No matter what your event is in aid of, choosing the right entertainment can guarantee you and your guests will remember it for years to come. We don’t need to tell you that when you’re planning an event there’s a million and one things you have to consider. As well as the venue, the guest list, the food, the transport, there’s also the small matter of the entertainment. Choosing the right entertainment can be the difference between an event your guests will never forget and an event you’d rather they soon forgot. So, with that said, let’s see the booking live entertainment tips.
Hiring entertainment is one aspect of event planning that many people seem to find stressful – and no wonder really, with the vast amount of different entertainment options out there sometimes it can be a little difficult to work out where to start. However, fear not, we’ve put together a handy guide on things to consider when booking live entertainment. Let’s break it down.
1. Talk to your venue
We have our favourite ‘booking live entertainment tips’, and this is certainly number one. When booking live entertainment before you do anything, you need to have a frank conversation with your venue. For varying reasons, many venues enforce certain restrictions on entertainment activities so it’s essential you check what your venue does and does’t allow. If you’re reading this blog then I’m guessing live entertainment is a high priority for your event. Therefore, this should be the first thing you check before committing to a venue.
If you’ve already booked somewhere and you’re not sure what they allow, a quick visit to their website or an email to their events coordinator will confirm this. Some venues have a no fire policy, others have height restrictions or noise limitations – each venue is different but it’s a conversation well worth having before the time comes when booking live entertainment can become a problem.
Most entertainers are able to modify their performance to fit within all venue rules and regulations, but they’ll need to know in advance so they can bring along appropriate equipment or alter their act accordingly. There’s nothing worse than booking a fire performer to entertain guests during dinner only to be told that the venue does not allow open flames inside.
2. How far in advance should I book my entertainment?
Second on our list of booking live entertainment tips is that it’s important to think about the time of year you’re planning for. Most full time performers tend to get booked up on peak dates relatively quickly, especially summer weekends. Around 80% of all weddings happen in the six months between May and October, so if your booking during those peak dates don’t leave it too late to confirm, especially if you have your heart set on a particular act.
You may be concerned that a performer you book will cancel before your event or that another another event will steal them away from you for their own party on the same weekend.
To ensure neither of these things happen, make sure you book a reputable full time performer and that you have a legally binding contract in place – that way you don’t have to worry about being let down at the last minute. Some performers offer reduced rates for last minute bookings, so there’s no harm reaching out if you have left things until the final hour however this is obviously a dangerous game to play as you could be left high and dry with no entertainment at all. Would you leave it until the week before to book a wedding photographer?
3. How much does entertainment cost?
It’s a great question, with varying answers. Entertainment can often be overlooked until the last minute, which is a shame considering how important it can be in creating a spectacular atmosphere and a night to remember.
Realistically, entertainment can be expensive so do keep some money to one side if you intend to go for a high quality show. The price you can expect to pay for a performer varies dramatically, ranging from hundreds of pounds all the way up to the tens of thousands of pounds.
A good rule of thumb is, the higher the skill level of the performer, the more you should expect to pay. Other factors include the experience of the performer, the amount of members required for the act and how far they’ll need to travel to get to your venue – travel expenses and accommodation fees soon add up.
The average cost of a professional solo performer generally ranges from £300 to £500. Remember, quality entertainment isn’t cheap, but it can make a great day even more memorable – just don’t expect to get the cast of Cirque Du Soleil for £150!
4. Are my guests going to be up for it?
Great performers will do everything in their power to create a memorable atmosphere. But sometimes people just book things because they think they have to. We call these “tick the box” gigs and they often involve a band playing to an empty dance floor while the guests prop up the bar, drinking Prosecco.
Experts estimate that the average drinking rate at events is 1.5 drinks per guest, per hour. So, if you have 100 drinkers, that’s 150 drinks for every hour. A five hour event for one hundred guests would need 750 drinks.
When booking live entertainment try to think outside of the box to avoid your guests taking up permanent residence at the bar, and book a unique performer that will leave your them taking about it for years to come. You’ve paid for an incredible venue, why not ensure your entertainment is just as memorable.
5. Does my entertainment need to have Public Liability Insurance?
Maybe one of the most important of all booking live entertainment tips is regarding PLI. The short answer is yes. Public Liability Insurance (also referred to as PLI certificates) are required at most venues.
Equity, one of the UK’s largest unions providing PLI for performing artists, currently has more than 47,000 members.
Although it may sound daunting usually you can put the performer in contact with the venue or event planner so they can liaise directly to sort out all the technical details such as Risk Assessments, Health and Safety Reports, PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) certificates and any restrictions that may be in place, like ceiling heights, plug sockets, loading facilities, etc. Otherwise, these are things that should be discussed when booking live entertainment at the very beginning.
6. Is there enough space at my venue for entertainment?
Most people will think its obvious – small venues with no stage can’t accommodate any acts. However if you get creative then you will not be bound by this common misconception when booking live entertainment.
There are lots of different entertainment options that do not require a stage and can be performed on a dance floor. The industry standard dance floor gives 9 sq ft per dancing couple (that’s over 4.5 ft per person), so most venues have already invested in a dance floor area of some kind.
Some acts don’t require a stage at all. Walkabout acts such as Roaming Jugglers are great for drink receptions, and interactive Stilt Walkers can create a unique photo opportunity. Performances do not always even have to take place indoors, why not consider having your guests greeted by an ambient fire show on the main lawn?
Find out how much space (including dance floor area) your venue can provide and take it from there.
7. Be unique
How many times have you been to an event where the only entertainment is a band or DJ churning out songs heard on the radio? …not that there’s anything wrong with that, we like to throw some shapes on the dance floor as much as the next person but if you really want to leave your guests with a lasting impression why not spice things up a little when booking live entertainment. Theme your event, there’s loads of choice out there.
How about booking Belly Dancers for your Arabian Nights themed event, Masked Stilt Walkers for your Masquerade Ball theme, or a Ringmaster Host for your Greatest Showman themed event – the choices are endless.
Having a themed event also opens the door up to themed decorations such as centre pieces, stage decorations, and even themed cocktails. Your guests can even get into the spirit by dressing up too.
Check out the Oddle Entertainment Instagram to see photos from some of our unique themed events and maybe even get a little inspiration too.
8. Give the entertainment feedback
After your event has finished and the hangover is a little more than distant memory, why not give your performers some feedback. Not only is honest feedback useful for an acts development and improvement, but if it is positive feedback, it can also be a great promotional tool for them too.
Everyone loves to hear if they have done a good job, and if they haven’t, then there is room for improvement. After all, you may very well have other peoples recommendations when booking live entertainment, so why not help out those who will come after by sharing your own first hand experience.
There are 58,519 websites in the United Kingdom currently using Trustpilot as their feedback form, your entertainer could be one of them.
9. Book through a trusted agency
When booking live entertainment, going through a reputable entertainment agency brings with it a whole host of benefits. A good agency gathers a wide range of performers making it easier for you to compare different acts all in one place, it also reassures you leaving you safe in the knowledge that each performer is a professional that you can rely on to deliver a high quality performance.
Entertainment agencies are also a godsend if you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for. Experienced advisers will speak to you to get to know about your event and then make knowledgeable suggestions based upon your specific requirements.
These advisers will also talk to the performers on your behalf, so even if you make enquiries about multiple acts, you only have to communicate with a single person.
Another area in which agencies excel is in the security of the booking process. Established entertainment agencies will draw up legally binding contracts between you and your chosen act, giving you the peace of mind that your booking is set in stone.
10. Where can I find the best entertainment?
I’ll let you in on a little secret… If you’re reading this blog post then you’re already on the right track! We’ve shared with you our favourite booking live entertainment tips.
Whether you need advice on choosing entertainment or assistance in the lead up to your event, Oddle Entertainment are on hand to answer all of your questions. Just fill out the form on our Contact Page and one of our Entertainment Co-ordinators will reply ASAP with the advice you need when booking live entertainment.