The wrong entertainment can ruin an event and, worse yet, project the wrong image about your organization. The right entertainment creates a positive buzz among participants and a favorable impression about your company or non-profit.
How do you tell right from wrong when booking entertainment? The more you know – both about your event and the talent available – the better off you will be.
1. Know your objective. What do you want your event to say about your organization? Do you want to come across as cutting-edge and daring, or is a more conservative image more appropriate? Choose entertainment that reflects the right image for your company.
2. Know your budget. Entertainment can run as little as $500 for a local act, to well over $1 million for nationally-known talent. Don’t waste time pursuing entertainment that you can’t afford. Set a budget to narrow your choices.
3. Know your audience. Is your audience young, older or a combination? Is it mostly men or women? Will couples be attending, or will you be hosting a crowd of co-workers? Do you want to book an act that will encourage dancing? Will people be relaxed and in a partying mood, or will they be more sedate and professional? If you understand your audience demographics and mindset, you can avoid booking entertainment that might annoy, offend or even bore participants.
4. Know your theme. A 50’s sock hop or a disco ball can be a lot of fun, but your audience may not want to listen to 50’s music or disco for the entire night. Pick an event theme that is broad enough to accommodate entertainment that appeals to a wide range of tastes. Use décor to create your theme. Better yet, select the perfect entertainment first and build a theme around it.
5. Know your production costs. You may be able to afford the talent, but can you afford the cost to produce the show? Many people overlook or may not be made aware of additional expenses associated with lighting, sound system rentals, union regulations, insurance, overtime fees, and stages when they book an act. Make sure you know all your production costs and budget accordingly.
6. Know when to hire a pro. A talent agency is often the fastest – and most economical – source for entertainment for an event. A talent agency can quickly connect you to the best acts in the business and help you choose entertainment that will be right for your event. Talent agencies with experience booking national acts have the expertise necessary to negotiate contracts and, even more importantly, hospitality and performance riders. They can make sure you don’t end up paying for non-essential or duplicated expenses. Talent pros can also clue you in to hot entertainment trends or less expensive routing dates on a specialty act that might turn your function into the “event of the year. "
Dave Tapley is president and owner of Tapley Entertainment, a full service entertainment booking agency headquartered in Coppell, Texas. For more than 15 years Tapley Entertainment Inc. has provided a variety of national acts, entertainers, and musical attractions for corporate functions, private events, and charity fund raisers nationwide.