There is nothing worse than when a corporate event you’ve planned for a long time doesn’t turn out the way you expected. Tom Crowl, who has been in the entertainment business for the past 30 years, has kindly shared with us 5 corporate entertainment fiascos that he has come across over his time in the industry. It is never nice for the corporate entertainer or the event planner when moments like this happen, but hopefully these 5 fiascos may help you when planning your next event.

“Learning from failure can lead to success!”


There was a group of people in government meetings all day long, who were tired and knew they had flights early the following morning. Dinner had turned up late, putting the group in an irritated mood. Several long speeches made staying awake almost impossible. Then the MC said “We are going to take a ten minute break before we start the entertainment.” As soon as these words were spoken, there was a mass exodus to the door. The event planner ended up with no audience meaning that the entertainment budget was blown paying for an act to fly in and not perform.


A Corporate Comedian was scheduled for a Fortune 500 event. The event planner decided that their schedule was tight and decided to have him perform during the meal. The comedian was informed of the change on arrival. He knew it wouldn’t work, but the event planner was insistent. This was a problem. It is hard to laugh and eat at the same time! Due to the guests’ attention being split, the act failed miserably. This now meant that the act and the event planner looked bad in the eyes of management due to poor planning of the program.


The audience couldn't see the program. The venue staff had laid out the room with poor sight lines to the stage. Balloon centerpieces further blocked the view. As a result, the guests couldn't see the speakers or the entertainment. That meant that they were not engaged or paying attention. The event suffered as a result.


An act was hired through an entertainment agency. Due to miscommunication and improper follow-up, the details were not being confirmed in writing before the event. The entertainer never showed! This left the event planner out of pocket and with no act to fill the entertainment space during the event.


A national act was being brought in to entertain a group of people. Weather delays forced him to miss his flight, which created a nightmare of calls and last minute shuffling to replace the him. Guests were understanding, yet disappointed that the entertainment they thought they would see was cancelled. Steps can be taken to avoid problems caused by travel delays. Event planners should discuss alternative travel measures a few weeks before the event.

Each of these short stories about corporate fiascos is true. A bit of attention and forethought could have prevented them. Keep these in mind to help shield your next event from disaster. It can all be avoided with the right event planning process.

If you would like any further advice on corporate entertainment or tips on how to avoid fiascos like these, please contact Tom Crowl here or by calling (410) 596-4127. He looks forward to speaking with you to create a memorable company event.