Hall of Fame Weekend

We recently returned to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH for an event. On September 1st, the first annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic was be played in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. The game featured Alabama A&M University vs. Morehouse College but it was much more than a game. It was a full weekend packed with all the experiences that a “classic” has to offer:  Marching Bands live performance; tailgating; a concert featuring Morris Day and the Time; Drum Line show; Dance Competition; golf tournament; VIP Reception and other events.

The Black College Football Hall of Fame was founded in 2009 by African-American pioneers, quarterbacks James Harris and Doug Williams to preserve the history and honor the greatest football players, coaches and contributors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

This Classic is a way to help fund a permanent Black College Football Hall of Fame within the Pro Football Hall of Fame museum, as well as provide the residents of northeast Ohio an opportunity to learn and experience the culture of HBCUs.

We were happy to team up with Pepsi to be a part of the experience and meet some wonderful people.

The Reality Of Fantasy

Last year we met in California with a company developing a virtual reality platform. While VR is now accessible even for home use, this company is taking it to the next level by not only enhancing the technological aspects, but bringing together some of the most innovative minds from the artistic, entertainment, production, film and event worlds in a unique partnership. The idea is to go beyond current VR capabilities and create a totally location based immersive experience that incorporates the guest into another world. Participants get to freely roam on a stage with physical props that are incorporated into the experience. Each participant wears their a VR backpack complete with an integrated computer.

SPACES was founded at DreamWorks Animation and the team has wide-ranging backgrounds in film, television, video games and theme parks. We were invited to tour their newest project location in San Jose, CA.

As we walked through the venue still under construction at the time, we learned about the layout and vision. We also discovered a Pittsburgh connection as a CMU grad guided us through the venue. Needless to say we were honored to be asked to produce the grand opening event for this future of entertainment.

SPACES will launch a brand new immersive VR experience at the Century 20 Oakridge in San Jose, CA featuring “Terminator Salvation: Fight for the Future”  It will feature multi-sensory VR technology blending 4D effects, 3D face scanning, physical interaction and social group play.

Thrill-seekers will gear up and join the resistance in the fight against Skynet in a heart-pounding, untethered, adventure that takes place in the Terminator universe. Upon entering guests will register and scan their faces using SPACES’ unique, proprietary face scanning technology. Fans will then be immersed in a free-roam, virtual reality battle with up to four people in a group.

Transforming locations into digital playgrounds, SPACES invites guests to engage their senses through virtual reality, haptic feedback and environmental effects that guests can reach out and touch. The moment they take off their headsets, guests will immediately receive a cinematic video of their experience that they can take home and share on social media.

Technology is advancing everyday. It is now possible to place you into movies along side the actual stars and interact with countless characters in endless environments. The impact this could have on the future events could be huge. Imagine attending a concert or event happening thousands of miles away, or attending a luxurious gala in what is really an empty space. The possibilities are endless.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook Twitter and Instagram for updates from the opening event.

Why Do You Charge That?

cheapdjedit (2)Over the years we have been a part of many weddings, providing entertainment and planning services for couples with different tastes and different budgets.

When it comes to providing DJ entertainment, one of the questions we are most asked is why some DJ’s charge $200 and some charge $2000. I can’t explain what other people do or why they do it, but I can explain why we charge what we do.

It’s not some random number we pick out of the air. In order to run any successful business you must have a solid cost analysis of your services. You have to weigh the cost of equipment, time, labor, expenses and compensation. Because we take what we do very seriously and don’t approach one of the most important days in a person’s life as just a “job” we could not charge $200 and stay in business.

For a typical wedding we bring about $10,000 worth of equipment. We have equipment most people will never see such as equalizers and lighting controls, plus back up equipment just in case something fails. All that has to be maintained and replaced from time to time. If you were to go out and rent the equipment we bring it would cost you about $1500. In our pricing model we provide clients $10,000 worth of equipment for about $500.

Then there is the cost of music. We update our music library at least once a month. That annual cost is over $1000. That does not include the purchase of special songs our clients request. The cost is spread out between the number of DJ events we do each year. This allows us to always have to songs that are important to you.

Then there is transportation costs. All that equipment has to get to and from events. That requires time to check equipment, load and unload equipment, update new songs, maintain a company vehicle, insurance and fuel costs and time spent meeting with clients.

To maintain an office, website, phone line, liability insurance all are additional costs that must be factored in to pricing.

Then of course we have to make a living as well and we do this full-time. It’s not just us playing some songs on the weekend for a few extra bucks.

When you add it all up, we charge what we believe is the lowest price possible in order to provide our clients with the highest level of service.


30 Requests For Your DJ

When it comes to hiring a professional DJ for a wedding or an event there is often a conflict between perception and reality. The perception is a DJ plays music and makes the lights blink. How hard can that be? He (or she) probably sleeps all day and only works on Friday and Saturday nights. While that may be true from some out there, those are not the people you want to hire for your event. They are not professionals.

The other perception is a DJ should not cost more than a few hundred dollars. I mean really, the DJ is pressing play on songs, so why should it cost more?

When you hire a professional DJ, that person has likely invested over $10,000 in equipment. They are often the first one to arrive and the last to leave, so a 5 hour event is 9 hours or more for them. They pay thousands of dollars to update their music collection every year. They spend time reviewing new music, answering client questions, visiting venues, maintaining equipment, directing caterers, photographers and venue managers as to what happens and when. They attend meetings, send out contracts, work on timelines, deal with drunken guests and go out of there way to make sure everything goes perfectly. They need to be able to make a living just like everyone else.

Value is often forgotten and instead people look strictly at cost. You can always find someone cheaper, but you must understand what you get in return decide how important you event is to you. Here are some key questions to ask yourself of any DJ you consider:

  1. Do you get quality, professional equipment?
  2. Do you get a 2 person team that understands your event?
  3. Will your actual DJ meet you in person before you book them?
  4. Does your DJ know how to use their technology and how to troubleshoot issues?
  5. Will they set up long before guests arrive and work with other vendors?
  6. Can they adjust to schedule changes and unplanned issues?
  7. Do they know how to do introductions, tell a story and properly use the microphone?
  8. Will they be respectful to all your guests and not play offensive music?
  9. Do they prepare well in advance for your event?
  10. Do they play music from legal and reliable sources? Not from streaming or internet sources.
  11. Do they make sure their set up looks clean and professional?
  12. Do they refrain from drinking and smoking during your event?
  13. Do they dress in proper attire and appear well groomed?
  14. Do they speak clearly and naturally without putting on a show?
  15. Do they understand proper volume, tone and clarity for the entire room?
  16. Can they multi-task with music selections, announcements, and guests?
  17. Do they know how to mix different types and eras of music?
  18. Can they adjust to the crowd and bring people to the dance floor?
  19. Do they understand they are not the focus of attention?
  20. Do they value what they do and charge appropriately for it?
  21. Do they honestly answer your questions?
  22. Do they care about you and don’t consider your day another “gig”?
  23. Are they insured?
  24. Do they clearly explain what they will and will not do?
  25. Will they give you the time and attention you deserve?
  26. Do they have a back up plan should something go wrong?
  27. Do they have experience and a good reputation?
  28. Are they someone you trust and can work with?
  29. Will they promptly answer your calls and emails?
  30. How will they make your event unique and memorable?

Any professional DJ is going to have quick and honest answers to every question. Most people only hire a DJ once in their life and so many part time amatuers count on ignorance. A bad DJ can will ruin a great event. Don’t let it happen to you.

The Entertainment Business – Entertaining Business Development

Not many people would argue that a conversation over a glass of wine in a relaxed atmosphere is much more appealing than a presentation in a conference room. Companies will often fly hundreds of people to destinations for sales meetings, education and training, all in between food, entertainment and fun. But why go to the expense and trouble? The answer is very simple. It works!

Creating an experience built around great wine, great food and great company is more powerful that any marketing piece ever dreamed of. We have the tools to help you take your business entertaining to a new level.

Entertaining should be about developing your business. Enjoyable social events are branding moments that people will long remember and always associate with you. They may just be one of the best investments you could possibly make, because every event is an opportunity to influence and impress others. Creating a memorable experience doesn’t need to bust your budget. A qualified event planner can guide you to obtain the most out of your budget.

So where do you start? First, leave the planning to the experts. It’s doesn’t matter if you are hosting a luncheon or a destination meeting, asking employees or trying to do it all yourself will create work tension and lessen the impact of the event. An expert will save you time and money and allow you to focus on your role.

What is your role? 

Be an enthusiastic host. It’s important to get the most out of your hosting role. Greet people as they arrive. Set the tone for the event.

Food and drinks can be a great business tool. Introducing guests to great wine and great food creates a wonderful atmosphere for clients and employees alike. Work with a sommelier and chef to assist in pairing wine with food and create a key experience for guests.   

Be sure to connect with your guests. If you, as the host, don’t seize the opportunity to engage with your guests the event is wasted. Don’t just talk business. Use the time to find out about people and their personal life. Knowing about a person’s children and family, their hobbies and interests creates a personal connection. Showing genuine interest in people is important even in a business relationship. Don’t just look for the most important person in the room. Make efforts to help people mingle and meet others. 

Consider giving your guests a nice take-home item. It’s way of thanking them for attending and an opportunity to have guests leave with your branded item and remember the evening.

Entertaining can be an powerful marketing and business development opportunity and give clients, prospects and even employees a positive impression of your brand and company. It’s a key step in building a strong business relationship. If you would like to talk about you next event, contact us.

Pierce Events