Revealing the Secrets of 13 Years as a Band for Hire: Crafting the Ultimate Live Music Experience
Written by Jonny Ross
I have performed in a wedding band for over thirteen years and have been lucky enough to work in some of the most desirable locations in the U.K. You could call me a veteran, but at the respectful age of 35, I prefer “seasoned’. My journey started at the young age of 15, when I performed in a pop punk band, singing the songs of Blink 182 and Green Day (I even had the haircut to go with it). As I got older and my haircuts got marginally better, I started to make a small living performing in pubs and bars. Here, I learnt the importance of song selection and entertaining a crowd. I paid my way through university performing at bars, and after graduation, I delved into weddings. Whilst some of the locations I sang in at university were far from the luxury wedding venues I perform in today, my time singing in pubs and bars is more important than any music course or class I have ever been on. No matter where I am performing, the principles remain the same. Good song selection, high energy and being surrounded by incredible musicians.
In this blog post, I will detail what makes a great wedding band for hire and what you should look for in your search for live entertainment. I’ve also created another page where you can see my top recommendations for wedding bands in the U.K.
The three most important factors behind creating the ultimate wedding band for hire
The Wedding Bands Song selection
The best wedding bands for hire know what songs to sing and at what point in the evening. My band and I have never once written a setlist. We have a repertoire of around 60 “Bangers” that we can unleash at any moment. Within the first 3-4 songs, we can generally get a feel for what music will go down well and will go with the flow of the crowd. Any of these 60 songs will usually get a crowd on their feet at any moment. If I am honest, I don’t like some songs on the list, but I love performing them due to the reaction the songs get. No wedding singer gets in the car and blares out “Little Respect” by Erasure; however, having 300 people sing it along with you on a Saturday night is terrific fun, and we’re lucky to do it as a career. All bands should pick songs based on what gets the best reaction and keep the dancefloor full.
We are very strict about what songs can be added to this list, and if they don’t get the desired reaction on the first release, they are banished forever.
If you’re browsing wedding bands, look at their song selection and ask yourself, have you or would you dance to that song on their list? Other than the first dance songs, I would challenge you to refrain from shaking your tailfeather to one of the songs on our list.
All wedding bands should have highly skilled musicians.
I’ve always classed myself as a performer rather than a musician. I’ve always made sure that I’ve surrounded myself with incredible musicians that can professionally perform a multitude of genres. Skilled musicians can read the crowd and keep everyone engaged by playing appropriate music for you and your guests. They also can switch things up on the fly to keep songs fresh and exciting.
Having a group of talented musicians behind me gives me the confidence and ability to be an engaging frontman. No matter what song we are playing, it will be played to an excellent standard, and all I need to think about is having fun and putting on a great show.
Wedding bands need a good and energetic frontman/woman.
You can be the best band in the world with a song selection that will even get granny dancing; however, if the frontperson doesn’t bring the energy, your crowd will feel it. From my time working with wedding bands, the most charismatic frontperson I’ve ever seen is Abi in “Marc and Abi”. She works the room like no one I’ve ever seen. She has people dancing on tables, on the floor with her and parades the room with her trumpet, followed by a line of people. She’s like the pied piper of wedding singers.
Abi is a very talented musician, but the defining thing will remember from their performance is her energy, enthusiasm, and ‘no holds barred’ approach to performing. She is amazing!
What else should I be looking for when hiring a wedding band?
The characteristics mentioned are what I class as the most important factors in creating a great wedding band. But what else should you be looking out for in a wedding band?
To help, I have put together 3 other areas to consider when booking a wedding band; please see them below:
Do the wedding band have good light and sound equipment?
Other things to consider when booking a quality wedding band is equipment and learning to do sound. Bands are often challenged with rooms that are acoustically challenged or have sound limiters. If the band has good knowledge and sound equipment, they can deal with any challenges they face. We ensure that all our bands are proficient in handling live sound and have high-quality equipment.
Have the wedding band got good reviews?
The thing we are most proud of as a company is our Trustpilot, Google and Facebook reviews. The reviews speak for themselves, and whilst I trust the musicians, you must go into your wedding day with the same level of trust. When doing your research, check if the band have regular reviews and that they reflect what you are looking for in your wedding or event.
Do the band dress smartly?
“It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed” is the mantra I have always followed when deciding what my band and I should wear for a wedding. A band should feel part of the event, and whilst it is ok for us to dress a bit more “avant-garde,” you want the band to reflect the event’s status and be an extension of your wedding party.
Where can I hire a band with all of the above qualities?
All of the bands for hire that we represent meet the above expectations. They’re all incredibly talented, have an incredible music repertoire and are lovely people I know and trust personally. If you pick any of the bands on our roster, you will receive excellent service and have nice and trustworthy people at your event.
In conclusion, the secrets to a good wedding band are pretty straightforward but extremely important. We love what we do for a living and are honoured to do our hobby as a job. Successful wedding bands perform the above principles to a world-class level and are ruthless with their song selection. We all love what we do; hopefully, that is reflected in the energy we bring to events.
Thanks for reading!
Why hire a band for your wedding?
Wedding guests judge how much they enjoyed the day based on how good the party was. Naturally, we are very biased about the role of music at weddings, but if you think back to any event you have been to, the thing that generally sticks in your mind is how good the music was, how much you danced and how this made you feel. Hiring a good band for your wedding or event will ensure your guests have a great time and remember the event for it’s funfilled atmosphere.
How much does a wedding band cost?
The cost of hiring a band is determined by the number of band members, their experience and the event’s location. For a local gig, our bands range from £1300 to £1860 for a 4-5 piece band. For show bands with 8 band members or more, prices can be upwards of £2,500.
How long do bands perform for?
Bands typically perform for 2x 45-minute sessions. You can extend this to 2x 60-minute sessions if you wish and add a Dj in between to ensure an entire evening of entertainment.
Will the wedding band perform my first dance?
Of course! All of our bands offer the option of performing your first dance live. I love performing the first dance live, it’s a great way of connecting with our customers, and it gets all the guests in one place, ready for the night ahead.
When I hire a band with Jonny Ross Music, when will I speak to them about final details?
Booking a band with us is very straightforward, we will put you in touch with the band leader 4 weeks ahead of the date. They will then go over the timings, song requests and any other questions you have. Once we have the song requests and timings, we are good to go!