The event 360 blog
Music to our Ears – Booking Event Talent
By Janelle Banuska
With the ever-competitive world of events, investing time and resources in booking top-notch talent for a musical performance can definitely impact your attendance and overall event results, or as we like to say in the music biz…”kick things up to eleven.” Given different genres and performer pricing, here are some things to keep in mind when you are signing musical talent.
First, establish realistic budget parameters for what you are able to spend on talent. Anticipated costs should include the performance fee itself along with potential travel costs (air, ground and hotel) for the talent and crew, stage-gear/backline rental per the artist’s specifications, incidentals to satisfy the artist’s contract rider, and all of your production expenses (sound, lighting, staging). Along with these items, you’ll want to also ensure that your security plan is up to par including police, security staff, fencing and barricade.
Second, look at your target demographics and assess what artists would be appealing to your audience. This assessment should include both new event attendees as well as past event participants. You will want to select an artist or group that has crossover appeal, and will be palatable for the core constituents that sustain your event year after year.
Third, make a list of the top four potential artists for your event. It is important to know that there will be many contributing factors as to whether an artist will be available to perform – a tour schedule, previously booked engagement, or recording schedule may be barriers to getting a yes. Budget can also be a constraint. Working with a talent buyer is very helpful not only in securing the artist and navigating the contract, but also contacting the key players representing the artist to gather the above information. Check out this great article from Event Sprout on the benefits of working with a talent buyer.
Fourth, look at any pre-existing or potential relationships, personal connections or affinities that an artist may have to your cause. Including a mission-focused letter from your organization’s leadership and offering information on the services your organization provides within the community can be a supportive piece to include with the ask. While most artists are unlikely to waive their costs entirely, a tie to your mission may be a positive contributing factor in their decision to book the gig.
And finally, while producing a show looks like a lot of fun and something anyone can do, there are a lot of very specific and time-devouring details involved in making it a success. A misstep on one of these details can be costly and frustrating, and can quickly make talent acquisition the last thing you’ll want to attempt again. “Learning as you go” would not be on our list of recommendations, so we encourage working with industry professionals to ensure the show runs smoothly both pre and on-event.
Booking a great artist for your event – one that is appealing and pulls in a great crowd of the people you hope to draw – is a fantastic way to grow attendance and leave a lasting impression on your attendees. Bearing in mind the above tips and tricks of the trade, it can be a truly worthwhile investment – one that generates buzz and excitement for your organization. Rock on!
Janelle brings passion for client satisfaction to the Account Management team with a keen attention to project timelines and dedication to ensuring successful events. She currently works on the Florida AIDS Walk & Music Festival for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation as well as the Disabled American Veteran’s 5K Race series.