There is a woman smiling and singing into a microphone. She has a man to her left playing a guitar and two people  in the background on her right playing instruments.

Organise a festival or concert

Organise a charity festival or concert to bring like-minded people together for a night of music.

Calling all music-lovers! Holding a festival or concert for Macmillan is a brilliant way to gather friends and family and raise valuable funds to support people living with cancer. 

You could choose a classy night of classical music, transform your home into a mini-festival site, or hold a virtual concert from your living room. Whatever type of event you choose to hold, we’re here to support you.

How to set up your festival/concert

Find your dream team of helpers

For an event of this size, delegation and teamwork are essential and will make organising your music event a lot easier.

Choose your date

Pick a date far enough ahead that gives you plenty of time to figure out all the details of your concert or festival. If your plans rely on good weather (no one likes a rained out festival), make sure you consider the time of year.

Sort out your venue

If you’re holding a virtual event, then your venue is already sorted! But if you’re planning to get together inside or outside, it’s good to have a venue secured as soon as possible. Halls, hotels, sports and social clubs, pubs, churches or even school facilities can sometimes be hired for concerts and other music events.

Let the venue owners know you’re organising a charity event and they might give you a discounted rate! When booking your venue, consider the size, location and other events happening nearby. Is there enough parking or access via public transport?

Find your suppliers

If you’re organising a festival, it's a good idea to book suppliers like caterers, bands and other entertainers as far in advance as possible. Think about using your network and contacts to find suppliers who might give you a good deal for their services.

Work out your ticket pricing

Will the price of the ticket to your event include any food and drink? How many tickets will you need to sell to make sure the event raises money?

Set a fundraising target

This is great motivation for you and your team. It also encourages your supporters to give a little more as you edge closer to your goal. If you do reach your goal then keep upping that target!

Who will you invite?

Think about using your network of friends, family and colleagues to reach enough people to fill your venue safely.

Promote your event

Advertise and promote your event far and wide to make sure you fill your venue.

Maximise your fundraising

  • Sell your festival or concert tickets ahead of the event so if people can’t make it, they have still donated.
  • Think about other ways you can raise money on the day such as food sales, backstage passes, meeting the band, or auctioning off music lessons.
  • Remember to make it really easy for people to donate by setting up an online giving page.

Gift Aid at your event

You cannot claim Gift Aid on ticket sales for your festival, concert or show. This is because by attending your event, your supporters are getting a benefit in return for the ticket price. Gift Aid can only be claimed on personal, voluntary donations.

However, you will be able to take advantage of Gift Aid in some form, whether this is by collecting extra donations at the event itself, or by asking for a suggested donation instead of a set ticket price. Find out more.

If you need more advise on how to collect Gift Aid at your event, please contact our friendly team on 0300 1000 200 or email fundraising@macmillan.org.uk.

Thank you for the music (case studies) 

The recipe for festival success: Jerram, Charlie, Pelly and Sean have been organising annual music festivals in support of Macmillan since 2014. What started off as a party in the garden with a couple of bands has grown and grown every year, with more guests, bands and activities every time – come rain or shine! As well as a superb sound sensation on stage, festival-goers are treated to a wide selection of drinks, pizzas, ice-cream and even face-painting (for both children and adults)! With the help the local community and businesses, friends, family and of course, extremely talented musicians, FlaundenFest has raised around an incredible £25,000 to date.

Anna's epic piano performance: incredible pianist Anna took on the challenge of playing piano non-stop for 24 hours to support Macmillan. Based in a church which was open to spectators throughout the 24 hours, Anna's amazing efforts raised over £12,000. As well as solo piano music there was song, chamber music, piano duets, choral works, opera and late night jazz, all accompanied by Anna.