Total Eclipse Band

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How to Find a Band for Your Wedding or Party

You want to hire a band to play at the next event you’re planning and have no idea where to start?

We’re here to help.

There are several resources available to get you in touch with the perfect band for your event.

  1. Ask your friends.

    There is no substitute for the recommendation from a friend. Roughly 40% of the gigs that Total Eclipse has booked have come from direct referrals by friends and family. Two summers ago, we played for the birthday party of a friend´s daughter. One of the few adults at the party recommended us for an anniversary party another friend was having. Since playing the anniversary party, we´ve booked six more gigs all in the same circle of friends. Chances are a close friend or co-worker will have a recommendation for you.

  2. Party or Wedding Planners.

    If you´ve hired a wedding or party planner to help make arrangements, they almost certainly have a list of bands that they have worked with in the past. Even if you haven´t hired a professional planner, it is possible that a quick phone call or email to one might net you a few phone numbers or web addresses to check out.

  3. Craigslist.

    Place a post in the Musicians or Gigs category on your local Craigslist page. Make sure you list your budget and request audio or video samples from the responders. The more details about the party you can give, such as location, date, time, number of guests, and the like, the higher quality responses you´ll get. You´ll likely get a ton of emails and will have to wade through them, but it´s almost guaranteed that you´ll find someone who can provide exactly the type of entertainment you´re seeking.

  4. Gigmasters and GigSalad.

    These are a couple of online band directories that actually let you hear samples, view photos and set lists, and contact the band all in one place. With Gigmasters, you can even book the band and pay their deposit online. Additionally, they will send you reminders and checklists to keep everything on schedule leading up to the event. View one of the following examples: Total Eclipse´s Gigmasters Page or Total Eclipse´s GigSalad Page.

  5. Local Music Stores.

    Most music (instrument) stores like Guitar Center have a bulletin board where bands put their cards or fliers advertising their services. You could put your own notice up that you are looking for a band. Again, the more details you can provide, the better responses you´ll get. Alternatively, you could ask the employees, who almost certainly play in bands themselves.

  6. Google Search.

    This is likely how you found this article, right? Why not give it a try to find a band to play your event? Try searching for the combination of your city and “party band” or “wedding band.” You could try searching for a particular genre, too. Try “disco band” or “cover band” and see what comes up. It´s worth a shot!

Hopefully by now you´ve been able to find the perfect band for your event. If not, you could always try contacting us for help; Total Eclipse may even be available. You can fill out a gig request here.

Things You Should Provide The Band at Your Party

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You’ve hired the band, and hopefully they have sent you a copy of a Live Performance Contract that outlines everything they need to make your event run smoothly. If they haven´t sent you a contract, or you´re unsure of what is expected of you, here are a few things you should be prepared to provide for the band:

  • A stage area large enough for the band to set up their instruments and sound equipment.
    • The size requirement is going to vary depending on the number of people in the band. If you can give them an area at least 10X10´ you should be pretty safe.
    • If your event is taking place outdoors, you should provide (or arrange for the band to provide) shelter from the elements. This can be a covered porch, a pop up canopy, or awning. Direct sunlight can damage musical equipment, not to mention the skin of most pasty-white night owl musicians.
  • At least two separate 120V 20Amp household electrical circuits.
    • These circuits should be kept available solely for the band´s use. Amplifiers and effects lighting systems can draw a lot of power, and having them on the same circuit as your yard fountains, generator, or other power-drawing devices can potentially blow a circuit. This could damage anything plugged into that circuit.
    • You should make sure the circuits are located within 25′ of the stage area. Musicians are usually poor, and long heavy duty extension cords are expensive.
  • An easy way to load in and out.
    • Hopefully the stage area isn´t up three flights of narrow stairs and down a long hallway in a building that is 500 yards from the street. But if it is, try to arrange it so that band can get as close as possible with the car/truck/trailer that is hauling all the equipment.
    • Make sure they have a place to park.
  • Refreshments.
    • At the very least you should provide non-alcoholic beverages for the band. Water, soda, tea, something of that nature.
    • Providing the band with alcoholic beverages (assuming that alcoholic beverages are being served at your party) will score you major points. If your party includes an open bar, you should make sure the band knows whether or not they are welcome to the bar. A professional band will never assume that they are.
  • Food.
    • Providing a meal for the band is not required, but always appreciated. Especially if the band has already set up and is simply waiting until after the meal is over to begin their performance.
    • If you indeed expect the band to begin playing after the meal is complete, it would be wise to allow them to be among the first group that is served. No one likes to be rushed through a meal, even musicians!
    • You should let the band know ahead of time if they will be served food.
  • Access to a Restroom.
    • Even guitar players have to pee.
  • A secure place to keep personal items.
    • The stage isn´t big enough to hold instrument cases, purses, backpacks, and such. You should have an area set aside where the band can leave this stuff without worrying that it will grow legs and walk away.
  • Energy.
    • Dance! Encourage your guests to dance. Applaud and shout and whistle and play air guitar. The band feeds off the energy of the crowd, the more fun you have, the more fun they will have which increases the fun you have in a giant circle of happiness. It´s not likely that you´ve hired the band to play a funeral; it´s a party!
  • Prompt payment.
    • Payment should be made at the beginning of or immediately after the show. One of the most difficult things for some people to do is remind their clients that they are owed money. Ask the band leader who you should make the check out to, sometimes the band has a business account, and sometimes the leader takes the check personally and pays the rest of the band.
    • Remember, a lot of musicians earn their entire living playing music. Your payment to them is their regular salary. It´s definitely not cool to try and stiff the band.
    • Tips are always greatly appreciated. A professional band will never put up a tip jar or otherwise solicit a tip at a private event like a party or wedding.
  • Feedback.
    • After the performance you should let the band know if you were pleased with their show or not. If the band has a website, perhaps you could also write a recommendation or referral for them to post.
  • Referrals.
    • If you were pleased with the band, tell your friends. Recommend the band to other people. Pass out their business card. It´s good karma to send a musician more gigs.

If you keep the rules of common courtesy in mind, you should be just fine. Remember that the band is among the first to arrive and almost always the last to leave. They have spent countless hours rehearsing and who knows how much money purchasing equipment. All to make YOUR party extra special.

Isn’t that worth a beer or two?