Hiring a Band?
Whatever 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