Here are some of the questions we get asked the most frequently. If you can't find what you're looking for, please get in touch.
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Q: Can my boyfriend's band play a set while you take a break?
A: No problem, but we do need to make the necessary arrangements in advance so that we're not all tripping over each other on the night. You're welcome to use our PA and lights but we normally suggest you bring your own instruments and plug them into our sound system. We'll mix the sound for you, so all you need to do is play like rock stars!
Q: What happens is a member of the band is ill?
A: On busy nights we book extra musicians either to be on 'standby' or to come along and sit in with the band (at no extra cost to you of course). So, if the worst happens, we've already got it covered. If find yourself with an extra musician or two on stage, that's almost certainly why. We hope you'll think of it as an added bonus!
On top of this, many of the musicians in our bands are multi-instrumentalists. Most of the guitarists are also able to play bass guitar for example, and some of them also play keyboards as well. And more often than not, they're amazing singers too. Having one or two of these super-versatile chaps on standby means you're not only guaranteed the band will be there if bubonic plague hits our shores, but you'll also be blissfully unaware; we rotate the musicians around regularly to make sure everyone knows what everyone else does and their musical 'chops' are fully up to scratch on every instrument.
Q: How can I be sure you'll be amazing on stage?
A: We think there are three things that make a great live band.
First it's musical ability. If a musician is totally confident with their instrument, they can focus on delivering a great stage performance. Musical director Ed Dewson chooses all the musicians personally, and he's well qualified to do so. He's classically trained, with Grade 8 in two instruments, a degree in Music and Electronics, and a Masters in Music. He has 30 years' experience as a band leader, auditioning, employing and working alongside some amazing musicians.
Second, it's crucial that the band enjoy what they do. If we're having fun on the stage, you and your guests will have fun on the dancefloor. It's a privilege to make music for a living. So anyone who is just going through the motions won't cut it in any of our bands.
Finally, we always remember that it's your night. We may have worked with plenty of rock stars and celebrities, but we're not there to massage our own egos. We're there to entertain you and your guests. Of course we love it when you clap, cheer, sing along and dance like no one's watching. But there are no Prima Donnas in any of our bands, and no one's going to have a strop because all the blue smarties weren't removed from the bowl in the dressing room.
Q: Is your quote an all inclusive price or are there any extras that we should know about?
A: The price we quote is a fixed price. As long as you don't ask us to do anything different (like play at a venue 200 miles further away, or add extra musicians) the price we quote is the price you pay.
Q: Our event is in a temporary marquee? Do we have to make any special electrical arrangements?
A: Yes. We will send you a Tech Spec to pass on to your marquee company, or you can download it yourself here. We're happy to liaise directly with the company if you want us to.
Q: Do we get a proper contract or is it a word of mouth agreement?
A: We confirm all our bookings with a written contract. When you receive it, we ask you to sign one copy of and return to us. You keep the other copy for your records.
Q: Can we use your PA for speeches?
A: Yes. Once the band have set up, you're welcome to use our PA for speeches, toasts or any other announcements.
Q: The price you've quoted seems very high for just three hours work. Why is that?
A: This is the question that all musicians love to answer.
By the time we step on stage we've already loaded up our cars with our own instruments and kit, driven to our warehouse and loaded up the van with the PA and lights, and then driven to the location of the event. We always allow plenty of time to set up, so we usually arrive several hours before we start playing.
At the end of the evening we have do it all again, only in reverse. So you can see why our working days are at least 12 hours, and often much much longer. Not that we're complaining of course, because it's the best job in the world!
Q: What is the difference between the bands?
A: The SEROUS Hat Band and [the top hat band] both have a male lead singer. Sykes has a female lead singer. Everything else is the same, including the repertoire. We even make sure that if one band learns a new song, the other two bands learn it too.
Q: Do you take provisional bookings?
A: No, sorry. We used to but the diary got in a right old muddle with all the TBC bookings.
Now we don't put anything in the diary until you've confirmed and we've accepted the booking. That way, you know you'll never get that "we've made a terrible mistake..." phone call shortly before your big day.
Q: How many people can your sound and lighting equipment cater for?
A: The simple answer to this is, as many as you like. Just let us know the size of your venue and the number of people attending, and we'll bring all the sound and lighting equipment you need. Our own professional standard, touring grade PA equipment is usually sufficient for most events. However, if you need us to hire in extra equipment for bigger events such as charity balls or larger corporate functions, we have excellent relations with the leading sound and lighting suppliers in the country.
For the technically minded amongst you, our in house speakers are Martin Audio and our amplifiers are QSX Audio or Lab Gruppen. Mixing desks and outboard gear are provided by the likes of Allen & Heath, Mackie, DBX, Behringer and Alesis.
Q: Do you need a stage?
A: It's not something we insist on, particularly if it's an event for less than 200 people. But it is nice if there is one available. If there are more than 200 people coming to your event, it can be hard for them to see us without a stage. There can also be problems with the people on the dance floor tripping over our equipment.
Here's a rough guide:
|Up to 200 guests||Stage desirable (but not essential)|
|200 to 300 guests||Stage at least 1 foot high strongly recommended|
|300 to 400 guests||Stage at least 2 foot high strongly recommended|
|400 to 500 guests||Stage at least 3 foot high strongly recommended|
|More than 500 guests||Stage or raised area pretty much essential|
Q: Our venue need to see evidence of Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) and Liability Insurance. Can you provide that?
A: All our equipment is fully PAT Tested to Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (HSR 25) standards. We're also fully insured. We can send the necessary certificates either to you, or directly to your venue if you prefer.
Q: We want to book the band but we don't have all the details fully planned yet. What should we do to make sure we get the date we want?
A: We don't need to know precise details at the time of booking. As long as you know the date for your event, you can make a booking. If you don't know precisely where you event is happening, we can quote for a range of travel options.
Q: Do you charge VAT?
A: No. We used to, but we have recently restructured things so you don't have to pay VAT on top of your booking. It's something to do with each band operating separately... but if you want to know more than that, you'd have to ask our accountant.
Q: Can we choose which songs the band play?
A: Absolutely. Check out our song chooser to pick your playlist and, if there's anything you can't find, let us know and we'll learn it for you.
We have lots of experience in choosing the songs that get everyone up and dancing. So it's a good idea to remain a bit flexible, and we can always give you a bit of guidance. Just remember to tell us if there are any songs you definitely don't want to hear.
Q: Do the band expect to be bought drinks all night and receive a five course meal?
A: It is usual to feed the band and provide some kind of soft drinks (water is fine). If you're having an evening buffet, and you're happy for the band to discretely help themselves, that's normally sufficient.
Q: How long does it take you to set up and pack down?
A: For a small to medium event, if access is easy, set up and pack down take about 30 minutes each. However, it's good to allow a bit longer just in case something unforseen crops up.
If it's a bigger event (more than a few hundred people) or if access is tricky, give us call and we'll be able to give you a more accurate idea.
Q: How much space do you need?
A: It depends on the size of band you've booked of course, but a practical working space is usually about 3 metres by 6 metres (that's 10' by 20' in old money).
We've played parties in people's front rooms, and we've played big open air festivals. So we can usually work around your venue. However, the more space you give us, the easier it is for us to make it look amazing.
Q: How far in advance should we book?
A: We do get very booked up, especially over the summer and at Christmas. So to be sure of getting the date you want, we suggest you book as early as possible. Bookings are taken on a first come first served basis. However, we do sometimes get last minute cancellations. So even if there's not long to go, it's always worth giving us a call.
Q: What does the quote include?
A: The quote is generally for three 60 minute sets, plus recorded music in the breaks, finishing at at around midnight.
If you need us to play longer, or later, do let us know and we'll factor that into the quote. If we will have to carry our kit a mile across a ploughed field from the car park, we'll have to hire in a couple of strong chaps so the quote will go up a bit. The key thing is to tell us what you need and we'll give you a fixed price quote. Then you know exactly what you're paying.
Q: We've heard horror stories about bands enjoying themselves slightly too much. What is your policy on drinking, partying and so on?
A: We have a very strict No Alcohol rule. It's your party not ours, and our job is to entertain you and your guests.
All the musicians in our bands are professionals, and their livelihood depends on professional standards of behaviour, both on and off stage. All of our bookings come from recommendations, and we know that we're only as good as our last performance.
Q: How do we check if you're available for our date?
A: We don't publish our availability online as that changes from day to day. We don't want people assuming we're free, making plans and then being disappointed to discover we're booked up. So please get in touch and register your interest. Then we know what you're after, and we can let you know if we've had another enquiry for the same day.
Q: Do you mind audience members getting up and singing with the band?
A: We love it, as long as you arrange it with us in advance. That way we can make sure we're adequately insured. We do ask that people singing or playing with band accept reasonable requests and instructions from the band leader. Good natured joining in is most welcome. Drunken stage invasions are not.
Q: Why don't you advertise?
A: We don't advertise because we don't really need to. You may see us featured in the Editorial pages of a glossy magazine from time to time ("Brides" Magazine called us one of the top 30 wedding bands in the UK) but our work generally comes from recommendations, by people who've actually seen the band.
We also don't pay venues, wedding planners, event organisers or agencies to recommend us. We know how the system of "preferred suppliers" works and we want nothing to do with it. Paying somebody to say nice things about you, or to include you in their glossy brochure, isn't really a recommendation. And it's certainly not helpful to clients.
We pride ourselves on doing a great job, both on stage at your event, and with all the organisation that leads up to it. We know that, if you're happy with what we do, you'll go on to recommend us to others.
Q: What equipment do you bring with you? Do we need to supply anything ourselves?
A: Apart from electricity, the band is completely self-contained. We bring all the sound and lighting equipment with us. Unless you're planning to create a complete Saturday Night Fever disco floor effect, our lights will be quite enough for the dancers to strut their funky stuff.
Q: Where are you based and how far are you prepared to travel?
A: We have a warehouse in Enfield (North London) and our office is in Ipswich. Our musicians generally live in London and the South East.
We travel all over the UK, and we play regularly in Europe. In the last few years we've been to France, Monaco, Spain, Italy and Sweden. We've also played in the Middle East. If you're planning an event abroad, please take a look at the international events page for some organisational tips.
We'd rather be out and playing than sitting waiting for work on our doorstep. So do call us and ask us about your event, wherever it is. We're used to spending our nights in the Travelodge or Premier Inn... and we've recently discovered AirBnB.
Q: How much do you charge?
A: We don't have a fixed prices as our costs depend on many factors, the two biggest of which are the costs of paying the individual musicians and the price of transporting them and the kit to your location. The location and timings of the event effect both of those figures so we like to get it right from the get-go. And once we've quoted a price we stick to it (unless you make any dramatic changes to what you want us to do, like moving the event 200 miles further away or asking us to play until 5am of course).
We know it's a nuisance having to request a quote but we hope you'll agree that having an accurate figure from the outset is worth that extra trouble. And don't forget that we're normally available for you seven days a week, so you'll get a reply very quickly.
Q: Our event is taking place abroad. Can you cater for that?
A: Yes, we've played events all around the world including Monte Carlo, Paris, Rome, Mallorca, Dubai and Sweden. Through our existing contacts we can arrange the logistics for events in most countries, and we are developing new links all the time. We have people who are fluent in Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian, Dutch and German amongst our musicians and staff, we so we can usually make ourselves understood.
Phone: 0845 838 5191
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