Our ongoing performer-written series "What Makes a Successful Event?" gives you valuable insider event planning perspective from some of GigMasters' most successful performers. Part III was written by John Keating of the five star band Woodie and the Longboards from Riverside, CA. John also leads a Beach Boy Tribue Act and Heartache Tonight, an Eagles Tribute and has played at his share of special events.
When deciding on which performer to hire for your event, there are a few questions that you should ask yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are planning a corporate function or a small gathering in your backyard, the questions you need to ask and the steps you need to take are the same. Does your event have a theme? If so make sure that your performer works with your theme. Even the best bands will not look good if they are not properly suited to the needs of your event. My band, Woody and the Longboards, gets most of our bookings as a Beach Boys Tribute Act. There are very few bands that can really fit a beach party themed event and hiring your favorite band from the local bar might not work. At the same time I frequently decline other events that I know we are not suited for. What is the age demographic of your guests? If your event has no specific theme, take a look at the age demographic of your guests.
We play music from the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s, which works great for people from around thirty to eighty years old. But this is not going to make the average teenager or twenty-something year old club-hopper very happy. After playing hours of Beatles, Motown, Beach Boys, etc., we have actually had kids walk up to us and ask with a straight face if we can play Nelly. You can’t please everyone, but you’ll need to figure out which age group is most important to target. Can I trust the entertainer? As in any business relationship it is essential that you feel you can trust your hired performer. You need to know that the performer is both talented and trust-worthy. The best way to evaluate their talent is by seeing them perform live. If you can’t actually see them live, do they have a video? Live is the most honest approach, but video is the next best thing. Reading past client reviews is also important. Gigmasters allows you to read un-edited client reviews. In addition each GigMasters performer has a star rating from zero to five, five being the best. If you have a choice you should always go with the higher rated performer. Woodie and the Longboards is a five-star rated oldies band. We also have another listing as a Beach Boys Tribute which is rated at four and a half stars, and we hope to be up to five soon.
If we don’t please a client, our rating will drop, so there is a lot to lose if we don’t keep the client happy. Each time we go out I’m thinking ‘if something goes wrong I’d better be prepared to fix it or I risk losing the reputation that took a long time to build.’ Have I discussed every detail with my performer? Finally, make sure that you and the performer are on the same page about everything. This includes: start time, attire, venue access, parking, power requirements, audio volume, breaks, food, and most importantly - flexibility. Find out if your performer is open to starting either earlier or later than the planned start time of the event. You never know when something will come up that will make you have to change your plans. And when things do change you want to know whether or not your performer can accommodate you. I typically communicate with my clients five to ten times by phone or email prior to any event. I would recommend that both clients and performers double check dates, times, addresses - everything. It is very important to be on the same page. This might sound like a lot of work, but it is worth it. If you get the right performer, the party will be a great success and you will be a hero. John Keating is the leader of the group Woodie and the Longboards which performs oldies and classic rock from the 50’s-80’s and is best known as a Beach Boy’s Tribute. 'Woodie' is a national act based out of Southern California. He has also just launched Heartache Tonight, a Tribute to the Eagles.