All corporate event planners wear a number of hats when it comes to planning. Project managers, accountants, designers, and so much more and while we are not lawyers we deal with a lot contracts.
I have been so very fortunate to work on events that have included some big name entertainment acts over the years. While I love this aspect of planning, there are things I always share with my corporate clients to keep in mind, when considering any entertainment, especially big name bands.
Corporate Event Contracts
While we are not lawyers, we should be involved in reviewing contracts, especially if before they are signed. We need to be aware of some of the key deliverables for our entertainment.
This may include:
- hotel rooms
- ground transportation
- merchandise sales
Some other big items that we look for in the hospitality riders are:
- expectations around green rooms
- requests for meal breaks and possible meal buyouts
- requests for specialty items like batteries and towels
- Alcoholic beverages
I always try to remind my clients about the fact that these riders are considered part of the legal binding contract and they are negotiable as long as we negotiate BEFORE SIGNING.
Most of the contracts, big acts provide are what I would refer to as “boiler plate” – meaning built for these acts when they tour large venues. Therefore, we need to remind them that the venues we have are not stadiums and may not include all the amenities they have become accustom to.
I always have someone from my technical team review the technical rider portion of the contracts. This is in part due to the fact that I am not a lawyer and I find this portion similar to reading a foreign language
Regardless, here are some of the things that we should tend to look for:
- Stage size and requirements
- Power requirements
- Equipment requirements
- Crew requirements
- Additions like confetti canons, smoke machines etc.
When working in hotel ballrooms and convention centers (and some with limited space), you need to remember that you need to accommodate your guests first. Some of these technical pieces will actually determine if the entertainer your looking for will be a good fit for your event or not. If they are unwilling to bend on any aspects of any of the above – my best advice to you is to find another option.
I could actually write a book about some of the adventures I’ve had working with entertainment. While some are very professional, there is also no shortage of egos. At the end of the day, as corporate event planners, our job is to ensure that we are servicing our clients and not leaving them open to liability.
My final recommendation is:
- Always work with an agent you trust (this is sometimes easier said than done)
- If you don’t understand any part of a contract that you’re signing – seek clarification
- NEVER sign a contract before seeing and reviewing both the hospitality and technical riders
- Everything and I mean everything, is negotiable. Therefore, take the time to make sure that you are happy with what you are paying for
Jennifer James is not a lawyer; therefore, any of advice given (in this blog or previously written blogs) is always subjective. It’s important to work with professionals, including lawyers, agents and event planners when working with Corporate Event Entertainment.