What is a performance contract?
A performance contract is a legally binding agreement that covers various roles within the field of performing, including the client. You can use it as an entertainment contract, a music/band performance contract, or as an artist contract—just as long as you’re an independent contractor or involved in the performance business.
A lot of performers are independent contractors or freelance, so a contract is crucial for securing your rights and interests for these types of businesses.
Note: Ready to get straight into it? Sign up to Bonsai to make your own freelance performance contract now.
Who needs a performance agreement?
If you’re an event manager or a venue proprietor, a band, an artist, or just classify yourself as an all-around general performer, you'll need this type of agreement. It makes sure all your requirements are met and the responsibilities of both parties are clearly outlined.
What should be included in a performance contract?
Below are some standard clauses that your performance contract should include. It's also a good idea to know what you should include in every contract and how to draft those up. That way, every time you take on a new client you'll have a drafted contract template that includes all the necessities you need to make a job worthwhile.
Detailed descriptions of work
When writing a performance contract, you should always aim to avoid ambiguity. Being straight to the point will help you iron out the entire agreement—the best way to do this is by giving detailed descriptions of what you’ll be doing. This can be the services you offer, details about the actual performance or event, what material you'll be using, and even what kind of entertainment you provide.
Make sure all your tasks are well-highlighted so that the client doesn’t miss out on anything crucial. For example, what is your band obligated to do before a show? Include if you'll do your own setup, own soundcheck, provide your own food, and so on. And, don't forget about your clients. Clearly outline their services and responsibilities and then you'll both know what is expected from each other.
You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re doing more or less than the client expects and is unwilling to pay for. To ensure you’re performing the tasks as required, take time to read through the project details before drafting your contract.
Date, time, and venue of performance
Your client (and you) will want to know all the specifics about the date, time, and even the venue of the performance. The performance may be over several dates and across different venues, so stating where, when, and how long each performance is will go far towards making a solid contract and successful agreement.
We all know a performance can change in an instance, so it’s a good idea to outline the scope of the performance and any grace periods that could be needed. This will essentially cover your back when something isn’t completed in the expected timeframe.
You’ll want the performance agreement to cover the limit of your services too—you don’t want to perform tasks that the client isn’t willing to pay.
Expenses and payment
It’s time to get paid! Well, not just yet. First, you’ll need this section of your contract to include your payment terms, details, and other related information. This should include your total fee, how you’ll be paid, the time you’ll be paid, any costs and compensation, late fee interest, and benefits involved with the performance.
Your total amount can include any costs towards travel, accommodation, and other expenses. This works better for some events managers or artists, however, you may want to agree to be compensated after the scope of work is completed. This means no unforeseen expenses will come out of your pocket.
Sound and lighting
Your accountability and responsibility towards sound and lighting definitely needs clarification. Is it the responsibility of the venue manager or the band? If the sound quality is bad or the equipment fails, who’s held accountable? This is important information to detail as it could affect payments and legal obligations.
Sometimes a gig can get out of hand, so having a section on property damage or failure to take care of equipment is a good idea also.
Who’s responsible for advertising the event or performance? It’s a good idea to outline any established communication responsibilities around the event or performance. Any further obligations to marketing should be outlined here too, which could include an outside agency.
Force majeure is based on the fact that unforeseen events can happen and stop the performance. Failure to fulfill your obligations due to force majeure means you cannot be held accountable or responsible under these circumstances.
Termination of contract
Every contract needs an agreed to termination section. This can be after the event or performance, once the final payment is made, and include reasons why the contract can be terminated early.
Performance agreement template
Want to see what a performance agreement should look like? Sign up to Bonsai now and take a look—it’s free to do and you'll have access to a huge range of easily editable documents and contracts. With the performance contract, you'll have all the relevant information that a performer or events manager needs, which you can then personalize and edit as you see fit.
What’s the benefit of using Bonsai, instead of editing a template yourself?
What freelancers love most about using a Bonsai template is that within a few minutes, everything you need for a bonafide contract is there and ready to use.
When you create and edit your own template from scratch, you run the risk of making a document that’s missing clauses and important information—and once that contract is signed by both parties, there's no going back.
No one wants to make a mistake on their contract and if you miss out on an important clause, it can make a performance feel worthless. When you create a contract with Bonsai, you'll already have covered and legally binding, so you can spend more time doing what actually makes you passionate.
How to create a performance contract with Bonsai
You won't need to break a leg when creating a specialized performance contract. There are just five simple steps you need to follow:
- Select your performance agreement template from our gallery
- Add your basic info
- Add your scope of work
- Add your payment terms and details
- Review and sign your contract.
With the last step, you're ready to review your fully vetted performance agreement. You can also save the contract for later if you want to come back to it another time and make additional edits.
Once you're happy with the contract and it's looking perfect, you can digitally sign it with an e-signature before sending it to your client to do the same.
As we said, it’s that simple!
Performance Contract FAQ
Why do I need a performance contract?
If you’re a dancer, performer, solo artist or a band and you want to make sure you’re going to get paid the right amount and on time, or, you’re an events manager who wants to make sure an event or performance runs smoothly from start to finish—you’ll need a performance contract.
Now that it's 2022, being independent is growing more popular than signing to a record label. So, having your own contract with your own terms and conditions is ever more important than before.
It may be easy just to accept a handshake agreement, especially when the performance business is seemingly casual at times. This is definitely not a good idea though. Performance contracts give protection to both parties' interests, which will help the show to run smoothly. After all, no one wants to feel like they're being taken advantage of, which can be detrimental to the show.
Bonsai has many different types of contracts you can create and use for free. Whether you’re in the performance business or not, you should always use a contract.