After 15 years of performing at live events, I can honestly say I’ve been in almost every single type of venue and performance situation where the unexpected can happen. Planning an event can be stressful, and there’s no reason that hiring an entertainer should be on the list of stressors. I am here to give you my Top Five Entertainment Planning Tips for your event. These tips are based on what I’ve seen and experienced performing magic and mind reading at corporate events across the US.
This guide is a quick overview of best practices. You should also note that when you book me, or another professional act, you should be given what’s called a “Technical Rider” which outlines all of the specifics for your venue and production team to follow, and should eliminate all the guesswork. It is important to follow the rider to ensure you set your entertainer up for success.
Here are my Top 5 Event Planning Tips
1. Have a quality sound system for your entertainer, don’t rely on the DJ’s equipment
Poor sound is one of the biggest culprits of ruining a quality show at a live event. Of course, it should go without saying that the best case scenario for any event is to have a dedicated sound technician or an audio-visual (A/V) team. Luckily, there are other options in case your venue or budget doesn’t allow for a full A/V crew.
Having a dedicated PA system is a great second best. This ensures that sound will carry properly throughout the room. These can be rented inexpensively through a local supplier, or sometimes even through your venue. Some entertainers travel with their own sound equipment. For someone like myself, who is often traveling in planes, trains, and automobiles, it is unrealistic to bring a sound system with me to every gig. It is much simpler to plan your sound ahead of the event.
Two common sound system mistakes:
- Using the venue’s in-house speaker systems – These can be funky, outdated, or simply have terrible sound quality. But, not all are like this. Some are absolutely state of the art and a great option to use. If the system is updated and sounds great, be sure the entertainer and venue can communicate so they can access the system to run their microphone and/or music at the time of the event. If the venue’s system is old, doesn’t work well, or there won’t be someone on-site during your event to help you use it, do not risk using their system. In reality, it is much more efficient to rent a PA system for the show. But, if your venue does have a great built-in sound system your entertainment can plug into, be sure the venue is aware and that they have someone at the event who can monitor its use. The last thing you want is to show up on the day of the event and no one knows how to use the system. Or, far worse, you or your entertainment misuse it and break something.
- Using the DJ’s system – I’ve been asked countless times to hook up my microphone to a DJ’s sound system. After trying a few times, I can honestly say this is not a good idea at all. I finally had to draw a line in the sand and simply say no. Too often the sound from the DJ booth will not carry properly throughout the venue, or the system may have problems of their own. Asking for this scenario also puts someone like myself at risk to break something in their system since it is not made for this purpose. And while I do carry liability insurance, I don’t wish to use it for something easily prevented. So simply put, do not rely on the DJ’s sound system for your entertainer. Their system works great for getting people dancing on the dance floor, because that is what it is for. It is not a substitute for quality sound for a stage entertainer.