Types Of Performance Artists

Find out how to keep your guests entertained with a performing artist. Learn about different performing artists and how to book them for your event.

Whether you are planning a corporate retreat, elaborate wedding or even planning a child’s birthday party, event preparation is a daunting task. The type of entertainment you choose sets the mood for the rest of the event. However, depending on the event, your choice of entertainment does not have to be the main focus. For example, many corporate events use entertainers as a way to pass time between speakers, giving the audience a chance to relax. Other events, such as weddings, are more reliant on entertainment. Depending on the size of your event, you may need multiple entertainers.

One of the most effective ways to entertain your audience is with a performing artist. There are a variety of performing artists, including musicians, impersonators, comedians and magicians. Which artist you choose, as well as the type of material they perform, greatly varies depending on your event. Listed below is everything you need to know about hiring performance artists for your events.

Identify your Party

No matter what type of performance artist you want to hire, there are several steps to make the selection process easier. First, identify the type of party. This is likely the first question any performance artist will ask. There are several agencies that specialize in providing entertainment for specific events, such as weddings or birthday parties. 

Try and get as specific as possible with your event. If it is a birthday party, make sure to include the age of the recipient. Entertainment is much different for a 13-year-old versus a 50-year-old. If it is a corporate event, specify whether it is a relaxed workplace retreat or an educational seminar.

Identify your Audience

Once you know what type of party you are hosting, the next step is to figure out your audience. Performing artists must know whether they are catering to a child, family or adult-oriented audience. This not only helps determine the tone for the performer, but also how they perform. Adults are more patient and do not mind listening or watching a performer on stage for longer periods. Children are more energic, especially in a party setting. Instead of doing a long performance, the artist may want to split their act into smaller, more energized segments.

Party Logistics

There are several logistical issues to consider when looking for performance artists. First, you need to set a time table. With a wedding, you typically hire a band for most of the day. At a smaller event, you only need a short set. Since many performance artists charge an hourly rate, this has the biggest influence on your total costs.

This leads into the next consideration, your overall entertainment budget. Telling a booking agency your budget upfront makes it much easier to find a performance artist. Setting a budget beforehand also keeps you from going overboard on entertainment and lacking resources for other areas of party planning.

Finally, consider the event venue. If you are hiring musicians, you need a larger space and appropriate stage for the band. If you are hosting an elaborate child’s party, you need room for multiple event stations. Consider whether the artist can perform outside, or if an indoor space is necessary.

Hiring a Band

Musicians are some of the most popular performance artists for live events. Because of their popularity, you want to book a musician as soon as possible. If you are hosting a larger event, you may even need to book the musician several months in advance. Musicians are typically busiest during the spring and summer seasons, since these months allow for both indoor and outdoor events. 

One decision you must make is whether you want original songs or a cover band. Cover bands are more reliable, since you know exactly what to expect from the music. It also makes it easier to make requests. If the band plays original songs, make sure you listen to them perform. Many musicians will host audio recordings online or even videos of previous performances.

Unless your event has a specific theme, it’s a good idea to pick a band that plays multiple genres. This way, you know they can perform something for all your guests. Even at smaller events, there is a good chance your guests all have different musical preferences. 

Make sure you know everything the band needs beforehand. Compared to other performance artists, musicians typically requite the most electronics. Decide whether there is staff on hand to help with setup, or if the band is responsible for arranging the stage. Also determine whether the venue has any equipment on hand, or if the band is supplying everything you need. 

The rates for musicians may vary depending on the notoriety of the group. Expect to pay between $100 and $200 per hour. For longer events, the band may charge an upfront fee instead, which is on average between $700 and $1,200.

Hiring a Comedian 

Another popular choice for entertainment is a comedian. There are several categories of comedians available. Clean comedians are acceptable at any event, using inoffensive material without any mature content or themes. They typically perform for families and younger audience, as well as formal business events. A stand-up comic is a more traditional comedian, performing directly for an audience, typically for 30 minutes to an hour. Some comedians will incorporate the audience into the act.

Corporate comedians are trained specifically for business events. These comedians are similar to stand-ups, but typically offer more flexible routines. Instead of performing one long set, they will perform smaller acts during events, helping to boost morale and keep the audience engaged. Some comedians charge an hourly rate, typically around $150 to $250, while others charge a set fee for the number of guests.

Hiring a Magician

Magicians are popular for both younger and older audiences. There are two primary types of magicians. The first is booked similar to a comedian, performing a set on stage, typically for 30 minutes to an hour. The other type of magician is known as a walk-around or strolling magicians. These magicians mingle with your guests, performing smaller tricks while interacting with your guests. These magicians are good choices when you need to fill time between events, or want a little something extra to spice up the evening. Magicians commonly charge by guests. For smaller events, the price is around $15 to $30 per guest. For longer events, you may be charged hourly or an up-front fee, on average coming to around $750 to $1,500 based on the event. 

Finding Performance Artists

A reliable way to find performing artists is word of mouth. Ask your friends or families if they recently saw any performers. If you are hosting a larger event, consider hiring a party planner. Not only will they help with entertainment, but they will handle all the other logistics for your event. Otherwise, you can search for a performing artist online. There are many websites that host information about local performers, including: