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Lighting a Charity Event


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I have to light a small charity event in december, there are going to be 4 three peice bands on stage and each member each member needs a spotlight because each band wants different colours on each person (quite annoying!!!** laughs out loud **) so I havwe a £50 Budget I have no lightig but I own a zero 88 beta pack and level six desk so I need advice on lights




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It is, as you say, a small charity event with a £50 lighting budget. Bearing that in mind, I think you need to impress upon the performers that there has to be a fairly large element of "you get what you're given"! It's always nice to be able to say 'yes' to every request, but sometimes (this time!) it just isn't possible.
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each band wants different colours on each person

They have three options:

  1. Wait 20 minutes between each band coming on stage while you change the gels in each lantern
  2. The Bands get together and compromise on their colour requirements
  3. Cough up more money

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The first lighting job I did by myself out of a school setting was very similar to this...


I had a budget of £50 and hired


2 powerdrive stands

2 4ch dimmers

8 minim f

1 pulsar rock desk

8 3m cable


from my local lighting company for a day, they let me raid their old gell draw, and I had to push the charity to accept a budget of £50 ex rather than £50 inc.


This was almost 10 years ago


Lightnix will mention that parcan prices haven't changed in 10 years.


I think you will be lucky but should be able to do something.


I don't think having lots of specials is a possibility though.



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As Gareth rightly points out, as this is a charity event and you only have a budget of £50 then the bands really do have to make do with what they get. I guess as it's charity the bands are doing the gig for free? If they're not and there is an effect/colour etc. that they simply can't perform without, then suggest they might want to pay for it out of their fee if it's really that important.


However as you already own a dimmer and desk, then you already have a very reasonable start. You should be able to hire a couple of stands, a bit of cabling and few PAR's (56's or 64's check your power supply!) and make a reasonable show out of it. To be honest I would hazard a guess that a large proportion of members on here cut their teeth with rigs like this.


One thing I will say is when calling hire companies don't expect heavily discounted or free kit just because it is a charity event. What you have to bear in mind is that this sort of call happens on fairly regular basis and it is simply not financially viable to be able to support all these types of request, however much we might like too. But don't take this as a put off, more a word of caution to avoid disappointment. After all there is no harm trying and most will try and do as much as is viable to help you.

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It's quite ironic that the word charity seems to automatically mean that everyone should effectively work for free, and contibute their own money into an event. The organisers kind of expect double bubble - your time and resources - including consumable items. The bands often play for nothing - but they have expenses too, maybe a van, fuel, strings etc.


The idea of a charity event is to raise money for some worthy cause. A decent event, properly planned, with sensible door money should allow for a proper donaton to be made, and pay a proper level of expenses, plus enough to cover the staging, lighting and sound.


If the organisers really feel £50 is a proper level of funding for the lighting, they haven't really done their homework.


I realise this is a different scale of event, but Children in Need raise a lot of money, and still pay their staff and suppliers. What I find strange in these circumstances is how the big dealers cope with these requests. People often suggest contacting XYZ and asking for special rates.


I am guessing most of the big boys must have some kind of policy for charity requests for kit - some are members here. In open forum they can't really comment because of implications - but if any pm me, I'll happily post their comments with the source removed to avoid problems.


I suspect many might have a charity 'limit' each year - maybe based on money, or quantity. It would be interesting to hear their opinions on the charity gig requests they get.

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One option you can try is to tell your hire company your budget and what you need, I would normally let you have it for a reasonable amount[but I am a sole trader and can choose what to do] The other option is for you to pay the full amount but for the company to donate the difference to the charity, this way you pay 50 pounds and the company gets 50 pounds and a tax deductable receipt for 50 pounds.[this assumes your charity is tax deductable]This is called a win win situation.
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