No matter what you celebrate, music is a big part of the holiday season. But no one wants to carol alone – so we’ve put together some great ideas for music events that’ll bring attendees out to join the song. Togetherness is even more top-of-mind this holiday season, after a long stretch of cancellations, lockdowns, and virtual music events.
Music events, whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid, are a super way to connect people around a shared love of art and to bring joy to a large audience. If you add a virtual aspect to your in-person event, you have the opportunity to reach a global audience. If you could use some help coming up with your next great event, our 7 ideas for music events are sure to spark something.
Seven festive ideas for music events
1. Christmas carolling events
Many people love carol singing, and planning an event around it gives you an excellent opportunity to be creative. Choose the best sing-along Christmas carols and have your attendees sing with a band, piano player, or an instrumental recording. You might want to have your family-friendly concerts in a church with a choir, or organise a community carolling event where groups go door to door singing carols and collecting donations for charity. If you plan to host holiday dinner events with music, consider hiring performers to carol for your attendees while they dine.
The Alhambra Performing Arts Center in California is hosting a Dickens Christmas Carol Singalong for the holidays, with carolers dressed in period costumes and singing popular holiday songs, children’s favourites, and traditional carols.
2. Neighborhood band tour
If indoor music events make sense for your community this year, consider having musicians tour the local neighbourhoods and delight listeners right where they live. This allows artists to reach new audiences who might not have known about them before and brings unexpected joy to neighbours who stumble on the event.
Consider having artists incorporate holiday songs and their own original songs into their performance. Have your artists take a donation or tip jar with them to collect money for themselves or a charity, too. You can also reach out to local food vendors or food truck owners who are willing to travel with the artists, selling food and drinks to those who gather to watch the impromptu concerts.
3. Gospel concert
Gospel music is popular year-round, but it’s especially popular during the Christmas season. Consider planning a Christmas concert that brings together local gospel choirs or highlights local gospel artists. Grammy Award-winning Gospel singer Yolanda Adams is performing with saxophonist Andre Cavor in a show hosted by Cavor Entertainment this December. The show brings together both jazz and gospel music for a unique experience.
This event demonstrates how you can seamlessly incorporate a charity aspect into your live music events. Adams and her family were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, so a portion of the event proceeds is going to families in Cleveland, Ohio. Choosing a charity or cause that’s important to your performers and your audience is a great way to raise money during the festive season.
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4. Holiday pageant
A holiday pageant is the kind of event you’ll often see incorporated into religious ceremonies at Christmas. The spectacle is an opportunity for members of the community, usually children, to act out holiday stories and traditions. Music is an integral part of pageants, particularly Christmas pageants, and a choir will often perform certain hymns or songs as part of the story. Other audience members are often encouraged to join in with the choir.
Holiday pageants don’t have to be religious though – consider celebrating Thanksgiving and harvest traditions or looking at holiday traditions from around the world. No matter your focus, selling baked goods and beverages during or after the pageant, so attendees can socialise, is also a good idea.
5. School music performances
Christmas events for schools give student musicians a chance to showcase their talents. When planning a Christmas concert for a school, it’s often important to incorporate fundraising aspects to support the extracurricular music programs. Consider having parents donate snacks, baked goods, and beverages to be sold during intermission. Work with a local florist to procure flowers that family and friends of those performing can buy to give their loved ones after the concert.
Prior to the concert, you can sell ad space in the concert program to local businesses and have a shout-out section where family and friends can pay to have a personal message to the performers printed. Consider other tactics like selling raffle tickets or having a silent auction to bring in additional revenue.
6. Holiday karaoke
Host a holiday karaoke event like radio personality Steven Parker‘s Christmas Karaoke. For a karaoke event like this, encourage attendees not to repeat song requests and to choose lesser-known tunes to keep things entertaining. Consider having a small fee for each song request to increase revenue or to raise money for charity.
If you can’t have an in-person event, karaoke can also be done virtually. Engaging Virtual Meetings has been hosting Engaging Virtual Karaoke events since March 2020, bringing karaoke lovers together while in quarantine or unable to visit their usual karaoke spots. Host a holiday-themed virtual karaoke event to bring your attendees together, no matter where they are in the world.
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7. Seasonal musical
For entertaining (but not interactive) holiday celebrations that combine events with music, perform a holiday musical. Tell the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge like the COLABO Performing Arts group is doing with their staging of A Christmas Carol. You can choose to perform the musical traditionally, or you can add your own twist that will speak to your particular audience. For a slightly more contemporary take, consider performing A Christmas Story the Musical like the Lewisville High School Theatre group. The musical is based on the classic holiday movie that’s loved by many for its representation of a slice of American life in the 1940s.
Sell snacks and beverages before your performance and during intermission, and consider selling souvenir merch to boost revenue, too. You can work with sponsors to develop the merch to keep your costs down and to give local businesses a promotional opportunity. Again, you can sell ad space in your program and partner with local vendors to provide your refreshments.
How to host events with music: Six top tips
1. Choose the right format
Decide what format works best for you, whether that’s an event that’s livestreamed, pre-recorded, in-person, fully virtual, or hybrid. Hybrid events will require extra pre-planning since you’re organising two simultaneous events, but your hard work can result in a big payoff.
2. Have the right technology
High-quality sound is key to music events, so make sure your sound and recording equipment is top-notch and ready for your performance. If you are livestreaming, choose the platform that works best for the style of the event and allows your virtual audience to feel immersed in the music.
3. Find performers with a draw
Work with local artists whenever possible and choose musical artists whose style will speak to your target audience and also will work for the holiday theme. Consider pulling together several artists who span various musical genres to increase the size of your potential live music and events audience.
4. Do a risk assessment
Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to do a risk assessment that determines how safe your event will be for your performers, staff, and attendees. Depending on local factors such as transmission rates or extreme weather, it may not make sense to have an in-person event. If you’re looking for a music event risk assessment example, check out our blog about venue risk assessment for events during (and after) COVID-19.
5. Find sponsors
Working with sponsors can help bring your events to the next level. The best sponsors for music events are those with who your audience will identify and who will help you to enhance your event. Plan ahead and reach out to your potential sponsors early because they can help you provide refreshments and merch to your attendees and keep your budget manageable. If you’re unsure where to start, create a sponsor wish list of the companies you’d most want to work with.
6. Come up with a marketing plan
You can plan amazing music events, but without a good marketing plan, no one will come. Take the time to think about how you’re reaching potential attendees via email, social media, digital ads, word-of-mouth and other methods. If you need help growing your reach, check out Eventbrite Boost.
Host live music events for the holidays with Eventbrite
Festive music events give people the opportunity to celebrate and revel in the joy of music, making them popular events to plan for the holiday season. If you’re not sure how to plan a Christmas concert, remember to think about your audience, the main marketing goals of your event, and the logistics factors that will determine whether you can plan an in-person, virtual, or hybrid event.
If you’re ready to create your next music event, sign up for Eventbrite and get started.