So you say you’ve always wanted to open your own live entertainment event venue. A fun place for locals to come and enjoy the work of their own homegrown talents. One problem: you’re still wet behind the ears and you have no idea where to get started booking performers.
Fret not. Follow the four tips below and, with a little luck, you’ll have more talent on your hands than you know what to do with.
Contact Area Talent Agencies
First things first: you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by finding out the location of the nearest live talent agency. Talent agencies are a great resource for venue owners; helping you connect with local performers is the whole reason they exist.
You may think your area doesn’t have any agencies, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If nothing else, looking at an agency’s roster will give you a sense of what live entertainment acts are currently available, what’s in demand, and what audiences aren’t being catered to.
Attend Other Venues’ Events
It might seem counterintuitive to attend events hosted by venues other than your own, but it’s actually a good idea for two big reasons. The first one we’ll get to in a minute, but the second is this: there’s no better place to find local talent than the places where local talent currently performs.
Drink right from the well, as the old saying goes. In the process, you’ll likely meet not only performers, but audience members and, most importantly, contacts who can help you find new prospects. Which brings us to that other big reason I mentioned: community.
Participate in the Community
It’s tempting to view other venue owners solely as competition, but what they really are is a community. More specifically, they’re a community that you are hoping to join. So put yourself out there. Network. Make friends. Let people know you exist.
Of course, the arts community isn’t the only one you should be participating in. Reaching out to the general public is always a good idea. Try inviting not only local art groups to check your venue out, but also other regional organizations. Participating in fundraisers and charities is also a great way to contribute while also increasing your own visibility.
Develop a Good Reputation
If you want the local talent to work for you, then you have to be someone who works well with local talent. In other words, don’t be a jerk. Don’t be sloppy or careless about following regulations. Don’t argue with performers over rates. Be sympathetic when they come to you with problems.
The more you work with your entertainers, the more you’ll realize these people aren’t just employees. They’re friends. Act accordingly and word will spread. Before you know it, you won’t have to seek out new talent; new talent will come to you first.