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How to Choose a Venue for Your Entertainment Booking

Our latest guest post comes from Billy Bones, the founder of Booking Agent Info and Celebrity Endorsers, who's letting us into the secrets of matching your venue to your entertainment.

If you’ve ever booked entertainment for an event before, you know that there are a lot of pieces that need to fit together in order to ensure everything goes smoothly. There's the question of whether the event is a good fit for the kind of entertainer (and vice versa), your budget and the cost of the event, the audience, and so on. But there’s one aspect of entertainment booking that gets overlooked far more often than it should, especially considering how much of an impact it can have on the quality of the event and the happiness of the entertainer you’re hiring: the venue.

Your choice of venue can make or break your entertainment booking and, along with it, the event itself, so it’s crucial that you pick the right venue for your event and the entertainer you want to perform. Here are a few things you need to consider to maximize your odds of pulling off a successful event.

Entertainers at The Blues Kitchen

Credit: The Blues Kitchen

What Does The Venue Offer?

When it comes to established musical acts, there’s a lot more to their performance than just showing up, plugging in and dazzling the crowd. More often than not, their booking contracts will include what’s known as a “rider,” a sort of supplemental contract that highlights all the little details that will help ensure they put on a good show for the audience. These little details include the equipment that the entertainer needs for their performance, and this is where your choice of venue can have a big impact. You should consider what kind of equipment the venue has in-house; that could be audio equipment, lighting, or stage setups.

Space at Under the Bridge

And it’s not as if the artist will just do without certain equipment if the venue doesn’t have it — they’ll expect you to provide it for them. Ultimately, you’ll be responsible for renting any equipment the artist needs, and depending on how much you have to rent, equipment rental can drive your costs way up in a heartbeat. On top of that, if you book a venue that isn’t big enough to accommodate all the things the artist needs for their performance, you can risk losing the entertainment booking or having to change venues at the last minute. And neither of those are something you want to deal with on top of all the other planning you have to do.

Where Is The Venue?

Another thing to consider is the location of the venue. Although more remote venues can be less expensive from your end, you might be limiting your options by choosing a venue in the middle of nowhere. If a venue is really out of the way, top-tier entertainers may not be interested in travelling to it.

The entertainer’s contract rider usually also lays out their requirements for their accommodations and travel. As the event booker, you’re responsible for covering those costs, and if your venue is really far out of the way, your costs could skyrocket. For one thing, a venue that’s not near any major airports means the entertainer’s flights will be more expensive. For another, if the entertainer has to stay at a hotel an hour away from the venue, your cost of getting them to and from the venue will be much higher as well.

Stage at the Alexandra Palace

When searching for a venue, you should also check with the entertainer’s agent or manager to see if they’re subject to what’s known as a “radius clause,” which basically stipulates that an entertainer can’t perform within a certain radius of another concert. This is done to avoid the artist from performing in the same area at the same time, which limits the number of people that will buy tickets to each of their shows. So if you have an entertainer in mind, it’s a good idea to confirm whether they have a radius clause and whether there are any other concerts in the area that might cause the entertainer to violate that clause before you select the venue.

Is It The Right Space For Your Event?

Finally, you need to consider the physical space of the venue itself. There are a few reasons why this is so important, so let’s take a look at the major ones:

1. Physical Layout

Some venues are better-suited than others to host events that are centred around entertainment. A venue with an open floor plan that offers clear, unobstructed views of where the stage is (or where it will be) is a much smarter option than one with lots of corners or angles. Remember, if you want your entertainment booking to be a success, your audience and the performer both need to enjoy the show, and it’s a lot more difficult to do that if they can’t even see each other.

Main space at Bush Hall

2. Backstage or Private Areas

The entertainer’s rider usually also stipulates what the entertainer needs when they’re at the venue but not performing. This includes food and drinks, but it also includes something more important: a private area for them to prepare. Most established entertainers aren’t going to be comfortable getting ready to perform in a hallway or a bathroom, and you don’t want them being distracted or disturbed by the people at your event before or after their performance. The entertainer will need a private place to unwind, so it’s important that the venue you choose has a space that will only be accessible to the entertainer and their team.

3. Venue Size

As an event booker, you know how important it is to limit your costs wherever you can. That might mean choosing a venue that costs less because it has a lower capacity, but picking the wrong-size venue can impact the quality of your entertainment booking. If an established act is used to performing for thousands of fans, they might not be too excited about the prospect of performing for an audience of a couple hundred people.

Main space at the Roundhouse

Furthermore, a smaller venue might mean a lower cost up front, but it also limits the number of people who can attend the event, and when the audience size is limited, it means you have less opportunity to recoup your expenses. As a result, you’ll have to raise prices to avoid losing money; raise your prices too high, though, and you might see a drop-off in the number of people willing to shell out to attend your event. When selecting your venue, you should already have a clear expectation of how many people will be attending the event. This will help you avoid booking a space that’s too large or too small for your purposes.

4. Acoustics

Lastly, if you’re considering a musical act, you need to take into account the acoustics of any potential venue. Musicians want to put on the best show possible for the people at the event, and acoustics can make or break how their performance is received. So if you’re thinking of booking a musical act, you should consider a venue that’s known for hosting concerts (instead of, say, a convention hall).

Performers at Troxy

Keeping these factors in mind will help ensure that the main highlight of your event (the performance) goes as well as it can. And if you pick the right venue, not only will the event go more smoothly for you, but it’ll be a positive experience for the entertainer — and the people
attending your event.

Billy Bones is the founder of Booking Agent Info, which provides brands with the contact information for the official agents, managers, and publicists of influencers and celebrities. He also runs Celebrity Endorsers, which provides brands with influencer data including past endorsements, interests, and the charities and causes that they support.


Amy Stroud

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