Whether you’re planning a wedding, a corporate event, or just a really nice party your entertainment will be a huge part of the experience. You want your band or DJ not just to sound good, but to add to the experience. Here are ten questions that get at not only business-like details but also get at what the entertainer brings to the event.
1. Who is your favorite artist or what’s your favorite album?
This is a great ice-breaker question for anyone who cares about music. Find out a little bit about the people you’re talking to before you dive into the specifics
2. Can you tell me about some of your favorite events at which you’ve performed?
If you’re planning a Bar Mitzvah you want a DJ that loves working with mixed-age crowds. If you’re planning a corporate event, you want a band that enjoys getting a more grown-up crowd excited and on the floor. Most professional bands or DJs can work with any type of event, but wouldn’t you rather hire someone who wants to be there?
3. What happens if you or one of your band members is sick the day of the event?
There’s no right answer to this question, but your goal is to ensure that the performer is a professional and that you won’t be left without music. “I’ve never been sick so I don’t have a plan,” is not an acceptable answer.
4. Can you tell me about something unexpected that happened at an event and how you handled it?
Again, there’s no right or wrong answer here the goal is to find out if your performer can think on his or her feet and will be able to solve any problems that arise. This is also a question that will give you a good sense of your band leader or DJs personality.
5. Have you ever performed at our venue before? Are there any issues we should know about it? If not, what sorts of things will you need to know about it?
Again, this question helps you assess the performer’s level of professionalism, and hopefully gives you some insight into your chosen venue.
6. What do you see as your role at this event?
Different band leaders and DJs have different philosophies. Some see themselves as party leaders, with a responsibility to get everyone out on the floor dancing. Others see their role as MC, and others think they’re just there to play the music. Give some thought to what you want, and make sure to choose someone who matches your style.
7. What will you and/or the band wear?
If you have a certain look in mind for your event you’ll want to make sure that the band fits that image. If you’re planning a casual, rock n’ roll event, you don’t want the DJ to show up in a tux.
8. Who will be playing at my event?
If you’ve chosen a particular band because you love the guitar player, you want to make sure that guitar player is the one who shows up for your event. Many bands swap out players for different events and many DJs have others who work in their place. There’s nothing wrong with this practice, but you want to make sure you know who you’re hiring.
9. Do you have equipment needs such as lighting or linens?
This is more of a detail question, but oftentimes it doesn’t come up until it’s time to sign a contract. Realizing at the last minute that you need an additional $300 in linen rentals can throw a wrench in any event budget.
10. Do you have references that we can call?
Hopefully, you’ve used a trusted source like GigMasters to find your band or DJ. If so, you can read online reviews, but it’s still a good idea to talk to a few people and get some recent, first-hand experiences.
Dan Berger is the Founder and CEO of Social Tables. He has received nearly 20 leadership awards, including the Pacesetter Award from the Events Industry Council and Top 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry by Successful Meetings. He has been named Tech Titan by Washingtonian and was named a finalist for E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Born in Israel and raised in New York City, Dan now calls Washington, DC home. He has a BA from Hunter College and an MBA from Georgetown.