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How much does it cost to hire a band for a party?

how much does band cost

Our most frequently asked question is how much does your band cost? – obvious of course but if you’ve never hired a band before for you wedding or party then this this blog will help you make the right decision at a price that suits you. How much does it cost to hire a band for a party.

The Pop of Ages band have been performing professionally at weddings, parties and corporate events all over the UK since 2000 and offer band line ups from a compact trio to a full 6 piece band with brass section and all options in between. This flexibility allows us to provide great live entertainment at a cost that fits nicely into most budgets.

Number of band members

This is an obvious one and can be one of the major pricing factors. If there are less people to pay, that will of course be passed on to you. 4-piece function bands are the most popular, expect to pay between £800-1200 for a professional band with a varied repertoire. Not only will they present and conduct themselves in a professional manner they will know how to fill your dancefloor and entertain your guests. Duos and trios are also popular, most will use some kind of backing to ‘fatten’ things up on stage typically drums and perhaps keyboards or bass guitar. This option will not only be cheaper at around £400-750 but will take up less space at your chosen venue and still provide a full live sound. If you’re looking for a larger band, you may consider a function band with a brass section, this quite often means a 6+ piece band and can increase the price so it’s really down to budget. As a good rule of thumb expect to pay between £200-250 per musician, this is cheaper per head than most DJs charge plus you are making your party that extra bit special by having live music (rather than some guy playing MP3s from a laptop with a few flashing lights!)

Seasonal prices / Last minute bookings

Friday’s and Saturdays in the summer are the busiest time for every wedding and party band and so there isn’t usually room for a discount. If you’re getting married in February and March or perhaps October and November some bands may quote slightly lower than they would in the summer months. Similarly, if you’re organising a last minute wedding and need a band in say, 4 weeks time, then you can expect bands without a booking to go in lower. Weekday or Sundays bookings can also save you money.

Travel Expense / Time Travelling

We are used to traveling and realise it’s not always easy to find a band in the same town, although diesel prices have fallen recently the cost of fuel is unfortunately passed on to the client. Most band will charge around 50p a mile outside of their local area.

Another thing to consider is that a couple of hours traveling there and back again can mean 4 extra hours work for 4 to 5 people. As with all professions musicians will take this into consideration before quoting therefore if possible try to find a band based in your local area as this will save you money.

Arrival Time / Finish time

With travel time taken into account, a band can often expect to work 12 hour days. This is based on a 5:30pm-6pm arrival time and so any earlier will often mean an increase in price. Quotes are almost always based on a midnight finish and so you can also expect to pay more for the band to stay until 1am. Remember you are not just paying for two hours of music.

Length of Set / Performance time

Bands generally perform 2 sets of around an hour. That’s just an average, some only do 2 x 45 minutes and some might do 3 x 45minutes. Some bands start their prices slightly lower for 2 x 45 minutes and then add on a supplement for longer sets. All good bands will also provide as part of the package a quality sound system (PA) lighting for the band and dancefloor plus recorded music in between the live sets. Pop of Ages can also supply professional ‘Black-Tie’ DJs to compliment the live music and play any requests.

Top tips

If you want your party to be a success only hire professionals, people who’s livelihood depends on providing a great service (don’t risk hiring that pub band you saw for a few hundred quid or a mate of a mate who plays a bit of guitar and drums – it will only end in tears!)

Try and keep local – this will save on expenses.

Communicate with the band leader – tell him or her what you expect and be clear about what you want.

Trust the band too – experienced bands really know what they are doing and are only interested in entertaining you and your guests – most bands get repeat gigs by recommendation so its in their interest to do a great job.

Look after your musicians – a little hospitality on the day will pay dividends, tea or coffee, a bite to eat and most importantly arranging a private dressing room for the band will keep them happy, energised and willing to go that extra mile for you (at no cost!)

If you would like a quote for your event or have any questions please get in touch

Ever wondered what’s it like to be in a band?

These photos are from a typical gig – travelling to the venue, unloading, set up, crew, sound checks, changing room and finally the performance and the travel home…enjoy!

driving to the venue

Here is band manager and guitarist Dave driving our trusty VW Transporter on the way to our gig for Bunn Leisure guests at Selsey.Being a Friday we had to leave pretty early to avoid the worst of the traffic.

arriving and ready to set up

We arrived safe and sound at the mighty Embassy Club in West Sussex one of our favourite venues. Greeted by the very lovely Sara who had the coffee on hand. It really makes a difference to the band when we receive a kind and friendly welcome as you can see by Marc’s happy face!

Entertainment Manager Marc

Soundcheck

We have set up our equipment now and Dave is getting serious about his sound…

Sound engineers

It’s always great to work with a professional sound and light crew – Jamie and Tom are top blokes and this is just the monitor desk!

Kirstie and Marc4 piece band

Here is our changing room – OK so it’s a caravan but it’s very important for us to have somewhere private and secure to relax and get changed into our stage clothes before we start.

Backstage

Here we are backstage behind the curtain waiting for the go, Marc and Kirstie making a few last second checks then its ‘Showtime!’

Dave tuning

Dave says ” I don’t understand this, it was in tune when I bought it”

Sound tech

Here is Tom the sound monitor engineer literally seconds away from the start now…

Andy drummer

Great pic here of Andy counting us in for the first song …1,2,3,4 and we’re off!

on stage

Lead male vocals Marc, with Kirstie on keys and Andy on drums.

live on stage

Four piece band live on stage…Dave on guitar is looking happy, which is good thing!

Kirstie vocals

Our fab female lead vocalist Kirstie doing her thang – she’s the band Musical Director and is a bit good on the keyboards too!

Dave and Andy

View from the side of the stage – Dave on guitar and harmony vocals, Andy on drums

on stage finale

Final live pic of the band, second set towards the end of the night…it was a fab gig and the audience danced all night long.
Journey Home
The bit you never see…

We left our home at 2.30pm and its now 1am with a 2 hour drive home ahead of us.

Most gigs are a 12 hour day, really hard work but great fun. We love our job!

If you would like to find out more about Pop of Ages can do for your event please get in touch…

What is the REAL difference between an amateur band and a professional band?

KirstyFirstly, I would like to reassure any readers of this entry that I am not trying to malign any hardworking amateur musicians or bands out there. Far from it, and if you continue reading you’ll understand why.

Secondly, I would like to emphasise that I have a great love and admiration for amateur musicians – I was one myself until I was 14, and I probably will be one again for the last 14 years of my life, and I’m fine with that! Just because you’re an amateur does not mean you are unskilled or unprofessional.

Thirdly, my reasons for writing this particular piece are twofold ; a) to help anyone out there who is thinking of booking a live band for any type of event and b) to recount a story which made my blood boil and clearly highlights the difference between an amateur band and a professional one.

So let’s start with the story and we’ll go from there;

Rob (my friend & an excellent agent) received a phone call at 7.00pm New Years Eve.

A rather agitated gentleman (lets call him Jim) informed Rob the band he’d booked for his ‘do’ hadn’t turned up – he was phoning the agency to ask for an urgent replacement.

Rob asked Jim a few obvious questions including how much he had agreed to pay the band. Jim replied £300.

Rob responded he wasn’t surprised the band hadn’t turned up. “What do you mean”? Jim retorted. Rob explained that the price agreed was ridiculously low, and that any band willing to work on New Years Eve for £300 without a signed contract would more than likely not turn up, espcially if they had been offered a higher paid gig.

Angry manJim was offended and asked (in a fairly aggressive tone) if Rob would at least help out and phone around. Rob replied “No, I’d be wasting my time”. Jim became livid, and demanded to know why Rob was being so facetious.

Rob explained he wouldn’t be able to find any band that would perform on New Year’s Eve for £300, he wasn’t willing to offend his bands by asking, and the best he could provide was a local amateur DJ for £550. Jim slammed the phone down.

The story ends there.

There may be people out there who don’t understand the moral of this tale, so let’s re-ask the question ‘What is the real difference between an amateur band and a professional band?’

Mmm, I think we need some definitions from The Collins English Dictionary to help us along;

Collins English Dictionary ‘Amateur’; (n) A person who engages in a pursuit, esp. a sport, on an unpaid basis; (adj) Engaging or engaged in without payment; nonprofessional; amateurish; dilettante; (syn) Dilettante – dabbler – lover – fancier.

Hang on- just because a person is an amateur, it does not necessarily mean that they are untalented, unskilled or unqualified. By definition, they just don’t earn any money from their pursuit, or make a living from it.

‘Professional’; Of, relating to, or connected with a profession; (n) A person engaged or qualified in a profession; (adj) vocational ;occupational (syn) pro – practitioner – specialist.

Aha, but with the glove on the other foot (!) just because someone is ‘a professional’ and earns their living from their profession, this does not mean they are ‘professional’. We’ve all seen Cowboy Builders and Rip Off Britain where so-called professionals have done shoddy work or have been unscrupulous in their business practices.

So where does that leave us in terms of bands? Confused I expect! Well, I guess the answer lies in the adjectives and synonyms, not the nouns…

An ‘amateur’ is a non-professional, a dabbler, a fancier, a lover of the pursuit, even perhaps a future professional, but ultimately is not a professional.

The ‘professional’ could be called a pro, a practitioner, a specialist. Their trade is their vocation, their occupation – their living.

In terms of bands, a “professional band” earn their living from performance, and provide a service by performing for the client. Therefore a professional approach is paramount. A professional band’s livelihood is wholly dependant upon their reputation and quality of service. Living in today’s social media climate, it’s even more important to maintain high standards and consistently deliver beyond client expectations. If they are amateurish in any area of performance or business, they won’t survive.

An “amateur band” may play for free, or for a fee, and may be good at what they do, but ultimately they will play for their own enjoyment and purposes. They are not in it for the money (as their main wage comes from elsewhere) nor to consistently provide a high quality service of any kind. They do it for fun, and for the love of performing. If they get paid, it’s a bonus, and if people enjoy what they do, then that’s great too.

Don’t get me wrong, professional musicians love performing too (let’s be honest – we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it), but it’s a whole different ball game when you ‘go pro’. I’ll save that for another day…

My advice is to do your research. And then some more.

If a band is cheap, ask yourself why. If a band seems expensive, ask yourself why. Don’t expect something for nothing, pay peanuts and you’ll get monkeys (or not, as in the case study above) and don’t pay a stupid amount as high quality professional bands will always remain competitive in their market. Always ask for a quote, and always ask for recommendations.

At the end of the day, hiring a band is no different to buying any goods or services – you get what you pay for.

Sybil’s statement in one of my favourite classic ‘Fawlty Towers’ scenes sums it up perfectly; “Honestly Basil, if you want a professional job done, you should hire professionals”.

There’s plenty of us out there. 🙂

Thank you for reading.

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