The Complexity of Cancellation Clauses in Entertainment



By Soléne Paillart

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France



Cancellation clause defines the terms of a valid cancellation and protect all the work that already been done. Giving that definition, it will make sense that every contract have a cancellation clause well defined especially in the event sector where the event is uncertain until it starts. However, when comparing different types of contracts using a MADM matrix, we observed that many contracts do not protect well both parties in case of termination. Event planner should be really vigilant when using a contract’s termination clause.

Key words: Cancellation clause, Event, Music industry, Contract cancellation issue, Event planner, Performance contract.


Event management is a fast growing industry that second only to construction, is probably one of the oldest and most mature applications of the project management processes, dating back to the early Greek and Egyptian civilizations. It includes meetings, seminars, conferences, weddings, festival, and charity. Even though it seems simple, planning an event require an important organization. Event management gathers a million industries.

Event sector is known to be an uncertain sector where you are sure that something will go wrong. Consequently, in that particular sector, contracts must determine clearly what to do in that case. The event is not sure until it is started. As that industry deals with uncertainty, the contract must provide certainty and protect both the client and the event planner from obstacles and it is the reason why a cancellation clause is always needed in the contract. Neither part of the contract wants a cancellation to happen because there is many factors and people involved but sometimes it has to be done.

In the event sector cancellation is something that happen often, but it’s repercussion are not anticipated well by either party when the procedure is launched. It can become an issue for both parts when things out of their knowledge happen, especially the impact of the procedure.

The aim of this article is to clarify this situation and compare real cases to theory. It is important to provide information to both parties to enable them to act in their best interests; give knowledge about what cancellation clause in the contract should contain; and the impact of cancellation.

This paper will help answer the question: Why Cancellation clauses in a contract are complex?  It will be analyzed in detail by answering the questions:

  • Why cancellation terms are essential in a contract?
  • Why cancellation clause is not used in daily contracts?
  • Why it is not a clause present in all contracts?
  • Why Entertainment needs the cancellation clause more than other sectors?


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Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

How to cite this paper: Paillart, S. (2018). The Complexity of Cancellation Clauses in Entertainment, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue VI – June. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/pmwj71-Jun2018-Paillart-complexity-of-cancellation-clauses-in-entertainment-student-paper.pdf

About the Author

Solène Paillart

Paris, France



Solène Paillart is an Msc student from SKEMA Business School. She is currently studying Project Programme Management & Business Development. Before that, she studied 4 years global management in the same business school. French native but raised in Poland, she grew up in a multicultural environment. It was thus only natural she decided to study abroad. She studied in Fundação dom cabral in Brazil, and in North Carolina State University in the USA.  She has experience in event project management for being responsible of the event section of two associations from her university: the moviemaker organization and the humanitarian organization. As a project manager student, she recently obtained PRINCE 2 and Agile PM certifications.