When you decide to enlist outside entertainment for an event, work closely with your adviser to book and contract the performers. Note: Student Leaders are not authorized to enter the name of your group into any contracts. Do not draft or make any written or oral agreements without contacting your adviser. Falsely presenting yourself as a representative of the University may result in disciplinary action. Also, make sure that you have obtained governing board approval and reviewed the policies and procedures for the facility where you are planning to hold the event. Regular communication with your adviser throughout the process is essential.
Once you have decided on and budgeted for the type of entertainment you desire, begin researching options, availabilities, prices, and means of contacting performers or agents. This research can be done through available resources at Student Engagement, the media, and contacts at other schools. Be sure to check the references of performers and agents and to discuss all potential options with other members of your group and your adviser. When you contact the performer or their representative, inquire about the possibility of seeing a performance at a convenient location.
Collect the Details
As you narrow down the options, gather all possible details about each act you are considering. This would include length, content, and hidden costs such as travel expenses, lodging, space requirements, and technical needs. Express interest in options appearing to meet your needs but remember that your adviser must authorize any contracts or agreements. Accordingly, it is your responsibility to ensure that the parties you are in contact with understand that no commitments will be made on the spot. Consult your adviser to establish a firm date and draft an official contract.
When contacting any performers or their representative, never make any oral agreements. Again, express interest and indicate you will contact the necessary parties after consulting with your adviser. If you make an unauthorized commitment, it will be your commitment and Columbia will not bear any responsibility.
Once your adviser has approved the booking, either the agency or Columbia University will draft a contract. A contract typically has two sections:
The main body of the contract: This generally specifies the performer’s fee, location, time, ticket price, and other relevant details of the booking.
The rider: This includes any specific requirements or requests of the performer, subject to negotiation and also to be reviewed by your adviser. This section also includes information regarding any technical needs, hospitality, transportation, and legal arrangements. Again, many of these factors are negotiable but must nevertheless be discussed with the performer’s agent prior to the rider being adjusted. Performers may view some of these terms as essential to the deal.
Columbia typically adds its own terms or an additional rider to a contract. These terms may include payment, event management clauses, cancellation conditions, and other concerns regarding insurance, safety, and security. Many such contracts include terms that Columbia will stipulate following an event review meeting or that involve the policies of the facility where the event is planned to be held.
The contract should be reviewed by you, your adviser, the performer, and their representatives or other Columbia staff members if necessary. It should then be adjusted as necessary and signed by all parties involved. The process of finalizing the contract which will involve obtaining approval from the University Purchasing Office, typically takes two week, followed by another three to four weeks to obtain a check. Once the contract is finalized, you must be prepared to meet all of its stated terms.
Paperwork Required for Payment
A performer’s contract may be used, but a University contract is also required. In addition, all contracts must include a completed W-9 (tax) form. The performer must then sign all of these documents. Please note that only original documents will be accepted by the Controller’s Office (no faxes or copies). The University requires 20 business days to process a check after all necessary paperwork, an E-form/Voucher, and for ABC groups, an Event Approval Form are completed.
Note: performers may not be paid in cash and Columbia will not reimburse any group who pays a performer in cash