Creating magic is what good musicians do. We want to create that magic with you and help make you look like rock stars to your clients. While music brings people together, making music matter at your event is not automatic. The quality and capability of the musicians, the design of the space, and the event schedule itself are key elements for gathering people together. It is a fact that people will linger where music is being made.
Music is important to any event, and live music even more so. After the speeches have been made and the awards accepted, after dinner has been enjoyed… the energy can drop dramatically. Music keeps people hanging around and engaged. It energizes a space. It encourages conversation. Event planners cannot underestimate its importance. Just think how your favorite TV show or film would “feel” without background music. Events that lack the atmosphere created by musicians and DJs will fizzle early.
We offer these tips to increase the effectiveness of your events through live music:
1. Know who you are speaking with. When you contact a live music company, ask for the Music Director or Executive Director (not just a salesperson). The director is someone who understands music design as well as business, and will deliver the right talent for your vision and your client’s success.
2. Be sure to book A-listers. In music we say, “You’re only as good as your weakest link.” You want to book skilled musicians who understand the genres of music they play, cover appropriately, and really enjoy making music together. More than simply having their instruments in tune, skilled artists blend their individual sounds into a unified voice that is properly modulated for the space where they perform.
3. When hiring bigger variety bands be sure they are personable and friendly. Will they take requests? Can they gauge the audience and adapt their set list to pick up or calm the mood when necessary? The talent should be comfortable in interacting with your guests to help them have a great time, and not make it about them.
4. Avoid diva clauses. Always read the rider (band requirements). The team should ask for only what they need to put forth the best product … and not ask for what they want, such as bowls of green M&M®s and white roses in every corner of the green room.
5. Put the bar in the same room as the band. It is proven that guests always disburse to the bar. When the band is in one room and the bar is in another, people will leave the band for the bar. Dancing and group interactions stop. Musicians have a bird’s-eye view from the stage, and can see the energy flowing away from them to the bar. If your client wants a party, put the bar near the dance floor. This will keep people together.
6. Good cover bands cover their material with integrity. Book cover bands that emphasize the sound of the original pieces. They are not there to reinvent popular tunes written by headline musicians. True cover bands play music the way it was meant to be heard. There’s no need to do vocal jumping jacks all over a melody that doesn’t call for it. You want your guests to leave the wedding relaxed and upbeat, not talking about how their favorite tune was butchered.
7. Know your audience and choose the band that fits. At any wedding you will have guests representing different generations with various preferences in music. A variety band will have an extensive repertoire and can play all genres.
The music agency you work with should be able to orchestrate the style of music, number of musicians, and staging to be most effective in creating the desired atmosphere for your celebration. In addition to putting together the right ensemble of musical talent, it should provide a stage manager so that you are not having to wrangle musicians in addition to producing the event. Another thing to look for is if the agency’s talent is regularly in the studio recording, rehearsing or educating the next generation of musical monsters. You want to work with dedicated musicians, and this kind of dedication is one thing to look for.
Veronica Puleo is the Executive Director, vocalist, guitarist and co-founder along with Music Director Mike Holowatch, of The Replicas Music, a Southern California based talent agency providing live music in a wide variety of genres for weddings and celebrations.