There is much more to organising your entertainment than simply finding the acts that are appropriate to your objectives, target group and budget. You also need to take account of a number of practical matters. Do you need any permits? What will you do if an artist cancels at the last minute?
Have you really thought of everything? The following check-list will help to reassure you:
- Include your entertainment activities/acts in your general action plan. Indicate clearly when the activities/acts start and finish, and also if there are intervals. Note down who will be accompanying the artists and who will be taking care of stage construction, logistics, lighting and sound, etc. Don’t forget to mention how the different entertainment activities/acts will be linked. Practice these hand-overs in advance.
- Always ask the artists to provide a technical specification, so that you know exactly what equipment they will need and who will provide it. Do you need a stage? How big must it be? Do you need to hire sound and lighting gear or does the artist prefer to work with his/her own? And what about instruments: who hires the piano and who tunes it? Make clear arrangements. Some dj’s also have a technical specification, usually relating to the sound installation (although most of them will bring their own).
- In addition to a technical specification, most artists will also send you a 'rider'. This is a list of the personal requirements of the artist and his/her crew. Some artists will want particular types or brands of food and drink. Others expect a chill-out area, a shower, etc.
- Some acts need a strong and reliable power supply. Check that the infrastructure of your venue can provide this. If in doubt, hire an extra generator.
- It is great to have a good Plan A providing nothing goes wrong. Try to anticipate problems and make sure you have an alternative Plan B up your sleeve. This will allow you to cope with unforeseen emergencies such as torrential rain, electricity black-outs and sick performers. As far as the latter are concerned, discuss what will happen in the event of a no-show and write this clearly into their contracts.
- Apply for all necessary permits and permissions in good time, particularly with regard to noise levels. Agree who will take care of any royalties that need to be paid.
- Remember to consider the security implications of your performance. Famous artists will expect to be guided safely and comfortably to the stage. For (inter)national stars, you may need to take extra security precautions both inside and outside the venue.
- Do not forget to contact the presenters/assistants of any workshops you have planned. Nor should you overlook the need for security at ‘free’ entertainment activities, such as the children’s bouncy castle.
- Discuss the option of extending the duration of a performance. Nothing is so disappointing for your guests as the abrupt termination of an act just when the atmosphere is really starting to buzz. Is the artist prepared to perform a little longer? How much extra would this cost? What effects would any extension have on your action plan?
- Agree who will look after the artists' costumes and props. Is it possible for the artists to dress in a style appropriate to the theme of your evening? Discuss the possibilities.
- Make sure that there are sufficient changing facilities for the number of artists you have booked. Don’t forget to provide clothes racks and hangers, mirrors, refreshments, etc. If necessary, ask if they are prepared to share a changing room.