How to hire a band for a corporate event or wedding

March 16th, 2015   Help & Advice  

Essex party band

5 things you need to consider when you hire a band for a corporate event or wedding.

Unless you have performed professionally in a function band, hiring a band for the first time for a corporate event or your wedding can be a daunting experience. Whether you book through an agency or direct here are the top 5 things that we at Yes Entertainment think you should consider.

1. What sort of band do you and your guests want?

OK so you love death metal, so do we when we’re in the right mood for that, but if you are booking a band for a corporate event are your customers going to be quite as into it as you are? A staff party is one thing but if you are booking an event for customers your main concern should be whether they are going to enjoy it. If they go home smiling having danced their little booties off all night then job done.

If you and your husband to be love dancing on your own all night then maybe ABBA4Ever (and ever, and ever!) is going to be a real hit. Otherwise maybe you want to pick a band who can mix it up a bit and provide a bit of something for everyone.

Whether you are booking a band for a wedding or a corporate function the thing to consider is what is the make up of the crowd and what is the mood/theme of the event. These factors should give you a real steer as to what bands might work best.

2. Is your event in the right sort of venue for a band? Or in other words IS THERE A DECIBEL METER!?

This is a particularly thorny issue, especially for the drummers. Forget the decibel meter is there, get into your groove and hit your snare drum at something resembling your normal power and the little red light starts aflashing, five seconds later all the power goes to the speakers. Boo not boom. A really incredible drummer can manage to create enough spirit whilst holding back sufficiently to avoid amp death but its really hard. I’ve played countless gigs with Alex Marchione who I think is one of the best drummers in the world (check him out! I rate him as high up there as Taylor Hawkins (check him out too if you don’t already know who he is)), and he can take on a sound meter really well, but he’s watching it like a hawk and the spirit is there but not in anything like the normal measure if the volume police weren’t watching.

Of course we’re not saying don’t hire a band if there’s a decibel meter in the venue, but find out what level it is set at (under 90dB is going to be difficult anything over 100dB is probably going to be OK), where it is and talk to the band (or your friendly neighbourhood entertainment agent) about it beforehand. Forewarned is forearmed!

Another important factor to consider in relation to your venue when booking a band for your event, sounds obvious but isn’t always considered. How much room is there? Sure when you visited the venue first time round it seemed cavernous but once its full of tables, chairs, guests, a bar, a buffet, a dancefloor, how much space is left for the band and is your 22 piece big band jazz orchestra now a little cramped? Again talk to your band (or agent!) about the venue and they can give you an idea of how much space will be required.

The final thing that most people don’t consider when booking a venue and a band is how the band are going to get in and out? Where can they park to unload? What is the access to the room like? (The spiral staircase may look lovely in the photos but don’t expect the band to be in and ready in 20 minutes)

3. What do you need to know about their equipment?

This is a pretty big dice role for most people as unless you fulfil the requirement outlined in the opening paragraph you probably wouldn’t know your Laney Linebacker from your Marshall stack!

So lets not get into the detail of what amps are good and bad and just consider some essentials.

  • Is the equipment safe and good quality? Good quality may be difficult to assess unless you do know the difference but from a safety point of view you should ask if the equipment has been PAT tested and ask to see copies of the certificates if you want to.
  • Is the equipment fit for purpose? Is the PA large enough for your venue/crowd? Most rock/pop function bands will have a 800 to 1000 watt rig or so. This will be sufficient for most weddings and corporate functions up to about 200 people.
  • How much gear have they got? Worth knowing as they need to get it in and out so if you’ve booked the venue with the spiral staircase…

4. How much should you pay them and how?

The Musicians Union has advice on rates of pay for live performances but in broad terms you can work on the basis of between £200 to £300 per musician for a band arriving around 5pm to get set up for 6pm playing at 9pm to 11pm (2 x 45 minute sets approximately). If you want them set up before your guests arrive at 1pm therefore there will often be an early set up fee and if there isn’t you should question the quality of the band you are booking. Travel beyond an hour will also probably be charged as an additional fee too.

5. What happens if they don’t turn up or pull out last minute?

Most professional bands are just that, professional, but this does happen. Quite a lot of the bookings we take on are from people who want to hire a band for their event because they have been let down last minute (sometimes on the day!) by the band, DJ or other act they have booked directly.

We’re not saying don’t book with bands directly (as performers we have been booked ourselves directly hundreds of times!) but if you do book with an agent you at least have the security of knowing that if something happens they will provide a suitable replacement.

So that’s it. Whether you book with us here at Yes Entertainment or with another agent, or direct with your act we wish all the best and hope that your event goes with a boom ba ba boom boom, ba ba boom!