Hiring a live band or that “adult” hypnotist for your event is a good idea. Maybe you were thinking of hiring a magician. Another good idea.
But those entertainment ideas don’t exactly break the creativity bank. Are they entertaining? Yes, we guess so. But will they impress your guests? Not necessarily.
Event planners know that every detail is important to ensure that your function goes smoothly.
Whether you’re looking for corporate event entertainment or something for a smaller gathering, it needs to be perfect.
Fortunately, we’ve got some tips to help you narrow your options and 12 event entertainment ideas that will definitely impress your guests.
Why Your Event Needs Entertainment
Hiring entertainment for your event is more than just keeping guests happy.
Certainly, there are some events that won’t require much in the way of entertainment. For example, if you are hosting a single day event that centers around a motivational speaker, that individual, more or less, is your entertainment.
But, many events can use a little fun added into the mix. More than offering a flashy or an immersive experience to your guests, the right entertainment can help improve the success of your event across several key metrics.
Event entertainment can:
- Help you sell more tickets by creating a point of interest for your audience
- Reinforce event branding and messaging to improve brand engagement
- Improve guest satisfaction by giving them something to connect with
But before you go out and hire the biggest, baddest act in town, there are some things you need to think about.
Tips for Planning Event Entertainment
The best entertainment in the world won’t do much if it isn’t right for your event. A country music festival wouldn’t book a hip hop artist to headline, right? Engaging your audience will take a little more consideration than going with what’s expected or what’s trending.
To help choose the proper event entertainment options, consider the following:
- Your Audience. Think carefully about your audience and what they may be interested in seeing. One of the best ways to find this out is to conduct a pre-event survey. Or, you can read the feedback from previous events to get a sense of what people want.
- Event Agenda. Before you book your entertainment, consider your overall event agenda. Will your guests and attendees be sitting all day? If yes, you should consider something active and interactive rather than expecting guests to sit through what, at this point, will amount to another ‘presentation.’
- Venue. Whatever you plan, the venue needs to be able to accommodate it. Think about the event space and seating plan, if you have one. The entertainment has to be able to function in the space.
- Budget. Entertainment costs can add up so make sure that whatever you plan fits the budget. Entertainers can cost more than just their fee. Remember, they may require equipment, like A/V gear, that you may be responsible for procuring. Make sure you know the full costs before you move forward.
- Event Goals/Concept. Don’t just plan for the latest entertainment trend, consider what your event is trying to ‘say’ and ‘do.’ Use the entertainment to better deliver this message or establish this goal. Entertainment that does not fit the event as a whole will feel disjointed and strange.
Event Entertainment Ideas That Will Impress Your Guests
Here are some ideas that can serve as inspiration for your event planning:
1) Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
Using virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) can entertain your event attendees and fully immerse them in the experience.
VR can be used to entertain guests but it can also make for a great training opportunity. For events that will have smaller breakout sessions, VR is a great way to give participants a more realistic training session. Or, VR can be used to really elevate trade shows and take them to the next level.
Like VR, AR is an event entertainment idea that is on the cutting edge. AR technology can be used for a scavenger hunt, think Pokemon GO but tailored to your event! This can create a sense of excitement that lasts for the duration of the event and encourages attendees to engage and interact with your event brand and with each other.
2) Escape Room
When it comes to team building and creating community, few things are more effective than escape rooms!
Escape rooms are not only fun but they can also be themed to meet your specific goals or purpose. If, for example, you are hosting a corporate event around advancements in medical technologies, incorporate that into your escape room.
An escape room fosters communication and promotes interaction between event guests. Bonding at its finest.
3) Celebrity Impersonators
A celebrity impersonator is an easy, and fun, entertainment idea for everything from corporate events. Consider your event and your audience and try to match the impersonator with your goals. A charity dinner, for example, might be a great opportunity to hire a singer like Elvis or Cher. For something more bold and daring, consider a troupe of drag queens or female impersonators. There are lots of talented people performing as talented people. Think outside the box and get creative!
4) Visual Artists
Hiring visual artists can really create a focal point for your event. Consider commissioning a mural to be painted in real time that incorporates your branding or mission. If you are hosting a benefit or some sort of event in an attempt to raise awareness of a particular issue, consider hiring an artist to create an art installation. You don’t even have to go that large. A coffee artist can create works of art in a cup. This is also a great way to bring in the community by hiring a local artist.
This type of display gives a focal point to gather around while also providing photo ops that are sharable on social media, bolstering your brand reputation.
A little bit of competition never hurt anyone. Scavenger hunts, trivia, and relay races are all good ways to foster participation, engagement, and investment in your event. Make sure your prizes are worthy of the effort and make sure things stay friendly by establishing clear rules for participation.
6) Circus Performers
Using circus performers will depend on your venue and event details but can add a lively and “different” element to your day.
Think contortionists, acrobats, and illusionists; A Cirque du Soleil type show at your own event. These performers also do not necessarily have to have a stage show, they can work the crowd during a cocktail hour or interact with guests between sessions.
7) Video Mapping Dancers
Video mapping dancers are all the rage. They combine light and music with their movements to create a truly stunning visual display. This is a great way to further work in your branding while exciting your guests.
Again, this type of entertainment can really increase social media shares and solidify your brand or event as something worth paying attention to.
8) Tarot Readings
For smaller events, hiring a tarot reader can be a fun and memorable experience for guests. People love and are fascinated by the things they can’t explain. So, instead of going the standard route and hiring the same magician or hypnotist that everyone else does, mix it up.
Be sure to hire someone with lots of experience. The better the tarot reader, the happier your guests will be.
9) Caricature Artist
Hiring a caricaturist for events will not only engage guests but it will also give them something really fun to take home with them.
The artist can interact with the crowd by wandering through and drawing caricatures, or, you could set the artist up in one location and have their drawings projected onto a wall or screen for all to see.
If you want people to laugh, hire a comedian. Comedians can break the ice and get people talking. For fundraisers or benefits, comedians can use their humor to highlight your issue of concern.
But remember, a sense of humor is an individual thing so choose your comedian wisely. Pushing the envelope may be exactly what you are looking for, or, it may be a disaster in the eyes of your guests. If going this route, think carefully about who you are going to hire.
11) Fire Performers
Hiring artists who work with fire will very much depend on your venue. Before you plan on this form of entertainment, be sure that you are in the clear to do so.
Performers who will eat, juggle, or dance with fire can spice things up. It is sure to wow guests and keep them talking about your event long after its over. It is unexpected, exciting, and visually stunning.
12) Mixology Class
Bottoms up! For small events, like a team-building exercise or networking session, why not hold a mixology class. Hire a professional bartender and have attendees learn to mix cocktails and taste-test their efforts.
If you’d like to avoid alcohol at your event, try a cooking class. Instead of a bartender, hire a local chef to teach your guests some delicious dishes and kitchen tricks.
Smart planners know that entertainment can be the difference between a successful event and a failure. These 12 event entertainment ideas are sure to create the perfect atmosphere and truly impress your guests.