The Art Of Show Posters and Why They Matter - Fannatickets' Top Show Posters of 2023

By Ben Rispin @benrispin

Trophy design by Anthony Haley @anthonyhaleyart

Why Show Posters Matter

Fannatickets' Co-Founder and frontman of Rules, Ben Rispin, picks his favourite show posters of 2023. 

Photo of Ben Rispin by Devin Meisner

Like many of you out there, we at Fannatickets HQ are  putting a wrap on 2023. Our team is sincerely grateful to our collaborative partnerships, supporters, customers and contributors for the patience and kindness we’ve been shown as we continue beta testing our system.  

While we've been working hard building a business we can be proud of, we hope to share tried, trusted and true promoting insights we’ve picked up  over the years. The fun part is methods learned through a lifetime of trial and error can now be corroborated through our own data now that we've taken and event ticketing into our own hands. 

Initially, One of the things that drew me to the project was the opportunity to revisit what some would call their “roots”. However, personally, I think a more accurate description would be “rediscovering a big part of me that I’ve been dearly missing.” 

I started promoting shows as a teenager (30 some odd years ago) with my friends in rural Ontario. The DIY mentality of throwing shows independently taught me a lifetime of transferable skills that eventually helped me succeed in corporate life. 

For the past few years, I spent a lot of time in the ol’ weed business. Which has been great to me. 

Spending the last few years in cannabis showed me that the street level promoter, who works hard, and gets the word out on shoestring budgets are some of the most capable and valuable assets on any creative project. 

DIY promoters get shit done. 

DIY promoters are unsung-chance-taking-heroes that risk their rent for your art. It’s a thankless role rarely celebrated due to “the promoter” stigma of yore

You really have to love it to stick with it. Considering punk shows have been $5-$10 since the 80’s, inflation hadn’t been kind to this wildly important part of the music industry.

One of my favourite aspects of the art of show promoting (and yes it’s an art) are show posters. 

Show posters are not only fun to look at, but really good posters translate into ticket sales. Not only do most lifers of show promoting know this, but  we have the analytics to prove it. 

Long before the internet show poster lined our walls as bragging rights to epic historical moments in live music. All kids collected show posters or flyers. Rave kids, punks, grunge, hip-hop, it didn’t matter. Posters were dope. 

Personally, I’ve also used walls covered in show posters as inspiration for creative ideas. The memories, sounds, and creativity has inspired some really successful collaborations I’ve had the privilege of working on. 

A wall of show posters in my younger brothers room  even inspired The Saint Alvia Cartel’s (a band I was lucky to be in for a bit) video for the single “Blonde Kryptonite '' which earned director Davin Black several award nominations by Much Music, The Junos and more. 

To illustrate my point we thought it would be fun to show some of my favourite show posters and events  had the pleasure of working on last year. Feel free to disagree, this is all subjective. 

There wasn't too many to choose from as Fannatickets only started beta testing in June of 2023. There are definitely some wall worthy pieces worth mentioning. So without further ado, here are my favourite posters from 2023 (in no particular order). 


Anthony Haley 
Summer School 2 | Bovine Sex Club | Toronto
Illoween 2| The Corktown | Hamilton 

 Full disclosure, I worked on these two projects. However, Anthony Haley is a MC, artist, comic book illustrator, and wall writer based in Hamilton, Ontario. Anthony is one of the most prolific creators I've had the pleasure of working with. 

I hire Anthony because he’s versatile and amazing but most of all, when we collaborate on art, we get amazing results. He’s easy to work with and has fast turnarounds. I feel bad sharing shows I promoted on this list but historically I qualify the success of a show poster  by how many people ask for copies. We ran out of both of these. Fast.  


When show posters end up as collectors items, it raises the profile of all involved. Ticket buyers come to trust the brand running the event, bands become immortalized in a fans eyes when they get a copy, and we don't have to put any more crap in landfills. 


Dayglo Abortions | Brantford | Two Doors Down 

I'm not sure who designed this and I’m not sure if this is an original piece or stolen from something. It doesn't really matter for a legendary punk band like Dayglo Abortions. This is the poster for a Christmas themed Dayglo Abortions tour stop in Brantford, Ontario at Two Doors Down. It's the perfect poster for the first band to ever be taken to the Supreme Court for profanity. 

Unfortunately, due to health reasons, this show was canceled but it doesn’t mean the poster doesn't rip. 


 What some young promoters don't realize, is that long before the internet existed, DIY promoters had to steal ad space. It was graffiti's less tactical cousin. The copy on the poster had to be big enough that it could be read from a car, as we usually stole ad space on stop lights. 

DIY show promoters are why most cities in Canada, now have designated areas for event posting in public spaces like bus stops or malls. NOTE: It's poor etiquette to cover someone elses event if the date hasn't passed. Don't be a dick. Support your whole scene. 

FUZZED and BUZZED Records | Black Horse Promotions 
Black Absinthe | Twin Banshee | Loose 
Bovine Sex Club | Toronto

Connor Babin | FUZZED and BUZZED Records
Handsome Jack | Free-Ways | Tumble
December 16, 2023 | Monarch Tavern | Toronto

Both FUZZED and BUZZED Records and Pale Horse Promotions are having great success in the indie / fuzz / rock / cool shit world because they love what they do and it shows. In the modern world of selling tickets, it’s not selling what’s on stage anymore. Money is tight. 

Promoting must now be looked at charging people for their time. We at believe the concert experience should start the moment the customer purchases their ticket. We as promoters must not take any ticket purchasers hard earned money for granted. 

The Fuzzed and Buzzed crew definitely understand this sentiment and put their all into everything and are definitely worthy of your support. 


Both Fuzzed and Buzzed and Pale Horse Promotions understand the importance if consistent branding and style. Another reason people are taking note of these crews are that they know how to market to their audience and don't cater to trends. Both of these posters wether lifted from old books or ads or original pieces are a tribute to style, effort and curation. They both have great font choices, are fun to look at, and convey the event clearly. 


Jeremy Widerman 
Monster Truck | Dive Bar Tour
November 25, 2023, | The Harb | Owen Sound

Hamilton's Monster Truck could give a master class in branding. Large in part due to guitarist Jeremy Widerman. 

A little known industry secret about Jeremy is that in the early days of Monster Truck, he changed the way booking agents across the country approached tour art. 

Since his days in skate-punk, Jeremy has been known for challenging the status quo. At one point during the early days of the internet, promoters would get lazy with poster art. Bad habits which formed due to zero accountability, which was something the internet provided. While labels would often send out tour posters, Jeremy was one of the first to make sure all poster art was approved prior to announcing dates. It was fucking annoying but wildly effective and efficient. It helped everyone sell more tickets and the Canadian music industry terraformed shortly after. 

Jeremy would often take it upon himself to work with artists all around the world to get the proper imagery. While this hilarious piece of a lizard guy skating is fun to look at, this poster came as a series for Monster Trucks' entire "Dive Bar Tour" which sold out all shows. 


If your band is fortunate enough to have a following such as Monster Truck's, staying on message is key. In a world where you have mere seconds to promote an idea to the doom scroll generation, this poster immediately let's the viewer know what they're in for. 

Ryan Hilton | Black Throne Productions 
Ischemic | Lake Cyanide | Burdizzo | Resthaven
November 17 | Bovine Sex Club | Toronto 

Black Throne Productions are another great group of creatives bringing amazing shows to the area. The team at Black Throne consistently put out sweet posters that our users comment on. 

Black Throne Productions are elevating the street level branding, execution, and quality game. 


This poster is also perfect for hitting street lights, stop lights, and anywhere someone might be sitting in a car. A lot of people don’t realize that show postering used to be a kin to graffiti. Fonts had to be big back in the day because indie promoters couldn’t afford billboards or radio spots. 

Aciidz | Enchanters | Sex Cat | Slow and Easy
December 15, 2023 | Bovine Sex Club | Toronto 

This poster, to me, is an example of nihilistic punk advertising ethos, coupled with the anxiety of knowing the purpose of a show poster. All the pertinent information is easy to read, and the band names indicate the sentiment of clever fuckers who really only care about stage energy. 

This poster is just so sweet. Huge reaction online. Good bands. Please have the artist contact us. Love the R.Crumb vibes. 


Look at it. 




The awkwardness of asking record stores, restaurants, etc never goes away. However, it’s never been easier to offer an in kind trade. Budgets are tight, everyone can use a little exposure. 

 When we enter a place of business, we ask the proprietor if we could hang a poster, in exchange, we ask if they’d be comfortable taking a picture of them holding our poster, to tag and thank them on Instagram. 

We find this highly effective with independent cannabis dispensaries. More often than not, cannabis dispensaries find themselves struggling to market or advertise due to strict C-45 laws. 

Tagging a picture of a Budtender holding a poster of your event while thanking them for supporting local music is a compliant-win-win for all. 


The answer to this question is simple. If Joe Strummer of the Clash handed out handbills his entire career, you have no excuse. Unless you also revolutionized punk rock.