10 Chicago Musicians Perfect for Any Event

Chicago is famous for its musical talent and awesome performances! The Windy City is full of Chicago musicians that deliver famed performances that put any event over the top. We can attest to this; we’re connected to performers who are high-quality and incredibly reliable (just ask us-we’ll connect you and coordinate all the details). We’re honored to be privvy to Chicago musicians that can deliver almost any kind of music worthy of Chicago’s reputation.

Jazz
Jazz and Chicago have gone hand in hand for decades. Modern jazz musicians can deliver a sound that takes guests back to the Roaring 20s while satisfying the needs of the most modern audience.

Latin
Latin music is a broad term with a lot of sounds. An entertainment agent can connect event planners with the Chicago musicians who produce the right sound that matches with the event atmosphere.

Tropical
Chicago musicans with a tropical sound can liven up any event. In the winter, tropical bands can transport guests to an area south of the border. Tropical bands are the perfect match for an all-encompassing beach theme or an island party.

Orchestras
Orchestras are a formal touch suitable for a wedding or an upscale corporate event. Perhaps best yet, orchestras can be downscaled or upscaled to suit the size of the event. Orchestras can serve as wonderful background music or as a mainstage act.

R&B
R&B bands and musicians are the answer to any event that deserves the ultimate dance bands. These musicians are incredibly versatile with the ability to customize their act for any event. What’s more, these Chicago musicians can read and adapt their act to keep guests on the dance floor.

Blues
Blues musicians deliver a soulful performance with a high-energy vibe. The best blues musicians can offer a small act suitable for intimate performances and a large band perfect for a large festival or concert.

Reggae
Every reggae band has a one-of-a-kind sound that comes from their unique blend of reggae, calypso, soul, and other alluring sounds. These Chicago musicians deliver a sound that some describe as “tropical” and everyone describes as “hot.”

Classical
Classical musicians are an upscale addition to any event. These acts deliver a sound that captivates an audience on-stage or with background music that contributes to a formal atmosphere.

Swing
A swing band adds energy and a unique sound to any event. These Chicago musicians deliver a dynamic performance that keeps a crowd on its feet—and on the dance floor. Many of these groups are capable of sounds that take guests back to another time, perfect for throwback-themed wedding or corporate event.

Accoustic
An accoustic sound is as unique as the Chicago musician. Every accoustic group or artist delivers a different sound, which is why it’s often easier to use a professional to find the artist that fits with the event atmosphere.

Best Chicago Bands Perfect for Your Event

The right band is the highlight of an event, tying event details together and leaving guests talking well after the end of the event. Fortunately for everyone (and anyone) in Chicagoland, the Chicago area is full of quality musicians and bands perfect for any atmosphere and event theme.

The best part of this list is that these bands are just the start—of an endless list of fantastic Chicago bands AND of an event planning process that results in a great event with outstanding tunes.

BBI

Energizing audiences around the globe with their universal crowd appeal, BBI is unparalleled by any other regional band.

BBI possess an ebullient live spirit that cuts across ages, races and backgrounds. It’s not just the accolades of great songs, an unforgettable stage show and being well dressed that have elevated BBI to superior status. BBI connects with their audience in the most fundamental way: inspiring people to have a good time!

Banjos Buddies

Our Banjo Band, based in the Chicagoland area & is one of the most unique and exciting musicial attractions around today! They are not just a band, but a very visual, personable, top entertaining group of musicians who play to please their audiences. The Banjo buddies will provide you with rip-roaring Dixieland, music and fun from the Roaring Twenties, the Swing era, your favorite Big Band tunes, sing-a-longs and much more.

Christopher’s Project

Since its inception, this group has put together quite an impressive resume. The group has opened for national and legendary acts as diverse as the Temptations, George Benson, David Sanborn, The Supremes and Jennifer Holiday. They have also performed at corporate functions for notable Corporations such as Northwestern Mutual, Johnson Wax, Quad Graphics and Time Warner. They have also performed at The Grand Opening Ceremony for The Midwest Express Convention Center and at the political galas for The Governors National Conference and The Mayoral Candidacy Party.

The group also performs for festivals, special events, weddings and private parties. They are repeat performers at some of Milwaukee’s annual festivals, Riversplash, Summerfest, Rainbow Summer and Bastille Days to name a few.

For a lighter side of music Christopher’s Quartet would be the perfect entertainment selection. The Quartet is a smooth, melodic infusion of Jazz delivered by four soulful musicians. The Quartet is comprised of keyboards, drums, bass and saxophone.

Big O Blues Band

Big O has been performing blues and soul from Florida to Nevada. He has played the Wisconsin State Fair, Summerfest, various benefits and clubs, and the band has been voted the 2006 & 2007 Wisconsin Area Music Industry Blues Group of the Year.

Big O is one of the greatest Blues and R&B singers. His expertise at the keyboard comes from playing since he was a teen. The band has been referred to as “the epitome of blues”.

Big O received national attention with his two-song CD titled “A Mother’s Salute”. It is currently being used as a fundraiser for better communication systems between our military in Iraq and their families.

Big O is guaranteed to please. He has fun at what he does and he’s proud of his fans. His love of performing shows in his music and appearance. He plays a wide variety of music to keep you singing and dancing and always wanting more.

Dennis Keith Band

The finest top-tier performers have over 20 years experience cranking out incredible high-energy shows, packing the dance floor, and making all elements of your party easy. The Dennis Keith Band has been described as versatile, elegant, and fun. This small but mighty party band can adapt their original sound to any occasion while still performing those favorites that keep the dance floor full.

Eddie Butts Band

The Eddie Butts Band delights audiences at festivals, concerts, night clubs, weddings, and many other corporate and private entertainment events throughout the Midwest, delivering an exciting blend of R&B, pop, jazz, and more.  Eddie is well known as a premier vocalist, and when you combine his smoky baritone with the highly-praised musicianship and vocal talents of this polished and professional band, it is easy to see why the Eddie Butts Band is considered a must-see — and must have — favorite.

Eddie Harrison Orchestra

“Hey Everybody, Let’s Have Some Fun” That quote from the song “Let the Good Times Roll” is the Eddie Harrison Jump Stars Orchestra motto for every performance whether it’s a wedding reception, corporate event, charity fund raiser or summer festival. From the boogie woogie piano and wailing sax of the past through the recent great dance favorites…”everybody has some fun”.

Whether you need the small band or the orchestra, it’s a ‘big time’ for everybody. Eddie and the musicians in his band have played throughout the U.S. and Europe for festivals, clubs, cruise ships and private events. Eddie and his musicians have accompanied some of the world’s finest musical artists including Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles. Eddie is a member of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau and the Association of Professional Orchestra Leaders.

Based in Chicago the band has performed live music for 17 years at wedding receptions, corporate events, charity fund raisers, conventions, festivals and night clubs. The band can provide music for dancing, dinner, cocktail parties, ceremony and concerts.

Endless Summer Band

With unmatched musical variety—smash hits from the 1940s through the 2000s—Endless Summer Band has a huge song list that ensures the dance floor stays full all night. They will take requests!

Endless Summer Band takes great pride in their reputation as one of the finest vocal groups in the business. Four lead vocalists provide much greater musical diversity! ESB’s instrumental ensemble knows how to reproduce the exact original arrangements and—more importantly—they perform with as much energy and feeling as the original artists. As an option, ESB will add as many horn players as you would like, and/or bring along The ESB Dancers!

ESB takes only minimal intermission time, (15 minute breaks) throughout the evening, so their DJ keeps the party jumpin’ with an entire evening of nonstop music!

Endless Summer Band specializes in event entertainment, performing at over 160 special events every year. Most of their engagements are word of mouth referrals from other delighted clients, and no other band is asked back for more return engagements. Now in their 12th year of business, ESB treats every event like the most important event ever, and they treat every client with the utmost courtesy and respect.

KOJO

Feel the pulsating beat of red-hot reggae music, and taste the tantalizing flavors of calypso, ska, soca, French cadass and much much more with Milwaukee’s Kojo!

Kojo has been bringing da real riddim of the Caribbean to Milwaukee for years, and has maintained a level of excellence that is unmatched by any other reggae band in Wisconsin. Kojo has won six WAMI awards and has been nominated well over ten times. With members fresh out of the warm clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, and hard-hitting reggae beats, you can feel warm sand under your feet, a gentle island breeze on your cheek, and rastaman vibrations. The sweat trickling down your spine won’t be from the warm Wisconsin winters, it’ll be from you dancing till the cows come home. So if you want to have a skankin’ good time, without a skankin’ big price, come and join Kojo because WE JAMMIN!

Late Night Band

Late Nite Band is truly a party looking for a place to play. That’s how a thank you letter from a recent client described this highly energetic ten-piece dance band.

The group features a rhythm section of keyboards, guitar, bass and drums; a three-piece horn section with trumpet, alto sax and tenor sax, and three dynamic singers (male and female). These outstanding musicians perform an uncompromising variety of dance hits from Motown, rhythm & blues, retro, disco, funk, rock & roll, contemporary pop ballads, Big Band and jump swing, all guaranteed to turn any ordinary party or club engagement into an unforgettable event.

Produced by David Farley and Grant Cramer of Orchestra Thirty Three Entertainment, Inc., the Late Nite Band features the extraordinary talents of musicians and singers that earned accolades from Chicago’s top critics performing for standing-room-only crowds in the critically acclaimed Rupert’s 33 Club in suburban Chicago during the late 1980s.

In 1989, the Late Nite Band followed the rest of it’s musical family, The Orchestra 33, into the private party and night club scene to enjoy further success electrifying black-tie events, corporate parties and celebrations around Chicagoland and tri-state areas.

Whenever there is need for highly trained professionals, fully qualified to rock, wail and incite frenzied activity among even the most timid of patrons, the Late Nite Band will keep your guests on the dance floor until the closing lights come up.

Mambo All-Stars

The Mambo All-Stars is an energetic dynamic band which plays salsa, merengue, cumbia, cha-cha, and boleros, a complete variety of all the Latin dance rhythyms.

The band performs at various public venues such as Summerdance at Grant Park, the Adler Planetarium, the Taste of Chicago, and many corporate events. They have also been featured at the Shark Ball Benefit at the Shedd Aquarium, and the Rita Hayworth Alzheimers Benefit at the Field Museum.

Their material is from both classic and modern Latino artists such as Tito Puente Olga Tanion’, Celia Cruz, Ray Barreto, Sonora Poncena, India, Cubanisimo, and Perez Prado.

Jose` Valdes, leader of the group, has worked with such greats as Jose Fajardo, Tito Puente, and Eddie Palmieri. The artistry is exciting with driving montuno rhythms and a fiery percussion section which always gets everyone dancing.

Pamela Rose and Windy City Country

Pamela Rose and Windy City Country brings a fresh and energetic flavor into the live music scene. This terrific group is consists of five “smokin” musicians and singers that bring a variety of local and national acclaim to the stage.

Their unique style re-creates many of the classics as well as the contemporary country and rock and roll hits that so many enjoy today. The members of Windy City Country are all full-time musicians with loads of energy and talent who love country music – and it really shows! When Pamela put the group together she asked some of the strongest and busiest musicians in Chicago to be on her team.

Their repertoire is versatile and covers a wide musical spectrum of country and rock covers, as well as original songs for entertainment at corporate events, clubs, special events and festivals. Pamela Rose’s strong reputation in corporate and family entertainment comes from understanding audiences and clients. She understands what clients are looking for when it comes to great live music and how to present it. Pamela Rose and Windy City Country was designed specifically to reach contemporary country music fans around the USA – from casual to corporate.

Petra and the Recession 7 Band

Petra van Nuis (pronounced Pay-tra van Nouse) is a Chicago-based jazz vocalist who has been described in Downbeat Magazine as having “a light, gorgeous, and fairly delicate voice…a gift for melody and plenty of rhythmic confidence.”

A Chicagoan since 2003, Petra sings at all the finest jazz venues in town including the Jazz Showcase, the Green Mill, Katerina’s, Andy’s Jazz Club, Fitzgerald’s, the City Winery, and the Old Town School of Folk Music. Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs has presented Petra’s groups at the Chicago Cultural Center and Chicago Summer Dance. The Jazz Institute of Chicago has featured Petra’s Recession Seven band at the Chicago Jazz Festival and Jazz City. Along with six other Chicago jazz artists, she was nominated for the “Best Jazz Entertainer 2013” for the 33rd Annual Chicago Music Awards.

Germany’s Jazzpodium Magazine hails Petra’s sixteen year musical collaboration with her husband, guitarist Andy Brown, as “a magical musical dialogue, which can only partially be described as blind understanding.”

Rick Lindy and the Wild Ones

Rick Lindy has a voice as big as Texas… Dave Eliot plays tasty, prolific guitar licks, Eric T Stoliker has the ‘magic touch’ on the upright bass and Joe Smith never misses a beat on the drums. This line up offers high energy that captivates audiences of all ages.

Performing Rock and Roll hits of the 1950’s, 60’s as well as Surf, Rock-a-billy, and original songs.

Roots Rock Society

Roots Rock Society, founded in December of 1986, strongly believes in keeping their heritage and culture alive with their energetic live show and innovative blend of reggae, calypso, soul, zouk and other rhythms of the African Diaspora.

RRS with the CBS News Crew Hailed as Chicago legends by Tribune’s Metromix TV and Chicago’s Premier Reggae Band by WGN Morning News with their one of a kind sound, sometimes being described as tropical soul or “root soul.”

In 2003 with the release of their award-winning CD Riddim to Riddim, RRS reached one million viewers and listeners with television and radio performances, matched with articles and ads in newspapers and magazines. Critics have labeled RRS Nation’s Best.

What makes RRS stand out are their live performances as well as their original recorded material. Timeless tracks, smooth vocals, vibrant instrumentals matched with exotic rhythms and delightful lyrics performed in English with Spanish and French accents. It is a fine mixture of quality and care with a healing effect leaving you wanting more. Their 1997 CD Again reached over 200 radio stations worldwide. Play lists and letters were coming in from the US and places as far away as France, Africa, New Guinea, Germany, Poland, Spain and Ireland.

Hoyle Brothers

The Hoyle Brothers’ brand of genuine country music draws from the genre’s deepest traditions–lyrics that speak universal truths, melody lines that melt your heart and two-step rhythms that scoot your boots.

Since the start of weekly residencies at Chicago’s The Hideout and The Empty Bottle in 2002, The Hoyle Brothers have earned respect and recognition from a growing number of fans and music critics in Chicago and beyond for the band’s purity of purpose and first-rate musicianship. With a classic, five-piece line-up, The Hoyle Brothers help create a dance- and fun-friendly, country-style atmosphere to any event.

The Mix

Every Party band says they are the best, but seriously… with talent, versatility, high-energy stage presence and the ability to cover 9 decades of music, The Mix really is. Ok, at least we think so!

THE MIX accurately recreates everything from old classics to the current chart hits. Seamless song transitions keep the dance floor filled all night long. Looking for a particular theme, style or era for your event or venue? The Mix has it covered. Every style, authentic.

The Moods

Award-winning recording and performing artists since 1995, entertaining across the country and abroad, The Moods are a singing group consisting of three guys dedicated to the fine art of harmony and choreography. They’re known for their vocal stylings, but are equally accomplished in theater and on the big screen. They have collectively written songs, performed and arranged background vocals for other artists and television and radio commercials.

They have performed with and opened for such major talents as The Temptations, The Spinners, Mary Wells, Bernie Mac, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Stylistics, The Impressions, The Chi-Lites, and the list goes on and on. We would love to work with you to personalize your special event and make it a Vocal Experience Never Forgotten.

The Wave Runners

Having a Rock & Roll beach party? The Wave Runners feature music from Jimmy Buffett, The Beach Boys, The Safaris, The Ventures, Harry Belafonte and More! They will entertain your audience with Acapella Vocals, a Flaming Drum Stick Show and Audience Participation.

Tropixplosion

In essence, the ultimate Island party. But much more than the standard Steel Drum band, they play an amazing variety of music as well ? not only your tropical favorites, but many reggae classics and pop/rock party songs re-arranged to feel like the Islands. New hits, classic rockers, and many other surprises, all performed with an exotic twist!

TROPIXPLOSION most frequently performs as a 6 or 7-pc band, but can provide groups of any size, from a solo performer with backing tracks, on up to their full 9-piece extravaganza with professional lighting and special effects! TROPIXPLOSION is the ideal music solution for ANY size venue, city concert, or event looking to create an exciting summer party any time of year!

Twist and Shout

Actor, singer, and recording artist, Tony Kishman doubles as featured performer & producer of TWIST AND SHOUT.

Tony starred for six years in both the national and international tours of Broadway’s smash hit, Beatlemania.

Kishman is regarded by “Beatlemaniacs” as the world’s best McCartney look-alike/sound-alike. He has been performing his award winning tribute to the most successful band of all time around the globe for more than a decade, bringing the music and the magic of the Beatles to a new generation.

(Very) Best Entertainment for Parties

vintage entertainer serving foodAwesome entertainment for parties is the icing on top of an already delicious cake. The right party entertainers make kids giggle, draws a crowd to the dance floor, and is the topic of discussion for days to come. It’s up to you to choose the right entertainment that makes all that happen!

Choosing Party Entertainment

The right party entertainment fits with all the other elements of the event. Party entertainment can be one entertainer or a combination of games and entertainment that fits the target guest demographic and desired event atmosphere.

The easiest way to choose from all of the party entertainment ideas is to select a theme. This narrows down the options for party décor, menu items, and entertainment. A vintage theme includes the right era décor, menu, music, and entertainers that look like they stepped out of a time machine (perfect for a throwback birthday party!) A nautical party is the perfect way to honor a boating enthusiast and surprise him or her with one-of-a-kind entertainers that guests want to take selfies with. A country picnic theme comes alive with the right yard games, food servers, and musical entertainers.

Once you have chosen the right entertainment, it’s time to secure, produce, and hire the right entertainment. If you are handling booking the party entertainment on your own, always research entertainers and companies and review the entertainer’s and rental company contract closely for fine print. (The other option is to contact an entertainment agent who can choose and coordinate every detail of the party entertainment.)

Adult Party Entertainment Ideas

Bands/Mainstage

  1. Dance Band
  2. Mariachi Band
  3. Jazz Band
  4. Steel Drum Band
  5. Vintage Band (with playlist of songs from desired throwback period)
  6. Barbershoppe Quartet
  7. Comedians
  8. Hypnotists and Mentalists

Atmospheric

  1. Showgirls
  2. Carnivale Entertainers
  3. Dancers
  4. Dance Instructors
  5. Movie Characters (i.e. James Bond, Crown of Thrones, Blues Brothers, etc.)
  6. Atmospheric Characters (i.e. Flappers, Themed Entertainers)
  7. Stiltwalkers
  8. LED Entertainers

grinch character for holiday parties

Holiday

  1. Elves
  2. Father Christmas
  3. Movie Holiday Characters (like the Grinch)

Children’s Party Entertainment Ideas

child with holiday facepaint for corporate christmas holiday party

Children Entertainers

  1. Balloon Sculptures
  2. Magicians
  3. Face Painters
  4. Comedians
  5. Movie Characters (i.e. the Grinch, Gingerbread Man, etc.)
  6. Jugglers
  7. Fairies

Tropical Theme Event Ideas that Entertain and Inspire

Tropical themed bands can make your Hawaiian luau, beach party, and island party feel like a beach getaway—even when it doesn’t feel so tropical outside. Guests’ll love to soak in all the elements of a tropical themed event: tropical cocktails, beach décor, island cuisine—along with these tropical themed entertainers that transport guests to their favorite warm destination.

Reggae Bands

A tropical themed event isn’t complete without the sounds of the islands. The sounds of an authentic reggae band are the answer, adding the real sounds of a tropical getaway to a beach or island party.

Dancers

Tropical dancers are a great way to add a visual element to a tropical-themed event. For a truly authentic feel, talk to a professional about dancers with an act that blends seamlessly with the desired event atmosphere.

dance group at adult-only company picnic

 

Dance Instructors

If a dance group fits your event style, take this unique tropical-themed act a step farther. When planning a tropical themed event, ask an entertainment agent about including a dance group that brings guests out on the dance floor. Guests love the performance and the interactive element of this wonderful tropical act.

Steel Drum Bands

Steel drum bands are a tropical sound perfect for a beach party. A real steel drum band can make guests ready for fun and sun on the sand. This beach party idea is the perfect addition to an event planned around beach décor and a menu reminiscent of a party on the water.

carnivale themed table lady

Colorful Servers

One of the hottest new event trends is to combine food service with entertainments. This tropical themed entertainer does just that—and with many different options that fit perfectly with the theme. A tropical themed entertainer can be part of table service or be an entertaining way for guests to enjoy a tropical cocktail.

Latin Music

One of the most fantastic parts of planning a beach party or tropical event is the uniqueness of every event. This theme lends itself to several different interpretations, and one of the best ways to express that flavor is to hire an entertainer with a Latin feel.

30+ Amazing Corporate Event Entertainment Ideas

aerialists at corporate eventYour customers and employees expect more from your corporate event entertainment. These incredible entertainment ideas meet—and surpass—those high expectations. Best yet, this list is just the start of an endless list of possible event entertainers that can take any corporate event to the next level.

While guests appreciate creative corporate event entertainment ideas, the best way to impress guests is to choose the right event entertainer. The best entertainer fits the event and guest demographic (and may take a professional to find).

Theme Entertainment

Crown of Thrones Entertainment

throne from corporate event

Movie Characters

Showgirls

Jockey (Perfect for Kentucky Derby Theme and photo opps)

derby entertainer at corporate event

Ship Captains (and other nautical-themed entertainers)

entertainers at nautical themed corporate event

Diner Entertainers

1950s entertainers at corporate event theme

Game Show

game show for corporate events

Gangsters and Flappers

gangster and flappers at chicago corporate event

Brazilian Dance Troupe

dance group at adult-only company picnic

Main Stage Entertainment

Performance Art

Jazz Band

Mentalist

Comedians

Country Band

R&B Band

Dueling Pianos

Steel Drum Band

Atmosphere Entertainers

Mariachi Band

marchiachi band for cinco de mayo

Champagne Girl (mixing food service and entertainment)

mardi gras entertainer with pink and purple dress and drink servers on the skirt

Aerial Entertainers

aerialist at event hanging from ceiling

Carnivale Server

carnivale themed table lady

Celebrity Impersonators

celebrity impersonators at corporate event

LED Entertainers

glow in the dark performer

Barbershoppe Quartet

barbershop quartet

Holiday Entertainment

Toy Soldier

toy soldier at holiday event

Father Winter

Father Christmas entertainer for office holiday parties

Elves

troop of elves and holiday entertainers for holiday parties

Holiday Show

office holiday party entertainers

Carolers

holiday party carolers in chicago IL

Characters

grinch character for holiday parties

Family Entertainment

Face Painters

child with holiday facepaint for corporate christmas holiday party

Balloon Sculptors

balloon sculptures at grand opening chicago il

Magicians

Jugglers

juggler for corporate events

Best Kids Birthday Party Entertainers (that All the Kids Want!)

child with face paint at birthday partyThe best kids birthday party entertainers near you check off many boxes. The most important box (of course) is finding a children’s entertainer that they love! From a practical perspective, the right birthday party entertainment also fits with the party theme and budget. This list of kids birthday party entertainment checks off all those boxes, plus is easy to hire!

Face Painters

Children’s face painters are the start of many wonderful birthday party photos! A professional face painter can make the experience even more fun because of the variety of designs they can master. (Just imagine the possibilities!)

Fairies

Fairies are the perfect addition to a whimsical garden birthday party! For a more magical effect, ask guests to dress as their favorite fairy. After a full day of fairy tale fun, take a group photo for a delightful childhood memory.

Jugglers

balloon sculptures at grand opening chicago ilThis classic kids birthday party entertainer is the source of many memories and smiles. The best jugglers offer a fun and modern act that still includes classic elements that takes adults back to their childhood.

Magicians

A birthday party magician is the source of many gasps and giggles. The best children’s magician can even customize their act to the theme—and to the delight of their small audience!

Balloon Sculptors

This kids birthday party entertainment comes with two perks: 1) kids love to watch them sculpt their favorite animals and shapes, and 2) guests can take them home. The best balloon sculptors can even make colorful hats that kids love to wear (in photos and on the way home!)

Musicians

A musician is the perfect complement to the littlest musician’s birthday party. There are also so many children’s musicians to choose from! To select the best children’s musician, contact an entertainment agent that can select the best children’s entertainer that is reliable and perfect for the party theme.

Characters

The list of children’s character are long and varied (and every child has a different favorite!) Find your child’s favorite in the Chicago area, and then decide whether to tell the birthday kid or be the source of a major surprise (with a photographer on hand for the ultimate birthday party photo)!

12 Annual Staff Party Ideas that Gets Your Planning Started (and Finished)

red carpet entertainer with guests at masquerade themed charity galaEmployee appreciation events can be held any time of the year, leaving the door wide open for event themes. From a small summer office picnic to a large holiday party, the list of annual staff party ideas is a long and creative one. These annual staff party ideas are only the start of an endless list of themes and ideas that coordinate into an incredibly memorable event.

Once the theme is chosen, every detail should be carefully chosen and coordinated into an annual staff party that is the source of many water cooler conversations. The annual staff party menu (especially the main dishes), entertainment (contact an entertainment agent for the right entertainers that can put the event over-the-top), and décor should all be selected to fit with the event theme.

Country Fair

A country fair is a fun event theme because it comes with so many opportunities for entertainment—with food and entertainment! The possibilities for country fair themed entertainment are endless: cotton candy, jugglers, tarot card readers, magicians, popcorn, bands, and even stilt walkers add unexpected touches of fun to any company event.

Throwback Diner

This theme is a big hit with employees who appreciate the amusing atmosphere of a 50’s diner. Recreate the feel of a day at the malt shop with delicious sweet treats, 50’s entertainers, diner décor, and a band that ties it all together.

Traditional Holiday

For companies hosting winter holiday gatherings, a traditional holiday theme is a comfortable way to warm employees’ hearts and hands. This employee appreciation event can be a small and cozy gathering with carolers and traditional holiday dishes or a larger family gathering with Father Christmas and his many elves.

Red Carpet

Employees feel the appreciation when companies roll out the red carpet, and this is a theme that takes that gratitude to the next level. This theme requires all the touches that make employees feel like VIPs. It starts at the door with a high impact greeting, continues with a full feast, and includes all the touches of a star-studded event.

Holiday Characters

For an amusing change to the regular holiday office party, add characters to the party line-up. This one-of-a-kind holiday party theme can be customized to the office tastes or can included into a themed party. Entertainers like the Grinch, Scrooge, Toy Soldiers, or Father Christmas himself can take holiday party entertainment to a whole new level.

Tropical

The tropics can be the perfect break to a cold winter or a fun celebration of summer. A tropical employee appreciation event can feel like a getaway from the typical workday with steel drums, tropical drinks, and fun tropical décor.

Around the World

An around-the-world event is a popular theme with numerous ways to entertain. Staff members enjoy the chance to indulge in tastes and entertainment from around the globe; everyone can enjoy the benefits of a wonderful employee networking event.

Trivia

For a competitive and fun twist, host a trivia night or bring an entertaining game show to the party. This office party fun also comes with the opportunity for fun teasers that make guests want to come to this exciting event. Before the day of the event, send out sample trivia questions that build anticipation for this big contest.

Carnivale

A carnivale theme is a bright celebration with colorful décor, refreshments, and entertainment. A staff appreciation party with this festive theme should be nothing less.

Showtime

office holiday party entertainersDinner and a show is a great way to gather and socialize off the clock. For small offices, plan an outing to a popular theater and restaurant. Larger offices can bring the show to the employees by hosting a holiday show or a main stage entertainment act. This one-of-a-kind party entertainment can create a buzz that lasts far beyond the one-day event.

Sports Day

A sports-themed employee appreciation event brings everyone together to celebrate a local sports team—or just to celebrate a favorite sport. The big game can be celebrated with the best sports-themed dishes and a big screen.

Kentucky Derby Gala

This annual staff party theme is a wonderful way to thank employees for staying in the race. This event calls for numerous photo opps with jockeys, big entertaining hats, and refreshments one would expect for a day at Churchill Downs.

30 Entertainers for the Best Corporate Event Themes

carnivale themed table ladyThe best corporate event themes wouldn’t be complete without the right event entertainment. Guests love the atmosphere that comes with good entertainment, and event planners love the atmosphere that the right entertainment, décor, and refreshments creates.

As with any element of event planning, the list of ideas for entertainers for the best corporate event themes is endless. This list of entertainers is only a start to the task of pairing entertainment with the right event theme. (Contact an entertainment agent to choose and coordinate the right theme entertainers for the event.)

Tropical Theme

  1. Atmospheric servers
  2. Steel Drum Band
  3. Mariachi Band
  4. Tropical Dance Act

Roaring 20s/Great Gatsby

  1. Gangster Entertainers
  2. Jazz, Blues or Brass Band

great gatsby entertainers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Country Fair

  1. Face Painters
  2. Band
  3. Juggling
  4. LED Entertainers
  5. Balloon Sculptor
  6. Atmospheric Servers

child with holiday facepaint for corporate christmas holiday party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casino Royale

  1. Showgirls
  2. Atmospheric Servers
  3. Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circus

  1. Jugglers
  2. Face Painters
  3. Tarot Card Reader
  4. Stilt walker

stilt walker for outdoor wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Theme

  1. Celebrity Impersonator (i.e. Blues Brother, James Bond, etc.)
  2. Band
  3. Atmospheric entertainers that fit with the movie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Carpet

  1. Paparazzi
  2. Showgirls
  3. Celebrity Impersonators

showgirl at elegant gala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50s Diner

  1. Atmospheric Servers
  2. Barbershop Quartet
  3. Classic Band

1950s entertainers at corporate event theme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday

  1. Holiday Character (i.e. Father Christmas, Easter Bunny, etc.)
  2. Carolers
  3. Elves
  4. Face Painters
  5. Balloon Sculptor

20 Inspirational Corporate Event Themes

aerialist serving drinks at charity eventPlanning a corporate event requires inspiration and coordination. This list of corporate event themes provides both—and a variety of themes that can be used to plan a formal corporate gala, anniversary event, company picnic, or casual staff event. This list is not all-inclusive, but it’s a start that inspires and guides all the event details: menu, venue, decor, and entertainment.

Jazz Club

Nothing is more Chicago than a historical or modern jazz lounge. Event planners need to start with the right venue, then add in the décor, menu, and a main stage jazz act that completes the feel.

Mardi Gras

A Mardi Gras theme worthy of its name deserves all the entertainment and energy of a colorful New Orleans Celebration. This is a theme that requires more than a few Mardi Gras beads; event planners need to bring in the main stage and atmospheric entertainers that add a dynamic vibe to the party.

50’s Diner

1950s entertainers at corporate event themeThis corporate event theme takes guests back to the old malt shops and makes them want to order from the soda fountain. The success of this corporate event theme revolves around the menu, venue, and the throwback entertainment.

Casino Night

A casino night corporate themed event should make guests feel like they hit the lottery. Event planners need to pull out all the stops. This theme merits an over-the-top first impression with an impressive venue and show-stopping greeters.

Hollywood Red Carpet

Attendees at an event with a Hollywood theme need to feel like the center of attention. This is an event planners’ chance to plan an extravagant evening with paparazzi, delectable dinner, and lavish Hollywood-worthy décor.

Derby Night

derby entertainer at corporate eventKentucky Derby event planning can be off to the races, especially with the right combination of décor and entertainment. Event planners, don’t stop until the details have crossed the finish line.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame/Baseball

A baseball-themed corporate event needs to hit a home run. This corporate event theme requires the right baseball diamond and all the grand slam entertainment and décor.

Around the World

An international theme is suitable for almost any corporate event, including a corporate holiday party. The theme should take guests on a globe-trotting adventure with the right international flavors, décor, and authentic entertainers.

entertainers at nautical themed corporate eventNautical

A nautical themed corporate event is perfect for lake shore venues or short cruises. The event theme can be reinforced with local lake shore dishes and entertainment suitable for the finest cruise ship.

Circus

A corporate event with a circus team should include every element of this age-old entertainment. From the moment guests step into the tent, plan an event where guests enjoy the antics and atmosphere while anticipating the next act that is to come.

Touchdown Party

A football theme is an all-encompassing atmosphere that doesn’t have to be a fumble. This corporate event theme suits hard-core football fans and casual observers alike with themed snacks and décor.

Tropical Getaway

event entertainers Mardi Gras entertainersThis corporate event theme should feel like a destination event and include every element of a warm getaway. With the right planning, this theme makes guests enjoy the perks of a warm vacation in the sand without ever leaving Chicago.

Picnic

The casual picnic is a popular corporate event theme that can be customized into a one-of-a-kind guest event. For an all-encompassing atmosphere, hire entertainers to serve guests and provide an interactive experience.

James Bond

A James Bond theme is a classic event that never gets old. This theme is especially popular with guests who appreciate the celebrity experience and all the specifics of the James Bond series, all of which can be served up for their enjoyment.

Retro Theme

A throwback theme is a customizable corporate event theme. The guidance comes from the chosen era, such as the year the company was found or a particularly significant era for the company. This theme provides for some memorable touches that makes guests feel like they stepped back in time.

Game of Thrones

throne from corporate eventAny popular television series can be the basis of a well-attended event. This modern series comes with a particularly unique set of touches for the fan who never misses an episode or the casual fan can appreciate.

Wizards/Harry Potter

This theme gives guests a chance to step into the popular world of fantasy. Event planners can enjoy the recreating every detail of the series into an out-of-this-world corporate event.

Mystery

A mystery party is a great away to engage the audience and leave a lasting impression. Guests are going to be talking for quite some time about the ‘who dunit’ event theme.

Masquerade Ball

red carpet entertainer with guests at masquerade themed charity galaThe Masquerade Ball theme is never overused, especially with new modern takes on this corporate event theme. Event planners need to meet—and exceed—guests’ expectations for this extravagant theme.

Old-Fashioned Holiday

Holiday events shouldn’t be immune from creative corporate event themes, but sometimes a traditional theme fits the vision. This event theme can be planned with new takes on the ‘old’ theme, such as a holiday show or interactive guest stations.

20 Company Picnic Ideas: A Simple (But Complete) Planning Guide

employees enjoying company picnic on checkered tableclothsA corporate picnic can be an employee event that staff members want to attend—and should be if you use these ideas for planning your next company picnic.

Set goals and a theme

Every company picnic should be planned with goals and a theme. The first step is to set measurable goals that can be used during planning and for evaluation after the event. During this process, the demographic of the target audience should be determined. The audience demograhic is the key to selecting the venue, such as a more formal venue for a formal event or a family-friendly site for an employee plus family company picnic. The exact nature of the target audience is also used to set a company picnic menu and select event entertainment.

Other key details should be set in stone during the initial planning process, such as the budget and an estimated guest list. The budget and guest list play a significant role in choosing the date and venue. Some venues are available for discounted rates during off-season or off-peak days, which can help a company picnic planner stay within budget.

Brainstorm company picnic ideas

This step can occur before or after confirming the venue.

  1. For a company anniversary, hold a picnic that is themed back to the same era as the start of the company.
  2. Boost attendance by sending out “sneak peaks” to employees.
  3. Make a family company picnic entrance welcoming and fun with balloon twisters.
  4. Use show girls to set the stage for a formal employee event, such as a Mardi Gras or casino-themed company picnic.
  5. Hire a caricature artist for a neat company picnic party favor that guests can take home.
  6. Use an entertainer to serve fun refreshments, such as retro-costumed waitress at a 50s-themed company picnic.
  7. Hire children’s entertainers for a special kids area at the company picnic.
  8. Serve guests’ favorite drinks with a flair, such as by hiring a champagne girl to circulate and serve.
  9. For a casual picnic theme, put out yard games and contests that families can enjoy.
  10. Use entertainers to reinforce a company picnic theme in an event venue that doesn’t allow a lot of décor.
  11. Hire an excellent face painter that employees’ kids will flock to.
  12. Surprise employees with a celebrity impersonator during the main stage show.
  13. Roll out the red carpet (literally) for a formal adults-only company picnic.
  14. Choose company picnic menu items that fits with the event theme, such as peanuts and cotton candy for a circus company picnic theme.
  15. Make a company picnic feel like a destination with Caribbean entertainers and refreshments.
  16. Plan an Around the World theme with tasting stations with favorites from all over the world.
  17. Set up a unique photo opportunity for guests with a fun-themed backdrop and entertainer to pose with.
  18. Choose a main stage company picnic act that makes a big impression on guests and reinforces the picnic theme.
  19. When hiring a band, select a band with the right amount of entertainers for the venue space (or contact an entertainment agent to choose the right company picnic band).
  20. A nautical-themed company picnic can be a fun way to celebrate the beauty of Chicago’s lakefront.

Confirm the venue

A company picnic venue is the foundation of all other details. Some companies hold their event on-site every year, while other companies hold employee events at local venues. On-site employee events require more décor that fits with the theme.

Off-site company picnic venues present a unique opportunity to choose a company picnic venue that reinforces the event theme. For example, a jazz club is the perfect site of a formal Roaring 20s event suited for a formal adult guest list. Family company picnics can be held at a park, recreational venue, zoo, fairgrounds, aquarium, or aquatics facility. Choosing a company picnic venue is based upon: date availability, budget, capacity, location (convenient for target demographic), amenities (i.e. catering space, technological capabilities, etc.), and theme.

Choose vendors

Selecting a vendor for a company picnic is all about checking off boxes. The right vendors are available on the event date, can meet the needs of the picnic (and theme), and provide services within the event budget. Typically, the vendors needed for a company picnic include: caterer, décor company, equipment rental (unless provided by the venue), event staffing (if additional staff is needed), and entertainment agent. The entertainment agent selects the right entertainment that suits the theme and budget and coordinates every detail of event entertainment; contact an experienced entertainment agent with an extensive amount of experience to ensure a stellar company picnic experience for every guest.

Execute and evaluate

The execution of the company picnic should be closely followed by a full evaluation (after feedback is collected from the guest list). The evaluation should include a review of what went well and what could have been improved. Future company picnic ideas, both suggested by guests and event planners, should be recorded for future employee events.