Party Tips > How to Hire a Band

Nothing gets a crowd moving like great live music. From a string quartet at a brunch to a rockin' band at a prom, here's what you need to know to start your event off on the right note.

  1. Decide what type of band you want to hire and start searching for one as soon as you know the date and location of the event. Get recommendations from friends, newlyweds and event planners. Look in the phone book for booking agents.

  2. Check with your venue for any noise or space restrictions. Ask the manager what size band has worked best in the past.

  3. Listen to tapes, watch videos, or--even better--go listen to the band play. Note how the musicians interact with the audience and the variety of music they play.

  4. Tell them what type of music you want played, such as swing and jazz. Ask to see their play list and note any songs you definitely want played and those you want nixed. For weddings and proms, let them know what your song is. Find out what type of music they'll play on the sound system during breaks.

  5. Make a contract that includes dates, setup and finish times, breaks, musicians, emcee duties, clothing, equipment, food, rates, deposits, and cancellation and refund policy.

Overall Tips:

Hire a band that has played your type of event before-- they will be familiar with the flow of events and can serve as emcees.

See 137 Organize Movies, Music and Other Media and consider using your iPod instead of hiring a band or DJ.

If the band doesn't have a song you want on the play list, ask if they'll learn it.

A band's fee is usually based on a four-hour minimum. As a point of reference, expect to pay from $3,500 to $5,500 for a seven-piece band; tipping is not expected.

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