Booking an Entertainer? What should be in their contract?
People have asked me what live performers and entertainers usually include in their contract. Let me break it down.
1. Performer’s information and the client’s information.
Usually this includes the name, company, address, and contact details. Some contracts only have the company name. However, including the client’s name is important as it shows who in the company is responsible for the agreement.
2. Performance Details
Performance details usually contain information like date, time, location and duration. Some performers also include other details here such as logistics that the client will provide.
Riders are extra terms to be fulfilled that are attached to the contract. Usually this has to do with the client providing things to the performer. Some examples are the client providing specific meals, providing extra tickets, granting permission to collect tips after a show, granting parking access, providing certain logistics, providing a dressing room, or even agreeing to give a video testimonial and leaving a review on their website.
Be careful to check these as famous celebrities have requested ridiculous things in the past. See here for example.
4. Payment Details
Payment details usually do not just list the amount but also include the payment methods. For example, the payment methods I accept are cash, cheque, bank transfer, and paypal (paypal has an extra 3% charge).
Deposits are also mentioned. Many entertainers have a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the amount to confirm the booking and require the remaining 50% prior to the show. 50% is the industry standard for most forms of entertainment.
Also, performers usually add in a surcharge if the performance starts later than the scheduled time (eg. 15 minutes late). This is usually 10-20% of the amount and can increase over the amount of time that their performance is delayed.
Why is there a non-refundable deposit? When performers are booked, they cannot accept other clients. They also have to put in time (and resources) to prepare for the performance. So the 50% deposit is to cover their costs in case of loss of work and resources.
5. Cancellation and Force Majeure
A “force majeure” refers to an act, event, cause, or occurrence that causes a party to be unable to fulfill their obligations of the contract, which is not within their reasonable control. This includes weather, illness, epidemics, riots, fire, acts of God and so forth.
In such cases, many entertainers still keep the non-refundable deposit and allow the client to reschedule. Some other entertainers (like me) choose to instead return the deposit.
Some entertainers allow cancellation anytime prior to the show but will keep the deposit. Others return some amount of the deposit.
So these are usually the terms in a contract or agreement with an entertainer for live performances. However, each contract differs, so do check them out carefully and know your obligations.