Ahead of sitting on the judging panel for our #NITELIFENITEOUT competition – where we’re giving away £1000 toward a new Bristol event – local promoter Dan Chandler has given us some pearls of wisdom for anyone hoping to break into the world of music events…

With over a decade of experience in the live music industry, including a stint at O2 Academy Bristol and various festival including Secret Garden Party and Download, Dan Chandler now helps head up Bristol / London promotions company Crosstown Concerts.

Although technically relative newcomers to the scene – thanks to the combined knowledge of Dan and Crosstown owners and veteran promoters Paul Hutton and Conal Dodds – Crosstown is already an almighty force, booking huge names from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds to Sigur Ross.

They are also the people responsible for bringing us Bristol Sounds – the outdoor concert series that brought Craig David, Bonobo, Manic Street Preachers and Hacienda Classical to Bristol’s Harbourside.

thanks to the combined knowledge of Dan and Crosstown owners and veteran promoters Paul Hutton and Conal Dodds – Crosstown is already an almighty force

Crosstown is also part of the promotions superteam who – alongside Team Love – bring us The Downs festival, whose debut year in 2016 saw Massive Attack play their first homecoming show in 13 years.

With so many successful events behind him, it goes without saying that any new or would-be promoters would be mad not to follow Dan’s advice. Here’s what he had to say on dealing with other promoters, managing budgets and retaining authenticity…

Do it for the right reasons

Promoting an event is not a way to make a quick buck. In fact, it’s a massive gamble.

Do what you know

If you’re passionate about a certain type of music, band, DJ, whatever, and you think it is not being catered for – you’re likely the right person to be doing it.

Talk to people

Talk to people at every stage, from booking the venue and artists through to the event itself. There a lot of people out there that rely on email alone, but people like dealing with people. The music industry is full of characters and is built on relationships. It’s also good to remember that emails can be read in any number of ways and your tone might be taken wrongly. You’d be surprised what help you can get when you pick up the phone or meet people face to face.

Other promoters

It’s important to engage with other promoters both locally and in other cities to make sure you’re not pissing other people off or stepping on anyone’s toes. There’s enough content to go around if everyone is aware of what everyone else is doing. Obviously people are not going to give you all their ideas, but it’s good to work with other people rather than butting heads over things. Yes there is competition but everyone’s working to the same ends.

Get on top of your budget

Make sure you know exactly how much everything is going to cost before you offer any fees out. You need to have a tight grip on budget at every stage as it’s you’re bottom line here. Even if the funding is coming from elsewhere, imagine it’s your money on the line.


Be real, say what you mean and remain authentic at all stages of the process. You can’t fake authenticity and people respect and respond to that.


Be consistent – in your character and with what you hope to achieve. Changing the goal posts all the time is not helpful for anyone.


Top image by Martin Thompson

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