Communicating with the Band

  1. When will I hear from the band?
  2. If you’re planning a wedding ceremony and reception, we’ll put you in touch with your band 60 days prior to your event.

    We will also provide a planning questionnaire which will help you pull together all the info the band needs to prepare for your event. Once complete, you’ll submit that to the bandleader to begin the planning conversation, which can include song selection, reception schedule, logistics, and other details.

    If you’re planning a corporate function, private party or another type of event, we’ll put you in touch 30 days prior.

  3. I want to contact the band before the 30- or 60-day mark specified above. Can you help me?
  4. We understand your desire to get a jump on the planning process. However, our bands follow the designated 30- and 60-day timeline above because it allows them to fully focus on events taking place in the near future. Don’t worry; each band has a proven formula for taking care of everything within the specified planning window.

    If you have a pressing question that you feel cannot wait until we connect you with the band, please contact our support team and we’ll do our best to field your question.

  5. The contract rider says I need to provide a meal for the band. Is this necessary?
  6. Yes. In most cases, the band is traveling to your location, and in order to maintain their schedule, they can’t lose setup or performance time in search of food. We request that you provide a meal on-site, and a vendor-prepared meal is preferred, but some bands will accept a reasonable per-person meal buyout if a meal isn’t available on-site.

    If you are able to provide a meal on-site, please know that you don’t need to provide the same meal that your guests are enjoying. Please ask your venue or caterer what they can offer, as many will provide a less expensive vendor meal option. A hot meal is preferred, but the band will appreciate any well-balanced, nutritious meal you can provide. Please do avoid pizza or fast food – a healthy balanced meal will help sustain your band’s energy as they entertain you and your guests!

    Bands usually try to eat prior to their performance or after their first set. You can discuss the meal timing and any diet restrictions once we connect you with the band.

  7. What will the band wear?
  8. This depends on the atmosphere of your event. Male performers typically wear suits or slacks and a collared shirt, and female performers have a wide range of formal and evening wear to choose from. Tuxes may be available upon request. You can discuss this with your band before your event.

  9. Do we get a face-to-face meeting with the band?
  10. Unfortunately, no. Sit-down meetings are difficult to arrange given the band’s geographic location, performance schedule and personal commitments. However, each band is accustomed to and very capable of covering all planning details via phone and email.

    Song List

  11. Can I get a copy of the band’s current song list?
  12. Yes. Visit our website at any time to view a current, up-to-date song list for every one of our bands. Select your band at the top-right of any page on our site, then scroll down to find a link to the songlist on the right-hand side.

  13. What is the best way to specify song list requests?
  14. Our bands are experts at choosing the right song for the right point in the evening, so you don’t need to put together a full playlist for your event. Once we connect you with your band, you will have the opportunity to provide them with requests from their existing song list, as well as any songs that you do NOT want to hear. This will give them all the direction they need, and they’ll do their best to accommodate your preferences.

  15. Will the band learn a song that’s not on their song list?
  16. Unless otherwise specified, our bands will be glad to learn one song for you at no additional charge. Please note this applies to wedding receptions only. The song should fit the band’s style and instrumentation (i.e. don’t ask your Motown band to learn Dueling Banjos). Every request is subject to approval by the band, and any additional requests need to be discussed with the bandleader.

    You will need to submit your request to the band 6-8 weeks before the event. If the band is not able to accommodate your request, they will be happy to play the original recording via iPod.

  17. Will the band send me a recording of them performing my first dance song request in advance?
  18. The band cannot make advance recordings of first dance requests due to their busy performance schedule, personal obligations, and the costs involved with recording studios. Rest assured that our musicians are incredibly skilled, and they'll do their best to replicate the song as closely as possible.

    If your wedding date approaches and you're still concerned, please know that your band can always play the original version of the song through their speakers. Many couples prefer this option for choreographed dances.

  19. Can one of the guests play or sing a song during the band’s break?
  20. This shouldn’t be a problem if he or she only needs to use a microphone or two. This presents more of an issue if they need to plug in an instrument or do anything that requires reconfiguring equipment on stage, as the band will be on break. You'll be able to discuss this in more detail with the bandleader.


  21. How many breaks does the band take and how long are they?
  22. If you plan a 4-hour performance or longer, your band will need at least 45 minutes of total break time. They can schedule this break time any number of ways to fit the flow of your event, provided no performance set is longer than 75 minutes. For example, you could schedule three 15­-minute breaks, two 20­ to­ 25­-minute breaks, or a 30-­minute break during dinner with a 15-­minute break later in the evening. If your schedule calls for more than 45 minutes of downtime for the band, they can certainly accommodate that.

    If you plan a 3-­hour performance or less, your band will not require as much break time. In most cases, the band will take a 25­-30 ­minute break in the middle of the performance. Two 10­-15 ­minute breaks could also work if that better suits your schedule.

    It is common for breaks to coincide with dinner, toasts, cake­-cutting, etc.

  23. What music will the band provide while on break?
  24. Most bands provide a pre-set, varied mix of recorded music that corresponds to the flow of the event. For example, a dinner break will feature quieter music that does not interfere with conversation, while a late-evening music break will be lively and danceable.

    The mix of recorded music is not limited to the band's song list.

    Want to work some of your own favorite songs into your event? You’re welcome to provide your own break mix on an iPod. Just let the band know in advance.

  25. Can the band play recorded music before their performance?
  26. Most bands can play recorded music between the time they complete set-up and the time they start performing. Simply let them know if this is your preference.

  27. Can the band play recorded music after their performance?
  28. Yes, but keep in mind that they can’t begin to break down their equipment and load their vehicles while doing so. This will lead to more time on site, which may be considered overtime and could carry extra fees. It’s best to discuss this with your bandleader prior to the event.

  29. How much time does the band need to set up and soundcheck their equipment?
  30. Anywhere between one and three hours. The specific needs of your band will determine the time they need access to your venue.

    If you plan to hire a small group, like an acoustic duo, jazz combo, or bluegrass band, an hour might be enough time because their equipment is smaller and set-up is less involved.

    If you plan to hire a large dance band with drums, a full sound system, lighting, etc., you can expect them to need 2-3 hours to set up and soundcheck their equipment.

    Keep in mind that the band will need time to dress and perhaps eat following set-up and prior to performance. Bands will often specify the time they need for set-up in their contract rider.

    Please notify us if your venue cannot accommodate the requested access time.

  31. We’re having our ceremony in the same room as the reception. Can the band set up their equipment during cocktail hour while the room is in transition?
  32. Our bands have worked with “room flip” scenarios before and will accommodate your plans as much as possible. Please note that a 60-minute cocktail hour is usually too short if they need to completely load-in, setup, soundcheck, and get dressed during that window of time.

    We recommend that the band have approximately 2 hours to complete the entire setup process. If that’s not possible, it will help if their equipment can be loaded and staged in their performance area, or an adjacent space, prior to the ceremony so most of the "heavy lifting" is done. Sometimes people will bring in pipe and drape enclosures, wall screens, curtains or other some way to conceal the equipment once it's in place so it doesn't visually impact the ceremony setting and photos.

    The band will hustle as much as they can to complete setup in a limited timeframe. Please consult your venue for suggestions on how the band's set-up process can be expedited and how “room flips” have been successfully executed in the past.

  33. Can the band MC my event?
  34. Yes. Your band can play as large or as small a role as master of ceremonies as you’d like. Just be sure to give them a detailed itinerary well in advance, including clear instructions on what to say and what times they need to make announcements.

    If you are asking the band to introduce people or to announce your wedding party, please make someone available in advance to go over names and pronunciations with the bandleader.


  35. Does the band require a tent for an outside performance?
  36. Most bands do require shelter—rain or shine-—to protect them and their equipment during setup and for the duration of the event.

    Your band may stop the performance if inclement weather poses any threat to their equipment or personal safety. For this reason, we strongly encourage appropriate shelter for the band regardless of weather conditions. This saves both you and your band from worry about any last minute surprises or safety concerns.

  37. Does the band bring a stage? If not, do I need to provide one?
  38. Bands do not provide staging. An elevated stage is highly recommended so your band looks and sounds their best. A stage also helps to keep wayward guests and beverages away from valuable instruments and equipment.

    If an elevated stage is not practical for your event, the band will require a dedicated performance space on a solid, level, dry floor or surface. Please refer to your band’s rider and consult with your venue coordinator to confirm that the appropriate performance space is available.

    Most dance bands request a stage or performance area at least 20’ wide x 12’ deep. Larger bands (8 pieces or more) often request an area of 24’ x 16’ or larger. Smaller jazz combos or acoustic groups can fit into a smaller area, often 16’ x 12’ or less.

  39. My venue can’t accommodate the band’s dressing room request. Is this a problem?
  40. Bands appreciate having an area on-site with restrooms nearby so they can change into their performance attire, eat their meals sitting down and rest during breaks. They simply need a designated space so they can stay out of the way of your guests and other vendors.

    For an indoor event, your venue may have a designated room for band use, or you may need to improvise. In the past, venues have offered unused offices, conference rooms, large storage rooms or even pipe-and-drape enclosures to give the band some privacy.

    For an outdoor event, you may consider a separate canopy tent. You don’t need to make elaborate arrangements, and in most cases the band can get dressed in nearby restrooms.

    At a minimum, we ask that you reserve a table and chairs near the performance area for your band’s use. Your venue coordinator should be able to offer suggestions or explain how other bands have handled this in the past.

    Please let us know if you find that no space is available for the band's use so we can convey that information to them.

  41. My venue doesn’t offer vendor parking. Is this a problem?
  42. If parking isn’t available on-site, please confirm that the band will at least have temporary access to a loading dock or loading zone. It's important for them to be as close as possible to your space during the unloading process, as they travel with a fair amount of equipment. Once unloading is finished, they can relocate their vehicle(s) to nearby parking.

    If parking can't be pre-arranged at a nearby lot, we ask that you be prepared to reimburse the band for any parking expenses they may incur there or at street parking meters. Though they do whatever they can to find the most economical nearby option, they don't want to delay their setup due to parking challenges.

  43. My venue only allows one hour for vendors to exit the building after my event. Is this a problem?
  44. If possible, it's best to allow 1.5-2 hours for your band’s break down and load out process. Certain factors can cause unavoidable delays, including the distance between the reception area and the loading dock, the movement of other vendors who may block exits, or guests who want to chat.

    The band will do their best to load out in 60 minutes if requested, but we cannot guarantee this in all situations.

  45. Will the band be too loud for my venue?
  46. Our bands have played in just about every space imaginable—small, large, old, new, inside, outside—and have a wealth of experience getting the sound volume just right. They will make any necessary adjustments to suit your venue and will respond to any requests for volume adjustments from you or your venue.

  47. My event is at a private residence. Are 20-amp circuits typically found in a private home?
  48. Standard house outlets are often 20-amp circuits. They're more common in newer construction, but may be found in older homes as well. They're generally in the kitchen, bath, laundry, garage and exterior of the house—areas that tend to support more appliances and equipment.

  49. Will the band or my booking manager from Sam Hill attend a site visit at my venue?
  50. The band's geographic location and schedule generally prevent them from being able to attend site visits. A conference call is the best way to go, and you can arrange this once we put you in contact.

    If the band has a contract rider, be sure to review that information with your venue so they’ll understand the band’s requests. As long as the rider requests are fulfilled, the band will be fine to perform sight-unseen.

    Typically, booking managers do not attend site visits due to geographic location and scheduling, and the he or she would only reiterate the same information that’s outlined in the contract rider. If needed, our support staff can speak with the venue contact to answer questions and provide them with enough insight that they could advise you and other vendors on our behalf.

    Band Equipment

  51. Can I use the band’s speakers and/or microphone for my ceremony?
  52. Use of band equipment isn’t practical unless your ceremony takes place in the same physical space where the band performs for the reception. Moving equipment is an involved process that goes beyond shifting a speaker from one spot to another, and most bands don't travel with the same audio-visual (A-V) gear and accessories you typically find at a ceremony (like clip-on microphones, for example). As they focus on preparing for their performance, they are also limited in the level of audio support they can provide.

    Some of our bands do have access to additional equipment and will offer use of a separate sound system and microphone for an additional fee. Please contact us if you are interested in exploring this option.

    Your best bet may be to contact an A-V company that's experienced with ceremony audio support. Most have ceremony packages that come with the proper equipment and a dedicated technician who can set up and breakdown that equipment and monitor the audio quality for you. You might ask your venue coordinator if they can make an A-V vendor recommendation.

  53. Does the band have a remote speaker so guests inside and outside can hear them?
  54. Typically, bands do not provide remote speaker systems. The sound system will be set up at the stage and dance floor area.

    If you need additional speakers elsewhere in your space, you can explore options with your venue and an A-V vendor.

  55. How much power does the band need for their equipment?
  56. Three to four 20-amp circuits will accommodate most bands in most situations, though requested power supply varies depending on equipment.

    Your band may request more circuits or access to 220V power. Check your band’s rider (if applicable) and consult with your venue coordinator to confirm that the appropriate power supply is available.

  57. Does the band bring a generator?
  58. Bands do not provide generators. Clients are responsible for supplying one if needed.

    If you're working with a tent company, you can probably rent a generator from them. Just share your band’s power needs, and they will advise you accordingly. They can also calculate your overall power needs to make sure you’re getting the right size/strength of generator to support all your vendors.

    If necessary, the band can make the arrangements on your behalf, but you will need to cover any associated costs.

  59. Does the band travel with extension cords?
  60. Bands generally travel with extension cords, but it’s a good idea to check with them beforehand if the distance will be more than 50 ft.


  61. Should I offer gratuity to the band?
  62. Gratuity is always appreciated, but not expected. Tipping a band is generally more discretionary than gratuity in other industries (like restaurants, tour guides, taxis, etc) where those service providers essentially “work for tips”. Bands perform for the amount specified in the contract without the expectation of a specific tip amount or percentage.

    We support offering a gratuity if the band has exceeded expectations or if they have accommodated you in the planning process or at the event in a way that showed exemplary service. No amount is too small, and musicians will always consider any gratuity as a generous gesture from their client. But again, you are under no obligation to offer gratuity on top of the contracted payment balance.

    If you would like to offer gratuity, our experience has shown that anywhere from $20 to $100 per member of the band/crew is a reasonable range to consider, depending on the specifics of the contracted event. A gratuity can be provided directly to the bandleader at the event in cash or by check.

  63. Does the band carry insurance?
  64. We can provide general liability insurance coverage for the band ($1M/occurrence; $2M aggregate). If you, your organization or your venue require the band to carry insurance, please notify us no later than 30 days prior to your event.