Booking Entertainment – How to Stretch the Dollar

Booking entertainment is often times one of the most expensive aspects of the meeting or event. I have some tips for getting great entertainers by asking the right questions. If you are looking for a headliner, prepare a few questions before calling the agent. Who do you have performing in the area for your meeting? Is there a performer who is on the road and can be in the area?

Using a headliner who is already in the area saves you travel costs and you can negotiate a lower rate because you have a benefit for the entertainer. They can pick up a gig while performing for another client staying in the same area. You save on airfare for the group.

When looking in a new city where you have no resources, contact a local production company or a 4-5 star hotel and ask for a recommendation.  You always want someone with a good reputation who is capable of contracting and who is a good value and will negotiate with you.

Make sure your agent will handle all of the details; the equipment, sound, and staging, and any permits needed. Ask for all details in writing and make sure you ask if you need to fulfill any items on the rider. Some riders want to bring friends to the party – never say yes! They may ask for upgraded rooms or request top shelf liquor. Many items can be negotiated if you have a good agent, as they can help you with all of this. Always make sure the rehearsal time is available and not interfering with your event/meeting that may be taking place before the event happens. Make sure the entertainer does not stay and party after they perform. It is not a good idea to have them with the audience as unexpected things do happen sometimes.

The agent should know how much the artist will charge if you want to extend the show and you should find out in advance. Sometimes you will find that they are not willing to stay for another set. Be sure to know in advance and inform your client that the artist will not extend and that they cannot have additional time. If they can, tell them the fee before the show.

After selecting your artist, insist they provide you with current videos of their current shows and playlists. This is a must to be sure that you are getting the right shows, attitude, and to see how the band interacts with the audience. Ask what they will wear to your event if it is a formal party and be sure they are informed about choice of dress – classy or causal. They should have a variety of outfits according to the show.

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