At Around Town Entertainment we get asked a lot of questions about booking bands and what you should be looking for or thinking about with regards to finding the most suitable one for your event. And, how do you know that they are going to be any good? After all, many functional bands do not perform in public events so it can be hard to see live. So, to point everyone in the right direction we have come up with the following things to check and be aware of before you hire a band for your event.
Weddings are private events and seeing a band before you book them for your big day is difficult in ‘normal’ circumstances. Now more than ever, couples are having to get used to booking their musicians online without being able to see them play before.
Here are our best tips for booking a band without seeing them live!
Do you like the band?
It may sound obvious but 99.99% of the time your choice of band will be based on whether you like them or not. Yep, very obvious. But, what is it you like? Do you like the photos? The audio? Does the band have a great video that shows them in action? Or, is it a mixture of everything? Either way, these constituent parts add up to the same thing… the band’s marketing. How a band markets themselves says a lot about them (apart from the fact that they look and sound good). If they have taken the time to have professional photos taken, recorded audio in a good quality studio, and, daft as it may sound even bothered to spell check their write-up, then the band has invested in their product… themselves! And, if they are prepared to do this to a high level then it means they are serious about what they do and want to portray the right image. It is a common belief that if somebody has invested in themselves then they are more than likely to be invested in by others.
It is one of the first things that artists sign up at Around Town Entertainment will look for when vetting bands – how serious are they about what they do and have they taken the time to sound good, look good, and pay attention to the finer details. After all, these are the people that will be representing Around Town Entertainment at weddings and corporate events so we have to consider these things carefully.
How a band markets themselves says a lot about them. If they have taken the time to have a professional showreel put together along with high-quality audio, then the band has invested in their product… themselves!
We know that when couples are looking for bands, they will often gravitate towards watching a video before anything else. When watching a band’s promotional video, look out for how the band interacts with each other, how energetic they are, and the general look they are portraying.
Does this match what you had in mind for your wedding band?
And, if they are prepared to do this to a high level then it means they are serious about what they do and want to portray the right image. It is fair to assume that if somebody has invested in themselves then they are more than likely to be invested in by others!
The next thing to look out for is what previous customers say about a band.
Chances are if they have lots and lots of great feedback then it means they have lots of experience! Some of our bands are so experienced and have even clocked up hundreds of 5-star reviews with happy couples up and down the USA. Our top tip here is to of course look for bands with a high number of 5-star reviews, but do your research and also look deeper.
What do the reviews say and can you draw any conclusions about how the band will act on your big day from previous customers?
You might find out that a band is particularly friendly, punctual, fun, or any number of things from reviews alone!
So, what happens if you love a band… but they don’t have hundreds of reviews?
Booking a band online isn’t as difficult as you think. You just need the right signals to know that the band is good enough before you have them on your big day.
One really important signal is if they are approved by the ‘industry’. By this, we mean websites and businesses such as ourselves, Around Town Entertainment.
To understand the quality of a band, we must stress that not every musician has a place on our roster. 96% of artists who request a place on our roster are turned away by a diligent artist sign-up team! This means that the 1% who are accepted are a fantastic addition to any event and have our full confidence and backing.
Another very important thing when you are looking to hire a band online for an event is to check the songs that they perform.
Although a band may be dubbed a ‘cover band’ or a ‘wedding band’ there are still varying types.
For example, some bands concentrate on mainly modern and more contemporary material, whereas others perform a mix from the 1950s/60s right through to the present day.
This isn’t to say that one band is better than the other, it just means one may be more suited to a specific event!
If you aren’t able to experience these songs in a live setting, look at what the band has in its repertoire to help you decide if they are the right kind of style for you.
Speak To An Expert
As much as bands will try to answer every possible question or address any potential concerns with their video, promotional material, setlists, and FAQs, we understand that couples sometimes have a few more questions before pulling the trigger on their chosen wedding band.
At Around Town Entertainment, our experienced entertainment experts are on hand to answer any questions about your musicians! We speak to and deal with our top acts daily and will be able to answer any pressing questions you have about your musicians.
Maybe you’d like to know what else is included in the price, how the whole thing works or just want a professional opinion.
It is always worth having as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision on your wedding band!
Are the logistics covered and are there any extra ‘freebies’?
And, that brings us to the final point… logistics, practicalities, and sweeteners. A professional band will have experience performing everywhere from stately homes to hotels so they should have everything in place to make sure that playing at your event is easy and stress-free. This means that they should be fully self-contained as far as equipment goes (PA, Lighting where relevant, Backline Equipment such as Guitars, Drums, Microphones, etc.) and they should have all the relevant paperwork and documents in place to ensure they are legally allowed to perform at your venue. The 2 main things they should have are PAT certificates, which will cover their electrical equipment and ensure that safety checks have been made, and, Public Liability Insurance to cover the band from an insurance point of view. Occasionally, a band will also be asked to provide a Risk Assessment, which assists with additional health and safety concerns for a venue.
It is also worth seeing what extras the band may be able to offer or have included in their package to make the deal more enticing. Because it is a competitive industry, and lots of bands are more than aware of this, many have augmented their product by adding options such as free jazz cocktail music, the use of extra microphones for speeches, etc. So, if any of these are going to be of genuine added value to you and would help you make a decision when choosing, be sure to ask what a band can offer.
We hope these pointers have been of some use and will help you find the perfect band for your event. But, if you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact one of our Entertainment Coordinators here who will be only too happy to help.