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Tribute Acts

Ian Scott© When karaoke came to town it brought with it a surprising by-product. People started standing up and singing in public who had never done so before. On the back of this Granada TV launched a strange little show called "Stars In Their Eyes" which is now in it's 15th year!. People up and down the country were amazed as all these soundalikes and lookalike/soundalikes sprang up. From John O'Groats to Lands End, ordinary men and women were finding they could sound like famous pop stars and were applying for the show in their droves. Professional singers, too, were shifting over into the tribute scene. Suddenly it was possible to create some very believable shows in tribute to the stars. Fans, especially of favourites who had died or were no longer performing, were able to go and singalong with the stars once more.

Now tribute acts are everywhere and can really enhance any event from weddings, corporate functions, private functions, parties, festivals, fund-raisers, charity events and are now filling every kind of paying venue from theatres and cruise ships to hotels, clubs and pubs. There can't be many venues left which haven't booked a tribute act or band. Tribute acts cover every age group from 16 to 90 year olds - check out the Vera Lynn tribute! - and as soon as a new act comes along and hits the charts, a tribute to them emerges.

Tribute acts really are suitable for all types of events - you can hire a solo act with backing tracks and PA (they've even been known to do a show in someone's lounge). Or you can hire a full or partial band. To keep costs down you can get hold of some really good Abba duos with just the two girls (did anyone really take much notice of the guys anyway!). A full tribute band can be hired with PA, light-show and dancers in some cases. Some tribute acts are so good they have their own fan club! At present, the most popular tributes are the obvious ones like Abba, Robbie Williams, Elvis, The Beatles, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, The Rat Pack etc... The favourites are normally acts that you can't see anymore and nostalgia is always big business.

There are many different ways to use a tribute act. It is advisable to hire a tribute who looks and sounds like the star as far as possible. Someone who sounds just like Robbie Williams but looks like Curly Watts isn't such a good idea. A good tribute act creates the illusion that the audience are watching the original artiste. One of the most popular uses of a tribute act is to surprise a friend or loved at a birthday party, anniversary or at a wedding reception. The tribute will set up earlier and then go into hiding and appear later at the designated time to do the show or so that the bride or groom can be surprised by their favourite song and be whisked onto the dance-floor. This idea is suitable for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and parties of any kind.

Tributes are also popular at product launches. Corporate organisers love to have tribute acts and bands alongside illusionists, caricaturists, casinos and lookalikes doing "meet and greet" for fun events. You can even use a lookalike or soundalike to meet and greet, followed the the same performer doing a tribute show later. Prices varyand depend such factors as whether the tribute act is a solo act, duo, a full band or even, in some cases, a double-bill show where someone is performing as two star artistes (this can be a real saving because one person costs less than hiring two). Distance travelled to the venue will also dictate the fee as will the length of the show.

It is advisable to remember that just because the organiser loves a certain star act there might be a few at the event who can't stand the act at all so keep the show punchy - between 30 mins and 1 hour will be sufficient. Sometimes venues hire in the PA & lights which will reduce the tribute act's fee.

Tribute acts can be hired from top agencies although many have their own web sites and can be directly contacted. Typing the name of the star artiste followed by the word "tribute" into a search engine will reveal most of the top tribute acts for that particular star. The effect that good tribute acts have is to create a real buzz of excitement and a show that the audience will recall for a long time after the event.

This article was kindly contributed by the widly regardedTom Jones tribute act Ian Scott
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