Hiring a Band?

brass_band3Whatever  event you are producing, it is important to know what you want to accomplish.  Is there a theme to consider or a specific  sound you want to hear? Or, are you open to several genres? Do you want the  crowd to be able to talk (and hear) during the event?  Do you cherish a pounding horn section?  What is the age range of the participants?  What time of day is the event scheduled?   Afternoon weddings generally don’t need dance bands.  Small ensembles work perfectly well.

There  are only a limited number of Saturday’s available, so popular bands and  ensembles are often booked up to a year in advance.  Every band or ensemble should have a music  list and CD available for you to review.   This will be helpful in deciding.   You may want to ask if they are playing somewhere that would be  appropriate for you to see them.

Music  flows  better at an event if the first hour or so  allows for introductions, mingling and talking and is generally  background.  At some point, the band can  pick up the pace for dancing.  It is a  good idea to have a liaison between the bride and groom and the band. This person  can instruct the band when it is time to play the ”first dance” song. Many  times the band leader will act as Master of ceremonies, announce the cake  cutting, throwing of the bouquet, and the garter toss.  The best man often is chosen as the liaison,  since he will be close at hand to coordinate the order of events with the  bride, groom and parents.  This will help  the day to flow smoothly for the bride and groom.

Be sure  to ask about breaks.  One band that we  know of took such a long break in the middle of the event that the guests  started to leave.  One guest said, “it  was never the same after that.”  Most  bands have recorded music to play during the breaks, so make sure there is no  downtime.  Also, check with the band to  see if food should be provided to them.   Food and beverage is often provided to the band during long events, but  it doesn’t necessarily mean a formal dinner.   This definitely should be added to the total for the caterer.
Here  are some questions to ask you band before you decide to hire:

  • Have you performed at weddings?  Do you have references?
  • When do you arrive and how much set-up time do  you need?
  • How many people are in your group?
  • Do you handle requests?
  • When do you take breaks?  Do you provide music during the breaks?
  • Have you played at my venue?
  • Do you bring your own equipment?  If so, what?
  • Can I hear a demo with some of the music you  will be performing at my wedding (or event)?
  • What do you wear?  Do I have choices in your attire?

These are a few ideas on hiring a  band on your own.  There is, however,  another option.  That is to talk with an  experienced talent buyer who knows all of the top talent in town and the  history and reputation of each group. He or she can also provide all of the  demos, photos and information available on each band and can often negotiate a  better price than you could get on your own. That way, you are guaranteed to  have the most outstanding event possible.
By Alexandra Shimizu

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