Even the best live entertainment production companies made mistakes when they started. But eventually, they learned to avoid event blunders as they gain knowledge, experience, and foresight. Ideally, it’s better for less-experienced event organizers to learn from the failures of others. So, what are the rookie entertainment planning mistakes you need to avoid?

Every inexperienced event organizer fears cost overruns, unmanageable artists, or worse, an unresponsive or bored crowd. And a lot can go wrong when those in charge neglect critical areas. The costliest mistakes are late planning and underestimating the size of the task. Others have no plan B, hire the wrong help, have poor communication, or suffer from improper budgeting. In contrast, successful live entertainment acts are the product of effective behind-the-scenes preparation.

This piece explores routine live entertainment production oversights and how to avert them. It covers the common mistakes made through inexperience and ignorance. Even if you are an experienced event planner, our tips can serve as a quick refresher. But first, an overview of why event planning is so important and what happens when it fails.

Impeccable Entertainment Planning Matters

People over a certain age have been to enough live events to experience a sense of regret from attending an event. Typical causes of event-going dissatisfaction include poor organization, understaffing, long refreshment lines, and, most importantly, lackluster entertainment acts. Event entertainment that goes off course like this leaves the audience with an unpleasant experience, which can hurt your pocket and your reputation.

Fortunately, poorly executed events are not inevitable. In addition to the knowledge and experience you learn firsthand organizing events, you can gain foresight to avoid common live entertainment mistakes by learning from the successes and failures of others and listening to the wisdom of experienced and well-known entertainment producers like Bravo! Entertainment.

Bravo! Entertainment – Live Entertainment Without a Hitch

Bravo! Entertainment is a well-established, highly reputable live entertainment production company. Event entertainment is in our blood. Our team of expert planners creates unique acts using star performers with international experience. We apply a highly customizable spin on any event to make it unique and aligned with your theme.

Explore Bravo! Entertainment’s Stress-Free Entertainment Services

Below are five common live event production mistakes we often see and how to avoid them.

#1 Last-Minute Research and Planning

So many unexpected hitches can—and usually do—occur when event preparation is left to the last minute. It’s why research and planning should start early, and the sooner, the better. There is enough unforeseen chaos as it is without tempting fate.

How early should you start preparing?

It depends on the size and scope of your private or corporate event, plus any other variables unique to your situation. As experienced planners know, it’s usually best to begin as soon as the event is scheduled, as planning well ahead of time has no disadvantages. However, don’t use that time to get bogged down with micromanaging or focusing on minor issues.

This basic checklist applies to most live events, irrespective of size (adapt as necessary).

Event Planner Checklist

Planning Foundation Planning Specifics
 Event date Create a master plan 
 Type of entertainment Branding and publicity
 Target audience Event theme
 Location and venue Help and support
 Goals and objectives Marketing strategies
 Budget Sponsorship
 Entertainment acts
 Ticket sales
 Event suppliers
 Vendors, food, and drinks
 Setup and teardown
 Health and safety
 Event insurance
 Post-event analysis

Use checklists for everything and share them with those involved. It helps to have different lists for the entertainment venue, refreshments, and entertainment acts. Add others as they apply to your function, and review checklist progress at agreed intervals. The particulars of your event will govern what goes onto each of these checklists.

#2 Underestimating the Enormity of the Task

Another of the biggest live entertainment mistakes is underestimating the size of the task and taking on too much alone. There’s much more to live events than a stage with an act and the space to accommodate an audience. Yet that’s how many inexperienced event organizers see it. So, they decide to take on the entire project alone, then regret it as stress levels rise. 

For example, a common oversight is not understanding what equipment is needed for your entertainment or how to avoid issues with venue-provided equipment. You can find out more about these issues and entertainment management in our article on how outsourced entertainment management reduces event planning stress.

Avoid this and other stressors by assembling a capable team to assist in entertainment production and delegating tasks based on strength and ability.

Learning how and when to delegate by assembling a trusted team you get along with is vital. But don’t offer roles to individuals just because you like them if they lack the necessary experience. If you can’t find the right help, consider hiring an outside expert entertainment coordinator. Also consider the scope of your event’s entertainment. Often hiring one person is not enough to meet your event’s needs. That’s where entertainment management and event production companies can be a godsend.

#3 No Contingency Plans

This is one of those obvious live entertainment mistakes often overlooked by rookie planners. Not having contingency plans is a massive oversight.

There are a plethora of reasons your live entertainment preparation needs a plan B, such as:

  • Power outages and no backup generators
  • Technical issues with sound, lighting, special effects, etc.
  • Entertainment act doesn’t turn up
  • Host hotel double bookings
  • And many more “what-if” situations

Contingency plans cover mishaps like those above with alternative solutions. But it can be difficult for inexperienced planners to foresee many worst-case scenarios when it comes to entertainment planning. Even experienced planners can find they have blind spots in their plans. 

That’s another reason to hire an expert team to help you avoid live entertainment mistakes. However, to guard against even more event-planning headaches, choose an entertainment producer partner with great care.

#4 Hiring the Wrong Live Entertainment Production Experts

Coordinating a live event is no job for a group of well-intentioned amateurs. Novice planning is too hit-and-miss and can exceed budgets and ruin reputations. If you’re concerned, look into hiring experienced entertainment-planning partners. Experienced, expert advisors can save money by offering ideas and strategies that create highly entertaining, profitable events.

For more insight on the value of the right live entertainment production partner, check out our blog: What’s the Value of an Entertainment Management Company?

However, taking on a partnership in desperate haste is a common mistake. Not all entertainment production agencies and consultants are equal, and there is no guarantee that an unfamiliar partner can provide the assistance you need most. 

When it comes to creating your event team, do your due diligence. Identify your needs, request multiple quotes for each need, and prepare a list of questions tailored around your event to ask each potential partner.

Be mindful of the below red flags during your interviews:

  • Comes across as disorganized
  • Lacks energy and passion (a critical trait in event management)
  • Avoids eye contact; has poor people skills generally
  • Displays signs of micromanagement; obsession with minor details
  • Unfamiliar with event technology solutions and industry terms
  • Talks much but lacks the portfolio to back it up

Follow your gut instinct. If the person you talk to fails to make a great first impression, there’s a good chance you won’t get along. Another way to reduce the risk of hiring the wrong event partner is to ask around for recommendations. Getting ideas from your peers can help you employ the services of a well-established live entertainment production company that can be trusted.

#5 Poor Communication (Don’t Be Afraid to Ask)

The mark of a great live entertainment planner is consistent communication. In contrast, an inexperienced planner can lack clarity and engagement in their communication. Many events flop because people stop talking, or listening, which results in a breakdown of critical teamwork between internal and external partners. Also, a reluctance to ask questions and delegate tasks leads to assumptions and inevitable failures.

Use this table to identify poor versus effective communication. Use the information to modify your communication strategy to ensure smoother event planning and production.

Assuming you are understood
Responding too quickly 
Ill-defining roles/responsibilities
Not sharing progress or setbacks
Avoiding difficult discussions
Interrupting others; not listening
Always needing to be right
Always confirming understanding
Being attentive and observant
Always being concise and clear
Keeping all stakeholders in the loop
Encouraging feedback
Practicing active listening
Admitting when you are wrong

Remember, miscommunication can be more harmful than no communication. The former causes a disconnect between what you say and what others understand. However, effective communication is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. But don’t worry, you will learn it through patience and practice, just like any critical other skill.

#6 Going Over Your Live Event Production Budget

Keeping an event within its allotted budget is a critical determiner of the success of any event. Going over budget on live entertainment is one of the most common mistakes among inexperienced planners. Even veteran event managers can find budgets challenging for larger functions. 

Not to mention, the many hidden cost pitfalls that come with booking and producing live entertainment for your event. It can be a confusing blur of contract riders, logistics, and negotiation that is worth bringing in a professional entertainment management partner to handle. For more information, see Bravo! Entertainment’s Expensive Hidden Costs in Entertainment Booking

If you lose control of your event budget, it’s likely you skipped something during the research and planning stage. Look to see what—if anything—you can safely eliminate from your financial plan. If it all becomes too much, ask for assistance without delay. You may even need external help to repair or minimize the damage. At Bravo! Entertainment, we work with event planners and their budgets, using our industry connections, to provide the maximum entertainment for any budget. 

Despite Live Entertainment Production Mistakes, The Show Must Go On

Live performance has much at stake, and some events are at higher risk than others. Every skilled live event coordinator has a contingency plan as their backup. Amateurs who don’t have a plan B are cutting corners, working on a wing and a prayer. Such people should have no part in your live entertainment production. It’s better to hand the project to experts who can create profitable, memorable shows for your target audience.

Even experienced live entertainment planners make mistakes. What separates successful planners is they learn from their mistakes, and the mistakes of others, to avoid the most common blunders in event entertainment planning, like those outlined here.