ILEA Quick Tips For Event Planners: April 2017

Enhancing your event with entertainment.

Entertainment is an essential element in taking an event to the next level. Fantastic entertainment can impress your guests and be the most memorable part of an event. However, it is easy to get lost in a sea of options and it can be hard to judge the good entertainment options from the bad. Too often, planners end up booking something inconsistent, unreliable, or simply wrong for their event. Many planners choose to stick by the tried-and-true combination of great food, great décor, and great music entertainment. While these are all invaluable factors in entertaining guests, this classic formula has become predictable for regular event attendees and an industry cliché.

Every event is different. Your event entertainment should be just as unique! Finding the right fit for your event first requires thinking outside the box. Second, it means booking reliable performers that can customize what they do to suit the needs and style of your event. Finally, it is important to utilize entertainment strategically for the best impact.
Here are a few tips for incorporating entertainment into your next event:
1. Welcome Guests with Style
Having a performer waiting to greet your guests is the perfect way to dazzle them the second they arrive. Costumed characters are wonderful for welcoming attendees and helping set the mood. Larger statement pieces and performance installations can be positioned by the entrance to make a grand first impression and double as the perfect backdrop for photos. Entertainment can also assist with moving your guests from one part of the venue to another. Using stilt walkers to rise above the crowd and lead your guests can avoid interrupting the vibe with a loudspeaker announcement. Hiring a host or emcee to welcome everyone is smart decision that often gets overlooked. An entertaining emcee can help take a little pressure off the planner, and make sure your guests are having a great time from the moment they walk in the door.

2. Create an Environment with Performers
Performers roaming throughout an event is a great way to create a fun, immersive atmosphere. Using entertainment as “living décor” encourages guests to explore the whole event and discover what surprises maybe waiting around the next corner. A live painter is a unique entertainment option that also creates a stunning memento from the event that can be auctioned off or given away as a prize. Or why not bring the canvas to life with body painted models or human statues? Acrobats and contortionists roaming the space act as an intriguing conversation piece and give everyone a chance to experience their skill up close. Even bigger acts like aerialists can be used around the room to create an elegant ambience.
3. Engage Attendees with Interactive Acts
Entertainment doesn’t always need to be kept at a distance. It’s important to choose a mix of attention-grabbing performances with entertainment that encourages guest participation and make a meaningful connection with their audience.  A great interactive act makes your guests part of the experience. Even quintessential interactive entertainment options can be updated with modern style: mimes, magicians and mind readers…oh my! Interactive acts can play with our sense of nostalgia and bring classic characters, cartoons and carnival games to life. Create something experiential, pull back the curtain and engage your guests with an interactive act!
4. Get Creative with Food Service
Great chefs know that hungry patrons will eat with their eyes first. That is why catering chefs put a great deal of time and effort into making sure their food is presented beautifully. But the presentation doesn’t have to stop at the plate. Using entertainment is the perfect way to take an element of events that has become standard and turn it into something extraordinary. Try using costumed servers to spice up your passed appetizers or offer your guests a decadent dessert served on an elegant roaming table. With customized costumes, getting creative with your food service also means adding to the décor and the overall ambiance of your event. Add a dash of entertainment to the mix and you’ll have a recipe for an exceptional event!

5. Make a Statement with a Show-Stopping Performance
The number one entertainment request for a special event is a “wow moment” – something that will blow everyone away. Imagine: As your guests order a cocktail at the bar, a song begins to play softly in the background. As the volume grows, dancers begin to appear around the venue suddenly bursting into a choreographed routine. The energy builds as aerialists descend from the ceiling and roller skaters fly around the room. With a flash, the stage ignites with fire dancers and grinder performers shoot sparks high into the air. As the fog clears, a cyr wheel acrobat appears, spinning at high velocity and defying gravity before your eyes! As you can see, the sky’s the limit when combining acts into one epic performance. Choreographed performances with multiple performers are a great way to refocus your audience’s attention before a speech or presentation. These performances are also an unforgettable way to open and close an event. Get your guests excited and pumped up for what’s to come or leave them breathless and wanting more!
With so many options for upping your entertainment game, the potential is limitless! Whatever entertainment you decide on, make sure you think ahead. Quality entertainment gets booked up earlier than most other types of event vendors. So get in touch with an entertainment consultant today and start planning something special to surprise your guests!

Justen Pohl is the founder and director of Enticing Entertainment. Winner of six ILEA Minnesota Star Awards, Enticing Entertainment is Minnesota’s premier event entertainment production house. He is also an active member of the International Live Events Association (ILEA) Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter.