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Booking the venue


Oxjammers always ask us what should come first - booking your venue or your performers? It can be a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. Our best advice is to start by approaching venue managers as soon as possible, and consider your options wisely.

Choosing the right venue

Choosing the right venue is very important - it needs to fit in with the type of music, crowd and atmosphere that you're aiming for. Here are some things to consider:

  • Check if the venue is suitable for the type of gig that you want to put on. You don't want to organise a folk night in a metal bar, for instance.
  • Think about capacity - find a venue that you know you can comfortably sell out.
  • Choose an established venue that will already have the correct licences, insurance, and a PA system.
  • Look for a popular venue that draws a regular crowd on your chosen night.

Remember that it's really important to convince the venue manager to waive their hire fee - this will help you to keep costs to a minimum and raise as much as possible for Oxfam.

Video: We asked Pete Walker, who looks after marketing for the O2 Academy in Liverpool, what his top tips are for approaching venues.

Approaching a venue

Once you've picked your ideal venue, how do you go about approaching the venue manager? We suggest calling or emailing in advance to arrange a meeting. Venue managers are busy people, so impromptu visits probably won't be welcomed.

Remember to ask about these key things


Availability and opening times

Remember that, although it's easier to book a venue during the week, events on Friday or Saturday will draw a bigger crowd. Check what time you can set up and sound check.


Can you hire the venue for free? Will you be able to sell tickets in advance? Also check that there aren't any restrictions on other fundraising activities e.g. running a raffle.

Legalities and capacity

Does the venue have a licence to play live music and serve alcohol? Does it have public liability insurance? Make sure you find out how many people the venue will hold and whether there are any age restrictions.

Sound system

Check if there is a PA system, and whether the venue can supply a backline (drums, amps etc) and sound engineer.


Is it needed, is it provided, and will it be free?


Make sure to ask if the venue will be happy to promote your event via their website, flyers and posters.

More advice for planning your event: