How to Work with Speakers, Musicians, and Guest Artists: ILEA Quick Tips for Event Planners

How to Work with Speakers, Musicians, and Guest Artists: ILEA Quick Tips for Event Planners

Follow the rider and ask questions up front to keep your venue and guest artist or speaker happy.

Incorporating live music, an energetic speaker, or a performing group are great ways to add personality and uniqueness to your next event. Here are some things to consider when working with guest artists.

The Rider

When hiring a guest speaker or musical group, the agreement will usually include an artist rider that lists equipment, hospitality, and venue needs. In the instance of a guest speaker, he or she may require a certain type of microphone or a specific audio/visual set-up for the presentation. Musical groups will provide a stage plot, an equipment list and give specifics related to hospitality needs. It is important to read the rider from beginning to end and clarify any questions with the artist or agent prior to signing the contract.   

Travel and Accommodations

Beyond the fee paid to the performer there could be additional costs related to travel and accommodations. 

  • Do they require specific transportation or flight arrangements?
  • Do they need lodging before or after the event?
  • Do they bring additional people (assistants, wardrobe, make-up) that you need to accommodate?

The Venue

Don’t forget to consult with the venue before hiring entertainment. The venue will need to be aware of any requests the artist has as it pertains to load-in, rehearsal needs, and equipment rentals. The rider may also have specific requests related to green room space, available parking, merchandise sales, or ticketing. You want to make sure not to promise something that the venue may not be able to control or provide.


Once the event is promoted word will get out regarding the presenters and musicians that you have booked. Each artist will have guidelines on how to handle media inquiries, interviews, press conferences, or other publicity. Make sure that you review these guidelines and are representing their brand in an appropriate way. Additionally, work with the artist in ways that could benefit your event and your mission. Are they willing to do community outreach, a meet and greet, or a VIP performance for executives or donors?

Rights and Permissions

Whenever a person is hired to present or perform it is important to consider the intellectual property and creative work that is being shared. Intellectual Property can consist of copyright or trademarked material, sensitive company material, movie/TV footage, and background music. There is a series of rights and permissions that need to be obtained from the venue, the copyright owner and the performer. 

About the Author

Nick Peter is the Event and Facility Sales Manager at Orchestra Hall, home of the Minnesota Orchestra and one the state’s premier performing arts and special event venues. For more than 15 years Nick has been connecting his passion for music and performance to the event industry – working with international guest artists, producing concerts and events, and collaborating with nonprofit and corporate clients.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Live Events Association – Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter.

About ILEA

The International Live Events Association (ILEA) represents and supports more than 5,000 members globally – event professionals who do business together, share knowledge, nurture talent and progress the live events industry. For more information on how an ILEA professional can help you with your event, please contact