How to: Incorporate Live Entertainment into your Event
Venue - check, food - check, enough beer and champers to last you through the night - check, bunting/baubles/banners - check, but there’s still something missing… Your guests are only going to be entertained by the aforementioned until their appetites are satiated, and then what? Bring on the real show! Live entertainment is a great way to ensure your guests are engaged throughout the entire event, and hopefully will provide a night/day to remember. If you’ve never moved in the same circles as a musician, magician or three-piece acrobatics act however, where on earth do you go to find said performers?
Decide the genre of entertainment suitable for your event
First thing’s first, who can you picture entertaining your guests? What fits in with the branding of your function? If it’s a corporate crowd who’s attention you want to catch, a jazz band or acapella group will most likely fit well with your theming. If it’s an ostentatious birthday bash or an extravagant Christmas cocktail party then maybe you want to look into DJs, roaming magicians, cover bands or a sing-along piano man, because when hasn’t a group rendition of “Sweet Caroline” brought a party to life?
Know your budget and event space
Before approaching your dream ABBA cover band, it’s important to know how much of your event budget you are able to allocate towards entertainment. If you’re going through an agency factor in the extra cost this will incur, and if you choose to go it alone make sure you do your research so you’ve got a wide range of options and will be ready to deal directly with the performers at the top of your list. You also need to check with your venue what facilities they provide in terms of stage/performance space, an up to date PA system, noise restrictions etc. Is there even enough space to host the 20-piece a capella group you’ve got your eye on?
Get in touch with musician/magician/three-piece acrobatics act
Now you’ve decided on who best to entertain your guests, it’s time to approach them and ask if they’re actually willing to do it. Sounds as nerve-wracking as asking your favourite celeb for a selfie in the restaurant you just spotted them in, right? Approaching performers is not as scary as it sounds, it’s what they’re there to do after all. There are two ways to go about it. The first is through an agency, which comes with the advantage of experience, industry contacts, and speed, but the disadvantage of costing extra. The other way is to go directly to the source. Most performers will have either a website or Facebook page with the relevant contacts for management, press and bookings. Send a message to the booking agent with the details of your request, including date, time, location and audience capacity to save to-and-fro-ing of emails and get an answer asap. Once you’ve locked them down, ensure you plan a call sheet with enough time for them to set up before the event, and then go, enjoy, sing along because good times never felt so good as with a bit of live entertainment!