Meetings + Events

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That's Entertainment!

The inside scoop on how to book high-profile entertainers for your next event

A recent education session facilitated by the International Special Events Society Canada revealed some savvy insider info on how to book high-profile entertainers for your next corporate event.

Michael Grit, theatre manager at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts (, revealed some memorable tips if you ever think about booking star power for a corporate event. Highlights include:

Who to choose? If you are asked to book someone for an event that will knock the socks off your attendees, carefully consider your audience’s age range, your budget, what you want to achieve (impress, challenge, inspire?). Everyone is available for a price. Everyone, says Grit.

How to Reach Them? “I have done a Google search on an entertainer I’m interested in and within a few emails I am speaking to their agent on the phone,” says Grit. Big artist agencies will also provide you with a connection. Biggest ones? William Morris Agency ( in the U.S., and S.L. Feldman & Associates ( in Canada.

The Agent Game: Make sure agents know you are not “single sourcing,” says Grit. “Let them know you are in contact with other agencies and you would like their best price. Don’t be afraid to talk to different agencies and also ask for their suggestions.”

Money, Money, Money: When preparing a budget for your to-die-for talent, always think about the overall cost of bringing the artist in for your event, which on top of base artist fees will include: music royalty fees (3% of artist fees), transportation fees for artist, hospitality cost for the artist, plus miscellaneous expenses and insurance. “I usually take the artist fee and double it in order to get a picture of what it will all end up costing,” says Grit.

The Realities: A 50% deposit is required when the contract is signed. Once the contract is signed, you will not hear from anyone again until the road manager calls you to go over and update the rider (did you know Celine Dion has a 200-page rider?), and will walk you through the show.

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