Five ways to save money when booking a band - a financial plan - part 4

4. Don't ask for early set up

Venues often tell you that it’s better to have the band arrive early in the day to set up and do a sound check, so that they’re out of the way by the time your guests arrive. Normally this is quite unnecessary and will cost you a lot more for nothing.

Where early set up is needed is for a function or covers band with lots of musicians and / or a very large PA system. In this case, the band may be turning up with a pantechnicon full of equipment designed to crack the plaster in the ceiling and make your internals jump up and down to the base notes, along with a set of roadies. This can take ages to set up and causes major disruption, so has to be done before guests are in the room. But for such bands, they will include the extra hours on site in their price, which will be two or three times the price of a jazz band or cost of a Ceilidh band.

But, for smaller covers bands, the typical jazz band and just about all barn dance bands, the equipment is small, light and quick to set up and is set up quietly and unobtrusively immediately before the performance starts. If you want earlier set up you must say this at the time of booking so that it can be included in the contract. Most bands who will set up early will charge extra for doing it, over and above the price that you were quoted. Many bands will not set up early for any price. Other bands may not be able to because they are performing elsewhere earlier in the day.

You must declare this requirement at the beginning. If you ask for early set up after the contract has been completed, the answer is likely to be no, for the reasons stated above.

Remember that any band with PA or other amplification equipment will have to do a sound check before the performance begins. For all bands (other than those who are setting up earlier in the day), this is immediately before the performance. (Even for those who set up early in the day, it may be that roadies or just a couple of band members set up the PA system, so the sound check for the full function band has still to be done just before the performance.

This planning can be particularly important if you are booking a Burns Night Ceilidh Band or a St Patrick's Day Ceili Band, as other things are likely to be happening before the band perform.

So make sure you have allowed for this in your schedule and arranged for your wedding guests be at the bar or having a comfort break when the sound check is taking place.

5. Book Local