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An efficient, thorough method for booking entertainment for your next corporate event. This includes booking a band, a solo musician, a duo, trio, or other live performer. The rules are pretty much the same for each in terms of the booking process.
1. Know your audience.
What is the demographic of your audience? Consider as many factors as you can. It doesn’t have to be a scientific endeavor, but just keep in mind who will be at your event and what they may like and dislike. Will your attendees be coming by themselves or with signifiant others and/or friends? What is the age of your audience (mostly millennial/young people? Mostly baby boomers/more experienced professionals? A mix of everything?) Will there be children at the event? Who do you have on your VIP list? Is the crowd a rowdy one or a more laid back one? Once you’ve got a good sense of who’s going to be there, you can being figuring out what type of performer you want.
2. Know your options.
First off, make sure you act is clean and appropriate. Foul comics, sensual/erotic performances, super loud bands and/or innuendo filled comedic routines are going to get cringes and complaints. A “G” or “PG” rated show is your best bet. Most performers are not inappropriate anyways, but it’s something to think about, because if you’re not looking for it beforehand, it’s not good to find out in the middle of the performance. So here are the most popular choices of live entertainment for corporate events:
Band - A high energy and fun choice but even good ones are loud. If you audience wants to dance, then get them, but be weary of volume.
Solo Musician - Live music with more manageable volume. Beautiful, moving and easy to coordinate and great at setting an ambiance without overpowering everything.
Magician - comedy magicians are usually a great choice, just make sure they specialize in corporate events.
Comedian - another good choice but be weary of their routine’s content. Make sure it’s not vulgar or offensive before booking.
Caricature Artist - a low stress option, no volume issues and people actually get a tangible thing to take home when they are done
Cirque Performer - a wild, inspirational experience like no other. One of the biggest acts to coordinate and most risky but it is almost always worth it.
Impersonator - a unique choice that is interactive and surprising. Make sure their character is one the audience will love
3. Find Your Favorite.
Once you know what type of performer you want, then it’s time to go hunting. A google search of “magician for hire” or “solo musician for hire” should bring up some websites with lots of options. Make sure that when you find an act you are thinking about hiring that your act as all of these things:
Professional Website - This is a no-brainer. Every serious professional has a website. Also take note: an outdated website = an outdated act.
You can judge a book by its cover in this situation.
Video/audio of Performance or Talent - You’ll want to see what you’re buying. Watch several videos or if they have a promo video take a good look and make sure you like what you see.
Client Testimonials - The more the better. Specific testimonials are best. These are your assurance that they are professional, reliable and good at what they do.
Experience - 1-3 years is a novice. 3-5 an apprentice. 5-9 a tradesmen. 10+ a master. It’s ideal to get a master of their craft. Ask how long they’ve been performing.
Degree or Professional Training - Would you want the pilot of your plane to have been educated on youtube? Nope. Why would your entertainment choice any different?
4. Get a Quote.
Some entertainers will have a contact form with all the info you need to give them right on their website. This should ask you for the details of your event and allow you to request a quote from your entertainer. If you don’t see one, you can just send them an email. It’s helpful to include your:
Number of guests
Name of Company
Theme of Event
This will help streamline communication and allow them to give you a fast answer. Many serious entertainers won’t even respond without all of this information first. Booking and scheduling takes a lot of time in itself, so for full time performers, there is only enough time in a day to respond to serious inquiries. DO NOT I repeat DO NOT simply book who costs the least amount of money. This will be your event planning suicide. Price is just one of many factors but with entertainment you will get what you pay for. Pinching pennies here has led to nightmare performances and some are actually so bad it in itself is entertaining, but you seriously don’t want a discount train wreck. You don’t have to shell out $20K for your entertainer but if someone is offering to play for $200 you should find someone else. You can ask for references if you are on the fence, but usually a good list of client testimonials should help you decide.
5. Sign the Contract.
Always get a contract. I repeat. Always get a contract. Sometimes there is a terrible accident or an unseen natural disaster and you want to make sure you are legally covered in all the situation to get your money refunded and/or discounted in every applicable situation. If your performer doesn’t use contracts, don’t book them. Some performers request a deposit and some don’t, neither is an indicator of more or less professionalism, just preference, so you don’t need to read into that too much. Generally speaking a deposit benefits the performer and is assurance that the booker won’t cancel on them, but if you are planning a large corporate event, there is very little reason for a performer to be nervous about last minute backing out since corporate events are generally orchestrated by professionals themselves.
Dylan Galvin (Dylan like “Bob Dylan”, Galvin like “Calvin and Hobbes” with a “G”) is a live acoustic singer/guitarist/looping performer in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on Instagram, Youtube and Facebook. To book him for your next event, CLICK HERE
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