Event with celebrities? How to book them for your event?
Event planning can be a tricky thing. There’s a lot to manage: securing a venue, organizing all the food and drinks, and making sure you promote the event well enough that people show up – all while remaining on or under budget. A key component to ensuring a successful event is making sure your guests are entertained, which sometimes means you have to add an additional wrinkle to your planning: booking the entertainment. When you add all of these elements together, it can make even the most experienced event planner want to pull their hair out in frustration.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the most important things you should know about booking artists for an event. It won’t be an exhaustive list; every situation has its own little differences, and we don’t want to get you too bogged down in the details. The things we’ll share are what we consider to be the most crucial pieces of the puzzle; if you can get these right, the rest of your planning should go a lot more smoothly. Read on for more information!
Know Who To Contact (And How To Contact Them)
In a perfect world, you would be able to reach out to artists directly and handle all the communications through them; unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in. When you’re trying to book an artist for an event, you’ll most likely be making contact with their agent (or in some rare cases, their manager). In order to give yourself the best odds of securing the artist you want for your event, you need to present yourself as professionally as possible and avoid wasting their agent’s time.
The bad news is, agents are constantly receiving requests from event planners who want to book their clients, which makes it harder to get a response from them. The good news is, a lot of the requests agents receive are from people who either don’t have enough information for the agent to move forward, or people who generally don’t understand how the booking process is supposed to work. Which means that providing as much information as you can (without giving the agent a 10-page email to read) will make you look even more professional by comparison, which increases your chances of getting a response to your request.
At a bare minimum, before reaching out to an agent, you should know which client of theirs you want to book, when and where your event is taking place, who is paying for the event, whether the event is public or private (some artists won’t do public events but are open to private ones, and vice versa), and your budget. Which leads us to our next point:
Spot The Hidden Costs
As any event planner will tell you, budgeting for an event is one of the most important parts of their job. That’s why it’s so important to have a clear, concrete understanding of how much you’ll be spending on an artist booking. A lot of event planners don’t realize that an artist’s performance fee isn’t the only cost associated with getting the artist to perform at their event, and we can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen event planners scrambling to rework their budgets because they didn’t plan for the additional expenses.
On top of the performance fee, event planners are typically responsible for the cost of the artist’s travel, accommodations and transportation to and from the venue (not to mention those of the group they’re traveling with, since artists rarely travel alone), the cost of food and drinks, the cost of any equipment the artist will need for their performance that the venue doesn’t already have, and any other requirements specified in the artist’s contract rider. If you’re booking an artist who isn’t a household name yet, you might be able to bundle those costs together as part of their appearance fee, but we don’t suggest counting on being able to do that.
Negotiation Is Key
When you reach out to an agent and provide your budget for the event, they’ll typically give you a good sense of whether your budget is sufficient for their client; if it’s way off-base, most agents will often suggest other clients of theirs who are more in your price range. But if it’s within an acceptable range, you might need to negotiate a little bit to ensure you don’t spend too much on the booking.
While agents will naturally try to secure the most amount of money possible for their client, you always have room to negotiate. Once you figure out your budget, we suggest taking 10% off the total amount you’re willing to spend on an artist booking and offering that. In some cases, you might get lucky and the artist’s agent will accept; if they don’t, you’ve given yourself a cushion to negotiate a little more. It’s also important not to trust things you find online that mention how much an artist is paid- artists’ fees are kept private, so any figure you see on the internet is likely to be a guess and won’t help you in the negotiation process.
Once you’ve settled on a price that’s fair to both sides, you’ll also want to make sure you send over the contract and deposit for the booking as soon as possible- most agents won’t consider their clients confirmed for an event until they receive a signed contract and a deposit, and the last thing you want to do is lose the artist you set your sights on because you took too long to wrap up the paperwork.
(Good) Talent Buyers Can Help
If you’re feeling a little stuck about who you should contact to book an artist for your event, you can also consider hiring a talent buyer or middle agent. Talent buyers and middle agents specialize in booking artists for events, which means they’ve built up strong relationships within the industry that can help make the process go a lot more smoothly.
As useful as they can be, if you have a limited budget for an event, talent buyers and middle agents may not be a feasible option – it costs money to hire them, and they typically charge a percentage of the overall cost of the agreement (rather than a flat rate). Because talent buyers and middle agents get paid according to the overall agreement amount, that means that they might be a little less willing to negotiate on the artist’s cost; after all, driving down the cost of the agreement means they’ll get paid less. So if you’re on a tight budget for an event, it may be worth the extra effort to handle the booking process yourself.
As we mentioned above, this list certainly doesn’t cover all the little details that come with booking an artist for an event; every event comes with its own unique set of challenges. But with this information, you’ll be able to approach the booking process with a lot more confidence. On top of that, if you can manage these steps, the rest of the challenges will be a lot less stressful.
This article was written by Billy Bones, who is the founder of Bookingagentinfo.com, which is a celebrity contact database that provides event planners with the contact info for the official agents, managers, and publicists of celebrities. He also runs Celebrity Endorsers which helps businesses identify celebrities to work with by tracking celebrity endorsement history, interests, and charitable contributions.