Band Setup: From a Band Leader's Perspective
So you've booked your band (hopefully us!), or you are at the enquiry stage. Venue: Sorted - Dress: Sorted - Guest List: Sorted; and you're just wondering how the band will go about setting up in the evening. How long it will take and how much space they will need? There are probably a multitude of other questions that also need answering - which we will try to clear up here.......
In most cases our wedding couples have secured the venue before booking the band - but just in case you haven't, there are a few things you should definitely consider. Firstly, what size band are you going to book and how much floor space does your venue have? Most larger wedding venues have ample performance space suitable for all sizes of band, but for some smaller, more intimate venues, band size is really something you should consider.
The Manytones offer a range of band sizes from 4 up to 10 piece - so we can cater for all needs and budgets. However, don't worry our obsess over space too much, musicians can be quite resourceful if absolutely necessary!
We have outlined estimates of band size space requirements below. It's always worth speaking with the band leader if you are concerned about size, as these estimates are generous (without being over-liberal) and some compromise may be able to be achieved.
Four Piece Band: Bass, Drums, Keys and Vocal: 4m wide x 3m deep
Five and Six Piece Band: Bass, Drums, Keys, Guitar, Sax, Vocal: 5m wide x 3m deep
Seven and Eight Piece Band : Bass, Drums, Keys, Guitar, Horn Section: 5m wide x 4m deep
Space requirements also include space for lighting, DJ etc.
Venue Stages and Dance-floors:
Some venues will erect a stage for you as part of your wedding package. Just be sure to check that the stage meets the space requirements above so that your band can be accommodated. If you are in any doubt - we are perfectly happy to work without a stage (as are most bands) as we have the necessary lighting and equipment to make our show a spectacle regardless.
Certain venues will also provide a dance floor (or you may have decided to hire one in.) Normally these will be put together during the room turn around, or before the guests have arrived. Again - just be clear to leave enough space for the band to setup. If in doubt - ask your wedding coordinator or dance-floor supplier to speak to your band leader before the event and they will work together to make everything fit seamlessly.
As a rule we should be ready to go in approximately an hour. We always strive for the quickest setup possible but you should also take the following into account:
(1) How easy is access and parking to the venue?
(2) Is the room being used for both the Wedding Breakfast and the evening entertainment? If so, is there a turnaround? (See below for explanation*)
We will work with your venue and liaise with your wedding coordinator/planner to make sure things run as smoothly as possible.
*A room turnaround is when your guests are required to vacate the room in which your wedding breakfast has been held so hotel/venue staff can clear tables/install a dance floor and get the room ready for the evening reception.
Every band worth their salt wants a premium sound on stage – so a sound check is essential. Sound checks normally take around 15 minutes and barring any exceptional circumstances will be performed during the setup process. We aim to minimise disruption to guests when sound checking (i.e. when the room or venue is clear) and will take good care to not interrupt speeches or any formal proceedings. Its vitally important a good sound check is performed to ensure a smooth evening which brings us on to the next point…….
A number of venues (due to licensing/legal residential requirements) have a Sound Limiter installed which reduces the maximum volume output of a given band. There is always a totally workable solution around this – and we’ve worked with countless db limiters on our travels. However, it is worth mentioning in advance to your band so suitable plans can be made. We always watch the limiter during sound checks and ensure we comply, even if sometimes it means asking the drummer to play with hot rods (drum sticks designed to reduce overall volume!) This is not something the venue or the band can influence as it is a legal requirement!
Of course in the lead up to your Wedding, the band leader will be in touch with your event or wedding coordinator to smooth out all of these points so you needn’t worry too much.
A question we commonly face, is regarding the power supply for the band. Marquee/Outdoor performances often require the use of a generator, but for us its relatively simple. We would simply need two sockets (one either side of the stage area) that take standard 240v plugs. Our equipment runs using the same power source as any household equipment.
Refreshments and Changing Room Space
Any band will perform better if they are looked after! Refreshments (soft drinks and water) are always greatly appreciated as is a place to get changed – particularly if a female singer is involved. The band will get changed after sound check and will be ready to go in time for your first dance! For tips on your first dance see our first dance blogs.
We always aim to provide full and comprehensive information to your venue in the build up to your wedding. This includes full Public Liability Insurance Documents and PAT Testing certificates (indicating that all of our equipment has been electronically tested and certified)
So don't worry too much. Keep the communication open, get as much information as you can - and ensure Venue, Yourself and Band Leader are all in contact - and it will all run like clockwork.