FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
How do I make a booking?
Firstly, decide on the entertainment you’re interested in and either submit an online enquiry via the Contact form or Email your enquiry. I'll be able to quote you directly based on the information provided. Once you’re 100% happy I'll issue a booking agreement. You then pay a small deposit. In most cases, the remaining balance is payable on or before the day of the event.
What payment methods do you accept?
You can pay your deposit by cash, BACS/CHAPS, internet transfer, or PayPal. In most cases, the remaining balance is payable on or before the day of the event. This must be cash or bank transfer.
How much space do you / the band need?
For a solo act, a clear space without obstruction within arms width (full span) in all directions is adequate. A small table is often very useful and a nearby socket. For a duo act, a minimum depth of 1.5m is required, with a width of around 3m preferred. 3-piece band: 3 x 3 meters. 4-piece band: 4 meters wide by 3 meters deep. 5 and 6-piece band: 5 meters wide by 4 meters deep.
How much time do you / the band need to set up?
If the band has good access to your venue (EG: no lifts or stairs, no more than 100ft to wheel the equipment) we should be able to load in, set up and sound check within 90 minutes. Smaller setups can be setup in 60 minutes.
Setup and sound check involves the following important steps:
Unloading all the band's equipment and loading it into the venue
Unpacking the equipment and putting it in the correct part of the room, arranged as the band need it to be positioned in order for us to be able to perform.
Connecting up the power and all the cables and checking everything is working
Sound checking - balancing the volume and equalisation of each instrument in the bands PA system so that:
a) everything sounds good in your room (every room sounds different and some instruments require careful attention so that the sound isn't too boomy)
b) each instrument is balanced against the other instruments so that you hear the songs clearly
c) the band can hear each other clearly
d) the overall volume level is set as you / the venue requires.
5. Packing away empty cases, moving the vehicle to a permanent parking spot, and getting changed into stage clothes for their performance.
If your event is running late and you’ve arranged for the band to set up after speeches, we will still need the same amount of time to set up. This allocated set up and sound check time is vital for the band to properly connect our equipment and get a good sound in advance of our performance. Please be respectful of the fact that the band can't physically complete the steps listed above any faster than the time we've already indicated when you booked us, and any attempt to make us feel pressured to hurry is only going to stress us out and put us on edge before we entertain your guests!
Please also be mindful of the fact that sound check is inherently loud and cannot happen at the same time as speeches or dinner unless you've got the band performing in a different part of your venue. For Weddings, I usually advise that set-up and sound-check happens in the gap after the wedding breakfast, whilst your venue turns the room around for the evening party. For this reason, you might want to speak with your venue to find out if there's another space where your guests can go after dinner away from the band setting up. It's not a problem if this isn't possible, but bear in mind the louder 'sound check' part can take up to 20 minutes. Often guest sing along!! Alternatively, bands can arrive earlier in the day to be set up and sound checked before your wedding breakfast, but there will be an additional cost to cover the extra time on site.
How do I amend a booking?
Simply call, email, whatsapp or fill in another Contact form and I will arrange any changes to your booking. In some circumstances, EG: requesting to perform for longer or arrive earlier, additional costs may be incurred. It’s important that any amendments are reflected in writing and this can only happen with a reply from myself confirming the amendment.
What if I need to cancel or rearrange?
Sometimes clients are faced with an unfortunate situation where they need to cancel a booking. I am sympathetic to the fact that the reason for cancellation might be distressing and difficult to discuss. Please be assured that if you need to cancel a booking, I will always treat you with respect and consideration for your circumstances.
Rearranging a booking
Rearranging a booking is possible but it is still technically a cancellation. The difference is that often I won't charge a cancellation fee to re-arrange a booking providing I am available on the date you want to swap to and you're not re-arranging with such short notice that I have no chance of re-filling the old date.
If you need to cancel or re-arrange a booking please speak with me as soon as possible, highlighting the reasons for cancelling / re-arranging. If you try to cancel a booking by email you must make sure your email is received as sometimes emails get blocked by spam filters. Please don't try to cancel a booking at short notice by email as I might not pick it up before the travelling to your venue. Once I know you need to cancel or re-arrange a booking I will liaise with you to start the cancellation process, including calculating whether any cancellation fees are due, and if so how much.
Consequences and costs of cancellation
A cancellation fee will be due from you if the reason for you cancelling your booking is not covered by a 'force majeure event', and if I am unable to secure another booking of equal value for your event date. The closer to the event date that you cancel, the higher the cancellation fee you pay. This is because most function artists get booked 12 months + in advance of an event, and re-filling a date a short notice is quite difficult. The cancellation fee thresholds are outlined in the Terms and Conditions.
What if you cancel?
Put simply - my reputation is built upon brilliant communication, reliability and customer service. This is evidenced both in the testimonials from previous engagements and future and repeat bookings years in advance. Like you, I am legally bound to our contract just and unable to cancel your booking for any reason other than a 'force majeure event'. This means that unless I die, become seriously ill, or I am delayed by an accident travelling to your event - then I can’t cancel your booking without being in breach of contract.
If I am affected by a force majeure event, then I will inform you as soon as possible and help you to find a suitable replacement artist.
Can I see you perform live before booking?
For my solo work, probably! I make sure that across the year I have a good mix of public gigs in the North East which double as showcase gigs for prospective clients. These are always advertised with good notice via my Facebook Page.
For my duo/band work, in most circumstances this is not possible as we specialise in performances at private functions. By the nature of the fact that they are private, I cannot grant public access. Bands who regularly play at pubs are probably not the type you’d hire for an important private party as pubs don’t pay the money required for top quality acts.
The best artists get booked very quickly so if you find one that you like, you are much safer basing your decision to hire on the strength of their demos, playlist, biography and references from other customers.
Can I speak to or meet you?
Of course! For no obligation help and advice please submit an online enquiry or call me and I will be happy to assist. I will be able to make recommendations based on the information you provide and on any selections that you’ve already made. The more specific you can be about what you want the more easily I'll be able to help. Think about what style of entertainment you want, what you want the entertainment to achieve (dancing, mood setting, ice breaking etc), how much you want to spend and how much space you have. Do you want lively, calming, modern, funky, sophisticated, cool, mature, young, vibrant etc. All these descriptions will help us to make a suitable recommendation.
Once you’ve booked, I will contact you in the 3 weeks leading up to your event to discuss the finer details, ensure your requirements haven’t changed and finalise song preferences etc. If you need to speak to me before this it can be arranged. Generally, I will not make site visits as they are not necessary and I do not charge enough money to be able to afford to give up a day to do so. If there is an extraordinary circumstance which demands a site visit, it can be arranged and a fee would more than likely be charged to cover time and travel.
Generally, it works better that you select the songs from my playlist which you definitely do and don’t want, then leave me to structure your choices into a workable order. I/we will need to consider many variables in order to ensure tsets flow well and I often want to avoid having certain songs side by side.
However, I do love requests! So feel free to make an input, but let us bring our considerable experience to bear when finalising the actual play list for the evening.
In most cases, this is absolutely fine and even if the song is not something I would perform again, I will not charge a fee to cover rehearsal time etc. However, it is important to note that it can only be performed with the band's standard instrumentation or an appropriate backing track. For example, as a male singer - Whitney Houston songs will of course sound a little different when I perform them (different key etc). Similarly, the band's arrangement may differ greatly from the original in order to effectively interpret and perform it. Where possible, we try to keep it as close to the original as we can do.
The minimum level the band can set their equipment to is so that the other instruments and vocals can be heard above the natural volume of the drum kit. This varies from band to band and from style to style. In modern pop/rock music, the drums are played in a lively, strong and energetic fashion. Therefore, pop bands are relatively loud.
Relative doesn’t mean much unless it’s in context. I've established that most party bands are going to be ‘quite’ loud and this would mean that if you are on the dance floor in front of the bands PA system, it would be difficult to talk without having to speak directly into someone's ear. However, unless we are at the peak of our set and playing a highly energetic song, you would expect to be able to talk with a raised voice 20-30 feet away.
In all circumstances, we will adjust the volume to suit you, but bear in mind that we will only be able to adjust the volume to the natural level of the drum kit and this may still sound loud for very elderly guests. We do, however, use a cocktail drum kit to minimise this.
In our experience, at weddings and parties it’s the grandparents who dance first, longest and hardest so don’t worry too much!
Sound limiters spoil everyone’s fun. If you don’t know what they are, they are devices which measure the volume of sound in a room, then cut off the electricity supply if the sound volume remains above a predefined threshold for more than 10 – 20 seconds.
If you can, book a venue that does not have a sound limiter fitted. If you are unlucky enough to have already booked a venue with a sound limiter you need to understand the following:
Decibel (dB) comparison chart1. Bands are loud and not deliberately so. They will work with you to perform within the confines of a sound limiter but it’s not always possible if the limiter is set unworkably low. The band cannot turn down any lower than the unamplified volume of the drum kit. As you can imagine, a drum kit is quite loud even if it’s not being amplified by the bands PA system.
The minimum level the band can set their equipment to is so that the other instruments and vocals can be heard above the natural volume of the drum kit. This varies from band to band and from style to style. In modern pop/rock music, the drums are played in a lively, strong and energetic fashion. Therefore, pop bands are relatively loud. Jazz drummers often play with brushes and in a much more refined fashion so they don’t normally have trouble with sound limiters.
In many circumstances, as long as the venue see the band are making an effort to comply with the limiter, they will switch the limiter off or raise the threshold if problems persist.
If the limiter is set to a threshold of approx 95dB, most party bands should be able to play without too much trouble, depending on the location of the sound limiters microphone. Below 95dB and you run the risk of audience applause tripping out the electricity!!
HERE is a diagram which shows comparative dB levels so you can understand what 95dB of volume level is similar to.
Somewhere to change comfortably would be appreciated and it helps if there is a mirror, electricity supply and comfortable chairs. Toilets are an absolute last resort. Ideally the changing room should be secure so that the band can leave their day clothes and bags in there. This can also double up as a quiet space to go between performances. If no changing room is available, please let the band know in advance.
Food and drinks
For afternoon sets, soft drinks, water, tea and coffee are usually fine. For the evening entertainment you will need to provide food and refreshments. This is commonly referred to as a ‘Rider’.
In the case of most evening bands, the duration of our time away from home is approximately 12 – 16 hours, running from the time we leave home until the time we get home. Because of this, it’s important that we get a good meal, so hot food or access to a good quality buffet is always much appreciated. Sandwiches or a plate of chips is not ideal as this is likely to be what we ate for lunch on the way to your event and can hardly be expected to keep us going for another 6 hours.
If for some reason it is impossible to cater for the band at your venue, let us know well in advance. Please ensure your hotel or catering staff are aware that the band needs to be catered for and that ideally our food should be provided immediately after our first performance. If the band are to help themselves to the buffet, it is also helpful if your caterers can plate this up separately so the band don’t have to queue for so long that they don’t have time to eat before their second set.
Please also ensure that bar staff know soft drinks and tea/coffee are free for the band (or make arrangements for plenty to be provided in the bands changing room.) You DO NOT have to provide alcohol for the band; although a complimentary beer after they’ve finished sound check is likely to be much appreciated.
If you can't find the answer to your question, I'd love to hear from you.