Tradeshow and Exhibit Thoughtleaders
"The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge
and the dissemination of truth."

John F. Kennedy

Meet our Thoughtleaders: An Interview with
Joshua Gair by Gordon Nary
and Samantha Adler


Return to Josh's Main Page

Gordon/Samantha: What is an example of an ideal type of local entertainer for an event?

Josh: There many entertainers that can be effective at exhibit booths, however the most important aspect is to look for something unique that will draw people into your booth so that you can engage with them and develop a conversation.  Avoid anything boring and if the entertainer can customize their performance to your company, all the better.  Some examples are magicians, jugglers, stilt walkers, celebrity impersonators, acapella groups, and more.

Gordon/Samantha: How do we know if we want to book a celebrity or a musical/comedy act?

There a a number of reasons to book a celebrity for an event that can range from driving attendance, building buzz for a new brand or product, selling tickets, and more.  For example, many companies when looking to make a splash at a trade show or land or impress a big client will throw a private party for their top or would be clients and book a celebrity to make it truly memorable.  Few things build relationships faster than getting to know your clients by bonding with them at special events and developing that friendship which in turn is good for business.  Celebrities at the events impress clients and can help when following up with them later as you are sure to stand out.  Of course even a unique local act can do the trick as well.

Gordon/Samantha: How do we know if we want a local act or a celebrity act, regardless of price?

Josh:  When your deciding on whether to book a local act or a celebrity, aside from price, you should look at your goals for the event.  If you are looking to make a big impression, if it is an annual tradition, event for major clients, then a celebrity is the way to go, however if you just need something to keep people entertained and it will not be a major part of the evening, then a local act is perfect.  The main point is to know your audience and your objectives.

Gordon/Samantha: When should we let additional rider costs/stipulations scare me away from a great act?

. Often times, when clients see what can sometimes be the laundry list of requests for a celebrity act they really want to book, they get cold feet and decide it is not worth the trouble.  You should always contact a talent agency to look over the rider and negotiate the contract on your behalf unless you are very experienced in booking headline talent.  You will save time and money and they can negotiate many things that you may not know about such as eliminating odd food requests, difficult production items and of course negotiating price.  Bottom line, always work with a professional and you can secure that hot act without having to deal with a scary rider and contract as the talent agency will handle these things for you.

Gordon/Samantha:  What kinds of risks are we taking with booking a celebrity whose reputation or cache could be in jeopardy? Is there a good way to spot this type of celebrity?

Sometimes there is no way to know what celebrity acts are going to have reputation or public relations problems and you certainly do not want to have celebrity at your event if they just had a major public misstep like rehab, drugs and the like.  Fortunately, there are some types of acts to avoid to minimize your risks.  These are not surefire, as nothing is, but they act as a guide.  First, be sure to ask your talent agency about the reputation of the act you want to book, such as do they show up on time, client references.  Secondly, avoid booking talent that is constantly in the media defending themselves against laws they have broken or anyone that is having any legal trouble at all.  Finally, ask the talent agency or act if they have played your type of gig in the past and ask for a reference to contact.  Some acts are not as familiar with playing corporate events as others and the last thing you want is for them to start talking about their political views at your event. Make sure they know your audience.

Gordon/Samantha: Do you have any recommendations for great celebrity impersonators or cover acts?

. Celebrity impersonators, tribute acts, and cover bands are becoming more popular than ever as they are almost like the real thing, without the price tag.  When you are booking a tribute band, make sure they not only sound like the band, but dress like them, can perform a large catalog of their songs, and can do meet and greets with guests at your event as these are a lot of fun for everyone.  Some popular tribute bands our clients have been booking recently are Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, and more.


Gordon/Samantha:  How many months in advance do you recommend that talent be booked?

Josh: You should book your talent about three to four months in advance.  Any longer than that and talent does not know what their schedule will look like and it will be hard to nail down a date too far in advance, especially for celebrities.  That said, we have booked talent for events with one week notice, so nothing is set in stone.

Gordon/Samantha: Why should we work with an agency like yours instead of just trying to contact the talent directly ourselves?

 A talent agency buyer such as mine, works on your behalf, getting you the best deals, taking care of complicated riders, contracts, production, etc. Most talent agencies represent speakers and entertainers exclusively, so their job is to try to sell their clients.  That is their number one priority.  A talent agency buyer like ours does not represent any talent, so we are always working for the best interests of our clients.  Further, a talent buyer allows you to have one central location for all your talent needs from booking Lady Gaga to former presidents to local tribute acts, motivational speakers and much more.  You won't need to contact dozens of various agencies to get info on all the different types of talent you are interested in along with prices, riders, and more.  You can benefit from having a relationship with one agency that can give you a price quote on any act you want in minutes, take care of on site logistics, and have the resources and connections to obtain practically any talent imaginable.  It is a relationship worth having.  Every talent has an agent working for them, shouldn't you have an agent working for you?

: Thank you Josh for your time and valuable information for our subscribers and others who are responsible for booking talent at their events.