Free Performance Contract Template

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Table of contents

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

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:

  1. Select your performance agreement template from our gallery
  2. Add your basic info
  3. Add your scope of work
  4. Add your payment terms and details
  5. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about this template.

Can I make my own performance contract?

Usually managers handle contracts for their talents or clients have it ready to be signed. But if you find yourself needing to write one on your own then save yourself the hassle and sign up with Bonsai. You can download their free performance contract and edit as needed.

Is a performance agreement a contract?

A performance agreement is an informal contract usually between a client and an artist. Although informal, it still is legally binding and has all the aspects for it to be submissible in court.

You can create your performance contract through a contract template in Microsoft Word. Or you can sign up with Bonsai and download their lawyer-curated contract templates. All that is left to do is edit certain fields, save, download and send it off..

You can create your performance contract through a contract template in Microsoft Word. Or you can sign up with Bonsai and download their lawyer-curated contract templates. All that is left to do is edit certain fields, save, download and send it off..

Template preview

Free Performance Contract Template

Performance Contract

First Name
Last Name
Acme LLC.
First Name
Last Name
Corporation Corp.

This contract (the "Agreement") provides details for the services provided by Acme LLC (the "Performer") for Client (the "Client" and together with Performer, the "Parties"), dated as of [DATE BOTH PARTIES SIGN]. The services will be provided at the specified place (the "Venue") at the time and date described below (the "Event").

As a condition of the Client hiring the Performer and other valuable considerations, the Parties to this Agreement agree as follows:

Client Name:


Event Title: [EVENT NAME]

Event Date: [EVENT DATE]

Venue Location: [EVENT ADDRESS]

1. Performance

The Client is hiring the Performer to provide the following services at the Venue:


2. Event Details

The Performer will provide services based on the following timeline at the Venue. This may include time for setup, sound check and cleanup.

Pre-Show Setup: [EXPECTED TIME & DATE]

The Performer will arrive [X HOURS] before the Event begins for setup and sound check.

Event Performance: [EXPECTED TIME & DATE]

The Performer will provide entertainment for [X HOURS].

3. Payment

A non-refundable retainer fee of [PAYMENT AMOUNT] is due upon signing this agreement. In the event of cancellation by the Client, the retainer paid is non-refundable due to the Performer reserving their date on behalf of the Client.

If the performance is postponed due to any Acts of God, natural disasters or government law the Performer will reschedule the session at a later date that works for all parties. The retainer shall be applied towards the total cost of the service to be rendered unless this Agreement is cancelled under the termination conditions.

If the full payment is not received by the Performer by [DUE DATE], the Performer will not be expected to perform at the Event.

4. Expenses

The Performer may request payment from the Client for any agreed-upon, non-cancellable expenses or deposits. Expenses must be confirmed by the Client in advance if additional payment is required.

5. Event & Venue Changes

In the event that there are changes to the Venue, Event or Performance, the Performer reserves the right to require additional payment or change fees. They may terminate this Agreement at their own discretion if they are unable to perform due to these changes.

Any changes must be approved by the Performer, either verbally or in written form. If the Client requires changes that the Performer is unable to provide, the Client is not entitled to any non-refundable fees.

6. Termination

This Agreement may be terminated at any point by the Client or Performer before completion. Either party may end this Event for any reason by sending an email or letter to the other party, informing the other party. If the Client chooses to terminate this Agreement of their own volition, the Client is not entitled to any non-refundable fees.

7. Non-Performance

The Performer agrees to provide services under the terms of this Agreement unless subject to legitimate incapacity due to sickness or unforeseen accident.  In the event that the Performer is unable to meet the terms of this Agreement or cancels this Agreement of their own volition, the Performer will return any and all fees previously paid by the Client to the Performer.

8. Recording

Recording or transmitting of the Performance by anyone through any means whatsoever will not be allowed under this Agreement without the written permission of the Performer. It is the responsibility of the Client to enforce this provision unless consent has been explicitly given by the Performer in advance.

9. Force Majeure

Neither the Performer nor the Client will be held liable for any failure to perform its obligations under this Agreement where such breach is due to any of the following: war, invasion, natural disaster, national or regional emergencies, acts or regulations of public authorities, labor difficulties or strike, Acts of God, epidemic or any other legitimate cause beyond the reasonable control of the Performer and the Client.

When and to the extent such failure or delay is caused by or results from acts beyond the impacted party's reasonable control, the impacted party will give notice within 30 days of the Force Majeure Event to the other party. The impacted party shall resume their obligations of this Agreement as soon as reasonably practicable after the removal of the cause. In the event that the impacted party's failure or delay remains uncured for a period of 30 days following the notice given, the other party may thereafter terminate this Agreement upon notice.

10. Other Terms & Conditions

Any permits, licenses, approvals or other variances required by the Performer at the Event to provide services will be provided by the Client.

The validity, interpretation, construction and performance of this document shall be governed by the laws of the United States of America.


First Name
Last Name
Acme LLC.
First Name
Last Name
Corporation Corp.