You’ve decided you want a band to provide live entertainment for your function, that’s a great idea!!! Now, let’s look at what you should do next.
Find a band!
This sounds easy, but it may not be. Before even you start looking, you will need to determine the type of music, whether it is country, rock, jazz, blues or beach, or maybe you want a variety of genres. Once you know the genre/genres, a great resource is Google.
Let’s say you are looking for a band for your wedding reception and you plan to have it in Spartanburg, SC. Go to Google, and put in a search for, “hire a band for spartanburg wedding reception”. That should turn up a number of results. If not, you may need to expand a little further, such as, “book a band for upstate sc wedding reception. You can get more specific for sure, with searches such as, “book a fun band for greenville wedding reception”, or “book a country band for greenville wedding”.
Start looking over these sites. Stay away from the national sites like gigsalad or gig masters that are just booking agencies and referral services which are usually listed at the top of the Google search, and instead go for the bands who have themselves listed with their own domain, or with links to facebook, reverbnation or even myspace.
Make note of interesting looking groups (Hopefully you are in the Upstate, and The Dockside Band looks impressive to you!), bookmark the sites in a new folder.
Now, time to do some research! Don’t take the word of the band who posted, “We’re the greatest band for your Spartanburg wedding” on their website. They could be and probably are a little biased. Move over to facebook and search for the band there. Try to find posts from “fans” who interact with them regularly or go back through the timeline and read what has been said.
Check out their scheduled shows. If a band is not booked once a month, then there may be a reason for that.
Next up, ask your friends and family if they have heard of these groups and what group or band they would hire for their own event, or if they have hired a band in the past, ask how that went (would they do it again?). A referral is always great!
Now, after you have narrowed it down to one or two bands that may meet your desires, it’s time to make contact. Check their webpage or facebook for contact information, and give them a call, shoot them a message or email.
Tell them the type of event you have planned, and ask if they are available that day for an engagement. Once you find out if they are available, then you can start getting the details together.
What does the band need to know?
- Date of event
- How long will they be required to play
- When do they get to setup (load in)
- When can they tear down (load out)
- Will they need special attire (tux, suit)
- What type of music do you want to hear (dance, upbeat, background)
- Will there be any special songs that you want played
- Will they need to bring a PA or does the venue have one
- Will they need to bring lights or are they provided
- Will they need to be present at a rehearsal
- Will any other music be required (tracks played during a break for instance)
The persona representing the band should be able to give you an idea of cost at that point.
How much does it cost? Just like that cake, or your beautiful dress, the sky is the limit. (Expect to pay 100 dollars or more per member, depending on requirements)
Things that may affect the bottom line will include:
Time – If you have a band play a 3 hour engagement, remember it will take them an hour to load in and out, and ideally, 2 hours to load-in and get a sound check. If the venue cannot be accessed immediately before the gig and the band has to setup several hours in advance, then you have multiple members spending many hours that they cannot do anything else. Example: Band is expected to play from 7 to 10 PM, but has to be setup by 3 PM and have a sound check, means they will be there at 1 PM and leave after 11 PM. That’s 10 hours times the number of band members. If there are five members, that’s 50 hours, not including drive time and loading up and unloading at their studio, home or storage facility.
Song selection – If the band has to learn new material, they may charge per song due to the rehearsal time invested to learn the new song/s. Look over their selection and see if it will work for you without paying additional money.
Attire – If you require everyone in the group to wear a certain color, or rent a tux, be prepared for that cost to be passed on to you.
Equipment – If you have a particularly large event, that requires additional sound equipment, such as subwoofers, or lighting, or the use of a audio or lighting engineer, then both the time investment has gone up, and the need for this equipment, which could mean rental fees. Don’t skimp here. If a band tells you that due to the size of the venue, you need more than the basic setup, take their advice and be prepared to pay a little more.
After you have nailed down a price to book the band, assuming it is within your budget, it is time to go one step further. Find out where that band is playing and go hear them! Ideally, it would be at a similar event to what you want to hire them for because any one band may have many facets, like the diamond on your finger. Our band plays out at some venues with 3 and 4 pieces, and at others, we might have additional members than our core group, so you could walk into a TDB show find a totally different configuration than you are expecting, and a totally different selection of music.
After witnessing the prospective group first hand, or at least watching some videos or listening to live recordings, it is now time to seal the deal.
Just a note here – If you have not been referred to this band and found them on the internet and it looks like they could be anything but true professionals, ask them for some references, or look at the places they have played and ask the venue owners if everything went well. A little time spent now could save you from grief on your special day!
Expect the band to present you with a contract which simply states that you agree to pay the band X number of dollars for a performance on a certain date. They may have you put up a retainer, which you lose should you cancel the event. These contracts are to protect both you and the band.
After the papers are signed, stay in touch with the band monthly leading up to the month of the event, and weekly in the month prior to the event. You don’t want ANY surprises. Keep checking their facebook to make sure they have not fallen off the face of the earth.
Communicate with the group leader/s and put them in touch with your wedding director/s and the venue owners. Let them figure out the small details and you worry about the big day!
Should you be in the market for a band that plays a variety of music, can custom tailor set lists to be country, classic or southern rock, or beach, and provide you with a professional show with no disappointments, then please, consider The Dockside Band for your special occasion! Call us at 864.979.1224 or use our CONTACT page for more info.
UPDATE: The Dockside Band is no more… But, for a fun and funky, dance and party band for your Upstate area event, be sure to check out the new HOT AS A PEPPER site!