Over the years I have booked many different types of entertainment for events I have been asked to organise. I once booked a caricaturist that pretty much offended everyone he drew. I also booked a band that thought they were The Beatles, bringing way to much kit, throwing a strop when they saw the small stage and generally acting like divas. I’ve booked entertainment that has brought the house down and entertainment that has made people leave the conference. So all in all I can definitely give you a few tips when it comes to booking entertainment for your events.
It can be easy to spend a lot of money on entertainment at dinners, parties and conferences so make sure you are given a suitable budget. Also make sure the powers that be have realistic expectations regarding the entertainment. You might be able to hire a singer that was briefly on the X Factor but you are probably not going to have the budget to hire One Direction.
2. What do the audience want?
When it comes to booking entertainment you must think about the type of attendees that will be at your event. If they are a conservative crowd they probably aren’t going to enjoy a risqué comedian or an act that relies heavily on audience participation. Similarly, a young crowd probably aren’t going to enjoy a classical music quartet.
3. How big is the space?
The amount of space you have will definitely have an impact on the type of entertainment you book. I’ve been to a few events where the band are way to close to the audience and it is uncomfortable for both the audience and the band. I went to an office Christmas party a few years ago which had a Chinese theme. The entertainment was a Chinese dragon and accompanying band – the whole thing was so loud a lot of my colleagues had to leave the hall. Do think about the space you have to play with. If it is only a small conference / banquet hall think about hiring an entertainer that doesn’t take up much space and isn’t too loud.
4. The duration of the entertainment
If the event is quite long it is a good idea to hire a few different types of entertainment rather than one large act. If you are hosting a gala dinner something between courses might work well.
5. Be wary of comedians
It can be hard to assess what your audience may or may not find funny. Some people might find a controversial comedian entertaining, others may simply be offended. If you are certain you want a bit of light relief, there are some comedians that do the corporate circuit so hire a well know name in the industry.
6. Tailor for your organisation
Entertainment at events can cost quite a bit so don’t be afraid to ask your act to tailor their routine to suit your organisation. Ask them to throw in a few relevant gags or include the CEO in any audience participation (if your CEO is that way inclined!)
7. Carry out a risk assessment
If you have hired, for example, an acrobatic act it is well worth reviewing your organisation’s insurance and go through a risk assessment with your venue. The entertainment act that you hire can certainly affect the risk involved with organising events.
8. What effect will the entertainment have on the timing of your event?
If your act has a lot of kit or takes a while to set up this will have an impact on the amount of time you need at the venue. It might mean that you have to pay your venue for access to the space prior to the event and also afterwards so that the act can set up and dismantle their gear. Find out from the entertainment act exactly how much time they require and then check that your budget can include these additional costs.
9. Tried and tested is okay
Sometimes tried and tested is a bit boring and a bit safe but when it comes to entertainment acts tried and tested is okay. It can be hard to keep attendees and guests entertained especially at long gala dinners or after a two day conference so booking a well known, well loved entertainer is the right thing to do.
10. See your entertainers perform
There are quite a few corporate entertainment open evenings so it is well worth going along to those if you do book corporate entertainment regularly. Otherwise try to see a video or an example of the performance your artist gives. It is a good idea to know what you are pay for. If you are interested in booking an artist, with enough notice you should be able to see them perform.
It can be a little scary deciding which type of entertainment you want for your event. It can also be a decision that is put off to the last minute because you have tons of other pressing decisions to make. That is why it is worthwhile working with an events company that have experience in this area. IA Productions are an events company who have been producing bespoke and innovative entertainment for high profile clients around the world for the last 20 years.
Along with an extensive database of the worlds best specialty acts, singers, musicians and entertainers they can also offer a full range of production services and creative design. All of which means that you can get on with organising the event, looking after the attendees and making sure everything runs smoothly. You might even get a chance to sit down and enjoy the entertainment! To get a feel for what IA Productions can create, here is a little video: