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Lamb: It's Not Just For Easter

  
  
  
  
  
  

Butterfied leg of lamb small resized 600

Fluffy, pastel-colored Easter bunnies, pretty baskets, brightly colored boiled eggs, Peeps, jelly beans, speckled eggs and giant hollow chocolate bunnies. All of these things would magically appear in hidden nests and beautiful baskets on Easter morning when I was a child.

Easter was not complete until we had gone to Kuhn’s in Belle Meade Plaza to look at the little live chicks. More than a few made their way home with us. Funny how they always seemed to disappear, supposedly to our housekeeper’s farm. It was years before we found out they didn’t live on a farm. One year, I remember that Allen Sullivan, Daddy’s best friend and a master prankster, placed several dozen vibrantly colored chicks in our kitchen after everyone had gone to bed. They were peeping merrily and had also been pooping merrily all night long. A miracle to us, a giant mess for my mom.

When I was little we lived on Taggart Avenue. The Easter Bunny decided to hide his eggs and treats in lovely green Excelsior grass nests all over the backyard. Unfortunately, the Easter Bunny did not have the Weather Channel. It rained all night. We awoke to find rain-melted Easter eggs in soggy nests, dripping bright green dye on swing set seats, from tree crotches and porch furniture. The Easter Bunny realized his mistake and hid three wonderful baskets wrapped in colorful cellophane with bright bows in Grandaddy Mac’s car. The bunny made sure we found these treasures in the parking lot of St. George’s before we went in for services. That’s one smart rabbit!

Easter has always been one of my favorite feast days. There was almost always a ham, the traditional centerpiece of the American Easter table, and more often than not, a lovely leg of lamb. Ham became traditional because it was the prize from the pig that had been curing all winter. Lamb has been the traditional centerpiece of Passover meals all over the world for thousands of years and has happily been absorbed into Christian Easter meals as well!

Back in the day, lamb was always prepared the same way. Small slits were cut into the meat and thin slivers of garlic were placed into the cuts. The lamb was then salted and peppered and put in the oven for a long, slow roast. It was always quite dry and well done, and of course, served with mint jelly. Many of my friends expressed a real dislike for lamb’s gamy flavor, which I am sure the mint jelly was meant to cover up. I have managed to convert many who would not eat lamb into true converts by cooking whole leg of lamb, boned and butterflied, on the grill to a lovely pink medium rare. Trust me, it becomes a different animal that needs no sweet jelly to make it palatable. And, better yet, it can be enjoyed year-round—not just on Easter.

Butterflied Leg of Lamb

serves 8 - 10

1 whole leg of Spring Lamb (Colorado is my favorite). 
Have the butcher bone it for you and butterfly it.

Marinade

One day before cooking, carefully trim off as much fat as you can. Prepare a simple marinade by placing three big garlic cloves into food processor along with a small piece of onion. Process and then add the leaves from a big sprig of rosemary, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1 cup of dry red wine, 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika, 3 tablespoons of Lea and Perrins and 1 teaspoon of Tobasco. Add generous grindings of fresh black pepper.

Place meat and marinade in big baggie or glass bowl and marinate at least six hours.

Crumb Topping

You will need 3 cups of coarsely chopped stale country bread. Toss the bread with some good olive oil, pepper and a little salt. Toss again with a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Place on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven and toast, turning often until crispy. Cool and toss with fresh rosemary and some chopped parsley. Set aside.

Remove meat from marinade and run two or three metal skewers through to form a big steak. Cook lamb over hot coals or medium-high gas, turning several times until internal temp in thickest part reaches 130 degrees or about 30 minutes.

Remove lamb from heat, tent with foil and let rest 20-30 minutes before slicing.

Arrange lamb on a platter garnished with rosemary sprigs and lemon wedges. Garnish with the toasted bread crumbs before serving.

By: Anne Clayton

Like Pearls Before Swine - Deviled Oysters

  
  
  
  
  
  

Deviled Oyster

As this title implies, it was years before I appreciated the humble oyster. I watched my mother and father swoon over icy plates of raw oysters, adorned with little more than a squeeze of lemon or cocktail sauce.  Daddy made oyster stew for the two of them on many a cold winter night.  A little milk, a little cream, a pint of fresh oysters, salt, pepper and a big pat of butter, topped off with a handful of oyster crackers.

Daddy said he grew up eating oysters every which way from Thanksgiving through Christmas because my Great Grandfather, Allison Humphreys had barrels delivered by train to his coal and ice plant in Lebanon, Tennessee.

I was fascinated with looking at them and touching them, I just could not go there, especially with the raw ones.  For mom`s Christmas oysters, my job was to pick them over for shell bits and place them on paper towels to drain. Often there were tiny little crabs, still alive in with the oysters.  I actually liked the rich, briny smell of the slimy little bivalves but I wasn`t going to eat one.

I finally crossed over, it was the Christmas that I prepared the traditional Deviled Oysters for our big family dinner. It was one of the first times I was allowed to use a real kitchen knife. I minced onion and celery and stirred carefully as the mixture slowly cooked in butter.  The finished dish looked and smelled so good that I gave in and I loved it! Cooked yes but raw was still a no go.

Years later I learned the joy of really fresh raw oysters while on a duck hunting trip at The Bayou Club in Louisiana with my son Houston`s father, Morty Howell. Everyone was tearing into huge plates of beautiful oysters that were right out of the water while I just ate crackers. I just had to give in to see what all the fuss was about. What a treat that was!  I remember how great the cocktail sauce was. Nothing fancy, just ketchup, lemon, horseradish and minced celery with a tiny touch of onion and Tabasco. The celery was the real trick. It added a touch of unexpected freshness and crunch.

I don`t eat raw oysters much anymore for reasons you don`t want to know about but I do love them cooked just about any way you can think up.

For an amazing first course for 6, sauté a little minced shallot in butter, add some vermouth and reduce by half. Add a pint of heavy cream and boil until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add 2 cans of drained smoked oysters and fold gently into cream. Taste and adjust seasoning with white pepper, salt and lemon. Serve over hot corn cakes or buttered toast points with a little chopped chive and parsley garnish.

Momma`s Christmas Deviled Oysters – (serves 6)

1 quart fresh oysters [selects]
1 bunch celery, minced
½ small yellow onion, minced
1 tsp. salt
Few grinds black pepper
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
¼ tsp. Tabasco, or more to taste
1 ½ sticks butter
3 cups toasted fresh bread crumbs
Pick over and drain oysters on paper towel (oysters must be very dry)
Sautee celery and onion in butter till translucent
Add seasonings; adjust to taste
Butter a shallow rectangle glass casserole or gratin dish.  Add layer oysters, then crumbs, then onion mixture, letting crumbs form top layer. Dot with butter and bake at 350 degrees until hot and bubbling. Serve immediately.
About the Author:

Anne Thomas Clayton is a native Nashvillian who has been in the restaurant and catering business for over 30 years. Anne was partner in the award winning catering and gourmet carryout business, Clayton-Blackmon and then food and beverage director for Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art for seven years. Anne brings a unique understanding of the party rental business to Music City Tents and Events having worked both as a caterer and event planner for most of her food service career. “I have been in the kitchen for many years and now am going to turn my love of entertaining in a different direction. Joining the team at Music City Tents and Events allows me to keep my finger in the pie without having to bake it!”

Anne can be found at: anne@musiccitytents.com or 615-298-9222

THE GREAT TURKEY ON THANKSGIVING

  
  
  
  
  
  

Fried Thanksgiving Turkey

Charlie Brown sits and waits for The Great Pumpkin. I wait for The Great Turkey. Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday. The Macy`s parade, football, cool Fall weather ,  a crackling fire , friends and family gathered for one reason and one reason only . . . to celebrate the bounty of this great nation with a once a year feast centered around what was almost our national bird . . . the turkey!  No hall decking, no fa-la-la, no gifts, no sparkly sweaters and no need to be politically correct either . . . just say Happy Thanksgiving and pass the gravy please!

It`s early November and the Butterball Turkey hotline is being tested so it will  be ready for the frantic phone calls from first timers hoping to produce  that mythical Norman Rockwell bird.  Me, I`m making sure my propane tank is full! Always looking for new ways to cook things, I have done the traditional roast turkey like my mom, in the old GE roaster. I have smoked turkeys, injected them with butter and wine, brined them and deviled them. I once totally boned a turkey, stuffed it, rolled and tied it and roasted it in a salt crust [using a hammer on the main course at the dinner table was dramatic but not worth the trouble] but my favorite and most fun way to cook a turkey is to deep fry it!

Some 15 years ago my late great friend and grill master George Payne described the method for Cajun Fried Turkey to me and though it sounded totally wrong, I was determined to try it. I didn`t have the nerve to try this method for Thanksgiving but as luck would have it there was a plan for several families with children to rent chalets in Gatlinburg for New Years. We were planning a serious feast for New Year’s Eve so George and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to try out a fried turkey.

Back then no one outside of Louisiana was frying turkeys. There were no Home Depot turkey cookers to buy and no web sites with times and temperatures to follow. This was to be a strictly seat of the pants operation.  We loaded up a propane burner, my largest stock pot, 10 gallons of peanut oil a deep fat thermometer and a 15 pound turkey. The day before our grand experiment George made a highly aromatic blend of finely minced yellow onion,  fresh garlic,  a little green bell pepper,  red bell pepper, and a generous amount of Tony Cachere`s Creole seasoning with  just enough vegetable oil to make a nice thick paste. He carefully worked this mixture up under the skin of the turkey breast and thighs, being very careful not to tear any holes. The turkey was refrigerated until cooking time the next night. Every now and then the bird was turned and massaged to distribute the flavoring.  George took the kids out to the woods to cut a small cedar tree which he stripped. With a larding needle and butchers twine we trussed our turkey to the tree and lowered it into the hot oil…..

Note to the wise: before you do anything to the turkey, place it in the pot and cover it with water, 2 inches over top of bird. Be sure cavity is filled with water as well. Remove the turkey and mark the water level with a sharpie. That will be your fill line for the oil. Skip this step, and like me, you will be dancing a hot greasy jig and possibly dodging flames  as boiling oil pours over the top of the pot while you lower dinner into the hot fat!

Despite terminally greasy shoes, a few minor burns and the question of what to do with gallons of used oil at a rented house [don`t ask] it was the best turkey I had ever eaten! We fought over the crispy skin like fools. It was moist and wonderfully flavored. The men kept sneaking to the fridge in the night to pick at the carcass.

Today people inject their turkeys with all sorts of marinades but I think this just makes more holes for the seasoning to run out and makes odd pockets of overly seasoned meat.

You must have: 1 fresh 15 lb. plain turkey, sturdy propane burner, 40 – 60 quart heavy pot, 5 gallons peanut or canola oil, hot pads, old clothes, deep fat thermometer to attach to side of pot, heavy duty coat hanger to lower and remove bird , fire extinguisher and lid that fits pot in case of fire. [Never fry a turkey on your deck . . . grease spots are forever!] You must do this outside away from the house! Place a chair and a reasonable quantity of your beverage of choice near turkey fryer since you will not be able to leave it until it is done unless spelled by a friend. If you have plenty of adult beverages, and a TV with the game on, maybe someone will come out and keep you company. Keep children and dogs way away until oil is completely cool!

Let turkey begin to come to room temp while oil is heating up.

Heat oil to 350 degrees. Make sure turkey is as dry as possible. Try to pin skin to meat around cavity with tooth picks to keep oil out and seasoning in. I rub more Tony`s seasoning on the outside before cooking. Carefully lower bird into oil, slowly please, using the coat hanger hooked into the wire that trusses most birds or method that came with your cooker. Watch carefully and adjust the heat to maintain a temperature of 350 at all times. If you walk off and leave it to get too hot it can burst into flames.

Cook turkey 3.5 min per pound. A 15 pound turkey will be ready in 53 minutes!!  Remove carefully, remembering that there is possibly very hot oil in the cavity. Tent turkey with foil and let rest 30 minutes before carving. Appoint a guard who will not allow family to pick off all of the turkey skin or you will have a tasty but sad looking naked bird at your table. I think turkey cooked this way is best if cooked just before serving time.

While the turkey cooks, serve steaming mugs   of corn and oyster chowder garnished with applewood smoked bacon and chives.

For dinner serve rice dressing with red beans and  Andouille sausage , collard greens cooked in chicken stock with  a little bit of Tasso ham and caramelized red onion, oven roasted sweet potatoes with dark brown sugar , butter and bourbon glaze . Pass baskets of hot White Lilly cornbread muffins and hot biscuits with fig preserves and soft butter

For dessert hot apple dumplings with maple cinnamon ice cream, garnished with toasted pecans and hazelnuts.

I have fried many turkeys since then but none as special as that first one with my friend George!

Happy Thanksgiving!

About The Author:

Anne Thomas Clayton is a native Nashvillian who has been in the restaurant and catering business for over 30 years. Anne was partner in the award winning catering and gourmet carryout business, Clayton-Blackmon and then food and beverage director for Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art for seven years. Anne brings a unique understanding of the party rental business to Music City Tents and Events having worked both as a caterer and event planner for most of her food service career. “I have been in the kitchen for many years and now am going to turn my love of entertaining in a different direction. Joining the team at Music City Tents and Events allows me to keep my finger in the pie without having to bake it!”

Save Your Bank As You Save The Date – Wedding Planning Tips

  
  
  
  
  
  

Wedding Budget

Great advice from Jenny Creno on creating a wedding budget and wedding planning tips.

Soon after couples announce their engagement, planning the wedding becomes one of the first financial obstacles that the couple has to overcome together. The best thing to do is to learn about typical trends when it comes to planning a wedding and what mistakes lead to the most financial failures amongst couples during this process. 

Read more here

Mobile Apps For Events

  
  
  
  
  
  

Event App

The number of moble apps in the event space is growing.  This guide will help you navigate mobile apps for events space so you can make better more informed decisions.

 

Download here: The Bible for Mobile Event Apps 

Ultimate Nashville Event Planning Guide

  
  
  
  
  
  

Ultimate Nashville Event Planning Guide

After more than a decade of experience helping event planners with seamless gatherings of all sizes, we've learned a few things about the industry. First of all, event planning isn't easy. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of details involved in creating memorable events that attendees will talk about for years to come.

Some aspects of the job are the same every time, such as budgeting, accounting, and organization. Most events, however, require planning months in advance, and absolutely no two events will ever be the same.

Whether you’re planning your first Nashville event or your fiftieth, this guide has the information you need to pull it together with panache and the lowest possible price tag.

This guide outlines:

• Details on the Best Nashville Venues, including the new Music City Center

• A Checklist of Equipment to Rent

• Nashville’s Favorite Caterers and Planners

Leverage this handbook to help you host everything from intimate weddings to major corporate events.

Download Free Copy Here

10 Tips to Throw a Good Business Event

  
  
  
  
  
  

Business Event resized 600

A great way for any business to increase its likeability is by hosting a customer event. But be cautious: Events are live productions and must be done well. Here are ten tips on how to throw a good business event:

1. Select the right venue and the right guests. There are three factors that influence attendance: the content, who's hosting and attending, and of course, the venue. The first two make sense, but venue is something that is often not given the consideration it should be. If you are selling a high-end product, don’t select an airport Holiday Inn because it is convenient. People will travel to an ‘aspirational,’ trendy or interesting venue and associate it with your brand, but you need to know your audience.

2. The 4-1 invite rule: I have had many clients tell me they are expecting 100 people only to find they have invited 120. They are then dismayed when only 30 RSVP. We consistently see a 4-1 ratio of invitees to attendees at customer-facing, free events, so if you want 100 guests, you need to invite 400, or adjust your expectations accordingly. This does vary slightly by content and employee-facing events can be slightly higher but a good rule of thumb when determining the size of your event and invite list.

3. The 7-minute rule: Did you know that every attendee, regardless of how outgoing they are, arrives with a slightly elevated heart rate and measurable low to mid-level angst? It’s human nature: the fear of walking into a new environment with new people. Make your audience comfortable in the first seven minutes. It will impact how and if they absorb your message. Physically walk through your attendee experience – from the parking-lot to the entrance. Make sure you have adequate signage. No one likes getting lost on their way and they will arrive flustered. Use human signage too. Live events are about getting people face-to-face, a human experience. Position representatives at key locations to greet, direct, answer questions or just smile. And please make sure you have a coat check that is organized. Nothing creates angst in attendees like the fear that their coat (containing their house and car keys) may get lost. The sooner you make guests comfortable, the better your event and their retention, the vibe and overall success.

4. The in-hand rule: Humans are just more comfortable in a new environment when they have something in their hands. Cigarette companies have capitalized on this for years. But this in-hand rule applies only to beverages, not hand-outs. If you are hosting a cocktail event, do a “pre-pour” so that waiters greet guests with trays of drinks on entrance, ensuring they have something in-hand sooner and decreasing the risk of bar line-ups. If it is a breakfast event, ensure the coffee station is close to the door and well stocked. People immediately relax when they have a beverage in hand. The opposite is true of hand-out materials. Place them on the chairs, give only what is relevant, provide something to carry them in and if you can, replace with mobile apps that download info to their smart phones or drive to on-line to retrieve materials. Your guests and the environment will thank you.

5. The 20-minute standup presentation rule: If there are presentations longer than 20 minutes, you must provide seating for everyone. Also, placing screens around the room will ensure less talking in the back of the room, from those who feel removed from the presenter.

6. The death-by-PowerPoint antidote: No tiny fonts, complicated charts and graphs and follow the three-to-five bullets max per slide rule. Show video only if you are confident it will run and have rehearsed it with the AV provider. Use a bumper slide and a switcher so that you can transition between presentations easily, avoiding the desktop image, or worse still, your screensaver of you in a bathing suit at the cottage with the kids. Keep the content short and relevant. Show, don’t tell. Don’t give customers the infomercial on your services at an appreciation event. Give them an experience. The rest will follow with affinity for you and your brand.

7. AV is VIP: Music and lighting are the cheapest and most effective tools to set a mood, whether it is a day or evening event. Use them effectively. If you are staging a presentation, remember the screen is the next most important thing in the room. Everyone is staring at it and they expect it tell them what is happening and when. It is a focal point and reflects your competence as a company. Mitigate AV/technology glitches together with your AV provider and go through a rehearsal and an AV checklist e.g. insist on new batteries for all wireless mics and new bulbs in the projector at the beginning of each session.

8. Brand ambassadorship: Ensure every staff person at your event is a brand ambassador. Not just the members of your own staff, but all the staff in the room. Even if they are just the bartender or a waiter, arm them with information about the event, the objectives, the message, key customer info and all about your brand.

9. The chat & chew rule: Don’t make hors d’oeuvres too big (lady-like, bite-sized only), too sticky or too smelly (garlic should be used to flavour slightly not overwhelm conversation) and provide scattered leaning and seating options at a stand-up event.

10. Follow up: The event is the middle. Pre and post event interaction is critical to extending the experience and your ROI. Your first impression is the invitation and the RSVP process and a “thank you for attending” e-mail following event, with relevant information if possible, tells them you cared that they came.

Lastly, have fun. If you are stressed, your guests will be too. Remember the objective of any event is about building likeability. So even if things don’t go perfectly, it is the way you handle the situation that will matter. Gather everyone together right before you open the doors and empower them to enjoy themselves, smile and build relationships. Getting your brand face-to-face with your customers - and having fun in the process - will build loyalty, likeability and grow your business.

About the Author:

Grail Noble is the president and founder of Yellow House Events, an event marketing and planning agency based in Toronto, Canada. Follow Grail on Twitter @grailnoble.

Enriching Events Through Social Media

  
  
  
  
  
  

Social Media Promotion

Human beings are social creatures. They thrive on interactions and socialize constantly. This is why social media has reached a feverish pitch in the last decade with the introduction of such sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and now Pinterest. The smart business person would realize that this is the best way to get attention to their cause or business. A majority of the world is now tech savvy, keeping in touch with the world through hand held mobile devices and being extremely connected and mobile. Part of an event management solution is to make use of social media to gain a following for your events. How can you enrich a user’s experience with your events if you are an event management company?

Post your pre and post event photos:

“Pictures paint a thousand words” and social sites now offer enhanced image capabilities as well as real-time sharing with Apps such as Instagram. If you are planning a big event, announce this on social site groups through picture tagging. Don’t forget to include your website URL so interest can be directed back to your site. Create an event calendar on your social site, send out personal invitations and encourage people to share your invites among their friends. You can glean the contact information from these shared contacts to include to your event solution database, so make sure you also have an event management system in place. The visual impact is always the first to attract, the more interesting your images the more shares to other users. It also encourages user interactions to your events.

Hash tag your events:

The use of hash tags to keywords especially in Twitter is a great way to get people to notice your event. It promotes comments, sharing and retweets of your events in the most viral way. Event Malaysia companies are just noticeably using this method to spread news of their upcoming events and updates, which opens a new following into the worldwide web. Some hash tags you can consider are event-specific and universal hash tags. You can learn more about hash tag for events at this site: http://tradeshowsocialmedia.com/event-hashtags-a-guide-to-using-them

Enable social sharing:

Part of a successful event means getting people to share out the news of your event. Sharing out pre-event is to garner interest and attendance while post-event sharing is to gather information and feedback on the success of your event. Event planning includes both categories. You can use social media to accomplish both. This requires you to enable sharing on your site in the first place. Make sure you place those little share icons and social site buttons to your web page. Another new method of sharing is the use of QR Codes. These are those little cube shaped icons that are recognized by mobile hand devices. You can scan these codes and it will lead you to the information on the specific site. These QR Codes are easily printed on to vinyl stickers that you can paste at your event venue.

About the Evenesis blog site:

Evenesis blog shares interesting articles and useful tips about event management, event planning and other related event solution articles to help you manage your events more effectively.

http://www.evenesis.com/blog/

Tips to Promote Your Event

  
  
  
  
  
  

 Event Promotion

Promoting events with better effectiveness requires experience and innovation in your event planning skills. Thanks to the technological advancements, there are numerous ways of effectively reaching a wider audience to promote your event. Proper event planning can help you capture a large crowd for your event. A large attendance can prove instrumental in making your campaign successful. Therefore, you should practice the latest event solutions to promote your campaign with better effectiveness.

Advertise:

Advertisement is a common method of promoting your event. However, if it is not managed properly, the advertising campaign for your events might not run as you have plan. The purpose of advertisements is to reach a wider audience. However, you should do this within the available resources and accordingly to your event budget

How to reduce your advertisement expenses:

In event planning, it is important for you to make prior market analysis and research about your events. One of the key elements to analyze is the potential crowd that will attend your events; you need to understand their needs so you can come out with a proper checklist about what to include in your event plans. The aim of this analysis is to produce an advertisement campaign that can guarantee results with the required efficiency. The primary purpose of advertising is to attract the target audience and promote the event. If you are able to serve this purpose, your efforts for smoother event management process could be achieve.

A good market analysis can help you justify the additional expenditures required for advertisements. Most of the event management systems have been designed with solutions to help reduce the cost of your overall event planning activities. We live in an era of economic recession. Therefore, every penny that you spend should make even better returns. Although efforts such as advertisements to promote the event increase you expenditures immensely, it usually results in a higher productivity.

Attract the audience by including special offers:

Another way to promote the event is to include special incentives for the attendees. These incentives are generally low in cost as compared to the expensive advertisement campaigns. Despite that, it can results in higher attendance on the delivery day. Most of the event management companies prefer giving benefits such as discounts, interaction with the company members and activities that promote the audience participation. Statistically, an event management system that allows such practices achieves better success with lower input. Due to the competitive environment and economic recession, people rush to acquire even the smallest of benefits as long as you advertise these offers effectively. As a result, your clients are able to convey their messages to a wider audience. Therefore, these event solutions are prioritized among the clients planning to host commercial campaigns.

New professionals in the event management industry should work within the limited resources issued by their clients. You may incorporate numerous event solutions that are proven techniques to achieve a success with your market campaign. Keep advertising your campaign until the delivery day approaches. Clients prefer event management solutions that help to promote events with better effectiveness to achieve the desired results with minimal input.

About the blog site:

Evenesis blog shares interesting articles and useful tips about event management, event planning and other related event solution articles to help you manage your events more effectively.

http://www.evenesis.com/blog/

What Drives the Cost of Private Event Entertainment?

  
  
  
  
  
  

 

Dueling Pianos

Let’s say you’re throwing a private party for your spouse’s 40th birthday, or perhaps you are considering entertainment for a Gala Fundraising Dinner for your nonprofit organization. Maybe you saw a Dueling Piano show or a really good party band on your vacation to NYC last month and you want them to entertain for your special event. The things that you see are great entertainment. But it’s the things you don’t see that the professional event entertainer is probably going to base his price on. Here are 8 that you should be aware of before you contact your entertainment provider for a price quote:

The entire time the entertainer will need to be at the venue. This includes the time for setup (I like giving myself 3 hours to load in and set up my sound, lights and 2 grand pianos) plus sufficient buffers in case something unforeseen happens such as needing to run out to Guitar Center to replace a broken cord. It also includes time during the event that I’m not performing but that I am still set up. So even though my performance ends at 9, I can’t begin breaking down until 10:30. So a 90 minute Dueling Piano show may require 8 or 9 hours of my time at the venue.

Travel time with buffers for traffic. It takes about 90 minutes for me to travel from NYC to Philly, but I will probably want to give myself an extra hour (at least) in case something unforeseen happens. My clients do not care that there was traffic on the NJ Turnpike. They expect that a professional will be there on time. This takes planning.

Event Insurance. Will the entertainer be required to provide a commercial insurance liability binder possibly naming the venue as additional insured? Some entertainers pay for these policies annual, while others purchase them for each individual event as needed. Regardless, it’s a very real cost of business.

Your choice of day/date: There are only 52 Saturday nights in a year. These are valuable commodities to performers who may only work 4 or 5 shows per month. Most performers put a slight premium on weekends because they know they are more likely to get a booking even if they don’t get yours. This is why you expect to pay more for events on New Year’s Eve, or Saturdays in December.

The size of your venue determines the sound production required. If you are doing an event for 750 people, your professional event entertainer better bring a sound system that can fill up that space, and these systems aren’t cheap. Your performer has paid thousands of dollars for (hopefully) good professional sound gear just so that she is ready to provide quality production for your event and others like it. The cost of this equipment as well as upkeep and upgrades will be part of the professional’s equation when bidding a job.

The cost of moving and storing equipment. Many entertainers have technicians that they pay to move and set up their equipment. Some have purchased large vans and trucks to move our equipment from job to job. Others have the equipment professional stored for easy access. They may insure this equipment against damage and theft.

The cost of maintaining advertising, websites and referral services. This is the cost of doing business. How did you find your entertainer? Maybe they paid for Google Adwords so that when you searched the term “Party Entertainment NYC” their ad came up. You clicked on their add, which brought you to their professionally designed website where you looked at their professionally shot and edited video reel and photos. You better believe that every one of these elements took significant time and expense to get right.

Act development and prior experience of the performer. This is the part that is illusive to the purchaser. The good news is that the better the video is, and the better the performance is, the more you can be sure that attention has been paid to this most crucial part of professional event entertainment.  Obviously if someone has spent a lifetime developing their talents and skills, they expect to be compensated appropriately.

These are just some of the considerations that your performer will have in his or her mind when they are considering what to charge for your performance. If you receive a bid that seems too good to be true, I would start to question the actual value of that act with the above points in mind.

About the author:  Eddie Lawrence has been entertaining crowds since he was 7 years old. He has been providing entertainment for events large and small for the past 15 years and is a self-appointed guru in booking entertainment for special events. His company, New York, NY Dueling Pianos provides interactive entertainment for corporations and individuals seeking something unique and fun.

NY Dueling Pianos

(917) 721-5247

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