How to Host for a Cure:
Roadmap to a Cure is a comprehensive three-year strategic research plan which will take us closer to the cure for girls and women living with Rett Syndrome worldwide. But it can’t be carried out unless every family affected by Rett Syndrome gets involved in some way.
One of the ways we are asking you to get involved is through ‘host for a cure’. This means organising and hosting an event, any event, dedicated to raising Roadmap funds. An event can be as small, large, ordinary or extraordinary as you like, from cake sales to concerts, bag-packs to bike rides – anything goes! We know that hosting an event can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be, especially when we are offering our full support every step of the way.
Colin Gordon, uncle to Romi, hosted his first concert for Reverse Rett in May this year, and enjoyed it so much that he has already booked next year’s date! Below he shares his thoughts on running an event and shares some useful tips to inspire anyone thinking about joining our host for a cure campaign.
Putting on an Event for Reverse Rett
by Colin Gordon
Organising a concert is not a particularly difficult thing to do and is a good way to raise the profile of your cause over a number of months. The key things to bear in mind when organising an event are as follows:
1. Picking the date
Ideally, you want to choose dates / time of year when the majority of performers and attendees will be available. I chose the Spring time for our event. At this time of year it is possible to do your gig over a bank holiday weekend when the weather is good and people are not away. Be aware that Friday and Saturday nights are prime paying nights for performing musicians. If you are asking them to perform for free, be aware that they may be keener to do it on a Sunday night for this reason.
2. Get some help
The success of any event depends on teamwork and good networking, so get some good people to help you, and make sure they know how grateful you are for their help.
3. Picking the venue
You will need the venue to provide PA and the services of a good sound engineer for the night. A venue holding about 300 people will cost approximately £250-300 but it is well worth it. Consider the atmosphere you are trying to create and take time to visit the venue to check this. A school hall has a very different vibe from a proper music venue. It is also important to choose a venue which has disabled access – you may find that this aspect greatly reduces the number of venues you need to research. If you choose a good venue and provide a photographer you will increase your chances of getting a band to donate their time to the event as they can use the images for publicity after.
4. Choosing the entertainment
You can be involved in the performances (as I have been) but it will put added pressure on and take you away from the event management on the night. A better idea is to get a few great bands each to play a short set. Compatibility between bands is worth considering e.g. no point putting on a thrash metal band on the same bill as a string quartet! Consider incidental music for band change overs and enlist an MC to compere the event.
5. Promoting and ticketing the event.
There are various options to consider here. You can use free on-line ticketing services such as Event-Brite which work quite well and are very professional. For my event I chose to use the website www.justgiving.co.uk and asked people to state in the comments how many tickets they needed. This worked well because people could see the fundraising impact of ticket sales in real time. It’s good to provide people with regular news and updates leading up to the event to keep it foremost in their minds. Be sure to thank all your sponsors as the money starts coming in. Don’t forget, the Reverse Rett team are offering to take care of ticket sales for any events set up as part of Roadmap, so you can always just hand it over to them!
6. On the day
It is important that you schedule performance times for the bands and provide the sound engineer with a list of the musicians’ requirements, so that he knows how to set up the PA. The bands will need to arrive a couple of hours before the event to soundcheck and you will need to be available for this. Once the event starts, have a guest list for people who have paid and a cash float for those wishing to pay on the night. Make sure your event runs to schedule and each act moves along efficiently. This will keep the audience interest engaged and ensure everyone has a pleasant evening.
7. After the event
It is important to properly thank all the performers and to share any good photos and news of the event so that people who donated but were unable to attend can see it was a success. Ideally, this will also promote future events you plan to undertake. If it’s been a success (which it will!) it’s a great moment to announce the date of your next gig – a happy audience will put the next date in their diary then and there!
Finally, my own thanks for making our first Romi’s Concert for Rett a success – without their help and generosity it would not have been possible:
Stuart Stott the photographer
Norman and all of the brilliant staff at the Caves
John the sound engineer
Pod and Chums
the Rett Rockers
Scott Basham who was integral to the whole thing - producing all the songs I composed for the event and playing bass in 2 of the bands. He was also the compere throughout the evening.
Gael Gordon for her fine speech on the work of Reverse Rett
Eva for the cakes and sandwiches
Sam for the herbal teas Vodafone
and of course all those who attended and contributed donations to my just giving page.
Romi’s Concert for Rett 2 is due to take place at the Caves on Sunday 6th May 2018 (the night before the May Day holiday). We already have Rocka Hillbillies and Pod and Chums signed up to play, so if you fancy a great night in Edinburgh listening to top quality rock and roll why not come along?
To find out more about how to host for a cure, please go to http://www.reverserett.org.uk/get-involved/host-for-a-cure/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org