

  • Dmitry Popov, JamSouth Savannah, Memphis TN
  • Lowell Macgregor, LMG LLC and Eric Mayers of Vancouver, WA
  • Erik Baker, Steve Hilton and Ivan Hinds in Christian Concerts
  • Peter Rowe in South Australia
  • Jason Safford, Safflyn Corp. Gelston Castle Estate, Green Leadership Institute in NY State.

These people cause me great suffering and are not ethical operators.

What is the most disturbing factor is the eerie absence of any industry publication articles, facts, statements about the complete breakdown of ethics in the live entertainment presentation business. The industry rags have a hard time detailing the wrongs. Ignoring it is condoning the behavior. With this kind of modern uncaring attitude toward unethical behavior and ignoring the facts, you don’t have to wonder how we got to this point.

The only way to enforce your rights is to use a lawyer and seek legal justice. Another way is to post the information on the web stating the absolute facts and sticking to the truth. This is why promoters need to keep daily logs… for future use.

Just reading the entire book, making notes along the way, and then doing what it says, is key to using the promoting technology offered and staying honest. Selecting what you like from the book and ignoring the components you don’t like is a design for disaster. School yourself and get better everyday.

If you want to be a professional: just do what you can everyday to:

  • Answer your phone no matter who’s calling after the second ring.
  • Call phone messages back the same day.
  • Answer emails completely and don’t use all caps, Learn to insert a complete email signature with your name, company or position, city, phone, web address and any other legal qualifier you may want to include so that the email “is intended only for the reader”.
  • Show up on time or a few minutes early. Reconfirm appts. the day before. Call ahead of the appt. time if running late.
  • Meet deadlines and admit when you are having difficulty.
  • Start telling the truth and stop inflating numbers.
  • Reach out to help someone every day. Say more compliments.
  • If you enter into a verbal or written agreement, you must enthusiastically fulfill your end of the deal. Lying is not a way to deal with your responsibilities. You are to support the other side, not ignore, delay, hurt or subvert the authority of the other party.
  • Pay bills when due.
  • Get into the details.
  • Learn or fix what you are bad at.
  • Watch the cost sheet changing it daily if necessary.

Everyone one of you have your own promoting signature. The way you do things, the way you think is unique.

Because of your individual way of performing your promoting duties and the values you have, it’s difficult for two independent promoters to work with each other as straight-up partners. Tasks need to be clearly assigned in an operational agreement and one person has to be in charge of the daily operations without interference. That’s your Event Producer. There is only one, that’s the person in charge when there is an argument about daily tactics.

Or use a Joint Venture structure for each event which does not obligate each party to get stuck with one another. I‘ve always felt funny about a permanent marriage of two parties. The world changes too fast in this industry to say that anything is permanent. Give yourself an out clause without getting screwed.

The reason for the book was to try to bring some semblance of order to an anything but orderly business. This industry’s operations standards have always been up to interpretation. The fact is that most professional promoters have to do the same things and that many professionals are doing things basically the same way, with enthusiasm and energy affecting results.

There needs to be forms, policies, methods, timing and many realities in your market that any good promoter should recognize and act upon. The book/ manual hopes to help standardize methods, documents and some ethics in pursuit of answering your questions and giving you more confidence when making decisions that will directly affect your chances of success. To dive into the concert or music festival business blind without either this manual or lack of experience or both could be fatal.

The book has grown from 165 pgs. in 2000 to over 345 heavily edited pgs. today. The manual has changed as the concert and festival business has.

Changes and additions are made every six months. Updated, there is now more reference data, marketing developments, sponsor and investor information and proposals, updated figures and formulas all over the book.

In a time when the successful independent promoter feels increasing pressure from the competition of big promoters, the fact is that your energy and unique style of marketing and production- allows you the opportunity to flank the big guys. Enjoy the fruits that making profit and having fun can provide in the concert and music festival business.

In what seems at times a country of saturated markets, with a questionable economy, there is always an opportunity to enter into promoting shows and/or music festivals. Right night, right act, right venue… your promotional ideas are only limited to the cash on hand and your drive! The book will help keep you on track wherever you go. Do your market research before making commitments. The book tells you how.

I hope your promoting dreams come true. Read and prosper.

A Fellow Promoter,

HAL Davidson



HOW NOT TO PROMOTE CONCERTS AND MUSIC FESTIVALS© and HOW TO PROMOTE CONCERT SIMPLIFIED© by Hal Davidson, 2023 all rights reserved. Published by Concert Promotions Publishing Co., Rockville, MD, USA 20855. Stompin 76™, and is the property of Hal Davidson, 2000-2023 all rights reserved. The content and layout of this website is the property of Hal Davidson. Commercial use is strictly prohibited. Written permission is required for use to sell or promote other promotional materials.