It's no secret that when someone is happy, comfortable and at ease, they'll do their best. When you hire a performer to entertain your party guests, the same principle applies. With that in mind, I recently asked 5-star GigMasters guitarist, Jason Liebman, to share what clients can do (or NOT do) to help create the optimal environment for a performer.
Here's what he had to say...
Hello all. My name is Jason Liebman, I’m a guitarist and vocalist from New York City and I’m fortunate enough to have been affiliated with and working with Gigmasters since November 2007. During that time, I’ve had the very good fortune to have been booked by a wide range of clients from individuals throwing small house parties to small businesses having intimate gatherings for staff, friends and clients. I’ve been booked by restaurants and ski resorts that have hired me for large, 4-5 hour exclusive events and I’ve done wedding ceremonies and receptions, a few luncheons and a giant July 4th bonfire. Most importantly, I’ve had a chance to meet very generous, music-loving people along the way who’ve been kind enough to invite me into their homes and to participate in their special events.
What I do notice…and what I imagine many performers notice…are the things that we appreciate and don’t appreciate so much about our firsthand experience at a particular gig. It goes without saying that, most important above everything else, is the client’s experience and whether or not a performer fulfills their hopes and expectations. That being said, most of the conscientious and caring clients whom I’ve had the very good fortune to meet and perform for usually want to know if I had a good time and enjoyed myself and was well taken care of. That level of concern is very much appreciated on my end (as I’m sure it is by every Gigmasters performer) and I thought I’d take this time to share a few Do’s and Don’ts that might help you as a client offer a better experience to the GigMasters performer you decide to hire.
DO have an in-depth conversation either via phone and/or in-person with the performer you hire about every last logistical detail that you can think of. Some examples: Attire - Scheduled event start time - What time can the performer arrive to load-in - Does your venue have stairs - Does your venue has a sound system - Is your event inside or outside? If it’s outside, is there a canopy or tent in case of weather? If not, is there an indoor contingency plan in case of weather? - Do you have any specific requests? Is there anything the performer ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT PLAY? (I have one horror story about this)
DO have a contract with your performer that you both carefully read and sign outlining what you’ve discussed and agreed on, cancellation policy, etc.
DO put your performer in touch with your party planner (if you have one) the week of your event so that they can discuss specific details in advance
DO have a discussion in advance about parking situation if difficulty parking could be an issue. If your event has valet parking, arrange in advance for the valet people to help your performer unload his/her gear and take care of their vehicle so that they can focus on your party and not where to park. (This is key for NYC folks like me)
DO offer him or her food and drink and assign one of the staff (if there is staff at the event) to check on him or her occasionally throughout the event to see if they need a refill, food, etc. Good will goes a LONG way.
DO feel free to come over and request songs during a party. Most performers thrive on the interaction with a party crowd and enjoy the crowd participation that comes with requests, singing along, etc.
DO feel free to tip your performer if you really enjoyed their performance. We all aim to please and very much appreciate this very kind and considerate gesture.
DO NOT be a drunken hazard at your own party. There’s a fine line between being the fun, tipsy host with the friendly banter who comes over to hand you a beer and tell you what a great version of “Free Fallin’” that was and the host who’s lost all depth perception and comes flying into you like a freight train, knocking your guitar out of your hand, tripping over your wires and knocking your mic stand over (Yes…this has happened to me).
DO NOT let your guests come over and take your performer’s mic and start singing as if it were a karaoke party if it’s not a karaoke party. If you haven’t discussed this in advance with your performer, this could be very bad. In most cases, the equipment a performer brings to your party is their go-to equipment, costs a significant amount of money, isn’t easily replaceable and needs to be handled with care. If you have guests who seem like attention hounds who want to participate with the performer, pull them aside and ask your performer’s permission before unleashing your guests on them.
DO NOT assume that your performer can read your mind about what to do when they arrive at your venue. If you don’t have a party planner who will be greeting your performer and who knows where your performer needs to set up, find the electrical outlet, etc., be there to greet them when they arrive and escort them to where you want them to perform.
DO NOT get frustrated if your performer is a bit too loud for the party/event. Generally your performer should be self-aware enough to know what an appropriate volume is and what’s simply too loud. However, if you have concerns about volume, come over to your performer at the end of a song and ask if they wouldn’t mind simply turning down just a bit.
DO NOT let your guests (especially curious young kids) touch, move, shake, use, etc. your performer’s equipment while they’re on a break. This isn’t the easiest thing to monitor during the course of a party, however, if you see it happening, tell your guests to step away from the equipment. Along the same lines, if it’s a house party and you have pets.
DO NOT let them loose around your performer’s equipment if they’re the kind of pets that chew and tear things. Hopefully these are some tips that can help make your next experience go smoothly.
Most importantly, the biggest DO is communicate and have fun.
While the money performers earn from our gigs is part of how we make a living, the truth is, we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t enjoy playing music for people. My personal love for music stretches across a myriad of genres and artists and I greatly enjoy treating people to my versions of the songs that I love and the songs that they’re eager to hear. I’ve had great experiences with the many people I’ve met along the way (and still keep in touch with) and I look forward to many more.
Hope to meet and perform for you soon!