No matter the size of your event, the show advance is your opportunity to solve potential issues before they occur while at the same time taking care of as many details as possible so that you are free to deal with any unforeseen circumstances as they arise. A well thought out and detailed show advance will put you in the best position for a smooth and hassle free show day, as long as you follow through on what was agreed upon. Here are some things to consider when advancing an event with multiple acts, possibly over multiple days.
Start off with a small summary that can include the artist name, on-site arrival time, load in time, time doors open, show time, along with any other schedule obligations such as interviews. Also include a complete day of show schedule listing the times of other performers at the same venue. As convenient as it may be to send messages via facebook or text don’t. Keep a detailed email thread that you can easily reference when questions arise.
ONSITE CONTACT INFORMATION
If the on-site contact is not the same person that is conducting the advance make sure to copy them on all correspondences and provide their contact information. The onsite contact show greets all entourages as they arrive and may wish to distribute a welcome package along with accreditation. You may also wish to include stage managers, and media liaisons.
Clearly communicate your accreditation system and be sure to have all credentials ready for distribution as your artists arrive, or have clear instructions along with maps showing where to pick them up.
EVENT MEDIA POLICIES
Include your media policy for your event with your advance documents. This policy may be agreed to or further documentation might be required in terms of photo releases and signature. It is also important to make sure that whoever is handling your media relations is aware that policies may be different between acts and should relay this to all media outlets.
EVENT ONLINE INFORMATION
List all online resources for your event, along with any proper hashtags. This may include event website, facebook, twitter, Instagram, snapchat etc. This will make it easier for your acts to properly post to your channels.
SITE MAP AND DIRECTIONS
For artists that are travelling include precise directional instructions along with maps and even gps coordinates. You may also wish to include overhead photos if possible. This may also include instructions on where to pick up event credentials or passes.
CATERING MEAL TIMES & HOSPITALITY
Relay all available meals and meal times along with menus. Collect the number of persons that will be attending each meal along with any special diet requirements or restrictions. If required, include a map on where meals are served, and any special instructions such as the requirement of meal vouchers to be presented. In terms of dressing room hospitality and other needs of your entertainers that will depend on your agreement and review of their hospitality rider. If a meal buyout is available have that payment ready for pickup when the artist arrives.
If possible have your artists ship merchandise in advance and have them provide return shipping and payment information. This will allow you to sell the product over multiple days rather than waiting for the artist’s arrival. Provide the name of your artist merchandise manager and confirm all rates and commissions.
List all hotel information along with a hotel contact and provide confirmation numbers of hotel bookings when they become available. Indicate who is responsible for payment.
As simple as this sounds this can quickly become the most overwhelming part of any advance and can make or break your show day. Try to establish a predetermined ground transport schedule knowing that flight delays and weather conditions could cause changes, so be ready to adapt. Your schedule should be broken down into a series of runs. To better keep track of each run you may wish to number them. Each run should have the following information at minimum. Contact name, phone number, pick up location address & time, drop off location address, flight numbers, special instructions, and of course the number of persons being picked up. This will allow you to allocate your vehicle resources in advance as well. Be sure to provide the contact information of your ground transportation manager.
TAX INFORMATION & IMMIGRATION ASSISTANCE
When dealing with international artists, relay all important information regarding taxes and immigration. Some artists may be subject to withholding taxes deducted from their final payment where you will be responsible to withhold those funds and remit them to the government. In terms of immigration, varying levels of assistance may be required depending on what the circumstances are that could prevent an individual from entering the country. There are various reputable immigration brokers that can assist with the process of clearing personnel and goods.
Verify in advance that you have the correct payment information, amounts, and any necessary deductions are made and agreed upon. Payment form should also be agreed upon whether it be certified cheque or wire transfer.
So far we have touched base on all the items required to get your entertainers to the show, but the production advance takes care of what is needed to execute the show. When faced with any questions you are unsure of the answer, don’t guess - find out the answer or provide contact information of the right person to answer the question.
Contact information for audio, video, lighting, staging, and backline companies should all be provided. Information such as stage size, available power, rigging points could also be relayed after confirming them with your vendors. You should also include contact information for your venue representative if it is not your venue.
Information you could be asked to provide could be the availability of stage hands, forklifts, roof load capacities, bus and truck parking, audio and lighting specifications, along with production office and dressing room availability.
This is also the perfect area to discuss your safety and weather policies and protocols!
YOUR REPUTATION DEPENDS ON IT
The effects of a good or bad show advance will last far beyond your show. Within the entertainment world is a tight knit community of front line tour and production managers that will review and rate the experiences of your event with their peers within the industry. Be sure to treat everyone with the same level of respect and professionalism that you would expect in return.