Live Events: Managing Risk for Success
Promoters of live events such as festivals and music performances have multiple aspects to coordinate before an event can successfully take place. Without a doubt, experienced promoters know that the support of legal counsel is crucial in every step of the way; from booking the artists, to selecting the venue as well as obtaining the proper insurance coverage, and securing releases, vendors and other attractions.
In terms of selecting the artists, it is important to hire talent through well-respected and well-known booking agencies. Hiring an artist through a booking agency is especially important when the talent is a foreigner. Often, there are work visa challenges that the booking agency must handle directly with the artist’s management. The visa compliance issues could become a problem with multiple negative implications that could potentially lead to the cancellation of the event.
In the live performance industry, the talent often requires that a substantial advance deposit is paid to them to secure their performance. Consequently, mitigating the risks of a “no show” become particularly difficult when, for example, the contract is not governed by US laws and all the potentially responsible parties are located outside of the United States.
International artists often have “road” managers based in the US whose main objective is to book events locally for the artists they represent. These managers are, in principle, exempt from responsibility in connection to any potential breach of the artist to the promoter because they are generally not a party to the live performance contract between the promoter and the international artist. Thus, the fact that a foreign talent is represented by a local manager does not necessarily allow the promoter to enforce the agreement in the US in the event of a “no show” or other breach by the artist. This is one of the reasons why it is important to evaluate all potential artist engagements on a case-by-case basis and ensure the artist’s local representatives are also privy to the agreement or the parties agree to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the US.
In my practice, I not only assist promoters in evaluating their compliance issues but our team can also assist in securing various forms of event insurance, including cancellation insurance — which (albeit expensive) sometimes becomes an essential tool for larger events such as festivals.
Additionally, my experience with international clients allows our team to guide promoters and create a low-risk business platform enabling promoters to focus on the experience they are bringing to the public, as opposed to the headaches of legal compliance and contracts.
Our experienced legal team can help you navigate these critical details. We are experts at contract issues that protect all parties — promoters, venues, and artists. Whether you are organizing a large festival or small event, please contact us as early in the process as possible. An early consultation with the correct plan of action can save promoters money (and their reputation) in this competitive emerging area of entertainment.