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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find a selection of questions we often get asked by clients who are looking to choose the most suitable entertainment for their event. Just click on the questions below to see the answer. If you want more information, or ask a question not included then do not hesitate to contact us.


QUESTIONS

Why have live music at your event?
But aren't DJ's a cheaper option?
What live entertainment options do I have?
How much does a live band cost?
Why should I book a professional band?
When should I book the band?
What is hoedown?
What sort of events have hoedowns?
What do you need to stage a hoedown?
Why have live music at your wedding?


ANSWERS


Why have live music at your event?

There is an inherent power and energy in live entertainment that captivates and appeals to the audience (in this case, your guests). Live music is not only great to listen to, but is also visually entertaining. It creates excitement, energy and fun for your guests. When you hear live music, whether you are at a concert, nightclub or a wedding, it means something special is happening. It naturally draws a crowd and invites people to join in on the fun.

Each year, millions of people pay huge amounts of money to attend concerts to hear their favorite singers or groups perform because they want to feel the energy of the performer. If you go to a club you don't usually rememebr who the DJ is, but if you go to a concert venue you remember the band or artist, not the venue.

Anyway, do you really want to go out and hear someone play the same CDs that you have in your collection at home?

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But aren't DJ's a cheaper option?

Maybe, but when looking for special event entertainment, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that live music is more affordable than they might have thought. The idea that DJ entertainment is always less expensive than live entertainment is perhaps true at the lower end of the mobile DJ market, just the same way that a burger meal is cheaper than good steak dinner. However, by the time you add in an expensive light show, extra dancers and any other gimicks to make their happy meals more palatble, you'll find yourself looking at a far more expensive product.

This not to say that DJ's don't have a place in the entertainment scene, this would be like saying that we should close all burger joints. Hiring a DJ for your event is a bit like buying a big Mac. It has all the elements of food, and it may even taste OK, but you wouldn't get Ronald MacDonald to cater for your special event (unless you are under 13 that is).

According to Bill Sargent, the internationally renowned Wisconsin big band leader, a friend of his once said to him: "DJ's are like buying vanilla and there isn't ten cents difference between them. They all play the same records and flash the same cheap lights at the dance floor. Like McDonald's hamburger they offer a uniform product and service."

Think about it. Is that what you want for your special event?

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What live entertainment options do I have?

The entertainment you choose will depend on what you want (after all it is your event) but you should consider the suitablity for the type of event you are organising. You may be a heavy metal 'screamo' fan, but booking your favourite band might not be the best idea for your wedding reception as the rest of your family and friends might not have the same tastes as you.

Some types of entertainment are more suitable for certain events than others. For instance there is a long tradition in this country of having ceilidh or barn dances for wedding receptions. This is becuase they act as a natural ice breaker between the the families and friends of the bride and groom. This doesn't mean you have to stick to one formular though. You can mix and match to suit your tastes. For instance you could have a hoedown (or barn dance) for the first part of the evening, followed by a covers set after a food break.

We can advise you on the options and give you the benefit of our experience in providing music for all kinds of events over the years.

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How much does a live band cost?

The price of a band varies depending upon your requirements and location of the event. You should select the size of band to suit the size of your audience as well as the size of the venue. You wouldn't put a six piece line-up into your living room or put an solo harp player into the Albert Hall.

A good indication of the size band you need is the size of the audience. For audiences up to fifty then a duo or trio will suffice, while if you are expecting over 200 then you should be looking at a six piece band or larger. The bigger the audience, the bigger the venue and the more sound you need to give an exciting live music experience. This means not only more players but more PA and support staff (like sound and lighting technicians). It all evens out in the end if you divide the fee by the number of people present, the same as you would for the food.

Of course every occasion is unique and as such fees vary according to factors such as:

  • how long you want the band to play for
  • location of the event
  • size of the venue
  • if you require extra services and/or specialist equipment (e.g. covers set, recorded music after the dancing, extra lighting etc)

The cost for professional bands ranges from about 700 to over 2,000 depending on the location of the event, the size of the band, the type and reputation of the band and the size of the audience. At AMS we can give you a personalised quote to you ensure that you are getting value for money regardless of the size of your event.

It is interesting to note that statistics show that, when asked, over 80% of guests say the thing they remember most about events they have attended is the entertainment. So if your budget will allow it, then extra money spent on a bigger/better band is money well spent.Go to top...


Why should I book a professional band?

And why should you pay out for a pro band when you can get an amateur band to play your event for a much smaller fee? We all know people who play music in their spare time, who might even do it for free!

There are actually two reasons that this approach can be a recipe for disaster. The first is that an amateur band may pull out of your gig at short notice. You trust your mate who's in the band, what what about the rest. It's not uncommon for us to get desperate calls from clients who've been let down at the last minute. There are all sorts of reasons that this might happen, ranging from family problems, holidays, and unexpected work commitments. We've even had situations where a band member has been offered a better gig and pulled out. A professional band needs to protect their reputation and will have backup musicians in the case that one member is not available due to some extraordinary situation.

When you book an AMS band you get a written contractsto confirm the agreement made when we accept a booking. In common with any agreement between two parties, it can only be legally cancelled with the consent of both parties. Please note that all the musicians in the band are members of the Musicians' Union and we have used its legal department to vet the contract to ensure that it is fair and binding on both parties.

A more prosaic reason for using professionals is that they will have the appropriate Public Liability Insurance (PLI) cover. Many venues will insist that the band presents a valid PLI certificate before they will be allowed to set up. Using professionals you will be assured that your entertainers not only turn up and put on a good show, but will have the experience and expertise to make sure the their part of the event is safe and you don't get landed with an expensive legal bill if something goes wrong.

For peace of mind it pays to stick with the professionals.

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When should I book the band?

you need to give yourself enough time to find the performers you want, performers who are in-sync with the kind of music you and your guests enjoy. Like most things in life, the good ones get booked early, as much as a year or more in advance for a good band in the prime wedding period (April through October). There are also other times when you may find it a good idea to book early such as around St Patrick's night (March 17), Burns' Night (the end of January) and of course on New Years Eve,

You can begin by setting and then searching by geographical criteria. Book early. Eight to twelve months ahead of time will give you a good chance of getting the group you want. You can book the entertainment as soon as you have decided on a date and venue. If you haven't confirmed the venue booking, you can also ask the band to hold your date for a limited period of time.

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What is hoedown?

The name hoedown derives from the mid west of America where agricultural workers would have a little party at the end of a working day as a form of entertainment. So the would put their hoe down and pick a fiddle for a little bit of dancing or a singalong. These events would often take pace in the largest building around - a barn - thus we get 'barn dance'.

Like the traditional event, The Hoedown Band mixes songs and dances so that the audience get a great night's worth of entertainment which appeals to all age groups.

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What sort of events have hoedowns?

Weddings, parties, anniversaries, festivals, corporate entertainment, fund-raising events and children's parties. No-one is excluded because the dances are demonstrated before the music starts, and are easy enough for everyone to do. No previous dance experience is required.

The music is so catchy that everyone gets into it without feeling embarrassed or awkward. The dancing can be done to your own level, and for as long or short as you wish. If you specify exactly for whom your event is being held, we will select a caller who will be ideally suited to your audience. According to research from Brides Magazine, hoedowns and barn dances are the second most popular form of wedding entertainment in the country.

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What is the difference between a hoedown and a barn dance?

Essentially not very much. Both involve called 'social dances' but a hoedown adds songs to the mix so people can freeform dance between the 'called' dances, sing along or just have a little rest before getting back up on the dance floor.

Everyone can get into a hoedown, be they young or old. The Hoedown Band selects our music and dances, not just for beginners'. But most of our work is for social functions where the lively music and easy steps are a great way to get all your guests dancing and enjoying themselves. It breaks the ice when the audience may not know each other, which is especially importantant at weddings.

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What do you need to stage a hoedown?

Not much, really. Hoedowns take place anywhere there are dancers. They are normally indoors, though they have also been done in marquees, barns, and occasionally even something as seemingly unsuitable as a car park! No matter where it is, you must make sure you can provide a power supply consisting of at least one safe mains socket (13 Amp). Space to dance is also required which is level, relatively smooth and free from obstacles so the dancers don't trip over.

The Hoedown Band is entirely 'self-contained' which means that we can provide our own PA (amplification) systems and lighting (if that is required). Just make sure your guests know what they are coming to so that they can select suitable footwear, and they are sure to have a great time.

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Why have live music at your wedding?

Well, we would recommend that you have live music for your event wouldn't we, but it's not just us, most brides agreed that live music is best as well. Statistics* that we found on the web recently, from brides surveyed after the date of their wedding, show that this is the case.

  • 72% of all brides say they would have spent more time choosing their reception entertainment.
  • Almost 100% say they would have spent more of their budget on the entertainment.
  • During wedding planning, Brides say their highest priority is reception entertainment is among the least of their priorities. Within one week after their reception, 78% of Brides say they would have made the entertainment their highest priority!
  • When asked 81% of guests say the thing they remember most about a wedding is the entertainment.
  • "Feedback from our clients indicates that the bride and groom consider the entertainment to be between 70 and 90% responsible for the success of their receptions"
*Sources include: Simmons, USA Today, National Bridal Service, The Knot, Brides Magazine, PR Web.

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