Things you should think about when booking a band, But probably haven’t…

So you’ve decided you want a live band for your event. Awesome! There’s nothing like real people
playing music to bring your party to life, right?

We love playing at parties, but sometimes they don’t quite go according to the plan that we knew
our client had in mind. Here are a few things to think about to ensure your live music goes off:

The Venue

Make sure the venue is suitable for a live band. Acoustics and distance from the guests are two
major considerations. Is there a stage and if so, is it big enough for the band you have in mind? Is
there space for a reasonable sized-dance floor? What sort of lighting do they have?


Venues and local bylaws may dictate how late your band can play, if the event is in a residential area
– or your back garden. Confirm any noise restrictions and make sure the band knows there is a
definite time limit on when they must finish.

Another vital factor is when the band can have access to the venue to set up, and what time they
need to be out by. A reasonable allowance for a band to set up is 1.5 hours. An hour is the absolute
minimum and can be a push depending on the size of the band. Set up is expected to be done just
prior to the engagement, but if you need the band to set up several hours before the engagement
begins, consider that they may charge you to travel twice in one day.

Positioning of the Band

Placing the band too close to where guests are seated can eliminate conversation, placing them too
far away can eliminate any engagement with the audience. If everyone is a smoker, they’re likely to
stand outside for more of the evening – consider placing the band outside or near the exit so
outdoor guests can still engage.

Acoustics and volume are important considerations. Are there multiple options for where the band
could be placed? Does it have high ceilings or beams, pillars and other structures that can block the
band from view and make the sound bounce in strange directions?

As a band gets into their music, it’s easy for the volume to creep up during the sets. A room without
carpet or curtains will echo more and can distort the sound. Giving feedback to the band
throughout the evening if they are too loud (or too quiet!) is always helpful.

If the venue is outdoors, consider hiring a marquee with a solid floor/carpet to provide cover for the
expensive instruments and lighting that come with a band. And the performers too ��
The Music You may have a favourite band that you love and see regularly – be they covers or originals – but
your taste may not be your guests’ taste. Family/whanau events usually include a wide spectrum of
ages, backgrounds, even nationalities.

Consideration to the music that your chosen band plays is really important and most people are
good at thinking of this – but if you are booking a funk band, don’t ask them to play country!

Ask your band to send you a song list of their full repertoire if it’s not on their website, and identify
any songs you definitely DO and DON’T want them to play. Give them an indication of the age
groups likely to be attending the event. This helps them build the set lists to suit to your guests.
With Mocha Choco Latte, if you have a special song request you’d like to perform with the band, this
can often be done! We welcome this – see our Star for a Night package to find out more.

Dress Code

If you have booked a grunge band, don’t expect them to turn up in suits, the band will have their
own ‘image’ to maintain, but most will dress appropriately to the event if they know in advance
what it is about. If you do have a special theme you can mention it to the band, you never know
what they might do with it!

Basics for the Band

Sometimes customers don’t always appreciate that it’s a long day for the band – preparing, getting
dressed (for the ladies!), driving to the venue, setting up and being ready before your guests arrive is
all part of the deal. This can mean preparations start mid-afternoon for an 8pm engagement, and
then the packing up goes on for another hour or so after the engagement has ended.
Having somewhere to sit before the event and during breaks, as well as something to drink (a couple
of beers/wines each) is not only appreciated by any band, but really important to them lasting the
whole night and delivering an energetic performance. If you are concerned about the band taking
advantage of your hospitality, ask the bar staff to keep an eye on things for you.
If your event is a wedding, there can be long periods of waiting for the band while dinner/desserts
are eaten, speeches are made, first dances are danced. Standing around or perching on the side of
the stage – or even sitting on the floor, we’ve done that! – makes for a long and uncomfortable

Communicating the seating/refreshments arrangements in advance means the band don’t have to
come and trouble you with it on the night.

Treating your band like valued guests, albeit in a more basic fashion, is always appreciated.