10 Questions to Ask Before Booking the Entertainment

October 12, 2022 Jessica Stewart

Entertainment can make or break your New York event. Book the wrong event entertainment or mediocre entertainment, and it’s all your attendees will remember. So, before officially booking the live band, the DJ, or the event entertainer, make sure you’re asking all the right questions. Follow this list of questions for inspiration in creating your own checklist and guaranteeing you’re working with the best-fit event entertainment every time.

1. Have You Worked These Types of Events Before?

Regardless of the type of event entertainment, you’re looking to book, you’ll always want to ask about previous experience with your event type. If you’re planning a corporate event, you’ll want entertainers who have experience with a corporate crowd. Similarly, if you’re planning a New York bar/bat mitzvah, you’ll want an entertainer who understands the dynamics of a bar/bat mitzvah. Having previous experience will ensure they understand the expectations associated with your event type.

2. Do You Have Your Own Equipment?

This is an essential question to better understand what type of performance to expect. For example, you might expect a dazzling light display and disco balls with your DJ service. Asking this question will allow you to dive deeper into what equipment the entertainer has, intends to bring along, and charges for on the final bill.

3. What Is Your Timeline to Set Up and Tear Down?

Have the discussion with any event entertainment option about the required time to set up and tear down. You’ll need to coordinate with your venue for appropriate access. And this question allows you to better understand what extras the entertainer might need from you.

4. Do You Have a Rider?

Live performers and entertainers who plan on being available or on stage for more than two hours might have terms about partaking in the event meals and beverages. Celebrity entertainers may have conditions outlined in the contract about what accommodations need to be prepared. But non-celebrity guests might just be fine with jumping in to grab a plate or refilling their beverages. Ask, though, so you know what each expects and so you can budget accordingly.

5. How Long Will You Perform?

Your event entertainment may arrive before the event begins and intends on leaving after the event ends. But do be diligent about itemizing actual stage or performance times. This might include conversations about encore performances or emcee assistance prior to performing. 

6. Do You Have Power or Wi-Fi Requirements?

If your New York event is outdoors in a remote location, certain power demands might not be readily available. Know what your venue has to offer in terms of power, backup, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Then, before booking your event entertainment, ask the performers what power requirements or connectivity extras they need.

7. What Are Your Charges and Payment Timelines?

This inquiry might seem like an obvious question for a savvy New York event planner like you. But it’s worth mentioning. Drilling down the payment details, timelines, deposits versus final checks, etc., is essential. Ask, too, about additional fees or charges they’ve charged in the past, so you know how to budget properly.

8. Do You Have Any Restrictions About Performing?

Not all event entertainers are alike. Some may have restrictions about the type of music they’ll play, for example. Others might not be willing to accept music requests from guests. Make it a habit of asking about any non-negotiable restrictions an entertainer might have so you know how to gauge and set up the experience expectations with guests.

9. Can You Share References?

Most qualified entertainers will have a portfolio of videos or examples of their past performances. But don’t stop there. Ask if they can provide references of similar event clients you can contact. Follow up and make sure the past experiences were just as incredible as the entertainer says they are. 

10. What Are Your Contingency Plans?

One key aspect of your job as the event planner is to contingency plan. You have a backup itinerary for everything from last-minute speaker cancellations to meal service hiccups. Don’t forget to inquire about contingency plans with your entertainment. If a preferred DJ can’t make it, will the company provide another DJ? What does the company do if there is a mechanical problem with microphones, lighting, or musical instruments? Work with those who are just as diligent about contingency planning as you are. And make sure you understand any refund policies in those instances, too.

Before booking your New York event entertainment, make sure you’re asking these questions. You’ll improve your overall ability to align your events with the best-fit entertainers every time, with fewer surprises and concerns.

For more advice about vetting event vendors, learn from the best by attending The Event Planner Expo! And follow our blog series for more insights and tips event planners need to be successful!

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