What does a Concert/Event Producer do?

Many different people work together to make live events happen, but none have a greater impact on the outcome than concert and event producers. Working towards the broad goal of putting on a successful event, concert, or festival, producers truly do it all, from booking artists and hiring staff to preparing the venue and furnishing it with equipment. While a DIY house show is certain to present different challenges than a massive music festival, concert and event producers at all levels are united by the holistic and multifaceted nature of their work, which requires working knowledge of technical stagecraft, exceptional personnel management skills, and the ability to work well with all the live music industry's major players.
In most cases, the job begins months before the show, when the concert producer makes contact with the artist(s) and their management teams. The producer aims to suss out critical information for the show: additional equipment requirements (like amplifiers, microphones, lights, or instruments); the artist's needs relating to backstage setup, catering, and hospitality; the timetable for the day of the event; and any other pertinent information. Based on this info, the producer crafts a comprehensive budget and timeline for the show. Then, when the time comes, the producer puts the plan into action: hiring personnel including stagehands, mix engineers, sound system engineers, lighting techs, event staff, and security; organizing catering and lodgings; negotiating with outside vendors and other contractors; and, if necessary, overseeing the construction of production elements like set, costumes, sound systems, and lighting plots. Everything needs to be ready for the day of the show, and there's rarely time to spare.
However, it must be said that in an industry notorious for flexible job descriptions, concert and event producers are among the most difficult to pin down. In addition to the fact that every event requires a different approach, there is a notable distinction between independent event producers—who often do it all, from design to operations—and employees of large production companies, who may delegate tasks to event operations coordinators and production managers, allowing them to perform a more specialized role. Sometimes there can be a thin or blurry line between event producer and live experience designer, or between producer and promoter. Similarly, sometimes the producer hires the show's music director, while other times he or she is the music director. Additionally, many professional musicians and bands find success producing their own shows.

At a Glance

Career Path
Concert and event producers come from a wide range of technical, creative, and career backgrounds. Some are professional musicians, bandleaders, or music directors who are deeply involved in crafting the musical content of concerts they produce—and derive obvious benefit from working on this side of production. Others are live experience designers or video jockeys who contribute design elements to the show. Of course, there are also many who work their way up the ladder by focusing on the bread and butter of production: operations. They may start as event staff before becoming operations coordinatorsproduction managers, and, finally, producers.
It's also possible to cross over from related fields, such as the event planning side of nonprofit development. However, in order to successfully produce concerts some experience in the music industry is essential. After all, a good concert producer needs to know how to deal with talent buyers, concert promotersartist managers, venue managers, and the many varieties of sound engineer.
Finding Work

Concert and event producers might get their start as an event or operations staff member, stagehand, lighting tech, sound tech, or carpenter, all of which are good ways to observe the many moving parts involved in the production process. However, nothing beats practical experience and ingenuity in this field, and particularly savvy aspirants can skip several rungs up the career ladder by independently producing successful events on a limited budget, often working with local bands and performers to do so.

Professional Skills
  • Personnel management (hiring, scheduling, oversight)
  • Project and schedule management
  • Developing and maintaining production budgets
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Contract negotiation
  • Organization
  • Problem solving
Interpersonal Skills

Concert and event producers are collaborative, organized, detail-oriented, efficient, and cool under pressure. They excel at breaking large tasks into smaller ones and coordinating diverse groups of professionals towards a common goal. Excellent multitasking, communication, and problem-solving skills are also essential. 

Work Life

Working as a live show producer generally means long hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays. Producers are often among the last to leave the venue—in the early morning—as they must ensure that the staff, performers, and vendors are paid. Add in the administrative and organizational duties, which begin months before a show, and it's clear that in-demand producers shouldn't expect much time off. Some producers go on tour frequently or travel to produce events in other localities, but many make a living by sticking to a single city.

The Berklee Boost

Employers look for skills learned in the following Berklee programs.