booking a band,

So, You Want to Book a Band for Your Big Event?

Share this post:

If you want the best kind of entertainment for most occasions, book a band. Bands create the right mood, audience engagement and excitement for any event. Who doesn’t respond to live music entertainment? Whether it’s a corporate event, a birthday party, a fundraising occasion, or some other circumstance, booking a band for it will create the excitement you want and make it a memorable day.

A Few Things to Consider if You Want to Book a Band

  • Performance Fee: How much you pay to book a band will depend on several things. The most obvious one is the popularity of the band. The more popular or renown, the greater the fee. There are a couple of other things which will impact the fee as well. The larger the size of the band you need, the larger the likelihood that you will pay more. Many bands offer different size configurations to match the budgets of those trying to hire them.

You can also often get a better deal if the event is not taking place on a Friday or Saturday night. Many times you can get better pricing if a band that needs to travel to your event is already playing in the night before or after in the same area.

  • Other Costs: Depending on the band, the nature of the event and venue, there may be more to your costs than just the band’s performance fee. You want to make sure you understand any additional costs you might incur as part of booking a band and staying within your budget. These typically fall into three categories:
    • Travel expenses: How far will the band travel to play at your event? If the distance is more than a few hours, you could end up with needing to foot some travel expenses.
    • Hospitality Expenses: Most bands will require amenities before and after their performance. These typically involve local transportation, meals and refreshments. If they have traveled a distance, they will also require housing for the night as well. The bigger the band, the more things they will request as part of their “Hospitality Rider” The Hospitality Rider is part of the contract that specifies exactly what they want. Be aware that all of it is negotiable and should be negotiated. Think of it as a wish list.
    • Local Production Needs: In addition to the Hospitality Rider, bands will also supply a “Technical Rider” as well. This contract addendum spells out what they need in terms of the technical aspects for their show. It typically provides requirements for stage set up, sound, lighting, audio inputs and other requirements to perform. Depending on the type of performance, the band may be self-contained when it comes to its technical needs. That’s typically true for bands that play private parties, wedding receptions, etc.
  • Match the Band you book to the Occasion: There are all kinds of circumstances when a band really helps make the mood and fosters engagement of the people attending it. However, the right music for the time is very important. If your event has a theme, then book a band that enhances that theme. A string quartet would not be the best choice for a Mardi Gras themed event. You get the picture.

In addition to matching the theme, the music should also be suitable for the setting. Music for a sit-down dinner should be much different than dance music as an example. Often when booking a band for a wedding, there may be four different environments. They may include playing during the wedding itself, followed by playing at the reception. The reception may need the band to play for the cocktail hour, sit-down dinner and finally providing music for dancing that everyone can enjoy. Experienced wedding bands will provide the right music for all. They will bring in additional band members for the dancing part, supplementing the core group that provided the music for the earlier settings.

  • Kind of Band: Depending on the specific occasion, you have options when it comes to the category of band you will book for your event. The choices involve both genre and type of band. Let’s consider type. Typically, bands come in three types:
    • Cover Band: Cover bands play the music of other bands. They are known as party or function bands because they play the music that the people attending the occasion know and love. Whether it’s dance music or easy listening, the music resonates with the audience. A good cover band will know music from many artists and their song list will include music from the 60’s on up to modern times. As you might expect, the longer the band has been together the larger the number of familiar songs they can play.
    • tribute band nThe Prince ProjectTribute Band: A tribute band is a specialized cover band. They play the music of one or more particular bands. They sound exactly like the artists they play. Good tributes, look, dress and act like the artists as well. An example of a tribute band would be a band like an Eagles tribute, or Beatles tribute. Some specialize in tributes to 70’s Rock or British invasion bands where they play tributes to several different bands. Tribute bands can give an occasion a special feel for those attending it. Keep tribute bands in mind when you book a band. Booking a tribute band can really make your event memorable.
    • Original Music: The third type of band is a band that plays original recorded music. While they may play some cover songs, their performance consists of them playing a lot of the music they’ve recorded. There are many occasions when you attendees would be mesmerized by hearing original artists perform. However, if you event is a holiday party with people of different ages attending, you probably would do better with a cover or tribute band, so people recognize the music they are hearing.
  • Music Genre: The type of music for your event depends on both the occasion and the demographics of those who will listen to it. When we speak of genres, we are talking about the different categories of music. There are many genres of music such as pop, country, rock. Classic rock, heavy metal, rap, R&B, Reggae, Latin and many others. I don’t think you would want a heavy metal band playing at your business cocktail hour. However, you might want a country cover band that knows all the biggest country hit of current and past decades to play at your party in Texas .

Should You Use Booking Agents for Bands to Book a Band?

The short answer is yes, unless you already know the band you want, and that band is local. Booking agents for bands do charge a fee. That fee is part of the performance fee for the band. What you get for that fee is peace of mind and often savings on what you would have spent for the band and riders. Booking agents for bands book bands for a living. This gives them both knowledge and buying power that you don’t have.

For instance, they know which bands have the best musicians who show up on time and act professionally. Trust me, there are plenty that don’t. They also know how to negotiate with bands on not only performance fees, but their hospitality and technical riders as well. A good booking agency will save you their costs if not more as well as make sure all the details needed for the performance at your event are covered. That’s peace of mind for all involved.

While I’m prejudiced, using booking agencies like TSE Entertainment to book a band is the way to go for any occasion requiring great entertainment.

Related Posts:

Wedding Entertainment: Booking Live Bands

Do You Need a Music Booking Agency?

About the author

Picture of Robert M. Brecht, PhD.

Robert M. Brecht, PhD.

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.
Share this post: