Book A Gig With A Contract to Protect Yourself
A band, entertainer, DJ, or performer always needs a contract when booking a gig to ensure that both the performer and the customer, venue owner or promoter understand and agree to the terms of the performance. A good contract always specifies details such as the date, time, and location of the performance, the length of the performance, and the compensation that the act will receive.
Most importantly, having a contract in place helps prevent misunderstandings, especially for people who may have never hired entertainment before. The contract can also protect the interests of both parties and ensure that all legal and financial obligations are met. In other words, you get paid, as agreed.
Additionally, a contract can provide a sense of professionalism and legitimacy to the act’s business dealings. It demonstrates to the client that the performer or act is serious about their performance and committed to delivering a high-quality, professional service.
A great contract, or booking agreement, provides clarity, protection, and professionalism to both the act and the client.
At GigRoster™ we want to always protect the acts that we book so the first step in confirming any booking is in the details. Creating a great contract, or as we call it, a booking agreement (agreement sounds more friendly, but it is just as binding!) is how every great booking starts.
What Should Be Included in A Contract to Make It Effective?
The simple way to remember what a basic contract needs is, just like a reporter does a news story. A good story, as we learned in school, always includes “The 5 Ws”. Who, What, When, Where, Why.
- Who is the customer and who is the performer?
- What kind of event is this?
- When is the date, start and finish time for the gig?
- Where is the location and address for this gig?
- Why… What is the paid/compensation?
To spell it out, a great contract should include the following elements:
- The Names of the parties. The Name of the act, signatory (who will sign for the band) and the name of the purchaser, whether it is a private party, such as for a wedding or a company, such as for a performance at a venue or a company event (in which case you will need the signatory for the company). Also, phone, email, and mailing address for each party to the contract.
- Performance details about what kind of performance this is, for example, wedding reception, bar entertainment, company party, festival stage show, etc.
- Date and time of the booking, including, in most cases, set-up time, performance start and end times, the contract may also outline the length of the sets, the type of music to be played, and any other special requests or requirements.
- The location of the performance needs to be clearly specified with a performance address, name of the venue, if it applies and possible where in the venue if applicable (For instance if it is in a hotel, which ballroom).
- Compensation: The contract should clearly state the compensation that the band will receive for the performance, including any deposit or advance payment, and when the final payment is due as well as payment options that you will accept, such as cash, credit card, or check (and who it should be payable to).
- Cancellation policy if any. The contract should include a cancellation policy, which outlines what will happen if either party needs to cancel the performance. It should specify any cancellation fees or penalties that may apply. Some acts do not allow for cancellation. This is our policy at GigRoster™ unless both parties mutually agree to the cancellation.
- Signatures: The contract should be signed and dated by both the act’s signatory and the purchaser (or the purchaser’s designated signatory) to indicate agreement and understanding to the terms and conditions of the performance.
Additional considerations that would be common to include, depending on the type of performance would be:
- Technical requirements: The contract may include technical requirements such as the sound system, lighting, and stage setup needed by the act. It should also specify who is responsible for providing and setting up the equipment.
- Liability and insurance: The contract may need to specify the liability of each party and outline any insurance requirements, such as liability insurance or worker's compensation insurance, depending on the needs of the client.
- Promotional materials: The contract may specify how the band's name and promotional materials will be used in the promotion of the performance, including any restrictions on the use of the band's name or likeness. Also, what types of promotional material will the purchaser need from the band in connection to the performance.
These are some of the essential elements that should be included in a contract to hire an act when you are booking yourself. Of course, when going through a talent agent or talent buying system, most or all of these will be handled by the agent, including even the insurance requirements and arrangements for technical requirements. These are not difficult things to include though if you are doing it yourself.
For insurance needs if you are not going through a talent buyer like GigRoster™, you can refer to our blog on event insurance.
Depending on your comfort in dealing with legal issues and practices, it may be advisable to have the contract reviewed by a legal professional to ensure that it is legally binding and enforceable. Remember, GigRoster™ is not a legal professional so the information here is, while good advice, it is not legal advice or a legal opinion in any way.
Can I download a contract to use for booking my act?
There are several places where you can find sample contracts to hire a band online. Some options include:
- Rocket Lawyer offers a wide range of legal documents, including contracts to hire a band. You can customize the document to your specific needs and download it as a Word or PDF file.
- LawDepot offers a free band performance contract template that you can customize to meet your needs. The document covers all the essential elements of a band performance contract.
- Documatica Legal Forms website offers a selection of free and paid legal documents, including contracts to hire a band. The documents are customizable and available in various formats, including Word and PDF.
- Bandzoogle offers a free sample contract for bands that covers the essential elements of a performance contract. You can download the document as a Word file and customize it to your needs.
- If you book through one of the DIY booking websites where you list your band and deal with the client directly, they usually provide a contract as part of the process.
Remember that these templates are just starting points, and it is important to review and customize the contract to fit your specific needs and circumstances. It is may adobe, again, advisable to have the contract reviewed by a legal professional to ensure that it will be legal and binding. Since, like GigRoster™, not all these options are from legal professionals.
The bottom line is the contract, or booking agreement, is the best way to make sure everyone is on the same page and fully understands with realistic expectations. It’s easy to do!
For your convenience, here is a Basic Sample Contract to Hire a Band, Music, Entertainer or DJ. Feels free to cut and paste into your own document, then modify it as discussed to fit your specific needs and situation:
Remember, you agree if you use this booking agreement for your own use that GigRoster™ makes no legal representations or warranties in connection to it.
Entertainment Booking Agreement
This agreement is for the booking of entertainment services as agreed to. Please return this agreement by (date)
Name Of Entertainer/Group - Provider of Services
Herein referred to as “The Performer”
Name Of The Purchaser of Services:
Herein referred to as “The Purchaser”
Number Of Performers:
Name, Address & Place of Engagement:
Dates, Starting and Finishing Times:
Type Of Engagement:
Compensation Agreed Upon: $__________for up to__________hours.
$__________for any additional hour beyond contract time, available only by mutual agreement.
Payments Will Be Made as Follows:
$__________Non-Refundable deposit, to be paid in advance with return of contract to confirm booking.
$__________Balance due on or before date of performance, prior to start of performance.
Payments should be made payable directly to:
Performance: This agreement and the terms and conditions contained herein may be enforced by The Purchaser and by The Performer. In the event that legal recourse is sought to resolve any dispute, the losing party shall pay the prevailing party all reasonable legal costs. The Purchaser and The Performer agree that any legal dispute shall be adjudicated in the appropriate court of legal authority.
Cancellation may only be executed by mutual written consent of all parties to this agreement. In the event of cancellation by The Purchaser without mutual agreement, compensation shall be rendered in full as set forth herein unless waived in writing by The Performer. Deposit is non-refundable except in the case of default or non-performance by The Performer. Or by mutual agreement of all parties to this agreement.
Other Contractual Conditions Included in The Agreement:
___ Parking shall be provided or compensated for each performer on the engagement and is not included in the performance fee.
___ Technical requirements are in the included technical rider document, fully incorporated herein.
Time is of the essence in this agreement. The terms and conditions contained herein constitute the entire agreement between the parties and any other agreement, verbal or otherwise, shall not be enforceable except by written mutual consent of all parties. Any changes including time(s), compensation or any other conditions must be made by written addendum signed by all parties.
Phone address and email for The Purchaser:
Phone address and email for The Performer:
Purchaser_______________________________ Date _____________
Performer/Signatory______________________ Date _____________
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