Planning on hiring a Band (and DJ) for your event? things to know to ensure a smooth and fun presentation…

As professional mobile DJ’s, we are often asked to work alongside musicians and live bands at many events. We have the utmost respect for these folks, there really isn’t nothing quite like having a live music band to really create an atmosphere which is exciting, interesting and building a dynamic impact. A live band makes people take notice.

We created this article to let our customers know some of the areas & feedback we have experienced in the past with clients who have opted to choose a live band for their event. There are pros and cons with any service (as well as DJs) but this is simply a general list to generally ensure you have everything covered.

If you are planning a live wedding band or a big band then here are some tips….

The pros of hiring a live band:
Coolness – having a live band well we admit is quite cool.

They can play live music really well.
They can bring a lot of energy into the room.
They can do medleys and extended jam sessions of songs.

The cons of hiring a live band:

Cost: you could be looking to pay around £1000 for a 4 piece band.

They will play your favourite songs “their way”, not the way you remember them.
Their songs and styles of music may be limited.
They need to take breaks throughout the reception.
They commonly allow “dead air” between songs as they determine what will be played next.
Many have little experience serving as master of ceremonies, which means that their announcements are not usually of a professional calibre.
They typically do not coordinate the reception events for you.
You’ll be feeding at least three or more additional mouths.
Their prices are usually much higher than what a professional Disc Jockey would charge.

Dance floor space may be limited in the venue that you have chosen.

Noise: A respectable band will use their equipment “friendly”

Space – talk with band to find out how much space might be needed when planning your room layout. Bands have an amazing amount of equipment and require plenty of good setup time

To give you an idea of what you can expect for timings for your reception, here is a timeline or guideline of events that you could expect if you decide to opt to have a live band as well as a DJ for your event.

Bands either have 1 or 2 sets during their segment, here is an example of some sets when working alongside bands and a DJ.

Timetable of events when using a DJ and Live Band together: (2 sets)

  • 6:00pm: DJ setup & ready to go, playing background music during guests arrival.
  • 7:00pm: Guests start be arriving as well as settling in
  • 7:30pm: DJ/Band announce & PLAY their first set
  • 8:15pm: Break time, DJ takes over
  • 8:45pm: DJ/Band announce & PLAY their second set
  • 9:45pm: Expectant time to finish but band will probably allow 15mins more
  • 10:00pm: Band completely finished by then , DJ takes over, plays music relevant to this time in the evening,
  • 10:45pm: Band are slowly packing up
  • 12:00pm: DJ close down.

So the things to be aware about is:

# Timings for the band, how long they will play per set

# Equipment, find out from the DJ and Band how much equipment and space is required by them both so you can ensure that there is plenty of space

# The venue will require the PLI (Public liability insurance) from the band and DJ so insist on requesting that in your meetings with these providers so you can hand this over to your venue. Public liability insurance (PLI) is a legal requirement for Bands & DJs. It is important to understand that public liability insurance isn’t just an issue of legal compliance for your DJ. Failure to book a Band/DJ with PLI could have direct and unpleasant consequences for yourself.

Many venues require DJs to carry certification of their public liability insurance with them. If they do not have the required insurance cover they could be refused access to the premises, with the inevitable consequences for your event. Different venues have different requirements for PLI cover. Usually the minimum requirement is £2 million, but a number of larger venues are now requesting £5 million. Always check that the level of PLI cover your Band and DJ has is sufficient for the requirements of the venue.

# Discuss how the DJ and Band will work together to ensure a smooth presentation throughout the evening. For example who is handling announcements, how long are the breaks and what are the band/DJ expectations.

# Get the band and the DJ talking together, the last thing you want is the DJ playing the same tunes that the band has already played. The DJ should really have a playlist set from the band so they know what shouldn’t be played.

# Take a look at our cool touchscreen IPod IDJ package if you wish not to hire a DJ onsite and hacve full control of your music. It’s the perfect solution if you were to have a band but not have a DJ

# Breaks – DJ & band may require feeding, so determine what, a light buffet is enough

The above is a rough idea of the timings that you could use for your event. Of course SPACEBAR would work closely with your band and venue to ensure smooth transitions between timings and the bands music.

Questions to ask a potentional band when you meet up for the first time.

  • Are you an independent group or represented by an agency?
  • What will you be wearing?, can it be in line with my theme, requirements? do you have pictures of the band in their attire?
  • What are the set lengths (Bands should play 45 minutes on the hour with a  15-minute break). How many breaks will you take? How long?
  • What happens in case of equipment/power failure, do you carry backup gear?
  • To date how many events have you worked? (+100 or more is safe), are you set up at any residencies to perfrom regular gigs?
  • Do you have the appropriate music and variety for our function. Can I see a song list, can guests make requests?
  • How much space do you need, do you have any pictures on your presentation, will you bring along any lights?
  • How long do you generally get set up prior to the guests arriving? how much space do you need?
  • Are you licensed and insured? (all venues will require PLI (public liability insurances)
  • Can you provide me with references? (Be sure to follow up with them)
  • Do you ever play more than one engagement in a day?
  • How much deposit do you need? What are your cancellation and refund  policies? (Get this in writing!)
  • Will someone be able to act as an emcee?
  • Is performing a hobby or a full-time  job?
When calling around for references or recommendations, here are some questions  to ask.
  • Did the band show up on time?
  • Were they professional?
  • Did they return phone calls and communicate with you well?
  • Did they know what you wanted?
  • Did they play a good set?
  • Did they break down the equipment on time?
  • How did they interact with guests? Any problems?

Contact in any areas you may need assistance.

Good Luck! and have a great time


~ by spacebar on November 1, 2009.

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