The Importance of Having a Performance Contract

The Importance of Having a Performance Contract


Recently some friends and I went to a concert of a solo artist that hit their peak in the early 2000’s at a very early age. This artist, like many others has continued touring throughout the years, but unlike others hasn’t released any new music. However, he will doing so soon in hopes of finding a new fanbase. For this tour stop, we were in Wisconsin at a high school auditorium. While the auditorium probably holds a few hundred, their were about fifty people in attendance that evening. The concert consisted of an opening act, a DJ and then the headliner. The opening act was decent and did a good job of keeping the crowd entertained and getting them enthused. The DJ remained on stage for the duration of the headliners’ set. No live musicians were present for the headliner, he sang along to the tracks the DJ spun and some backing vocals. The artist played a short set from his forth-coming album. None of his old hits were played, to much of the audiences dismay. Not only that, but his set was extremely short, we’re talking thirty-five minutes short! So what does this have to do with a performance contract?

It has everything to do with contracts and I’ll explain why. Immediately following the show, three attendees complained to the venue about the length of the set and asked to have their ticket costs refunded. This resulted in the artist being kicked out of the venue abruptly. Therefore, he wasn’t able to hold his meet n’ greet with his fans, causing more of the attendees to be disappointed.

I was able to speak briefly with the artist about the unfortunate mishap. He relayed to me that not only did the promoter and venue throw him out, they did not pay him and were planning on suing him. Thus, he was headed to the local police station to file a report. He confided in me that he never signed a contact for this particular stop on his tour in the first place! It’s never a good idea to not have a contract!

Let me explain, having a contract benefits both the artist and the one hiring the artist. It doesn’t matter what talent you may offer, whether it musical, face painting, public speaking or other, it is very important to have the details of the event in writing. Having a contract in writing protects you and the client who hires you. The contract can even be one page as long as all the pertinent information is stated. It clarifies what the client expects from you and what you expect from the client. For example all contracts should state: the date, time, and location of the event. It should also state the duration of which you’ll be “performing,” pay and how you will be paid. A contract can have a plethora of important information, but all of these are the key to not having any disputes in the end. If there happens to be a dispute on either end, then you can refer back to the contract for clarification.

So the next time you debate drawing up a contract, please do. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Where to find a template contract? Right here!

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