The Event Planners Guide to Live Entertainment:
Preparing Your Pre-Summer Checklist
The calendar may only say April, but in the 305 summer is never far off. In fact, if you go by government estimates Miami’s wet season (synonymous with the hottest time of year) begins on May 21 and lasts until October 17. Undoubtedly, this is why “endless summer” is one of our license plate slogans. As of this blog’s posting endless summer is less than four weeks away.
Summer may be our sultry time of year. But it’s also a season of long, inviting days, celebratory music festivals, indoor/outdoor weddings, and an influx of South American tourists from places like Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay escaping their cool to sometimes chilly winters. For event planners, despite what tourism agencies say, it’s never dull time of year.
But as challenging as the season is for event planners, they are, after all, experts in their respective field. What’s more difficult is when private individuals or hotel managers, or restaurateurs attempt to pull off their own live entertainment event. There are literally hundreds of logistics to consider. Some of them may be minor. Others major. Taken in full, however, they are the elements that either make for an evening’s success or are the roots that could lead to its demise.
To quote actor Ed Harris who played NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz in Apollo 13, “failure is not an option!”
Live Entertainment Success: We have a Liftoff!
So in the run-up to Summer 2019 here is your “inside baseball” Event Planners cheat sheet for throwing an unforgettable live entertainment event.
- Open Format DJ vs. Closed Format DJ – The first question that needs to be answered when selecting a DJ is whether he or she specializes in an open format or closed format. An open format DJ is exactly what the name implies. These are the most versatile DJs capable of playing and mixing a wide variety of music. Closed format is a lesser-used term, but its meaning should be equally clear. These DJs focus on a narrower genre set. For instance, many electronic music DJs prefer a specific subgenre sound, be it House, Progressive, Minimalist, Techno, and many others.
- Playlists and Preferences – When selecting a DJ or a live entertainment company in advance, it helps to work with them when selecting your playlist. This is yourevent. And any solid DJ/quality entertainment agency will want you, the customer, to feel empowered in the music selection process. Don’t feel pressure to submit an entire playlist, although that is of course helpful. Expressing your music preferences is fine too as that gives the DJ a general framework of where to begin. Think about it like you’re giving a painter 10 colors to work with and are looking for a “bucolic outdoor scene.”
- Schedule of events – Ben Franklin may have said it best: “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” When planning a live entertainment event one of the best ways you can prepare is by sending your schedule of events to the event planner in advance. That’s especially true when there’s a specific song you want played at either an exact time in the festivities or when the moment “feels right.” If the DJ is also MCing, this helps the master of ceremonies (or microphone controller, if you prefer) inform your audience of what’s going to happen next.
- DJ equipment, sound, and lighting options – This is what you can call a “meat and potatoes” bullet point. At the heart of any live entertainment DJ performance, top quality DJ equipment (turntables, CDJs, Mixers etc.) speakers, and lighting options (backlit from behind a DJ booth, flashing strobes, lasers, LEDs, lightning bars, and spotlights) is what makes the difference between a so-so event and something super. It’s also what differentiates a professional entertainment company from a random DJ working side gigs on weekends. Make sure that reviewing these live entertainment options that you’re working with only the best.
- Make Sure they can Mix – Equally important to the equipment itself and a DJs overall professionalism (showing up on time, being well dressed and well groomed) is to make sure they can actually mix music. At its core, this is what you’ve hired your DJ to do – to take multiple, genre-appropriate songs and through his or her talents as an artist, combine them in such a way, in real time, adapting to the audience’s mood, so that an entirely new piece of music is created.
Music Makes the Moment and Set the Mood
Regardless of the event you’re trying to pull off, whether it’s at a hotel rooftop bar, a poolside gathering, an upscale restaurant, a wedding, a corporate event, a beach bash, or something entirely unique, the experts at the leaders in event planning and entertainment solutions, fully appreciate what’s at stake. Your reputation to successfully pull off an event is on the line. It doesn’t matter if it’s for friends, or for your career. The point is, it matters to you.
Music, it has been said, is the ultimate medium through which us humans channel and express our emotions. Capable of “expressing the inexpressible,” music, in the words of novelist Sarah Dessen, “is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.”
This spring, as you review your pre-summer event-planning checklist, take a moment to consider the deeper meaning behind your actions. A live entertainment event isn’t just about throwing a party for the sake of throwing a celebration. It’s about cultivating a unique emotional experience that through the right sound and scene – and the right live entertainment mix – moves people’s hearts and touches their souls.