Performance venues are really opening up, so here comes all the BIG events that people were not able to do in 2020. We are talking about weddings, anniversaries, big birthday celebrations, bar/bat mitzvahs, corporate parties, conventions….and every holiday under the sun!
Who books these types of events?
Mostly official party planners and the group sales person at high end hotels book entertainment for these events; many book 6 months to a year in advance. Are these type of events booking only their old roster? Some are, but many are looking for some new comers…that could be you!
Let’s talk about if you want to get involved in these types of gigs. Yes, if you want to be a wedding band, you are going to have to learn A LOT of cover material! Plus be open to learn some requests that you many not know. This means you need some great musicians who can read music and learn quickly!
But I am not just talking about you becoming a cover band. These special events need all kinds entertainment. Let’s say you play instrumental piano, acoustic flamingo guitar, Hawaiian ukulele, harp or you are a very good singer. Especially for receptions, dinner hour, music as the bride walks down the isle, or even upbeat music for a fashion show, you could be just what they are looking for! Think theme music! You may think this is just background music, but your music skills can really set the mood for whatever tone the event wants to portray.
FOR EXAMPLE: My friend is on the planning committee for United Airlines Alumni Annual convention. There are so many that attend this event, this group will take over the entire hotel. The planning committee sits with the Group Sales person, at the hotel, and the sales person share a different activities they want to have. These Sales people have an arsenal of entertainment they can provide for the company.
This one event has 3 days and 4 nights of activities. The first night there is a nice dinner and then need an acoustic player to play 60 minutes at the reception before the dinner; after dinner they want to have fun so they hire a DJ that who will play a variety of music for about an hour.
Day 1. There is a lunch and a jazz trio can play 10 minutes before lunch, and play for about 40 minutes softly during the lunch. That evening, the hotel has a Hawaiian band that will perform for about 90 minutes after the meal.
Day 2. The participants have lunch and dinner on their own but they have a happy hour with a bar & some food set up in a smaller room and want a piano player and a singer who sings jazz.
Day 3. Lunch is on the patio so they love the idea that a flamingo guitar player would play during the entire lunchtime. That night, they pull out all the stops, one more acoustic player for the reception and a full, fun cover band to play 2 hours after their last dinner event!
We are talking about hiring 7 musical groups…the solo/duos getting $1500 each, Trio $1800, DJ and 2 full bands each receiving $3000 to $6000 each. Estimated total: $15,000 for 4 nights of entertainment! That is not an unusual budget for some of these BIG annual conferences! How many of these type of events does it take to make a living? Maybe just enough to help fund your original music project.
Also, a wedding band may play 3 to 4 hours of music & direct the activities, like the first dance and the cutting of the cake. That is a lot of music for one events! BUT….some wedding bands are getting $5000 to $8000 a night for that kind entertainment. Why is the wedding band being paid so much? Think about it….the cake is costing $3000 to $5000 all by itself! These corporate gigs is where there are lots of zeros at the end of their final budget numbers! Corporations can afford it!
GETTING THE GIG!
Whether you are a solo musician, or a specialized music group, before approaching the party planner or hotel event planner, here is what you need to have:
- PHOTOS. Full artist/ band photos with your instruments.
- AN OFFICIAL WEBSITE. Hopefully with photos of parties with your act performing in front of fun audience. On the website: a bio, a list of the some of the songs you play for special events, a few recommendations and, MOST IMPORTANT, videos.
- A LIVE PERFORMANCE VIDEO. If you can do solo, duo, trio or full band, you need to a GREAT LIVE VIDEO for each music combination.
- PROFESSIONAL PITCH. I would just call and ask who is in charge at the hotel or party planner. If you email, it may take too long to get an answer or it is much easier for the planner to ignore your email.
- REFFERALS. If you know another musician that plays special events, ask if they would introduce you to their network. Volunteer to fill in at his/her restaurant gig, if they have a bigger gig. A musician will share this network, but only after they know you are qualifies and you are not ready to take the gig away from him.
SPECIAL PRIVATE HOME EVENTS
How do musicians get in front of others that may want to use their music services for a special birthday, anniversary or even annual BBQ? Performing a 3 hour music set, at high end hotels and restaurants, is where you find the private gigs!
Again, some of the people staying at these high end venues are people who can pay more than $1000 a night to stay at a hotels. Don’t be surprised if your tip jar is filled with 50 and 100-dollar bills! These high rollers, are just the people that will ask for a business card so they can call and talk to you about performing for here home in the Malibu hills!
Some of my musicians are doing many of these types of events and they are filling their schedules with these high-end private-home performances.
So do you have the music skills to enter into this corporate world of money making. Some musicians will make a great living just performing these venues. Others use the corporate performance money to hire professionals to succeed in reaching an audience for your original music project. Either way, it is a great option to put some real money in your pocket while showing your stuff.
(See or Facebook Live event from Friday, July 9th to hear more about getting corporate gigs!)