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Ask This Question Before You Hire Entertainment

Good morning all! I hope you have had your coffee and a doughnut or two. One of my commenters from a previous post (How To Hire The Wrong Entertainment) brought out such a good point, that I felt it important to point out in today's post (Thanks, Bob). The following question can save an event planner, particularly a newer planner, a lot of grief. After all, a planner is often expected to know the ins and outs of the entertainment industry . . . and the hospitality industry . . . and the travel industry . . . in addition to their own, all while staying up on the latest event trends, technology, and safety protocol. Yeah, basically, they are super heroes.

Before you sign a contract . . .

"May I please see a copy of your Tech Rider?"

You have likely already agreed on a price quote, but if the entertainer has a long list of technical needs, this can greatly change your budget. Here are a few things that a performer might have in their rider that can give you a heart attack if you aren't expecting them:

- Staging (Check the dimensions)

- Rehearsal / Sound Check (this can add significantly to your venue rental costs and any hourly technician costs)

- Pipe & Drape

- Backline / Large Instruments (For example, have you calculated the cost of grand piano rental and tuning?)

- Dressing Tent(s), fans, etc. (particularly if outdoor)

- Pro Audio (This can be pretty detailed and have special requirements beyond basic conference A/V)

- Projection / Video

- Lighting (If the entertainer requires special lighting, ask for a Lighting Plot.)

- Hospitality (Meals on site add to your cost, but help things run on schedule - imagine 12 band members searching for food in a new city)

- Parking (this is important in major cities with limited parking - the artist might expect reserved / pre-paid parking for multiple vehicles)

- Ground Transportation (depending on the size of the group and amount of gear, this can get pricey)

These are a few examples - feel free to post more. Your comments always enhance the article.

If the Tech Rider pushes your budget over the edge, it is always an option to ask the entertainer if they have a more technically streamlined version of their show. For instance, the act I perform in, has a basic rider up to a full theatrical rider to accommodate various venue types and needs.

Always remember an experienced entertainment group will be upfront about their technical needs - they want the show to be a good a experience for all. If you feel there are big ticket details being slipped in at the last minute, that is cause for concern. If you are nervous about booking, you might consider working with a reputable booking agency - you will pay more, but they will know the right questions to ask.

Feel free to ask questions or post comments - If I don't have the answer, I'll bet one of my readers will. Happy booking!

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