When planning an event that includes live music, there are several questions you need to ask in advance to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Below is a more detailed version of the questions and answers as to why you need this information. In most cases, the artist can provide you with a technical or a production rider that will outline what they will need in order to perform. You will want to gather this rider in the beginning of the planning process.
1. Power Requirements:
Most guitar amps, power amps, and other equipment require a great deal of power. Running extension cords all over the venue will probably not do the job and you will run the risk of tripping the breakers in the middle of your event or worse. Most times, a dedicated power distribution system is required to make sure enough clean power is available.
2. Sound Requirements:
Is the artist responsible for bringing the sound equipment or are you, the event planner, required to do so? If it is your responsibility, what does the artist require to put on a show? Make sure you ask for a stage plot. A stage plot is a detailed drawing of what the artist requires on stage and how they normally set up. This will be useful when planning how much space you need to clear for the band to set up. Also, it will give the sound company valuable information on what to expect when the artist arrives.
3. Backline Requirements:
Backline refers to the instruments and amps on stage. Drums, guitars, guitar amps, keyboards, pianos, organs, percussion, etc. Believe it or not, lots of bands do not travel with their own equipment and it is the responsibility of the event planner to arrange the proper equipment. You will want to ask for a list of equipment, or backline, and ask about any acceptable substitutions. Then, send that list to a backline rental company. The backline rental company should then call the artist directly and make sure that everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect on show day.
4. Lighting requirements:
Will the artist be providing their own lighting or are you, the event planner, required to do so? If it is your responsibility, you will then need to find out what the lighting requirements will be. This also goes back to the power questions. Professional lighting takes a large amount of power to work properly. A proper power distribution system will provide enough power to cover your lighting, sound, and other needs.
5. Staging Requirements:
Each artist is different, some require more space than others. Find out what size stage works best for them to put on the best show possible. Some travel with more gear than others and require more room to make this happen.
6. Parking Requirements:
Will your artist be arriving in a van or a bus? Will they be pulling a trailer? You will need to make sure the artist has convenient access to a load-in point as close to the stage as possible. After loading in they will need a safe, convenient space large enough to accommodate the size of their transportation. This load-in point will also need to be available directly after the show.
7. Song List:
Ask the artist to send you a detailed song list in advance so you can ensure the subject matter is appropriate for your clients. Agreeing on subject matter in advance will save you from any embarrassing positions at the event.
8. Lodging Requirements:
Will you be providing adequate hotel rooms for your artist or will they be responsible for finding their own rooms? Many times, this is the promoter’s responsibility but it can be negotiated in the contract.
Does your event allow artists to sell their merchandise? If so, they will need a dedicated space to set up a display and tables. For many artists, merchandise sales are vital to surviving as a company. If the event allows, it is a commonly good gesture to accommodate the artist with a well lit space in a high traffic area.
We hope this helps answer a few questions you may have about booking a live artist. After all, the more you know, the better the show.