So, you’re turning 50 (or 60! Or 70! Or 80!) years old soon, you want your BIG birthday party to rawk and you’re wondering about booking a band for a private event! You want to invite a group of about 100 friends, family, neighbors, co-workers.
What better way to bring in the next decade of your life than to book a band playing the music you love at a nearby venue, or in your backyard?
Let’s Make a List of What You Need for that Party or Big Event!
Invitations, food, fruity adult beverages, balloons, tables & chairs, plates & cups. Oh, and electrical outlets for the band! Is that all? NOT QUITE!!!
You might need to think about a few more things.
We often receive inquiries for one of our tribute bands to perform at a private event. Everyone loves the music of Queen, Journey, Boston, The Beatles, Van Halen, and so on, so why not hire a tribute band to perform at your special birthday party or wedding?
Here is a laundry list of things to prepare you for this task.
Booking a Band for Your Special Event
So you find ProTributeBands.com, and you can actually see videos of the tribute band that you want performing live, as well as see info about the band. So, YEAH, you want them to perform at your special event.
Click on the ‘Contact’ tab, then ‘Book a Show‘, and you can submit your info and what date you want.
When the agent responds via email or phone, the first thing they will need to know is anything you forgot to fill out on the submission form; like, your proposed budget, the date you need, where it will be, etc.
Most agencies will need you to have every line filled out in order to make an informed phone call or email back to you.
Getting That Return Phone Call or Email
If you filled out every line on the website submission form, the band will be able to let you know if they are available on the date and give you a price. If there are blanks on the website submission, the phone call or email will be to finish filling out the form, so, every line is there for a reason – fill it ALL out!
You’re on the phone with the agent, and the band you want IS available on the date you need because you gave plenty of notice, and the agent gives you a price for the band.
Before you fall over, there are so many things to consider, like…
How Is The Band Going to Get There?
If you happen to live down the street from the band that you want, all’s well. However, in most cases, the tribute band you want to book lives in a different state than you do, and air travel is required.
We’ve often said, if Southwest Airlines didn’t exist, neither would tribute bands. But even the lower-priced airlines like Southwest still cost money. Average ticket costs for flying from California to other states varies wildly, but we typically find it in the $300-$500 range per band member.
For a band with five members, you’ve got $2500 in expenses.
When the band arrives at the airport, you need a way to get them to the gig. Some private events send sprinter vans or town cars. However, if the hotel is not next door to the event, you’ll still need to get them from their hotel to the venue for sound check as well as for the show.
For some bands and situations, it’s easier on the buyer and band to do a “transportation buyout“, which means you simply pay for the cost of renting a vehicle (or vehicles). For many of our five-person bands, we’ve found that renting two regular cars is often much cheaper than renting a passenger van, by as much as 20-30%.
Equipment (Backline) Needs for a Show
If the location of your event is drivable for the band, they can bring all their own equipment to the show. This is the best-case scenario, and you will generally not need to provide much, if anything of the band’s onstage gear needs.
However, if your event is a fly-out you will need to supply backline for them (a drum set, mic stands, amps and monitors do not fly very well on a plane!)
Backline can run from about $1K on the very low side to $4K or more on the high side. In order to get a real price quote, you will need to contact the band’s production manager, and have them cost out the backline so that it becomes part of the overall price for the show.
Production Needs for a Show
Every show needs a production manager (often the band’s sound person) and a production crew.
The production crew can be provided by the venue, the backline vendor, a local staging company.
Oh yeah, you need a stage for the band!
Depending on the type of private event (charity function, etc.) additional production staff can often be sourced from a local Rotary or other community service organization. The overall size of the team needed depends on your event.
The production manager’s job is to make sure the show goes off without a hitch, sound, staging and lighting-wise. He or she will also typically direct you to the best resource for hiring a production crew.
Sound and Lighting Needs
- You will need a sound engineer to monitor the show, and if you want extra effects, you will need to add someone that can operate lighting for the stage.
- Unless your event is within 50 miles of where the band lives, you will probably have to provide a hotel room for 5-6 persons for the night of the show.
- If event is a fly-out, they will usually need 2 nights lodging: one for the night of arrival, and one for the night of the show.
- The band needs to eat the day of the show, so lunch & dinner are provided by you. Also, during the day, they will need water, coffee, and other beverages as requested and maybe some snackies for some energy as they go through load in, soundcheck, before, during and after the show!
- If the event is a fly-out, you will have to provide transportation to/from the nearest airport and to/from the hotel for soundcheck and the show.
So What’s the Price?
Each show carries with it its own set of costs, which can drive the numbers up or down. The band, backline, production, sound/lighting, hospitality, transportation all figure into the final pricing for your private event. These items are necessary for a full-blown great show.
Ultimately, whatever price the band gives you, if it works for you, you will be the happiest person on your special day and your guests and you will never forget the effort you went through for them, and YOU.
A Little Planning Can Make Your Event a Huge Success!
So, as you can see, there is a little more that goes into booking a band for a special event. They don’t just show up, plug their guitars in and start playing.
A great show that will be memorable forever requires all, or most, of these things. Yes, it’s a lot more money, time and effort than hiring a local band that comes, plugs in and plays, but you get what you pay for.