Live from the Mermaid's Tavern Part II: Set Up, Schedule, and Announce a Livestream


  • This is Part II of a three-part series. Part I covers real-world example scenarios of why you'd set up a livestream, the roles you will be working with, and considerations for how to get the artist paid without tax headaches. 
  • This Part II covers the logistics of scheduling and announcing a livestream on Facebook, and the detailed considerations that make it appear seamless to your audience.
  • Part III covers the studio tech you will need to broadcast the livestream. Please don't start here. You'll miss what it's all about. Spoiler: it's all about an excellent experience for audience and artist, for which the audience happily pays the artist.
So, you were planning on hosting, or playing, a live houseconcert and it just got cancelled because #COVID-19. Part I of this series gives some real-time examples of this happening and talks about how to find or become a
  • Game Artist who will perform for a livestream
  • Calm Tech to handle the geeky parts of the livestream and
  • Sponsor/Fiscal Receiver to sponsor the funding to the artist


Let's say you have a Game Artist who's ready to go on air live, and a Fiscal Receiver who's working with them. Your Calm Tech is off writing Part III of this series on the gear you need. It isn't much. In fact, if you're the artist, tell the tech to keep it simple, like our artist just told me. Futzing with gear is not conducive to Keep Calm and Livestream On. So, let's take that as read for Part III


What else do the Artist, the Tech, and the Sponsor need? You need a Supportive Audience who will a) watch the concert live, ideally participating through the comments, and b) donate toward the event. In fact, you can have two audiences: one that watches the show live, and one that enjoys it afterwards as a recorded event IF your Artist is Game to leave the livestream feed up for whatever length of time. ASK FIRST.

Here's the livestream for you to watch until 24 hours after the concert. Matthew requested that we not make a recording available because this was a first-time test for everyone. Read on for how we set up the livestream.

How and where do people find out about your livestream? The same place they found out about your live concert (and its cancellation). Presumably you have publicized the live event on:
  • The sponsor's website, Facebook page, and other social media feeds
  • The artist's website, Facebook page, and other social media feeds
In an ideal world, the Sponsor (in our case the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston) and not the artist would take responsibility for creating and hosting the livestream on the Sponsor's website and Facebook page, just as they would for hosting a live concert. In that ideal world, the Calm Tech would have admin access sufficient to act for the Sponsor. Life is seldom ideal. 

Our Sponsor's webmaster was unavailable on such short notice, so updating the website was going to come last, if at all. For timing reasons, the Tech (in our case, me) took on the role of digital co-host to create the live stream and its accompanying announcement. As you'll see, we then piggybacked this back into the Sponsor's event publicity. 

Artists who want to host their own livestreams are self-producers, so you can follow along with the Sponsor and Tech roles in these posts. Here's what we did. 


I followed the excellent instructions in this help article on how to set up a live video post with Facebook Live Producer. We learned that
  • You can schedule a live stream so your audience has advance notice. Many of you may know this, but on 48 hours notice, we did not. Less than 24 hours before the concert, now we do.
  • Scheduling will generate an announcement that you can share to Pages, Groups. and Events. 
  • The announcement is posted immediately. There is always wordsmithing! Having a real-time text and/or Messenger connection with the sponsor is a godsend.
  • Your most devoted fans may message you in real time while you are still messing about with the announcement. Be patient with them. You want them to watch the concert! If one or two offer to help, take them up on it if you can. Multitasking is a useful skill. 
  • You cannot start a scheduled livestream directly from Facebook or from a mobile device! You need third-party software and the streaming key from Facebook. This has serious implications for the gear we chose (and chose again, and again) in Part III. 
  • Despite this, a scheduled post is critical to building an audience, especially on short notice. We accepted the challenge because the audience experience is second only to the artist's (see Part III). 


This was a picky step. We learned that
  • FB Live Producer only updates the original announcement and NOT any cross-posts to other pages or groups. If you make changes (and you will), you have to make them in each cross-posted announcement. 
  • The first URL in the post will automatically appear as the event image. In our case, this was a PayPal link, which had to be manually deleted before re-adding the artist photo. 
  • The Donate button on the sponsor's website was a really ugly PayPal URL, but the FB announcement would not accept the image or code for the button. In a pinch, I used to make a simple text-friendly URL, which then proved to have been ugly because it included a session timeout (meaning it stopped working after a few hours). 
  • We wound up directing people to FSSGB's page with this text, which got copy/pasted often in the comments of the livestream as a virtual pass-the-hat. One thing I loved is when audience members replied to each other to share this in the comments! One of them also reminded me to pin this post, which was very helpful.

  • "Please consider a PayPal donation (through FSSGB's PayPal by credit card or your Paypal account) to defray the costs of Matthew's tour - go to this page and click on the yellow DONATE button to start:

    All donations go directly to the artist."


Look, we have a livestream announcement! Now comes the co-host handoff. The sponsor had already created a Facebook event for the live concert, which was not yet showing as cancelled. We learned that

  • We initially got a message"Matthew Byrne FSSGB Virtual House Concert doesn't allow people to post on their Timeline. You can try sending this as a message instead." This means the event admin has to set the event to allow posts to its feed. 
  • In order to post the livestream announcement to the event, your Tech (specifically, any of your tech's Pages where the announcement is posted) must be a Host of the Facebook event. 
  • This will work only for the page where the Tech is an admin. As it happens, I set up the livestream as Digital Heritage Consulting and cross-posted it to my own artist page as Lynn Noel - Crosscurrents Music. I was unable to share to the event as Digital Heritage Consulting until that page was added as a co-host AND the event was set to accept posts. 
  • Sharing to an event is not immediately visible as an option. Choose Share, then from the menu choose Share in Event. 
  • You cannot share a Livestream Announcement anywhere but on a Page, Group, or Event. I had to post to the Event and then share that to my personal feed. 


The original concert collected signups by email, so we have a mailing list of people who planned to attend. Here's the body of the email I prepared as the Tech for FSSGB to send as the Sponsor. 

Dear fans of Matthew Byrne,

The Folk Song Society of Greater Boston has partnered with member and local host Lynn Noel to livestream this virtual houseconcert. Tonight, Thursday March 12, from 7:30 to 8:30, click this link or copy/paste into your browser to watch the concert live on Facebook. You do not need a Facebook account or a login. The concert is public on the web, so please feel free to share this link.

We invite and encourage you to enjoy this live event and to support the artist with the links below.

Please consider a PayPal donation (through FSSGB's PayPal by credit card or your Paypal account) to defray the costs of Matthew's tour - go to this page and click on the yellow DONATE button to start:

All donations go directly to the artist.

Please purchase CDs or downloads from Matthew Byrne directly at

Like and follow Digital Heritage Consulting for more livestreams and blog posts on how to build online community for folk music and heritage arts.

Having technical difficulties? Try the direct link at

What we learned from prior experience with our audience:
  • Some of our audience are non-Facebook users and this may be their first time on Facebook. Notice that the email includes a reassuring note that you do not have to join Facebook.
  • The original concert was private, and this one will be public on the web. We made that clear to the mailing list so they won't expect to be the only ones watching the livestream.
  • Our audience includes older members that may not be comfortable reading a link with a lot of gobbledygook numbers in it. Notice another TinyURL with a "friendly name" of FSSGBMatthewByrneMarch12. 
  • We included instructions to "click the link or copy/paste into your browser" as well as the raw URL at the bottom for those who might be having technical difficulties. 
  • Since we are a shoestring operation, we are not providing customer support with Messenger, chat, text, or a phone line. This is intentional. We expect some of our audience to wish we had done so, but with a single tech, we're not set up for that. We want the Calm Tech to Remain Calm and focused on the artist. 

So, hooray, our audience knows we're doing this! Stay tuned for Part III, where we will take you behind the scenes for the tech gear and the artist experience. Remember, this blog is happening in real time!