10 Ways Your Band Can Get Wedding Gigs
10 Ways Your Band Can Get Wedding Gigs
Whilst many musicians are seeking the ultimate creative outlet and want to make a living from performing original music, it is worth remembering that being in cover bands and performing at weddings is not something to be scoffed at. Playing wedding music is a great way to earn a crust so that you can dedicate the rest of your free time working towards your real musical ambitions.
But, performing in wedding bands and cover bands isn't just a case of picking up your instrument and sticking a website up... at least if you want to earn good money from doing it.
The Top 10 Tips
Get more wedding gigs!
Here are the top 10 things we recommend you concentrate on for making your covers band a successful one:
10. Good Quality Audio & Video!
Whether the audio is live or recorded in a studio make sure it does you justice. Pick at least 3 songs from your repertoire that show a good cross section of the style of music you are capable of performing and record them to the very best of your ability. Make sure everything is in tune (sounds obvious... but is unbelievably often overlooked!)!
With regards video, the most effective ones show your guests having a great time and tearing up the dance floor and also you guys in the band looking happy and energetic. Again, make sure the sound quality is at the very least good.
9. Good Quality Photos!
There's nothing worse than the photo of a band sitting round a table in the pub with pints on the table and looking like they've just finished a 12 hour stint on a building site! Make an effort! Try to find a good location and dress for the occasion... and no, it doesn't have to be suit and tie if that isn't the style of your band. But, look smart. Who would really want to hire a 'trampy' looking person to perform as their wedding entertainment?
8. High Quality Equipment!
Make sure you have reliable and high quality sound and lighting equipment (this should incorporate the PA as well). It goes a long way to be able to advertise yourself as being fully self-contained. Making sure that your sound isn't riddled with feedback or that the vocals won't go loud enough or are muffled is unforgivable... so ensure that you have quality and know how to use it!
Having a great lighting rig is also a fantastic selling point for any band as there are a lot out there who overlook this important, mood-setting factor.
7. A Varied Repertoire!
Weddings are places where 9 times out of 10 the age range will be anything from 4 year old nephews and nieces to 90 year old grandparents... and, brides and grooms realise this. Whilst they themselves may be of a younger generation and love Kings of Leon, Slipknot or The Killers, they do know that having this all night will not make the event enjoyable for all. So, try to build a songlist that covers every decade... every decade had cool music don't forget, so it doesn't necessarily have to be the 'same old, same old' because by boxing clever you can still build a great setlist... but, one that will also keep your audiences on the dance floor and not deter the happy couple from booking your wedding band in the first place.
6. Offer Extras!
Everybody loves extras... especially free ones! Why not do something as simple as have an iPod with pre-recorded party music that you can press 'play' on when you are not performing? Offer this as a free extra so that a bride and groom do not necessarily have to hire a DJ. Every little helps.
Or, offer to learn a free request / song. Let the bride and groom request their first dance and offer to learn it for nowt!
Or, offer free 1am finishes... there's plenty of scope but these little bits can often be the deciding factor between you being picked and another covers band.
5. Get Testimonials!
Make sure that from every wedding or party you play at you get some customer feedback. It's a case of building a relationship up with the customer before their event and then afterwards, providing they are happy, get some words written down. Let them know how important it is for you and how it is really helpful to ensure you can secure more work. Customers more often than not have no problem with providing a written testimonial that you can use for new clients.
4. Reliable Transportation!
Make sure your van, car... or, whatever, is reliable! Don't buy the cronkiest, rustiest old bucket you can find as it will cost you more in repairs and reputation than it's worth. Obviously, having a brand spanking new car or van still doesn't guarantee a problem free existence unfortunately, so also make sure you are a member of the AA or RAC etc. In fact, it can be a good idea to sign up with 2 different breakdown services if possible. The reason for this is that if you breakdown on the way to a wedding event you can firstly get towed to your destination and still reach the gig (and get paid!). Then, using the other breakdown recovery service you can at least then get towed home after the event and not have to spend your pay on inconvenient overnight accommodation.
It's also invaluable to have a good satellite navigation system so that you can find venues easily without having to follow maps and risk being late.
3. A Good, Reputable Agent!
Whilst there are some shockingly bad entertainment agencies out there that will treat you as nothing more than a pound sign, there are also some good agents too. The good ones will shine through when you apply to sign up with them as they won't just accept you at a glance. They will want to know more about your band and maybe make you jump through a few hoops. This is all part of their quality control... after all, why should they invest in you if you can't be bothered investing in yourself. A good entertainment agency will be able to get you some great gigs that you wouldn't have probably gotten yourself as they have many contacts, customers and possibly spend quite a bit more marketing and advertising in the relevant sector than you do. Just make sure you check their terms before signing up... if they a) charge you to join, or, b) don't have any terms... RUN A MILE!
2. A Decent Website!
Yep, if you have great audio, great video, snazzy photos and a brilliant repertoire then you now just need a good website to put it all on! You can go down the route of MySpace etc. but in my personal opinion, customers know that this is a free option and shows a certain lack of commitment and belief in your product. Plus, they never look as good as a dedicated website as you can avoid advertising and any negative connotations associated with the freebie sites.
1. Think Outside the Box and Make it Original!
Yes, I know, a paradox in terms... how can a covers band be original?! Well, there are plenty out there who are... and, quite often these are the ones that earn the most because they stand out from the crowd and make the customer feel like they are getting something unique... but tested. You don't just have to be formulaic and do what 90% of the cover bands and wedding bands out there are doing. Try to approach it from your own unique perspective and do something that makes you stand out. It just means having a think.
Written by Warble Entertainment
A Band Thinking 'Outside the Box'
The band in the video above have taken cover bands and wedding bands to a new level by adding an element of 'cool'. When you ask most people what a wedding band is, they say it's a cheesy looking band in suits, more often than not with a female singer. These guys dress more casually, look like they are having fun and have a great contemporary sound. Watching the video gives you an idea what they are about and you can imagine the fun atmosphere they'd create at a wedding.
Funky Jazzy and Modern
Genre crossing is also a great way to get noticed. The guys in the video above have a jazzy/funky/upbeat sound but are playing '7 Nation Army' by The White Stripes... adding their style to this and you have a really great combination for a wedding band that create a talking point and will leave guests mesmerised.
A Typical Wedding Band?
Finally, the band in the example above have all the elements of being a more stereotypical wedding band. BUT, the choice of song that they are performing and the way the guys have dressed more casually and in a 'cooler', much more modern style, gives them a contemporary edge. They have taken note of the age group of the brides and grooms they are aiming to get bookings from.
Listen to your audience!
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Please feel free to leave any further suggestions as to how a band can secure more wedding gigs...