Posts in : Band Booking Practicalities Archives -
by Mel Lazarus
Here at MyFab HQ there’s nothing that heralds the end of summer quite like the return of the X Factor to our Saturday night. Tears, yodelling, and the triumphant return of Sharon Osbourne… it’s all in a day’s work on Series 10 of the X Factor.
Love it or loathe it, and whatever your feelings about Gary, Nicole, Sharon and the perennially perky Louis Walsh, the show does bring with it a pertinent message (bear with me, dear reader).
What is The X Factor? Let’s start with a definition from the stars of the TV show past and present. Cheryl Cole reckons it’s about “Magic Stardust”. Louis Walsh has it down as “Stage Presence”. Dannii Minogue quips “If you could define it, Simon Cowell would bottle it and sell it”. (She knows a thing or two, that Dannii).
The X Factor – or The Fab Factor as we like to call it round these parts – is a celebration of that elusive, indefinable, even magical quality that, when all’s said and done, sorts the Boys from the Men.
And in all things wedding, The Fab Factor is the special quality that you’re no doubt looking for in all of your suppliers, from bouquets to bands… and everything in-between.
When it comes to your live music entertainment, I’ll start by telling you what I’m pretty sure The Fab Factor is not. It’s most definitely not a wedding band that dutifully cranks out all your favourite tunes, albeit note perfect, and looks increasingly bored as the night goes on. A band without a spark or a personality is pointless – you’d have been better to hire a DJ and save yourself a chunk of budget.
So… what does a live band with The Fab Factor look like (or sound like, rather)??
To name but a few, it’s about charm… personality… energy… magnetism. It’s about a band pouring life & soul into its performance. It’s about a charismatic front man or woman with a natural empathy for, and connection with, their audience. It’s also about the whole band having a great chemistry together, being fun and entertaining, without a hint of self-indulgence.
Like most things in life, choosing a wedding band is not an exact science – sadly one cannot compare 6 piece bands like-for-like. Bands that possess the Fab Factor are relatively few & far between, but if you tune into the right cues then you could just be on to a winner.
For live bands that would get even Simon Cowell jumping for joy, check out our exclusively managed, award-winning collection of Soul & Motown and Swing & Jazz bands with authentic style & personality. Your search for a fabulous live wedding band stops here.
by Mel Lazarusposted in Band Booking Practicalities, Live Band Inspiration, Live Band Research, News, Top Tips, Wedding Experts
What do Gary Barlow and Sharon Osbourne have to do with MY wedding, I hear you cry?! Well, gentle reader, much more than you’d think!
In the fourth and final part (sob!) of our guest blog series on B.loved weddings - “The Fabulous Bride’s Guide to…Wedding Music”, we uncover….
- Why The X Factor has a heart of gold (yes, really)
- The secret quality you’ll be wanting from ALL your wedding suppliers
- Why choosing a great live band isn’t an exact science
- What the X Factor is NOT
- How to know when you’ve picked a winner
Read on for the full blog post below……
by Brad Lazarus
Watch this video and find out what you should expect to have included in live band fees.
00:17 – Don’t add to your ‘To-Do’ list
00:23 – The types of fees are best
00:37 – The PA sound system
00:54 – Guest numbers and size of venue and how that effects the PA
01:07 – Stage lighting and dance floor lighting
01:56 – Is staging included?
02:13 – The playing time ‘norm’
02:23 – Why the bands flexibility is key
02:46 – Why time parameters are your friend
03:14 – A good meal is very welcome when you’ve been traveling all day!
Hi! Brad Lazarus here with a live band hiring tip for this week, and I’m going to run through some of the things that you should be looking out for as you start to bring in quotes for the various bands you’ve been looking at. So let’s get going.
Don’t Add to Your ‘To Do’ List
When you book a band, you really want to be ticking things off your list of things to do. My suggestion to you would be to look for quotes as inclusive as possible because the last thing that you need to be doing is booking a band, ticking it off your list, and adding another five or six things to do.
PA Sound System
In terms of what you should be looking out for, really the first thing is the PA system. Be clear on the number of guests that you’ve got coming to your event and anything under about 200 guests, most band PAs should be included and anything over that, they need to be thinking about hiring in a larger PA. So just be clear on the numbers and the size of the room that the PA the band is supplying is able to cope with.
Stage Lighting and Dance Floor Lighting
Stage lighting and basic dance floor lighting, I would suggest you want to be included. You don’t want to become an expert in production and lighting and have to go and source that for yourself. So definitely have that included. Now, here’s actually Jimmy Cannon of the Jazz Cannons giving you just an example of a setup that the band use for guest numbers of up to about 200 in a marquee which holds about 150 to 200 guests.
Jimmy Cannon: Hello, I’m Jimmy Cannon and I’m a singer and the band leader for the Jazz Cannons. We are here at Winter Castle actually. We are in the grounds and in the marquee. So we’ve got our desk and our microphones and all our instruments up here on stage. And this is the perfect size actually for the seven piece.
Staging Isn’t Normally Included in Most Band Fees
It’s not really normal for a band to include staging in their fees. So, you know, my suggestion to you would be to have a chat with the venue or your marquee company and see if they can supply something for you.
Two Hours Playing Time is Normal but Check to be Totally Sure
The next thing to consider is how long the band will play for, what is included in that fee. Normally, up to two hours is the norm. Just be sure; some bands only play for two 45-minute sets. Also, just be sure on the flexibility of that playing time. Is it two one-hour sets, three 40-minute sets? Are they able to change on the night relatively easily?
Be Clear on Time Parameters
The biggest tip here is just to be clear on time parameters. You’re likely going to be booking a band quite a few months if not a year upfront of the event date itself. So things change, your schedule will change, you just want to make sure that you’ve got some basic time parameters. Let’s say for sake of argument, you want the band to be set up by 6:30 p.m. or later to play for their allotted time which may be two one-hour sets or three 40-minute sets to finish at midnight. Just be sure and then you’ll go about your business organizing the rest of the event knowing that those time parameters are in place and you can work within them.
A Good Meal is Very Welcome When You’ve Been Traveling All Day!
Be sure that the band require a meal. My suggestion to you would be to treat the band as well as you can and offer them a hot meal. They’ve often been traveling for long periods of time, then they set up, and then they have a little bit of downtime where they can get together as a band, have something nice to eat, and then they’re all fresh and ready for the performance, and I guarantee you’ll get a lot more out of them if you give them that hot meal and a place for them to bathe themselves at the venue.
Now, I hope those tips have been useful for you as you go about gathering those quotes. If you wanted to check out either of those two bands in the video, that’s the Jazz Cannons or the Milestones, just check out the links below and you can link through to the bands’ websites and watch a little bit more of them and if you wanted to make an inquiry, please do so. So all the best and we’ll see you next time. Thanks.
by Brad Lazarus
Find out the do’s and don’ts of booking a band and DJ at the same time
00:06 – Band and DJ: Do You Need To Book Both?
00:21 – Is it common for a band and a DJ to be booked together?
01:30 – When you would seriously consider booking a DJ…
01:34 – Consider the start and finish times for your wedding party
01:41 – And work out the time the DJ would need to fill
02:01 – A DJ is a great option if your wedding is going on into the early hours!
02:24 – What are the alternatives to a DJ?
02:34 – You provide an iPod with preloaded playlist
02:43 – Ask the band to provide music between their sets
03:05 – What you’ll want the band and DJ to do if you’ve booked them both
03:13 – Get them talking to each other!
03:28 – The band should be able to ‘plug in’ to the DJ’s speakers
03:43 – Cut down on the amount of equipment and look less cluttered
Hi! Brad Lazarus here with a wedding entertainment tip. This week, we’re going to cover the question of band and DJ, and do you need to book both? So let’s get straight into it.
Is it common for a band and a DJ to be booked together?
This has come from a conversation that I’ve just come off the phone with a client with. And he asks “Presumably, it’s quite common for a wedding to have a band and a DJ. What do you normally do?” Well, it’s not always common. Now, the best way of explaining this is as an example. Let’s say you’ve booked a band for two hours which is quite normal for after dinner. Your dinner finishes at 8 so you want the band to come on around about 8:00, 8:15, let’s say 8 o’clock, and your wedding finishes at midnight. Well, that leaves you four hours.
In those four hours, the band will play two. That leaves you two hours leftover. Most weddings with the best intention will run over by 20 minutes to half an hour, so you’ve now got an hour and a half. Let’s say that in between the band break, you want to do a cake cutting or a buffet, so that’s a minimum of half an hour, 45 minutes. So now all you’ve got really is between 45 minutes and an hour for a DJ to play. Now, a DJ between £300 and £600, whichever quality of DJ and what he includes, that will be the rough cost, starts to look like quite an expensive DJ.
Let’s look at scenario of an earlier or later wedding finish time
Now, another scenario where you might want to book a DJ is let’s say that your band comes on at round about 7 o’clock or you’re finishing at 1 a.m., 2 a.m. in the morning. Now, you’ve got a lot more time to fill around the band’s performance. Now, that’s when you should really consider having a DJ because a DJ can… you’ll get more value from him, he’ll be able to read the room, respond accordingly with the right records at the right moment.
Now, let’s consider the band coming off at midnight and you want your guests to stick around until 1:00, 1:30 in the morning. You’re more likely to engage with those guests with an actual DJ who’s putting on records and reading the crowd and responding with the right record than you are with just an iPod playlist. So I would say the rule of thumb is just to consider a DJ when you’ve got more than about an hour and a half to two hours’ worth of time to fill around the band’s performance.
What are the alternatives to a DJ?
Now, the next part of the question is if we don’t have a DJ, what are the alternatives? Well, I would say that there’s a couple of alternatives
here and they both involve using the band’s PA. Now first off, you can provide an iPod with a playlist on it which the band should be able to manage and play through their PA for you. The other alternative is that you ask the band to provide an iPod playlist and music in between sets and either way, there should be nothing for you to worry about. Just double check exactly what it is that the band are going to be playing. It’s probably along the lines of a similar type of style to what they perform as a band, I would imagine, but double check that anyway.
What you’ll want the band and DJ to do if you’ve booked them both
Now, the next thing is what happens if you do decide to book a DJ and you’ve also booked a band? Well, you’ll really want the two parties to
be cooperating with each other. Otherwise, you’re going to have a lot of equipment and gear in the room where your wedding party is going to be. So I would just double check that. What’s normal is for the band to be able to plug in to the front of house speaker system effectively of the DJ, because once the band finished, the band would need to kind of peel away if you like, leaving the DJ to carry on. So the DJ provides the bulk of the front of house and the front of house meaning is what your guests will hear through the speaker system.
Well, I hope those tips have been useful for you, and all the best with your research, and see you next time.