Frequently Asked Questions
I'm interested in booking a band. How do I get started?
If you're reading this, you're off to a great start! On this website you'll find a ton of information about the fantastic bands we represent, including videos, photos, music samples, song lists, recent client reviews, price ranges and more. For availability and price quotes, or to discuss which of our bands might be the best fit for you, please complete our info request form or call our office at 866-726-4455 to provide some basic information about your plans. One of our booking managers will respond quickly (generally within one business day) to discuss the details of your event, offer band recommendations and direct you to their demo materials on our site. In addition, we can often put you in touch with client references who can answer your questions about their experiences working with our company and our bands. Our goal is to offer you great band recommendations, answer all of your questions, provide as much information and advice as you may want, and generally do our very best to make the band selection process both fun and stress-free!
Why should I hire a band through Sam Hill Entertainment?
We offer a wide variety of fun, unique, and experienced bands that have a proven record of dependability and the ability to delight guests at any sort of special event. Our booking managers have years of experience helping our clients pick the perfect band, and we take pride in being responsive, listening to your needs, asking good questions, and helping you find the best musical match for your event. And after you've booked your band, we stay in touch with you to help facilitate communication and organization of details as your event approaches.
How much do bands cost?
We have a band for almost every budget, and we will help you find one that makes the most sense for you. Local jazz combos or acoustic bands may cost between $750 and $1500, while the region's most popular and exclusive party bands may cost $10,000 or more. On average, most great dance bands for weddings or special events are likely to cost between $2500 and $7500.
You will find a general price range for each band on our site based on the location of your event. This range is intended to be a helpful guideline as you gather information, rather than a price quote. The actual price of a band for any specific event will depend on factors such as the size and popularity of the band, the season and date of the event, the location of the event and travel distance for the band, and the equipment and logistical requirements of the performance. Please contact us for specific price quotes.
Does a band provide all their instruments and sound equipment?
Bands provide instruments and sound equipment at almost all weddings and special events. This equipment typically provides an appropriate level of sound for up to several hundred guests, and is included in the price of the band. For larger events requiring more substantial sound reinforcement, a band can either sub-contract a larger sound production team for an additional fee or work with a sound production vendor that you provide.
Does the band provide lighting? If so, what kind?
Most wedding and special event bands provide a basic lighting system which includes one or more light stands and generally illuminates the band's performance area. It is not intended as decor lighting for the whole event space, such as uplighting for walls or tented areas or spotlighting on tables or dance floor areas. A band's light stand(s) typically include several white or colored lights (LED or par cans). Some bands may be able to adjust the size and scope of the lighting they bring depending on the size of the event, crowd, or venue. If you plan to work with a lighting company and would prefer for them to handle all lighting decor, including the band's performance area, the band can forego their lights. Please note that many smaller bands, such as acoustic, bluegrass or jazz groups typically do not provide lighting.
How long can I expect the band to play?
Wedding and special events bands typically charge one fee for up to a 4-hour "block" of event time (ex. 7pm - 11pm), which includes the band's performance sets and any breaks. Most dance and party bands do not charge on a per-hour basis, the way soloists or smaller musical acts sometimes do. All wedding and special event party bands that bring their own sound equipment can DJ a pre-set playlist on these breaks via iPod or mp3 player that either the band or you can provide. Bands will always attempt to schedule any break around a "natural break" in the event schedule, such as dinner service, speeches or toasts, cake cutting, etc. In most cases, the actual time spent on stage can vary from 3 hours to 3 1/4 hours depending on the schedule and flow of a 4-hr timeline, with typical sets averaging from 45 to 75 mins each (usually 3-4 sets), and breaks averaging 15-25 mins each (2-3 breaks). Every band will always try to adjust their performance set and break schedule to fit the flow of your event. Some bands also offer a three hour continuous music (no breaks) booking option, and most bands can offer overtime options beyond four hours for an additional fee.
What does the band's fee include?
We want our band bookings to be as all-inclusive as possible. Typically, a band fee includes the following:
- up to four hours of contracted time from start to finish including performance sets and breaks.
- all instruments and sound/lighting equipment
- equipment set-up prior to event and breakdown afterward
- travel and lodging expenses
The only other band costs that clients typically incur are for meals and non-alcoholic beverages during the event, any mandatory parking fees, tolls, and any other special requests noted in the band's contract rider. There is no sales tax involved in booking a band. Most of the time, food and water or soft drinks for the band will be the only additional cost a client is asked to cover.
Each band has a rider (included as part of the contract) that outlines specific technical, hospitality and logistical requests. Most of these can be provided by your venue, such as performance area, electrical needs, dressing room and bathroom access, etc. Contract riders are specific to each band, so requests will vary. Unusual setup requests or performance overtime periods will also incur reasonable additional fees for musician and crew time.
How far in advance should I book a band?
Weddings and special events planned on Saturdays during the spring and fall seasons often book one year or more in advance. We usually start hearing from clients planning for the most popular Saturday dates well over a year in advance, and the general booking season for bands in the wedding and special event industry is usually eight to 15 months before a Saturday or holiday weekend event date. Events on days other than Saturdays typically do not book quite as far in advance. We work with many clients who plan events (even weddings) on a shorter timeline (two to six months in advance) and we usually have some great bands to recommend for any date, even last minute. As a general guideline, the most popular and in-demand bands often get booked early and fewer acts are available for events booked closer to the date. So the further in advance you can book, the more options you'll have to consider. Get started early!
I'm ready to book a band. What happens now?
When you are ready to book your band, we will request the information from you that we need to prepare a contract, and send you the contract documents by email. We ask that you sign and return the contract documents along with a deposit, generally within one week unless other arrangements are necessary. In most cases, band bookings require a 50% advance deposit, but that may vary at times depending on the nature of the event and how far in advance it is booked. The bandleader will sign the contract as well, and we will send you a completed copy for your records. Once we have received your signed contract documents and deposit, you can rest easy, knowing that you've officially booked your band.
Does Sam Hill Entertainment work with DJs?
Sam Hill Entertainment does not represent DJs. We specialize in booking bands and live musicians. We recommend you consult with your venue or event coordinator for DJ recommendations in your area..
Do you book musicians for wedding ceremonies too? Can my reception band also play either at my ceremony or cocktail hour?
Sam Hill Entertainment primarily offers live music for festive occasions like wedding receptions and other parties that need a fun band to get people dancing. Some reception bands do offer ceremony and cocktail music options, and your booking manager can provide more details. If your band does not offer this, we may be able to recommend other resources depending on your geographic area. We also suggest you ask your venue or event coordinator for local recommendations for ceremony and/or cocktail hour.
Can I get a discount for booking more than one group?
All of the bands booked by Sam Hill Entertainment set their own fees and book independently from one another. Therefore, we are unable to offer a discount for booking multiple bands.
Where is Sam Hill Entertainment based?
Our home office is located in Charlottesville, VA. However, we have booking managers based in New York, North Carolina and Georgia, and the bands that we represent are based all over the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States. So if you're planning an event anywhere from New York to New Orleans, we can offer you lots of great band options. In addition, many of our bands regularly fly to destinations across the country, so if your budget allows we can make our bands available for an event anywhere in the US.