We're delighted to have made contact with Rupert Blomfield of The Disco Prophets.
Based in Nottingham but work around the East Midlands and often stretch into South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. If your wedding celebrations are further afield, have a chat with Rupert and he will try to accommodate you! Rupert is both the bands guitarist and manager and has, very kindly, put together some tips and ideas to think about when choosing a band for your wedding celebrations.
Why choose a live band, rather than hire a DJ or use an iPod?
- A good live band has a much greater ability to connect with a group of people and get them dancing.
- A good live band literally sounds bigger and much better than recorded music and has a much greater ability to connect with a group of people and get them dancing. Hearing a good live band affects people in positive ways and lifts the whole feel of a party to a higher level.
- If you can afford a DJ too, it will make the sections before and after the band play better, as a good DJ can read a crowd and know what songs to play to keep them dancing.
- Bands will often provide suitable music selections on an iPod playlist for free and this will work well too.
- NB. The sound quality of a good live band far exceeds that of a CD or an MP3. A band may literally sound as much as twenty times better than any recorded music; because it is generated at source, not at some other time in a studio somewhere else.
How long a band will usually play for?
- Bands will often play for two sets of up to an hour each, plus an encore of up to 15 minutes.
- Sometimes a smaller section of the band may play some light jazz to accompany your meal too; but this will usually cost you extra.
- The actual timings of when they play is up to you; but bear in mind that if you want them to play past 2.00 am, they may charge extra.
- Bands will often expect to be paid extra if on the night you ask them to play more than 20 minutes longer than was agreed.
- If timings stray on the night, bands will usually be flexible and accommodate this.
What kind of music would be good for a mixture of ages at a wedding?
- Think about music that both generations of the couple’s friends and their parents can relate to. You want music that most people know and that is easy to dance to; e.g. Soul, Motown, Disco, Pop.
Some typical floor-fillers/wedding music:
- Celebration (Kool & The Gang)
- You’re The One That I Want (Olivia Newton-John)
- Lets Stay Together (Al Green)
- Can You Feel The Love Tonight (Elton John)
- Love Is All Around (Wet Wet Wet)
- Good Times (Chic)
- Crazy In Love (Beyonce)
- I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston)
- Stand By Me (Ben E King)
- We Are Family (Sister Sledge)
- You’ve Got The Love (Florence & The Machine)
- Lets Get It On (Marvin Gaye)
- Mr Big Stuff (Lyn Collins)
- Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton)
- Groove Is In The Heart (Deee-Lite)
- Living On A Prayer (Bon Jovi)
- Unforgettable (Nat King Cole)
- I’m Coming Out (Miss Diana Ross)
What people might chose as a first dance:
o The Power Of Love (Frankie Goes To Hollywood)
o Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (Frankie Valli)
o Fly Me To The Moon (Frank Sinatra)
o Perfect Day (Lou Reed)
o Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen)
What a couple need to be asking a band and what to look out for:
- Ask for examples of a band’s work, i.e. a demo – this could be a studio or live recording; but make sure it really is made by the band you are hiring. A lot of bands use live You Tube clips now.
- If the band is performing in public soon, go and check them out live.
- Make sure the band has a good front person, who engages an audience and gets everyone in party mode.
- Find out how much experience the band has of performing live generally and especially at weddings.
- Find out how the band will dress and make sure they will behave at the wedding – you don’t want a band member chatting up one of your new in-laws in front of the other in-law and you don’t want the band grabbing the food before your guests or being so drunk they can’t perform.
How much a band is likely to cost
- Bands can cost anything from £500 to £5000; but you tend to get what you pay for.
- A band requires a different and bigger PA or sound system than a DJ or iPod. If you have lots of guests and/or a big venue, the PA system will need to be bigger. Outdoor locations require much bigger PA systems than indoor ones. A good PA system for a band with 1-2 sound engineers will cost anything from £250 to £1,000 or more.
- Scrimping on the cost of getting a good band and/or a good PA system will generally mean that your reception will not go well.
- Bigger bands with more musicians will have more power and impact; but they will cost more than a smaller 3-4 piece band. Brass sections and multiple vocalists make a huge difference to the effect of a band on yours and your guests’ enjoyment
- A useful measure to bear in mind when negotiating costs with a band is to imagine how much it would cost if the band and their sound man were all plumbers and you wanted them to work at the weekend for eight or more hours straight, including travel time.
- The Musicians Union’s minimum rate for a musician is £20 ph, meaning seven musicians and a sound man for eight hours would cost £1280 just in labour. Then you have to add the hire cost of PA, lights, staging, etc., plus a small percentage of the band’s overheads to help cover the cost and maintenance of their instruments, amplifiers, vehicles, insurances, marketing and management.
What space is needed to accommodate a band and what Health & Safety matters could there be?
- Most bands will require a stage area of no less then 12’ deep and 16’ wide; but the more space, the better.
- It is best if the performance area is raised. A band will not usually set up on bare, loose or uneven ground.
- At least four separate double power sources to the performance area and at least two separate power sources to the PA desk will be needed. These must be solely for the use of the band and PA. Further power sources may be needed for lighting, catering, etc.
- The band will need a private, secure changing area, where they can store equipment and cases too.
- The band & PA/lighting will need parking for at least four vehicles; this needs to be close to the stage area and secure. If it is an outdoor event the band will need covered access and stable, dry walkways from vehicle to stage access in case it rains or snows.
- It is very important that all guests, especially children, are kept well away from the music and PA equipment, as it can be very dangerous if not handled properly.
- Nobody but the band and sound engineers must be allowed to enter the performance area
Think about when and where the band will need to set up
- The band will need to set up and do a ‘sound-check’ before they perform. This whole process can take up to two hours or more, especially if sound problems are encountered; which is more likely in venues that are not designed for live music.
- Some bands can do the set up quietly while your guests eat; but a sound-check is always loud and disruptive. This is a particular problem when the wedding and/or meal/speeches are in the same place as the band entertainment and disco.
- If you want a band to arrive, set-up and sound-check before your guests arrive, this will mean they will have to wait around for a long time before they play and this will cost more.
Legal and administrative stuff
- Always insist on a written and signed contract and a proper invoice.
- Make sure the band provides a written contract and invoice and that they have Public & Product Liability insurance and that all their equipment is PAT-tested.
- Know your public and employer’s liabilities and those of the venue re your guests and anybody you hire.
- The band will sometimes expect to have been paid in full before they perform.
- Bands may require a deposit of up to 25% of the total fee to be paid at the time of booking.
- Always get a receipt when money changes hands.
- Always book the band at least three months before your wedding date and preferably six months before.
Other suppliers or services to consider
- Photography for the reception (not just the ceremony)
- Electrician / Generator
Miscellaneous things to think about
- The band will need access to food and plenty of water. It takes a lot of energy and hydration to perform music live for two hours plus.
- You can ask the band’s front person to read out special messages.
- The band will usually learn and play a specific song for your first dance, at no extra cost.
- Don’t try to control what songs the band play; choosing different songs for a band to learn/play is much more complicated and difficult than it may appear.
Pink Wedding Venues would like to, sincerely, thank Rupert and The Disco Prophets for sharing these tips - loads to think about and some valuable advice that we'd never thought of!
The Disco Prophets opened the proceedings, on stage, at Nottingham Pride 2014 this summer. For a taste of how brilliant this band are, click on their image which will take you to the YouTube video of the gang at Nottingham Pride. We love them!!
If you need a top-drawer disco band that is sure to get everyone dancing at your function, festival, party or wedding, just book The Disco Prophets! As one happy customer said recently, "....the groove is irresistible....."
To see more - here's The Disco Prophet's Website
And here's their FaceBook Page!
Mustn't forget Twitter too!
Of course, you can also contact Rupert by calling him on: 07825 702798 and he'll be pleased to answer any questions you may have.