5 Easy Steps To Book A Band
What's your plan? Having a party, wedding reception, marketing event?
DJ's can be amazing. I was one in a former life, so I can attest to the skills of a professional mixer to get the party going.
Some people prefer a live band, and that's okay too. If the latter is your goal, it's generally not a huge deal. If you have your plan set in stone, getting the band on your stage will be less problematic and more enjoyable for all.
1. Know what you want.
Though not always the case, a wedding reception generally demands a "party band," a group that can play a wide range of genres - from oldies to R&B to rock favorites. Wineries and breweries may have specific genres in mind. Ditto corporate events.
After you've determined your target audience (demographics, ethnicities, etc) you'll be ready to get started. There are many sites who showcase bands where you can do some shopping: gigtown, gigmasters and GigSalad are examples.
Googling bands you've been referred to or recommended by a friend will give you results which take you to their website. If the band is professional they'll have a contact form for you to reach out for an estimate - and they'll respond rapidly.
2. Have details ready.
Bands are going to have a list of questions for you: is there a stage, where the power outlets are, the type of event, the gig address...things like that. Having as many answers to these questions up front will speed up your negotiations. It's a good idea to put yourself in the band's shoes while getting those answers. Where can the band park? What door do they use to load in and out? What time should they start and end? Try and gather as many details as possible. It'll shorten the time from inquiry to booking.
3. Sign a contract.
If it's a friend's backyard party, that's a casual event and agreement. Anything else needs a contract. The band will more than likely provide one for you. It will confirm the day and date, location and other pertinent information. There may be something called a "rider" attached - that's simply a list of things the band is requesting. Typical requests are a bar tab or food. Most band requests will be modest. You'll negotiate this with them. Don't feel obligated to say yes to every request. The goal is for everyone to have a good time. Be reasonable (nice) with your negotiations and it'll pay off the day/night of the event.
4. Let them have a guest list.
From buddies or wives to roadies for a bigger gig, there are normally a few folks who will come along with the band. They should get in for free. It's reasonable to have a guest list of 10 for a band of five members, for example.
5. Do what you said you'd do. This goes both ways.
Bands earn reputations by being good people or unreliable ones. It's on them to show up, do their job, and be a pro. Same for you. Be ready for their arrival. Have a couple of people available to help out for the first few minutes. Have someone designated to be a problem solver to help with the inevitable snags and unforeseen challenges that pop up.
These five basic guidelines will go a long way to ensuring your event is a success.
What's your plan?