10 Questions You Want To Ask Your Wedding Band Before Hiring Them
Updated: Sep 20, 2022
Live bands are making quite the comeback in the event industry as many event planners are seeking live musicians over DJ's. Hiring a band for your event may sound like a simple task but if you don't know a couple key questions to ask before hiring, you may find yourself band-less and confused on your big day.
#1- Do you provide a contract agreement?
The band coordinator you contacted might SOUND nice and organized, but if you don't get every nitty-gritty detail in writing, you could be setting yourself up for a legal nightmare.
In any band contract, a couple things should be clearly stated: band name, band type, performance hours, break times, band meals, a plan for "running late" just in case your event has a time change. Your band contract should also clearly state if there are any additional fees that will be added down-the-line. Ask if they require mandatory deposits and whether or not they are refundable. Also, inquire about their cancellation and reimbursement policy in rare event your band needs to cancel. And after the craziness of 2020, also be sure the band has a Force Majeur Clause in place to offer protection against such very real things as, epidemic, pandemic, plague and even legal mandates. A force majeure clause "allocates the risk of loss if performance is hindered, delayed, or prevented because of an event that the parties could not have anticipated or controlled. It provides a contractual defense, the scope and effect of which will depend on the express terms of a particular contract."-www.americanbar.org
It is an industry standard to take a non-refundable deposit, as many events get cancelled last-minute. This often translates to unpaid musicians who already spent hours prepping for the event. This also covers any costs the company has footed in the planning process, including hourly pay and physical resources needed to arrange your event perfectly.
Robin-Banks Entertainment sets the tone for contract writing. With custom contracts developed just for you and your event; RBE clearly writes out all the terms and conditions with 100% transparency. The admin team is even happy to meet with a client to go over the entire contract and allow you time to think on it and read it over.
#2- Who will be my musicians?
CAREFUL! There are a lot of entertainment companies that offer a band but they won't guarantee WHO your exact musicians will be. There is nothing more tacky than attending a band showcase and getting to see 10 talented musicians, book them, only to find 10 different humans pummeling into your event with very different talents.
You deserve to know exactly who your talent is, and exactly what they have to bring to the board, musically.
At Robin-Banks Entertainment, the band you shop for is the band you GET! If there is a musician change due to illness or emergencies, RBE notifies their clients ASAP.
Keep in mind that most event musicians do this full-time. It's normal for band members to vacation and prioritize their families just like any hard-worker should!
#3- Can I hear the band live before my event?
The best entertainment companies offer regular showcases. Showcases are public shows that allow interested clients to hear a band before booking. If the band you want to hire isn't actively performing public shows, it could be an indicator that they are a bit rusty.
Robin-Banks Entertainment schedules FREE public viewings where you can come shop and listen to the talent before you hire! The company also performs in many local festivals and community events. Typically, at public events, RBE provides a knowledgeable team member who is readily available to answer questions. Check out their upcoming shows here .
#4- What will the band require from me and my event venue to have a smooth performance?
One of the biggest shockers in this industry is all the moving pieces and parts it takes to run a smooth show. Your band wears many hats. They practice for hours leading up to your event, they are loading in heavy professional sound equipment, setting it up, sound checking it...but the day hasn't even technically started until it's performance time!
Keep in mind, these musicians are not just performing, they are engaging in high-impact cardio for 4-6 hours. It is exceptionally physically taxing. Therefore, your band will want a place to rest, hydrate, refuel and freshen-up. This keeps the band out of your way while still respecting the BIG job they must do. Providing a light meal and water is standard.
Often, there is a full production crew in addition to musicians. Typically, production is the first in and last out, sometimes clocking 16+ hour days. They are often the humans who are seen least and work the hardest. Thank your whole band crew, including production.
Don't forget to ask your band about space requirements AND power requirements before booking, and check with your venue ahead of time! Skipping this important step can cause a lot of issues day of including, losing power (and the party) as well as causing the band to creep into your party space just to fit.
#5- How will the band sound check in a way that does not interfere with my event?
There is nothing worse than exchanging vows and rings just to hear "CHECK-CHECK-ONE-TWO!!!" It goes without saying that your band's sound check will want to be done and out-of-the-way before any other events begin on the property.
Robin-Banks Entertainment has it down to a science! Their goal is to fit into your timeline flawlessly. They always verify their timeline with their clients prior to an event.
#6- How customizable is the wedding music?
Many bands already have a pre-selected set list from where clients can pick the majority of their music. Some bands are genre/style specific and other bands will offer a vide variety of styles. Be sure to ask which style(s) your band offers.
At RBE, all of the bands offer up to three custom-learn songs if they are not already found in the library. Beyond that, RBE can DJ any song you want that isn't in our band library beyond the 3 custom-learned songs. The company typically DJ's these songs while the band is on break so the dance floor doesn't miss a beat!
#7- Do I need to tip the band?
Ultimately, the company with which you are working should be factoring in equal & equitable pay for each musician into their contract. There is no hard, fast rule on tipping.
RBE bands work hard. If you feel like your band went above and beyond to make your event special, sharing a tip with them can make their night
We have no expectations. Follow your heart!
#8- Does the band take song requests?
If you're looking for a spontaneous music experience, you may want to phone a DJ or plug in your phone. It takes a long time to learn new music and your band prepped the set list prior to your event and customized it for you.
RBE offers a HUGE bank of music, listing every song each of our bands play. Clients seem to enjoying picking from the diverse bank. Then, RBE offers to learn up to three custom songs, as long as there is at least one month's notice. The company has found this to be a "happy medium" and respectful of all humans involved.
#9- What is a "normal" performance show length?
The average wedding reception is roughly 4 hours but everyone has their own definition of how long a reception should be. You'll want to know how long you have to dance with all of your friends!
RBE offers their base-line event contract for "up to 4 hours of dinner and dancing." The company is happy to provide additional music at your event for an upcharge. Some brides love to take two or three musicians from their reception band to utilize at their ceremony or cocktail hour. Ask if your wedding band can also cover your cocktail and ceremony music! (Spoiler Alert!: RBE can!)
RBE also has a game-plan if you want to extend the fun! If you extend your reception or event prior to event day, you get 50% off the upcharge for the band to stay later! But don't worry! We also have a plan if you decide to extend your event the night-of! RBE is constantly ready to make music magic happen for you!
#10- Why should I hire Robin-Banks Entertainment?
Robin-Banks Entertainment has been changing the way entertainment companies do business since its birth. Their all-female-run business has driven their services to a whole new level. RBE takes an average event band and creates a meticulously customized music experience. RBE is where clients turn when they know they need the A-Game; the best of the best!
Robin-Banks Entertainment, LLC -- 9.15.2022