Musician and Function Band Hire – Essential Tips
If you’re considering hiring a musician or function band then it sounds like you’ve got something to celebrate. Whatever the celebration, whether you’re planning your wedding reception, organising a big birthday bash or you’ve been tasked with arranging the annual company awards ceremony, booking a live band is a great way of guaranteeing a night to remember.
Before you go ahead and hand over your money to the first band you encounter, it’s useful to keep a few key things in mind to ensure you get the perfect act for your event.
1. Think about WHO will be present
We all like to think our own taste in music is the best. So what if everyone else at the party has never heard of Mongolian throat singing; by the end of the night they’ll all be fans. Unfortunately, no matter how cutting edge your tastes, if your guests don’t recognise a single song, the atmosphere is going to fall flat.
There’s nothing worse than an uninterested audience enduring music that doesn’t move them, so keep your guests in mind when choosing a function band. If you know that older guests will be in attendance, for example, hire a band that plays a few classics, or if you’ve got a rockier crowd in, avoid the bubblegum pop.
2. Be clear on your budget
It’s vital that you have a clear idea of how much you’re willing to spend before you start making enquiries about bands. A band’s fee will vary depending upon the number of musicians, how far they have to travel and how in-demand they are. If your heart is set on a 13-piece big band, for example, be aware that the cost will run into the multiple thousands.
If budget is an issue, there are ways to get a great live performance from a band without breaking the bank:
- Ask your chosen band whether they offer a reduced line-up. The fewer musicians the lower the fee.
- Hold your event on an off-peak date – for professional function bands, off-peak dates are weekdays and autumn and winter months, excluding the run-up to Christmas. With fewer gigs around during these dates, bands are more willing to strike a deal.
- Leave it until the last minute. For the risk-takers out there, you can leave things until the very last minute and hope to snap up a band with an opening for your date. Your choice will be limited, but you’ll be in a good position to negotiate.
3. Consult with your venue
Before booking any live entertainment, always ask few questions of your venue first:
- Is live music permitted?
- Is there space for my act to perform?
- Is there an adequate power supply for a full band?
- Is there a curfew?
- Is there a sound limiter?
It’s crucial to have answers to all these questions before your hire a function band to avoid any complications on the night of your event.
If you’re wondering “what is a sound limiter?” – it’s a device that used to monitor the decibel level in the venue. If the volume exceeds the decibel limit set by the venue, power to the band is cut, resulting in awkward silence all round. If you like you music loud, avoid booking a venue with a restrictive decibel limit!
4. Find out what’s included (and what isn’t)
Every band is different, so it’s important to find out what’s included in the fee when you book a band. Things to consider include:
- Arrival and finish times – for evening performances, most function bands will arrive at around 5pm to set up and sound check, and leave at midnight. Make sure to check that this is the case. If you need the band earlier or later, discuss with your band before you book.
- Length of performance – most bands offer 2 hours of live music as standard, split into either 2 x 60 minute sets or 3 x 45 minutes sets. This can vary depending on the band, so again, be sure to chat through your requirements with your band.
- DJ service – if you don’t want the party to pause between live music sets, then you need to find out whether the band offer a DJ service, where either a playlist is left to play over the sound equipment or a member of the band is on hand to take requests.
- Equipment – is your band self-contained? Do they provide the PA and lighting necessary to put on a great show?
- Special requests – got a special song you want the band to perform? Make sure they’re happy to learn the song and perform it for you within their fee. Most function bands will learn your first dance or another special request free of charge.
- Public liability insurance and PAT testing certificates – your band should be able to provide these if requested by your venue.
5. Sign a secure contract
You don’t want to be worrying about whether your band will turn up or not. That’s why it’s essential to sign up to a legally-binding contract that covers you in all eventualities. A reputable entertainment agency is often the way to go – not only will you be legally covered by secure contract and payment, you’ll have a wide choice of quality-assured bands and be able to take advantage of the expert, entertainment planning knowledge offered by an agency.
Armed with this information, you’re ready to go out and hire the best function band for your event!