THE RIGHT ACT PLAYS ANYWHERE
WHO: PAUL CREIGHTON, CSEP, T. SKORMAN PRODUCTIONS, ORLANDO, FLA.
WHAT'S PLAYING: “Headliners are still strong, and acts that segment their performances into short vignettes are doing well. This gives those acts the versatility to work in business meetings, in awards shows, and in between meal courses. For a large portion of the corporate market, it's still not acceptable to look like they are having fun. Party bands are having trouble in this segment. And I believe that cirque shows are becoming passé. They'll both be back — they always are — but right now, it's a tough sell.”
WHO'S BUYING: “Companies still need to engage their sales staff, their clients, their suppliers. Confirmation cycles continue to shorten as planners wait until the very last possible moment to confirm, but the economy is getting better, and the number of events we are seeing supports that view.”
WHAT WORKS WHERE: “Obviously each area has its different specialties. For example, Jimmy Buffet bands are huge in Florida but not in Memphis, Tenn. Blues bands are big in Memphis but not in California. But in general, quality entertainment works everywhere.”
INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCES DRIVE DEMAND
WHO: ROLANDO ESPINOZA, CHAMPAGNE CREATIVE GROUP, LAS VEGAS
WHAT'S PLAYING: “Corporate clients come to Las Vegas for a ‘wow’ factor; as a result, we produce many of the unique acts you see on television's ‘America's Got Talent,’ including LED break dancers, A-class magicians — pickpocket artists, sleight of hand, etc. — and shadow theater performances. Other hot acts include female DJs and luxurious, interactive strolling characters with elaborate Cirque du Soleil-style costuming. Traditional music, including bands and singers, is very difficult to sell to corporate clients unless it is an established recording artist [such as] Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, etc. Comedians have become simply too racy for corporate audiences, and international clients do not understand the jokes.”
WHO'S BUYING: “International clients, including India, Australia, Brazil, Canada and China, are starting to reappear in Las Vegas, especially as immigration and visitor visas are becoming more common. Expect to see a wave of Chinese corporate business demanding ‘American-style’ corporate entertainment. The growth in Asia has made many companies wealthy, and they are ready to travel.”
DOING MORE WITH LESS
WHO: RICHARD POLLOCK, RAINBOW ENTERTAINMENT, DALLAS
WHAT'S PLAYING: “Corporations are taking more advantage of the tribute band/celebrity impersonator route to save budget. Especially with a good lighting job, you can't tell the difference. The most interesting phenomenon in the corporate entertainment circuit today is that more and more comedy club stand-up comedians are becoming corporate motivational/topical entertainers/speakers. It's a lot easier for a stand-up who already knows how to humor an audience to learn something motivational to say than for an educated person with a motivational story to be able to present an entertaining speech to a live audience.
“Larger bands are being replaced with smaller ensembles with computerized synthesizers that sound like three to six additional musicians without the budget.”
GETTING THE MESSAGE OUT
WHO: CHRIS ARREDONDO, ECLIPSE ENTERTAINMENT, ARLINGTON, TEXAS
WHAT'S PLAYING: “Today, brand messaging is key for all types of event entertainment. Guests nowadays call for more than static entertainment — such as Top 40 variety bands and costumed performers — and truly value concepts that live, breathe, grow and tell a story. At Eclipse, this is what we term as ‘edutainment,’ or entertainment linked with a message. Engaging guests with sharing a message combined with strategic branding is a very powerful way of adding the value necessary to substantiate and maximize your event entertainment investment dollar. We, as of late, have tooled our concepts to parallel this through themed events, headliners and entertainment of purpose to put the ‘wow’ in our projects”
WHAT WORKED: “Theatrical production numbers are also profound ways to transition your event from one point to the next. One of the coolest transitions we have recently produced was for a 50th anniversary held at the brand-new, state-of-the-art Wyly Theatre in the Dallas Arts District. As dessert dishes were serviced off the dinner tables, the chandeliers dramatically rose to the ceiling as four gorgeously clad cirque performers were lowered to Pink's ‘Glitter.’ Now that guest attention was centered upward, it was time for a fantastical reveal. The two-ton acrylic beaded chandelier was lowered on speed motors, revealing a hot, haute female DJ theatrically transitioning everyone onto the dance floor.”
See the full story in the May-June issue of Special Events, available to subscribers only.