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Hudson & Saleeby - America's keyboard and vocal entertainment duo
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Meeting Planners:
Band Logistics
Staging Success
As published in Convention South and Midwest Meetings
Written by Chris Hudson and Doug Saleeby

Other Articles by H&S:

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.

4. Gear
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.

5. Accommodations
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 tickets
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.

Checklist

  1. Stage dimensions
  2. Stage height
  3. Dance Floor dimensions and placement
  4. Backstage storage
  5. Adequate Power to stage
  6. Location of Sound and Lighting technicians
  7. Room set-up diagram
  8. Room set-up approved by big name act
  9. Place banners and backdrops before the entertainers set-up
  10. Additional incidental stage decorations
  11. Podium for speakers
  12. Multi-media presentations placement
  13. On-Site contact person
  14. Other gear requested
  15. Airport or shipped equipment storage and transport
  16. Accommodations confirmation numbers
  17. Accommodations method of payment
  18. Rooms only or food and beverage included
  19. Dressing rooms at the venue
  20. Load-in time and place
  21. Technical rehearsal
  22. Parking passes
  23. Security clearance
  24. Building passes
  25. Meal tickets
  26. Additional security needed at venue
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Hudson & Saleeby is a quality keyboard and vocal duo, the highest quality sophisticated dueling piano show in America, the upmarket and refined dueling piano concept with a focus on quality vocals, a classy presentation, a popular repertoire with a friendly, spontaneous, and entertaining presentation.

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 Hudson & Saleeby
Toll Free - 877-256-0621
Voicemail - 901-763-2928
Chris (901)240-3710
Doug (901)230-4498
 
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