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Complex Thoughts

Entertainment Contracting

Any time your organization is hiring someone to complete a service or perform, you should have a signed contract with that individual or agency. This publication is intended to help student organizations broaden their understanding of the use of contracts. It is intended to provide you with some general planning tips, not legal advice.

Entertainment contracts are the binding agreement between an artist/agency/performer and the sponsor, who is always the student organization. A contract details all the terms which have been agreed to by both parties and indicates both parties intent to follow through with the specified performance.

Verbal agreements can be just as binding as a written one and performers and agencies have been known to take people to small claims court over verbal agreements made too hastily. Avoid entering into any verbal contracts until you are certain that the event will be happening.

Deposits may be requested by an artist/agency/performer upon signing a contract. However, you should remind the artist that the contract is a legally binding document and that they are dealing with an organization, not an individual. It is standard practice for most colleges and universities to refuse to pay deposits and pay artists in full after he/she has completed his/her obligations per the contract. A performer is more likely to pull out on you than you are to cancel on them. Refusing to pay deposits can help protect your organization from loss if a performer does not fulfill his/her obligations of the contract.

Technical riders include stage specifications, light and sound requirements, electrical power requirements, hospitality requests, parking needs, etc. Some riders can include absolutely ridiculous requests or items which you are unable to provide, most of which can be negotiated out. Contact the artist/agency/performer immediately to discuss these items. Riders are part of the contract and are legally binding as well.

Standard Engagement Agreements are available in the Activities, Involvement and Leadership office, Davies Center 133. This blank contract was written by the National Association for Campus Activities, a professional affiliation of UW-Eau Claire. Feel free to use these contracts if you book a performer that does not have his/her own contract.

Negotiating fees can be an intimidating experience for new program planners. It is best if you shop around to find the best price available. If you are aware of the market price for DJ services, you are less likely to end up paying too much. It is best to negotiate an all inclusive fee where you are not responsible for travel, lodging, meals, etc. Many new programmers have been shocked by several hundred dollar room service bills!



  • Name of the Sponsoring Organization — Contracts should be between the organization and the agency/artist. They should not be between an individual organization member and the agency/artist. They cannot be between UW-Eau Claire and the agency/artist for student organization sponsored events.
  • Name of the Agency/Artist
  • Description of the Type of Performance
  • Day and Date of Performance
  • Location of Performance
  • Starting and Ending Times of the Performance
  • Number and Lengths of Any Breaks
  • Time Performer Will Arrive for Set-up
  • Who the Check Should be Made Payable to
  • Amount of Payment
  • Equipment the Sponsoring Organization Agrees to Supply
  • Equipment the Artist Agrees to Supply
  • Address and Telephone Number of the Performer
  • Social Security Number or Federal Tax ID Number of the Agency/Artist
  • Name, Address, and Telephone of Performer’s Agent
  • Name, Address, and Telephone of Organization Representatives
  • Signatures of the Performer and the Organization Representative



Choice of Law — Any controversies arising between the Artist(s) and the Purchaser pertaining to this contract shall be resolved by the Courts of the State of Wisconsin.

Employment Status — It is understood that the Artist(s) executes this agreement as an independent contractor and is not an employee of the Purchaser. Artist(s) agrees to perform and discharge all obligations as an independent contractor under any and all laws, whether existing or in the future, in any way pertaining to the engagement hereunder, including but not limited to Social Security laws, Workman’s Compensation Insurance, Income Taxes, State Employment Insurance taxes or contributions, Public Liability Insurance; and Artist(s) will hold purchaser harmless against any such laws, as well as against all Union claims for welfare payments.

Copyright Issues — Artist(s) represent that in performing their act under the terms of this contract, they are not infringing on the property right, copyright, patent right or any other right of anyone else; and if any suit is brought or a claim is made by anyone that anything in conjunction with the ownership of the presentation of said act or appearance is an infringement on the property right, copyright patent right or other rights, the Artist(s) will indemnify the Purchaser against any and all loss, damage cost, attorney fee or other loss whatsoever by reason of Booking Agency permitting or allowing the presentation of the act or attraction called for herein.

Cancellation — Either party may cancel this Agreement as follows: 1. If either party gives the other 30 days prior written notice (Notice); or 2. If either party is unable to fulfill the terms of this Agreement due to an Act of God or any other legitimate conditions beyond the control of the parties. If the Artist fails to give Notice, the Artist will reimburse the Purchaser for all bona fide out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the promotion and/or implementation of the Engagement upon Artist’s receipt of a certified statement of such expenses. If the Purchaser fails to give Notice, the Purchaser may not seek reimbursement for all bona fide out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the promotion and/or implementation of the Engagement.


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