Guide to Choosing Bands for Hire

Published by Mike Costello on April 5, 2016

Date: 12.06.2014

Guide to Choosing Bands for Hire

There are as many different types of bands for hire as types of music in the world, wouldn’t it be nice to have a handy guide to choosing Bands for hire?

Guide to Choosing Bands for Hire

When you set out to find a band the first consideration should be the type of music you require and using this guide to choosing bands for hire I aim to help you. In addition to your personal music preferences you will need to give some thought to the people that will be attending your party or event, particularly if it is a wedding or other event with mixed age groups. Since there will be a broad age range of people attending a wedding, a band that reflects that in their repertoire would be the most suitable.

For other types of events the choice of bands for hire may be a little easier if the people attending the event are from a broadly similar age group or if it has been agreed that the event should follow a particular theme eg: 60’s, 70’s 80’s, 90’s or 00’s themes.

For some events the choice of bands for hire can be more straightforward, for example a Summer Garden party may immediately suggest either a jazz band or a Caribbean steel band, a St. Patrick’s Night an Irish Band, or a Burns Supper a Scottish Ceilidh Band.

Whatever the event it’s crucially important that you do your homework and possibly use this guide to choosing bands for hire and try to find out what music your guests enjoy most and do your best to find a band that covers the majority of music tastes. For this reason bands hired for weddings, tend to be those that can play songs from several decades, unless the guests are from the same age group and know each other well enough that a more specialized band may be hired for example a Rock band or Soul band if that’s what floats everybody’s boat.

Arrangements for Bands Performances

Magic Steel Band

So this guide to choosing bands for hire has helped a little and you have chosen a band and agreed their fee, what next? Well you can make all the arrangements yourself or you can ask an entertainment agent to make the arrangements for you. You may have chosen your band with the help of an agent in which case you can relax and let him/her make all the necessary arrangements with both the band and the venue.

If you haven’t tackled this sort of thing before it can be a little overwhelming, with band leaders and venues that have certain requirements and sometimes they use technical sounding language.

An entertainment agent can explain everything to you straight forwardly, issue a contract to you and the band for your protection and deal with any technical requirements they and the venue may have.

Bands and Venues – Requirements & Sound Limiters


Bands requirements vary. Practical requirements are typically performance area available at the venue, changing facilities, parking spaces, electrical power matters and power socket availability. Nowadays Venues will require the band to provide a Public Liability Insurance Certificate and PAT Test Results covering equipment electrical safety. If this is beginning to sound a bit more than you want to take on you may either continue reading this guide to choosing bands for hire or give us a call.

A thorny issue may be a sound limiting device installed at venues that are located in residential areas. These are imposed by local authorities when complaints are made by local residents about noise from a venue particularly at night. The local authority will insist that a venue installs a sound limiter to control the level of sound made by bands and other entertainers. The local authority will also set the decibel level that the venue must use for setting the sound limiter to stop noise disturbing local residents.

They pose a particular problem for bands and disco’s because they are usually set to temporarily cut-off electrical power supply at very low noise levels that are often impractical for bands and discos and can damage equipment. Ambient noise from guests such as applause, talking, dancing and singing is all detected by noise limiters and reduces even further the noise that bands and discos are allowed to make. If the sound limiter is tripped mid performance and the music stops dead, it’s annoying for all concerned and disrupts the party.

Band members like to have monitor speakers turned-up so that they can hear their performances clearly, which increases the noise level. The drummer and bass player are the main band members that activate sound limiters, so how can they play quieter? A practical solution for the drummer to play quieter is to use electronic drums which can be turned down via the mixing desk. This facilitates other members turning monitors down and amplification to instruments can also be turned down. The D.J. can turn down his music easily, which may mean that the limiter isn’t activated and everyone can enjoy the party.

If the sound limiter still gets activated and cuts off power to equipment even with these measures in place, other solutions may need to be tested such as lower power speakers or reducing the number of players or singers in the band.

Can I Choose the Music the Band Plays?


When you have chosen the right band for your party or event, can you choose the music they play? Normally a band will allow you to select approx. 6 songs from their repertoire to include during their performance, which includes the first dance at a wedding for example. They will provide their Song List to choose from and providing you give them at least a month notice, will usually learn and rehearse a new song if it isn’t in their repertoire already.

It wouldn’t normally be possible for you to specify all the songs a band will play because they will need to arrange the best playing order for songs and include particular audience favourites to maximise enjoyment of their performance.

Arranging Times for Bands Arrival & Performance

You will need to arrange for the band to arrive and play subject to any meal arrangements and guest arrival times and you can do this yourself or leave it to an agent. If the same room is used for your meal and the band’s performance, a suitable time slot will need to be agreed for the band to arrive and set-up their equipment. If a separate room is hired for entertainment this offers more flexibility for the band to arrive and set-up, without interrupting meal arrangements or guest arrivals.

Separate Disco Hire or Does the Band Provide a Disco?

Sometimes a band will provide a separate DJ with full Disco equipment, lighting and a full range of music to work alongside them. Often when a band advertises a Disco service they may simply provide an i pod or laptop and leave it playing in between their performances. You should ask your band or agent precisely which option your band is providing. A separate DJ will be able to play your preferred music, take requests from your guests and motivate your guests to dance. For some parties an I pod or laptop left playing between band performances may be more appropriate.

I hope this guide to choosing bands for hire has been useful.

For Free Advice and Guidance Contact Us or phone 0161 703 8737

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