booking tribute bands, Adele tribute artists

Booking Tribute Bands for a Local Event or Private Party

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When it comes to booking tribute bands for a local event or private party, most people trying to book them have a lot of misconceptions.

The process of booking a tribute band for a one-time event such as your husband’s birthday or retirement party may end up being very different than your starting expectations. That’s because people without booking experience underestimate what it takes when it comes to booking a tribute band for their private party or local event.

Tribute to Beatles You may want to book an Eagles tribute or a Beatles tribute band because your husband or wife is a big fan and it would make his or her party unforgettable. No problem with that intent. Sounds like a great party idea to me.

Here’s the rub. Most of the time, the husband or wife seeking out the tribute band have an unrealistic budget for the tribute act they want to hire. It’s not unusual as a booking agency to get a call or email about booking a tribute band for a private party or some other local event. The budget is $500 or $1,000. Every once in a while, people do actually have a budget of $2,000 or more. Very seldom, and I mean very seldom, do they have enough in their original budget to book the tribute act they want for the party.

As a booking agency, we can help them figure out how to make the most out of their budget.  We often explain why they need to raise their budget to get the tribute band they want. As a booking agency, here’s what we can do for you to help you have a great local event.

Options in Booking Tribute Bands for Private Parties

  1. Local Cover Band: If your budget won’t meet the requirements for a particular tribute band, we can offer them a local cover band that has a lot of the songs they want to hear in their song list. Cover bands may not exactly sound like the original artist in the same way a tribute band might, but they perform the songs in a quality way that your guests will enjoy. Depending on the length you want them to perform, they will need to mix in songs from other artists that your guests will recognize and like as well.
  2.  Alternative Tribute Artists: We can suggest alternative tributes that may be less costly than the original one you want. Those can be tributes to artists who were popular around the same time as the original artist in mind. Finding a tribute to a solo artist or duo, for instance, will be cheaper than finding a tribute act for the Eagles or Beatles. Why not Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Paul Anka tributes instead? Depending on their band needs, they can be significantly cheaper than a tribute to a group.
  3. Acoustic Performance: Instead of paying for the whole tribute band, we may be able to find the tribute artist you want but doing his own accompaniment or with only one or two band members. Obviously, you can’t do this with a Beatles tribute act, but you can with many other tribute acts where the original artist is a solo artist backed by a great band. Leave the band home and listen to an acoustic version of the songs. It’s going to sound like the original artist, but the song will be different without the band. Actually, an acoustic version of a tribute artist turns out to be a more intimate affair. Depending on the mood you want for your party, an acoustic set may or may not be what you want.
  4. Booking Agency Know How: Sometimes an entertainment booking agency like TSE can get an artist who usually doesn’t perform for your budget to accept it anyway. How, you ask?  A number or reasons may come into play.
    1. Your party may be on a day of the week when a tribute band doesn’t get many bookings. If it’s close to them, they may decide to do it. After all, it’s extra money for that week, even if it’s not their normal performance fee.
    2. They may do the performance as a favor to the booking agency that keeps them busy. There’s a lot of goodwill built up over time with a booking agency that works hard for a performer. Because of that goodwill, the tribute band might take the booking, as a favor to the booking agency.
    3. The booking agency may get them other gigs before or after your party in the same geographic area. With these “pickup” gigs your party is now part of a larger routing event for the tribute artist. Instead of just your party, the tribute band you want now has 2 or 3 events in your area, all around the same time. The tribute group is now looking at the overall picture, instead of just your one event. They are looking at their expenses across the two or three events, instead of yours.

Often, in the end it’s a combination of several factors that lead to a successful tribute booking for your private event. You probably will need to be more flexible with your budget. You may need to be more flexible about which tribute artist you want for your event. You may also need to be flexible with the kind of show; full band or acoustic.

Another way you may want to be more flexible is on the date or day of the week. Sometimes you can’t be, but other times you might have control of the date or the day of the week for a private party. From a booking perspective, Fridays and Saturdays are the hardest to book at less than full performance price. Tribute acts, like other entertainers, make most of their money on Friday and Saturday nights. Those are the most difficult nights to book private events, let alone for less than their normal performance fee.

The greater flexibility you have on the date and day of the week will help you book the tribute artist you want for your occasion. That flexibility will result in getting the band for less as well. However, don’t expect to book a tribute band for peanuts. Ask the booking agency for a reasonable budget for your offer. Let them suggest options for your event if you don’t have much room in your budget.

Whether you get the tribute band you wanted in the first place or a cover band that does their songs, TSE Entertainment can help you get the entertainers you need for a great and successful local private party.


About the author

Robert Brecht

Robert Brecht

Doctor Bob brings a diverse background in production, marketing, and business management to his position as Managing Partner of TSE Entertainment. His responsibilities include overseeing TSE’s services other than talent booking. He also manages the marketing and business operations side of TSE.
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