Fine Tuning: 8 Considerations for Live Music at Your Event

Posted by Jon Young on Nov 13, 2018, 12:37:11 PM

Live Music

Nothing sets the tempo like live music. It can liven any event, especially if it's a carefully selected band that caters to the target audience and the mood of the event itself. Live music can provide a backdrop to activities, or take center stage. So, how do you find a band that keeps your guests entertained all night? Here are eight considerations when choosing live music for your event.

The Purpose of Your Event

Is your event a concert or a festival where live music is the main attraction? Or do you want music to add atmosphere and deepen your attendees’ overall experience? Is there an event theme that the music needs to match? For example, mariachis would be great for a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

What if you want music to serve more than one purpose? It’s not unusual for certain types of events to require multiple musical interludes. Maybe you want something snappy that excites people as they arrive at your event, then soft background sounds during your reception, then tunes to fill the dance floor after dinner.

You could hire more than one band (or individual musician) for each element. Or you might consider a large band that can break into smaller units to accommodate the different aspects of your event. Big horns for a resounding welcome, a string quartet, jazz trio, or pianist for the reception, and the whole enchilada complete with vocalists for concluding entertainment and dancing.

Your Audience

Age can make a difference, especially if your attendees are all relatively close in age. Live music has to be relatable, otherwise, it could make your guests uncomfortable. So, if they’re all millennials, pick a different band than if you’re trying to appeal to millennials, their parents and grandparents.

Venue Size and Configuration

Along with considering the makeup of your audience, think about crowd size. It takes a bigger band (and, usually, a more complex AV setup) to adequately serve a bigger audience, whereas too much band will overwhelm a smaller audience.

Your Budget

Setting your music budget is one of those "chicken and egg" conundrums. Generally speaking, the larger or better-known the band, the more they charge. Obviously, you’ll want to ask about cost once you’ve narrowed the field of possible bands, but you need some dollar range in mind before you can narrow the field.

Don’t just arbitrarily set a figure — that could unduly restrict your choices, or it could be way too much for what you want and need. A little preliminary research will help you identify a reasonable range for the type and quality of live music you want.

Limited budget? As you’re asking bands about cost, ask if they are willing to negotiate and under what circumstances. Maybe your top-pick group has a hole in their schedule they’d love to fill. Maybe they just love your brand or your cause. Or consider an up-and-coming band that will charge less in return for the fabulous promotional value they’ll get by appearing at your event. (Make sure they get plenty of promotion.)

Reviews and Referrals

If you’re searching cold on the internet for possibilities, look for reviews from past performances. Reviews come in handy when you're unfamiliar with a band because they're honest. Ask colleagues in your industry or company about bands they’ve enjoyed.

Never Hire Sight-Unseen and Sound-Unheard

Musicians love to show off their music. Any group or individual you’re considering should be delighted to send you a CD. Many post clips of performances on their websites, as well as song lists. (Side note: make sure the band you hire has more than enough material to cover your timeframe.) However, the best way to get a sense of live music is to see and hear for yourself. The way they look when they’re performing can have as much impact as their music.

Try To Be Different

If you’re using a local band, it can be a good draw to hire a group everyone loves. But it can also be more of the same. Would your audience rather be surprised by something new?

Ask Your AV Team!

We work with every type of musician. We know the local folks, and we’ve worked with big-name national acts, too. We not only know who’s good, we know who’s easy to work with (and who is not), and who might be willing to come down a bit on price — just for you, with our referral, of course.

In fact, if you want to really fine-tune the live music for your event, call us first. We’ll get you headed in the right direction, so you'll wind up with a band you and your audience love.

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Topics: Event Production, Event Planning