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Planning a big party with live entertainment can be complicated and expensive. When you need professional entertainment for a special event, follow these simple tips:
Book Early. The sooner you start shopping, the better. While the Holiday season is an extremely busy time to talk with a talent booker, the summer months are not. You can very often snatch up quality entertainers at competitive prices by booking them in the off-season, as long as you're willing to give a substantial deposit Like any other business, entertainers will welcome the cash flow in the slow months.
Volume Discounts. Instead of hiring a magician from one entertainment company and a music DJ from another, try to find a company that can offer you all the entertainment you need under one roof. If you are able to book several variety acts and a musical act through one agent, that agent will be much more competitive on that bid than if you were doing a individual deal.
Eliminate The Middle Man. Thanks to websites like Craigslist and the ease of online searching, you can very often book entertainers directly. While working with a professional talent agency has its benefits, they very often add costs. A good talent booker will not mark up a entertainer's price, but many do. For big ticket entertainment ask for transparent pricing.
Shop Around. Don't settle for the very first offer that you buy. It can be tempting to close the deal with the very first entertainer who calls you back, but do a bit more digging. Let each entertainer you speak with know that you are shopping around and comparing offers.
Leverage Your Assets. Are you organizing an event that will attract an affluent crowd, celebrities and media attention? Can your party or event showcase the talent to a desirable market? The more desirable the event is, the less you have to pay. Sell the talent on wanting to be there just to be seen. You'd be surprised how little you'd have to pay.
Frequent Purchases. If you have a number of special events that require entertainment every year, use that fact as a bargaining chip. Any performer, from magician to musician would be happy to give a discount to fill up their calendars months in advance.
Offer Freebies. Entertainers always need up to date and professional photos and video of their performances. If you're already hiring a photographer or videographer use it to your advantage. Professionally produced video can be worth thousands of dollars to an act. See if you can get a discount in return for the footage.
Last Minute. If you stay flexible, you can sometimes get amazing bargains. A national touring act may have a layover on the very same night as your special event. Many would rather be working and making some money than cooling their heels in the local hotel. By waiting until the last minute you can sometimes score big, sometimes not. You may not want to try this approach with a headliner for a high profile event, but you can always book a regional act quickly if you have to.
Just by following some of the tips above you're well on your way to planning one of the best parties. You can save money, and find top quality party entertainment by shopping smarter.
Guest contributor Brian McGovern is a magician in New York City. He performs magic all over New York and Long Island. Find out more about his amazing party magic at NYC Magicians.
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