Major Artist Planning Tips

Policies for hosting Major Artists on Campus

From the time a date is held until fruition of the concert, at least one of the student organization’s leaders must participate in trainings and/or advising with CCI. Additionally, the organization may be required to collaborate with one of CCI’s Concert Planning Student Organization (Big Ticket Productions or New Beat Happenings) for added institutional support.  

Official offers to an artist can only be made by CCI. These offers will be presented on University letterhead. UM students cannot extend offers to major performance artists.

Student organizations must have adequate funds in their SOAS account to cover all concert expenses [artist fee, venue costs, production, labor] prior to submitting an offer to an artist.  CCI will transfer the Student Organization’s funds to an established show account that we manage. In accordance with the promoter agreement, concert expenses will be paid from this account by CCI.

Student Organizations must sign a promoter agreement for rental of the reserved space.  This agreement outlines the responsibilities of both parties.

In the case the intended location of the concert is one of UM’s Major Performance Venues, CCI will work in partnership with University Productions to ensure AV and backline equipment requested in concert production riders fit within the technical specifications of the venue the event is to be held.  CCI may require riders for artists prior to submitting offers. University Productions will have the final decision making authority to approve or disapprove of any equipment being brought into their venues.

If the Student organization does not have an accepted offer 2 months prior to their concert date, the concert will not be allowed to proceed.  

Student Organizations must have acceptance of the offer in writing prior to putting tickets on sale.  Best Practices would include having a fully executed contract prior to putting tickets on sale.

Tickets must be sold through the Michigan Union Ticket Office [MUTO].

All major artist agreements will be signed by central procurement, in accordance with the SPG Signatory Authority amendment.  CCI will negotiate contracts and riders on behalf of the student Organization, in collaboration with Procurement Services, Risk Management, and the Office of General Council.  

Revenue from ticket sales will be deposited into the show account.  Settlement will occur according to CCI's standard operating procedure, as outlined in the promoter agreement.  

In order to ensure a successful event, the Center for Campus Involvement recommends the following timeline:

24-12 months in advance
Meet with with CCI staff to discuss the process for hosting a concert or comedian on campus
Work with CCI to select and reserve a Major Performance or Athletic Venue/date
Obtain a good faith estimate from CCI for hosting such an event.
Create an event planning timeline
18-12 months in advance
Fundraise and confirm funding
12-10 months in advance
Finalize talent and production budget
Connect with Booking Agents or Middle Agent for artist pricing and availability
Artist research, conduct polling and sampling of campus
Engage in the Major Artist Selection Reflection process with CCI staff
Obtain riders from artists of serious interest
Create artist contingency plan
10 - 8 months in advance
Work with CCI to submit offer(s)
Develop Marketing plan [reserve bus signs, diag boards, and table tents]
Reserve vehicles and/or hotel rooms for hospitality
8 - 6 months in advance
Have an offer accepted by an artist
Negotiate and sign the contract in accordance with University Policy
Sign venue promoter agreement with CCI
5 - 3 months in advance
Bid production and other necessary services
Obtain press kit and develop marketing materials
Obtain Insurance [if necessary]
Set-up ticket sales
3 - 2 months in advance
Advertise and live into marketing plan
Tickets go on sale
Event Information form due for Major Performance Venues
Recruit volunteer ushers
2 - 1  months in advance
Advertise & sell tickets
Finalize vehicle & hotel rental arrangements
Reserve parking meter bags, parking permits, etc.  
4 - 2  weeks in advance
Advance the show
Make meal arrangements
Obtain Certificate of Insurance from Artist
Obtain UM substitute W9 from artist
5 - 1 days in advance
Obtain hospitality rider items
Dressing room signs
Create Day of Show Schedule
Send usher reminder


Best Practices for hosting a large name concert or comedian

  • Student Organizations wishing to host a major concert on campus should consider co-sponsoring the event with Big Ticket Productions (CCI’s Sponsored Concert organization) added institutional support.

  • Familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures for hosting a Major artist or concert on campus, as well as the Guidebook for Student Organizations.

  • Work with CCI to select and reserve a Major Performance or Athletic Venue.  When selecting a date, take into account the UM academic calendar, other events happening on campus and the surrounding community, as well as religious and US holidays.  

  • Familiarize yourself with the expenses associated with hosting a concert and the estimate provided by CCI.  Understand how the artist you select will influence the budget.

  • Know your organization's budget.  Determine in advance what the financial goal of the show is (make money, break even, raise money for charity, etc.).

  • Create a timeline for event planning milestones.  Start with the day of your event and plan backwards, setting deadlines for such things as fundraising, research, offer submission, show announcement, and ticket on-sale.  Allow adequate time for all steps of the process. CCI staff is available to assist in timeline development.

  • In congruence with the timeline you may find it beneficial to create a marketing plan so that when the artist is confirmed you have a structure in place to begin marketing and selling tickets.   Be intentional about announcing the show. Reserve diag boards, bus signs, and table tents through SORC based upon your show date and timeline.  

  • Work with CCI staff to obtain a list of artists within your price range and available on the date you have reserved.  It is nice to have a “wish list” of artists you would like to bring, but understand that just because you would like to host an artist on campus doesn't mean they are available or within your price range.  It is wise to explore all options. There may be an artist available that your team hasn’t thought of!

  • If fundraising, create standard sponsorship packages so contributors will know what they will receive for their contribution.  Be sure to connect with the Business Engagement Center to avoid conflicts of interest.  They can also help with making connections!

  • Complete research on available artists of interest.  Research can include box office numbers and ticket revenue as well as artist reputation and promotability.  CCI can help with this by obtaining Pollstar tour reports, providing forms and resources, and connecting with the Department of Public Safety & Security.  

  • When selecting an artist, take into account the campus culture and climate.  Conduct a survey or poll fellow students about what artists they want to see on campus.  Exercise best practices by utilizing this Reflection tool for Major Artist Selection.

  • Recognize that your initial offer may not be accepted and create contingency plans.  It is best practice to have a A, B, C, and even D plan. Research and vetting should be done on all of these artists so subsequent offers can be submitted quickly and without delay if the first offer is not accepted.         

  • Work with CCI staff to submit offer(s).  Only 1 offer can be submitted at a time. Allow adequate time to negotiate terms of the offer or submit secondary offers.

  • To maximize the opportunity for the event to be successful, student organizations should have a verbal agreement from an artist a minimum of 2 months prior to their concert date.  Ideally, this would happen sooner.

  • Once an artist is confirmed, work with CCI staff to follow UM's contracting and purchasing guidelines.  More information on contracting is available online in CCI's Guidebook for Student Organizations.

  • Remember that each show is unique and will have circumstances unique to that venue, artist, agent, etc.  What worked in one instance may not work for the next.