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What to look for in hiring live entertainment

Updated: Mar 27

As you have probably gathered by now, at Warble we love bands! Not just rock and pop bands, but every kind you can imagine! Jive, Jazz, Soul… everything! So, we thought we’d provide a quick heads up on why we think you simply have to hire a band for your wedding or event.


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Match the entertainment to the event

Before you even begin your search, you need to think about what you want from your entertainment, and about what will work best for your venue and your attendees.

Different types of entertainment lend themselves to different events. A surprise burlesque act might not go down too well at a street food festival, for example, but could be a highlight at a big product launch.


Consider who will be attending your event – their ages, tastes, and expectations – and make sure you’re not alienating anyone with your choice of activities. Even if you’ve got the most exquisite taste in music, the blank stares of mystified guests aren’t worth an evening of headbanging on your own to a heavy metal band.


A solid choice for most evening events is a live band. Professional event bands are experienced in catering to diverse crowds, and no matter their genre specialization, the best bands will always be able to adjust their set to cater to any audience.


Don’t fear the function band

If the phrase “event band” conjures up images of function bands in sequined suits, you’ll be pleased to learn that things have come a long way since the days of the Wedding Singer. The burgeoning event band industry is drawing in the best young musicians with the guarantee of plentiful gigs for the most talented performers.


This increase in competition has driven up standards and forces bands to offer something unique. This means you can find a great band in almost any genre you could wish for (always keeping in mind your attendees!).


Entertainment agency websites are a great place to start your search. They give you a range of acts to peruse, all itemized by genre, price, line up, location, and availability, making it quick and easy to draw up a shortlist.


Entertainment hire essentials

A huge part of our job is to keep stress levels down by assisting in the smooth running of the planning stages of an event. The key to this is communication. Whoever you choose to work with to hire entertainment, you’ll want them to be readily available and responsive so they can give expert recommendations, help you negotiate tricky planning pickles, and assuage any fears.

You’ll want to work with performers you know you can trust to arrive on time, act professionally (even the hard rock band you’ve booked should be pleasant to deal with when not on stage), and ideally who’ll go beyond simply turning up and strumming a few chords. You’ll also need to know your booking is safe and secure.


So how can you be sure of all this?

Fortunately, we live in the age of online review. Entertainment agency websites feature reviews of their acts, but to be certain, you should do some independent research on the agency you’re booking through. Facebook, Google, and Trustpilot are great sources of independent reviews and will give you an idea of whether you can rely on your chosen activity.


At the very minimum, you should be offered a secure contract that ties your act to perform at your event, and your actions should have full Public Liability Insurance and fully PAT tested equipment. A good agency will offer these as a matter of course.


Money-Saving Tips

If you’re planning an event on a budget, then you’ll be keen to learn how to reduce your entertainment allocation without compromising on quality.

Our advice is to book early, book local, and book small.

  • Book early – As well as giving you the pick of the best acts, booking early guarantees you this year’s rates, even if your event is a year or two away. Professional bands and entertainers are in the same position as any other business; they need to gradually raise their fees in line with inflation and increased demand as their reputation grows.

  • Book local – Booking local keeps travel expenses down. A big van, fully laden with heavy instruments, speakers, and lighting, plus assorted musicians churns through a fair amount of diesel. By reducing the amount of time your act spends on the road, you’ll cut down on the fee you pay, with the side-benefit of limiting nasty emissions.

  • Book small – If Ed Sheeran can enrapture a stadium audience with just a guitar and a loop pedal, does your event need a 10-piece band to keep your audience entertained? The fewer performers you hire, the lower the amount you’ll pay. You could even ask whether a band that’s taken your fancy would be willing to reduce their line-up to meet your budget.


Reasons Why You Should Hire A Band For Your Event

A live band is stunning visually! Everyone is interested in the look of a drum kit or guitar, and, you will find that your guests will be waiting with anticipation for the first chord to be played after they have seen a band set-up. Wait and see… your guest's eyes will almost hypnotically be drawn to the stage or performance area before the band even starts….


A live band adds atmosphere to a wedding. Not only will a live band be interactive with your guests and coordinate dance-offs and sing-alongs but with the right tunes, they will also keep your dance floor heaving all night long as well!


A live band will often provide a great DJ option too. If you are trying to decide between a live band and a DJ it’s always worth checking to see if any of the bands you like will also provide a DJ option. These days most bands will offer this service via an iPod or a laptop using DJ software for free, or, for a minimal additional cost.


A live band provides a professional feel to any event. There’s something about a great live band and the extra excitement they bring that will elevate your event from special to AMAZING!


A live band will bring energy to songs. Whilst a DJ will ‘play’ a song, a band will live it through the emotion they can bring to it. And, similar to being at a concert a live band will bring a human connection and add energy that can’t be replicated by a recorded song.


TIPS FOR HIRING A PROFESSIONAL LIVE BAND FOR YOUR MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

Hire Professionals

Amateur bands will have less experience behind them, which could make them difficult to work with or lead to a bumpy performance. Resist the temptation to hire a cheaper band if it means risking quality.


Sample

Always listen to samples of a band’s music. They should have recordings on their website or social media of past performances you can judge from. This way you will know exactly what you are getting and whether it works for the type of event you are hosting.


Volume Control

Any band can play loud, it takes a true professional to know how to rock out while keeping the volume down if they need to. Smaller bands are especially good at this if this is a concern at your venue.


Special Requests

If your event has a theme or falls on a holiday like Halloween or New Year’s Eve, make sure your band knows how to incorporate it into their tracklist. They should also give you the opportunity to mention any songs that absolutely need to be played.


Sound System

The type the band uses will greatly affect the quality of sound you hear at your event. Ensure they have high-quality equipment that will make great-sounding music at any volume. Also, make sure their equipment fits in the area you designate for them in your venue.


Cost

The number of people in the band, their level of experience, and how professional they are will affect the cost of hiring them. It is always best to compare several bands before making your final decision. It will also give you an idea of reasonable rates. Cheap bands will likely play cheaply because they probably lack experience and professionalism. Most talented musicians spent several years crafting their skills and consider everything that is involved in performing, and will charge accordingly. Many also have advanced degrees in performance.


Communication

It should be easy to communicate with your find and keep in touch with them throughout the planning process.


References

Consider past clients’ comments or ask for references to help make your decision about hiring a band and whether they would be right for your event. A second opinion is always helpful and could open your eyes to things you never considered.


Dress Code

A professional band should be able to dress depending on the type of event, whether that be formal, casual, or even a costume party. It is important that their look fits the theme or vibe of the party as they are a major part of the entertainment and will be a focal point.


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