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Booking a Band - What Should You Know?

If you’ve not booked a band before but are determined to have one for your special day (and why on earth shouldn’t you!), then the following information should make everything go smoothly from beginning to end.

Firstly, you need to check that your venue will actually allow you to have a band!

Find out if they have adequate licenses and check that they have no obstructive noise or decibel limiters. While the former is pretty much a necessity the latter may be overcome by perhaps booking a DJ or a ‘quieter’ style act (i.e. a Jazz band as opposed to a ‘party’ band). Secondly, you need to check that there is enough space for everything!

It’s no good booking a 10 piece ‘party’ band only to find that the performance area is 2 x 2 metres!! As a general rule 5 x 4 metres is enough space for a band of 4 – 6 members, but the larger the line-up more may be required. There may also be space required for a sound engineer at another position in the room. And... don’t forget- make sure there’s a good sized dance floor... because you’re going to need it!

For all ‘party’ bands, you need to ensure with the venue that there is a good, safe power supply available.

This should be in the form of at least 3 Standard 240 V plug sockets in good proximity of the performance area. And... don’t forget- if your event is in a marquee, confirm with the marquee suppliers that there will be sufficient power for the bands requirements in the form of a powerful generator or dedicated supply.

‘Party’ bands tend to have a lot of equipment... a lot of heavy equipment!

Lots of stairs or having to park quite a distance away from the performance area could affect the timetable of your event. Make sure that this consideration is discussed with the venue and if necessary ask them to have some helpers for the band or trolleys available.

Think about the set-up and soundcheck times for the band.

It might not be the best thing to have them arrive during the middle of speeches or start to tune-up during the wedding breakfast. If the room where the band is to perform is the same one where the rest of the day’s events are taking place, think carefully about your timings. Do you need the band to set-up earlier in the day- before the meal perhaps? It may incur a little extra cost, but it will mean the ambience of your big day is stress free. It may be that this is not possible, so discuss with the venue how they normally handle this. It is practice that after the breakfast most guests ‘retire’ to another area while the room is rearranged, it may be that this is the perfect time for the band to be setting up. Just give it some thought... it will make your day a lot less stressful.

Look after the band... Don’t forget- the band is only human!

They may have had to travel a distance to be with you, carry equipment, set-up... and this all before they are expected to give the performance of their lives... which, don’t worry they will! But, treat them well- make sure that they are adequately provided for by allowing refreshments, unlimited soft drinks and tea, coffee, etc. Also, make sure that they have somewhere to prepare themselves, surely you want them looking their best- they won’t be arriving in their performance clothes so check with the venue to ensure they have somewhere to change and relax before they take the stage.... Sorry, the loos just won’t do.....

And, finally... ensure that you have thought about paying the band... no act likes to go looking for somebody at the end of the night to ‘collect’.

Think about this before and maybe designate payment of the band as one of the ‘best man’s’ duties.

So, top tips making sure everything goes perfectly....

1. Check the venue allows bands and hold the appropriate licenses.

2. Check the venue has enough space for everything you want!

3. Make sure there will be enough electricity.

4. Check with the venue where the band can park in relation to the performance area and how easy unloading will be.

5. Think about the best time for the band to arrive and be set-up by, and make sure this fits in with how the venue does things.

6. Treat the band well, keep them fed and watered and make sure they have somewhere comfortable to change, relax.

7. Ensure some preparation for payment of the band has been considered before the big day!

This article was kindly contributed by Tracey of Warble Entertainment, providers of entertainment for events

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