As a meeting planner, planning ahead for your entertainment's logistical
requirements can help make your own experience much more enjoyable.
When you are arranging the details of an event, one of the most
important issues is to plan ahead and get as much completed as possible
before the entertainers or their crew arrives at the venue to set-up.
If each person associated with your event has a clear understanding
of what to expect from one another, and what each party requires,
your job will be much easier at the actual time of the event. If
you have fewer questions to answer and fewer decisions to make as
the event draws closer, the better your chances of having an enjoyable
experience for everyone.
These issues are based on the particular needs of your client,
your entertainers, the venue, and yourself. Some of the solutions
to these actual issues will be supplied to you with a rider that
explains the entertainer's particular needs. Many of these also
apply to multi-media presentations. Remember, some of them are negotiable
and may even affect the fee of the entertainment.
1. Stage Size-Space/Dance Floor
A band or performer should supply you with a diagram or the dimensions
of the space they need for their performance. Also, the height of
the stage is an issue if there are no easy ways to get the heavy
musical equipment up onto the stage. If you are planning to have
a dance floor, this stage size information will help you plan for
the proper dance floor placement and size. A dance floor too large
sometimes is not inviting and will keep the seated people too far
away from the stage. Getting convention services to move, rebuild,
or resize a stage is not something you want to do at the last minute.
Storage behind the bandstand is an important issue to many entertainment
acts, as well as any audio visual or multi-media presentation. If
you are having a stage installed, this type of information will
help you place it in the best location to allow for back-stage storage
and operational necessities.
2. Power, Sound, and Lighting Requirements
Many small bands do not require any special power requirements.
Generally, a dedicated 30amp circuit will do the job, but this is
something that needs to be discussed with the entertainers.
If you are using a large act with many technical requirements,
make sure you get their information as soon as possible. It is likely
that the sound and lighting crew will need you to block off a small
portion of the venue for their equipment's location.
3. Room set-up diagram
When your performers arrive at the jobsite, they will need to know
before setting up the band's musical gear exactly where they should
be. Just because a stage may be set up in the venue does not always
tell the whole story. Will the stage be for multiple uses? Will
there be a podium? Is there easy access to the stage for speakers?
It takes hours for an entertainment act to set-up and tear down,
so having them move their equipment so your audience can view a
speaker, other act, or special presentation is not feasible. A copy
of the room diagram before arriving would do a good job of informing
them, or having someone on-site to make sure they know where to
set up is very helpful. Many large big name acts are very particular
about the room set-up and will not allow anything to be in front
of them, behind them, or obstructing their show in any way. If you
are planning to hang any banners or backdrops, have them placed
before the entertainer's crew shows up. Also, any small incidental
decorating on the stage such as the addition of plants should be
done after the act has completed their equipment setup.
You may be expected to supply the entertainment with more than just
a stage and dance floor. Some acts will supply you with a very specific
list of musical or stage gear they need. Developing a relationship
with suppliers in the area will help you here. Some acts may have
their equipment flown-in or shipped-in to your venue. In this case,
they may need you to handle the receiving, transport, and storage
of this equipment before their arrival.
If your entertainment is from a different city, you may be required
to arrange for their accommodations. Your event may be in a hotel
property and you may choose to get rooms for the entertainers at
that same property, but you are not required to do so. Some musicians
prefer to be in a "drive-up" motel for many reasons. They are able
to keep a closer eye on their expensive musical equipment outside
their room and they are not faced with bellmen, valet parkers, and
front doors men expecting a tip for every service performed.
Confirmation numbers are very important. Most hotels and motels
operate best and most efficiently when the entertainers are able
to give them a confirmation number at check-in. Do a last minute
check to make sure the property understands that the payment for
the rooms is not to come from the entertainers. Also, are you allowing
the entertainers to charge food, beverage, or other special services
to the room such as admittance to the hotel gym? They also may need
dressing rooms supplied at the venue with very particular items
that should be specified in their rider.
6. Loading Dock, Move In, Set-up, Sound Check
Performers move their stage gear in many different ways. Some musical
acts travel with a road crew, eighteen-wheel tractor-trailer, and
require a full-blown loading dock. Other groups simply carry their
equipment in a small truck or van. One thing is common; they all
need security clearance, to know where to unload, when to set-up,
what load-in path has no steps, and when it is convenient to take
a sound check. Making sure the stage is in place before they arrive
is an important issue for you to coordinate, as well. Almost every
piece of equipment that an entertainment act uses is very heavy.
Finding them a path into the property that has no steps is very
important to the set-up crew.
Be sure to ask the venue if you are required to follow any particular
guidelines that may pertain to the set-up or operation of your shows
or presentations. Also, ask if you are required to carry any particular
kind of insurance, not only for your entertainers, but any other
crew that is a part of your event. If there is a specified time
for sound checks, make sure there are not events in neighboring
rooms that will be disturbed by the sound checks. Also, if you or
the venue is supplying the sound and lighting crews, make certain
they understand when the entertainer expects to do a technical rehearsal.
7. Parking passes, building passes, and meal
Some venues or events require special passes for meals, parking,
and for using the back-of-the-house areas of the facility. Making
sure the entertainers have these passes before they arrive will
relieve you of a possible big headache. If the event is in a high
security venue such as an athletic stadium, it can take hours for
the entertainers or set-up crew to convince security that the entertainers
and crew are expected and have been properly cleared.
8. Security of equipment
If your entertainer's equipment will be left in the venue overnight
or for any extended period of time, you may want to supply the room
with some kind of dedicated security.
- Stage dimensions
- Stage height
- Dance Floor dimensions and placement
- Backstage storage
- Adequate Power to stage
- Location of Sound and Lighting technicians
- Room set-up diagram
- Room set-up approved by big name act
- Place banners and backdrops before the entertainers set-up
- Additional incidental stage decorations
- Podium for speakers
- Multi-media presentations placement
- On-Site contact person
- Other gear requested
- Airport or shipped equipment storage and transport
- Accommodations confirmation numbers
- Accommodations method of payment
- Rooms only or food and beverage included
- Dressing rooms at the venue
- Load-in time and place
- Technical rehearsal
- Parking passes
- Security clearance
- Building passes
- Meal tickets
- Additional security needed at venue