So you’re organizing an event – whether that’s a wedding, a charity ball, or a corporate function – and you’ve decided you’re going to have a live band to provide the music and entertainment.
From here there’s two routes you can take: you can either source and book your live band via an Agency or book your live band or wedding entertainment directly. In this article we’ll look at the advantages of using an Agency to book your live band.
So What Is An Entertainment Agency?
An Entertainment Agency is an organization that specializes in providing live entertainment of all types to clients for events. So this will not just be bands for dancing to (commonly called party bands or function bands) but they’ll also supply steel bands, pianists, harpists, string quartets, tribute bands, jazz bands and more.
Some Agencies also supply non-music related acts and entertainment – magicians, street dancers, pick pockets, face painters, caricaturists., casino tables, circus acts ranging from stilt walkers to sword swallowers and more.
Entertainment Agencies also go by the name of party planners, event organizers or event co-ordinators
How Exactly Does Booking A Live Band With An Entertainment Agency Work?
When you make contact with an Agency they will ask you for some details of your event – eg the date and location of the event, the approximate number of guests attending, the preferred style of music required, set up and finish times and the approximate duration of the ‘dancing’ part of the evening.
Then they will try and match your requirements with a number of bands that are on their books, get ballpark quotes from bands that have availability that matches the date of your function, and then get back to you with quotes and information for two or three different bands.
If you decide that one of these bands matches your requirements then the Agency will send contracts to both you and your chosen band and organize getting payment from you and paying the band. In the run up to the event the Agency will also liaise between you and the band, making sure that essential information like maps, song requests, timings etc are all passed on from you to the band.
So What Are The Advantages Of Using An Agency?
The first advantage of using an Agency is that they act as a filter. If you do a search on Google for a band – say you type in “Live Band for Weddings, London” – Google will return literally thousands of results. And the majority of those bands that Google returns are average at best. Wading through the thousands of results to find the good bands – and the handful of great ones – can be a frustrating, time consuming task.
But that’s where an Agency comes in. Because they’ve already filtered through the thousands of bands out there and have their own list of bands they recommend to clients. As with all businesses an Agency likes either repeat clients – or clients who come to them by word of mouth – so its in their own interests to recommend the best bands possible so that the Client – ie you – is happy.
The second advantage of using an Agency is the time they save. Not only do they save time in coming up with a shortlist of bands, but they save time once you have selected a band. The Agency draws up the contracts. The Agency deals with the Invoicing and financial side of the event. And if you have questions or special requests to pass onto the band they’ll deal with that too.
The third advantage of using an Agency is in the event that something goes wrong. If for some reason the band you’ve chosen has to pull out of the event, then the Agency should be quickly able to find a replacement band that’s similar in size, quality and price.
Are There Any Disadvantages In Using An Entertainment Agency?
An Entertainment Agency is a service based business – the service being the finding of suitable entertainment for your event, drawing up contracts, dealing with the finances and any questions or issues that arise in the run up to the actual event.
As you would expect the provision of this service has a financial cost. And that’s the main disadvantage of using an Entertainment Agency – it WILL cost you more than booking a live band directly. How much more will depend on the Agency you’re using. Some charge a flat fee. Some charge a percentage on top of the band’s fee.
There’s something else you need to know about Agencies in general before you decide to book a band via an Agency.
Caveat: Not All Agencies Are Equal
Just as there are great bands, good bands and average bands the quality of Agencies differs too. Some are great, really helpful, with excellent staff that know what they’re talking about. And some aren’t.
If you decide to use an Agency make sure they’re well know, have a good reputation, or that they’ve personally been recommended to you by someone who’s used the Agency before. That way you can make sure you’re in the hands of professionals.
There are literally thousands of bands out there, so if this is the first time you’ve organized an event using an Entertainment Agency can make sense in that they can filter out the mediocre bands plus they can take the responsibility of dealing with all the contractual and financial issues.
But this service has a financial implication – booking a live band via an Agency will cost more than booking a live band directly.