If you are thinking about hiring a band for your wedding, party, corporate event or function and not sure where to start, then this blog can help you choose the right band!
Booking a band may seem a bit daunting with so many to choose from but with our professional advice, knowledge and guidance, we can help make the whole process an enjoyable experience
How much do bands cost? What do the bands bring with them? Will they learn my first dance song? Do they provide a DJ service? How long do they play for? Lots of valid questions that you need answers for when hiring your band
At Garston Entertainments, we have over 35 years experience booking live bands for clients and venues throughout the UK and Internationally – from small private parties to major corporate events.
Our blog and guide can help you to get the best from your booking and hopefully help you choose the right band for you. If you have a question that you would like answering that is not listed, please give one of our team a call on 0845 071 0988 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. What style of music should I have at my event, function, wedding?
For a wedding or private party, this is mainly down to personal taste although you may need to also consider what type of music the audience you are inviting will enjoy. Many corporate, wedding and events bands have a large and varied set list so they can adapt their live set list on the night to suit the audience and ensure they get the party going!
For corporate events you need to consider live bands that suit the theme of your event and that will impress your clientele/audience. Some events require more of a `background music`feel and therefore more of a laid back function, jazz or acoustic band may be the best option, other events require a high energy party band that engage the audience and fill the dance floor.
At Garston, we have hundreds of viewed and approved live bands based nationwide across the UK. We have live bands that cover most popular genres of music including 60s to modern hits, swing & jive bands, soul & motown bands, ultra modern party bands, decade themed bands (such as 70s, 80s & 90s bands), tribute bands, jazz bands, rock & roll bands and much more.
2. What size bands are available?
Live bands are generally around 4 to 5 piece, however we have bands available from 2 piece up to 32 piece bands, so the list of possibilities is endless. We have bands to suit all venues/spaces and to suit all tastes of music.
3. DJ Service or Background Music?
Some bands offer a DJ package or Background Music as part of their services. A DJ Service is different to a Background music or Ipod service. If the band provide a DJ Service, this means you get the additional DJ service with a member of the band operating the Disco equipment, accepting on the night requests and making announcements as required
If the band only provide an iPod Service or a ‘Background Music’ service, it is important to know that this is a pre-recorded music service that is not manned by a live DJ. There are no live requests available. Knowing the difference between these is important when considering which band to hire.
4. PLI & PAT?
Six letters that cause the most confusion when hiring live entertainment. If you have booked a venue, more than likely they will request the PAT & PLI of any artiste you have booked.
PAT – Portable Appliance Testing – this is a certificate that shows all the equipment has been tested by an electrician and is safe to use. Every professional performer by law must have their equipment PAT tested.
PLI – Public Liability Insurance – every professional entertainer must be covered by Public Liability insurance by law and will have a copy of this certificate that you can show to your venue.
When booking your band, be sure to check with your booking agency/band that they have all the necessary safety and legal documentation.
5. When is the best time for the band to set up?
This varies from event to wedding to party. However, ideally, a band would need approx 1 hour – 1 hour 30 mins to set up and sound check in a venue. For weddings the best time to do this is when the venue are ‘turning the room round’ in between your wedding breakfast and evening reception. For other events, approximately an hour to two hours before your guests are due to arrive is enough time for them to set up and be ready to perform.
6. Why should I use an entertainment agency to book my band?
The first advantage of using an Agency is that they can quickly assist with finding the right band for you. They have vast knowledge in this area, availability on hundreds of bands and once they have established the type of band you are looking for will recommend bands suitable for you to listen and view online. They do all the legwork for you finding out availability and negotiating the best price for you.
The second advantage of using an Agency is that the Agency draws up the legally approved contracts and they deal with the Invoicing and financial side of the event. This is all done professionally and the contracts are signed by both parties. Garston Entertainments is a full member of The Agents Association of Great Britain and adheres with all codes of conduct
The third advantage of using an Agency is in the event that something goes wrong. If for some reason the band you’ve chosen has to cancel their performance through an illness for example, then the Agency will endeavour to source and offer you a suitable replacement of similar style, quality and price. Garston Entertainments operate a full emergency standby service, available out of hours from 5pm to 9pm weekdays, and 9am to 9pm on weekends,. If for example, the band is delayed in traffic and have not arrived at the agreed time, you can contact the emergency number and liaise with one of our trained entertainment co-ordinators
7. How much do live band`s cost?
Prices vary from band to band and can be from a few hundred to several thousand pounds depending on several factors including quality, popularity, size of band, travel distance etc.
Duo prices can start from as little as £250, 4 piece live bands starting fees are from £400 upwards. We have a range of live bands to suit all budgets
8. How Long will the band perform for?
Performance times vary between artistes. It also depends on what your function, party of event requirements are. Performance options when booking your band through Garston are generally as below although we are always happy to speak with the band and adapt to any particular requirements you may have
1 x 60 minute Live Set
1 x 90 minute Live Set
2 x 45 minute Live sets
2 x 60 minute Live sets
3 x 40 minute live sets
We catch up and ask a few questions with one of our most popular live bands The Manytones…..
1. Set list – what songs would you recommend as being the most popular choices, or that go down well at events you perform?
Its important to pick songs that attract people`s attention and get them moving. Whilst we can always bank on the classic soul & motown, it surprising how many age groups actually enjoy the current hits. We try to provide a cross section of 60s/rock and roll/70s/Funk/Soul/Grooves/80s to the latest modern hits.
Guaranteed Floor Fillers:
Blurred Lines/Get Lucky/Shout by Lulu/ Do You Love Me – the Contours/ Rihanna/ The Killers/ Somebody Elses Guy
2. What timings for the band seem to work well at weddings and events?
2 x 45 Minutes is a standard Performance time. However, a 1 Hour or 1 Hour 30 – high intensity upbeat performance also works well. We are happy to adapt our performance time to suit the requirements of the event
3. If a client was to provide you with anything to make your night easier, what would it be?
Wedding gigs and corporate events sometimes include long journeys, lots of waiting around in remote areas. Looking after the band with some light hospitality – a couple of drinks and food make a massive difference and ensure you don’t have any tired/jaded musicians. Just a couple of drinks and a small meal or an invitation to the buffet go a long long way
Its also helpful if there is an area to change (though we appreciate that this is not always feasible). Minimal disturbance during set up and sound check, before the rush of people and high intensity of a wedding or corporate event is also beneficial – the band are often happy to arrive earlier – as a good sound is paramount to doing them justice. Be sure to liaise in detail in advance of the event so there are no hiccups on the day.
4. Are you happy to tailor your set list to suit the client – can they choose your repertoire?
Yes, the band has an extensive set you can choose from. Or you can request particular songs – dependent on the size of the requests we can cater. All of our musicians are top session players.
5. How much equipment can be expected for you to take when booking the full band?
A 6 piece band generally needs a fair amount of space. Don’t forget, the Drum Kit Alone takes a lot of space. Be sure to discuss space requirements with the band or agency and your venue so the musicians have enough space to be comfortable and can perform effectively.
6. How does the ‘DJ Service’ work?
Wedding DJ’s are not the sort of DJs that mix beats and dance music all night. They have to please everybody, therefore mixing between tracks will not involve beat matching – it will be cross fade between songs. We do however have a bank of over 15000 songs which covers all genres including right up to date and is ever increasing.
We are happy to collaborate and provide a set list of DJ music (songs which mean a lot to you and your friends) and tailor make the music, but just be sure to give notice before the event so as to ensure it is all ready and available.
A DJ service will typically include:
Music played before the band go on (from when the reception starts)
Full use of the PA for announcements (if requested)
Tailor made playlist (or if preferred you can leave it to us)
Music after the band, and during the interval up to the contracted end time.
Lighting for Dance Floor
You will get the equivalent of a standard wedding DJ, for a fraction of the cost because you have already booked the band!
7. Are you happy to learn first dances or special requests and what choices have been the most popular for you so far?
Yes, we are happy to learn any first dance songs or special requests. We have had some real obscure choices from the unknown to the very popular. Recent requests include:
Lets Stay Together – Al Green
Adele – Someone Like You
Theme Tune from Labyrinth
Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
People choose songs that are unique to them – so you tend to have a lot more variety here
8. Any other advice to add?
The best thing to do for the smooth running of the live entertainment is to ensure proper communication with your band before the event to establish exactly what is required at your party, event or wedding. Your booking agency can put you directly in touch with us. Once this is sorted in advance you can then leave the band to do what they do best and focus on enjoying your night. The less you have to worry about on the day, the better all round.
To view our live band section on the website for more information – http://www.garston-entertainment.co.uk/category/4/Live-Bands/