You have your date, you have your venue, your caterer, now what?
The most important aspect is creating the right atmosphere for your guests, which means among other things selecting professional entertainment.
Without it, you event will not live up to its potential, or in a worst case scenario it can completely tank and be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
The first step is to identify your objective.
Most likely you and your guests want to be:
– feel excited
– have memorable experiences
– create togetherness
Be very aware of stagnant bands and DJ’s who have an ‘old’ mindset
Indicators of that are:
– no new additions to their music libraries / playlists in months
– ‘false’ referrals on their web site by their friends (not hand written by actual clients)
– old equipment (which can break down at any moment)
– same tired repetivive ‘cookie cutter’ recipe for every event
– requesting breaks every 45 minutes (not considerate about the flow of the event)
– take pauses between every song, tunes don’t mesh together (which also breaks the flow)
– all music sounds the same (there is only one or maybe two vocalists)
– long intros and long instrumental solos, (to ‘kill’ time, songs are drawn out too long)
– musicians jamming with each other, not playing for YOUR audience / DJ’s playing THEIR favorite songs
While this was kind of ‘just all right’ in the past and those old souls might still be trying to get one more gig, it does not cut it anymore for successful events 2016 and beyond.
What you are looking for is someone at the front edge, leading the charge to make your event truly unique and new for you and your guests.
The entertainers at your event need to be well versed not only with with traditions but also modern day equipment and the latest music production techniques.
You would not choose to partner with a business who’s employees have to use last millennia computers with dial up modems, yet many bands and DJ’s have not upgraded their equipment (and attitudes) since then.
They show up with two speakers on a stick, which were already obsolete in 1999 and an old mixing board. Many DJ’s and bands do not even have any back up equipment set up, should something go down.
Besides having new and reliable professional equipment, the lead person you hire should be very motivated designing the musical flow of your day and help producing your event to insure recognition for you and your guests or family and that person also will know who the real stars of the show are.
Nowadays bands and DJ’s have the equipment and know how to get ‘inside’ the music and not only are they able to change repertoire and set lists, but even song arrangements and tempos to generate the right mood. Cutting out that offensive rap part in the middle of the otherwise perfect song ? Creating a custom arrangement for the first dance at a wedding to avoid that awkward and amateurish fade? Putting a different beat behind a song? Starting a song standard traditionally and then in the middle switching it to a modern danceable groove? No problem at all.
You might ask yourself: Is this too much to expect just from a DJ / Band? How will I be able to find someone with all these qualifications, I don’t have the time, the event is only 6 months away?
First, consult with trusted friends and like minded people, who share and understand your vision, exchange ideas and look on line for inspiration.
When initiating contact with your prospects, be aware that web sites, social media, e-mails and texts will not tell you the complete truth about someone. Many tend to ‘over promise’ (and ‘under deliver’ when it most matters)
Having to rely so heavily on your choice of entertainment to make or break your event, please do yourself a big favor and make that dreaded phone call rather sooner than later. It is the closest thing to a face to face meeting (a FaceTime call actually works also really well) To maximize your time on the phone, you want to identify yourself as the decision maker and most importantly you also want to speak to the person who will actually BE PRESENT at your event. Most likely you will have someone with an entrepreneurial mindset and persuasive salesmanship at the other end of the line at first. Don’t get talked into anything, ask questions and stay with your objective.
After you initiated the contact, take a moment to reflect and ask yourself:
How long did it take to get to speak with the actual person who will be at your event?
How has your interaction been so far with this DJ / Band Leader / Agent / Musician?
Have they been responsive, quickly answering your emails and phone calls?
Did you get a good sense that she or he was being upfront and honest with you when asking spontaneous questions?
Their pre-event behavior will be an indicator of their reliability when the big day comes. Isn’t it always the case that, when things went not as expected, you are able to look back and know that something wasn’t quite right from the very start?
Like in your professional career you want to work with people at your event who are 100% there for you,
are living in the present, are creative problem solvers,
have excellent communication skills,
are highly accountable and results oriented.
Communicate well, never ignore your instincts and you will be able to find the perfect person to trust and team up with you to take your event beyond your wildest expectations!