Playing in a party band can be tremendous fun. Corporate events, birthday parties and other functions can be really great shows, often with a crowd that is definitely up for a good time. Throw into the mix that these private bookings can be particularly lucrative financially, and you end up with hundreds of musicians starting new party bands every year.
At Last Minute Musicians, we know a thing or two about what makes a good party band into a great success. As such, we’ve put together a list of our top five tips to make your party band more successful…
Diversify your act
Having your core set of material as a party band is always going to be a solid foundation for your live shows. However, in a market that’s getting more and more competitive, any additional extras you can offer will give you an edge on the competition, and help cut down on the cost of hiring additional entertainment to the client, while still bumping up your fee.
For example, many party bands now offer acoustic sets as well as full band. These are very popular earlier in the day, at events like weddings or formal dinners. You might also consider providing a “late night” DJ playlist. While this means a later finish, it can prove very popular with clients and is relatively simple to put together.
Other popular extras include additional musicians, such as a brass section or backing singers, and even multiple options for the style of your band! For example, having a “festival band” set up (that is, ditching the electric guitars in favour of a double bass, acoustic guitars and possibly banjo, for that “Mumford” Glastonbury atmosphere) has been increasingly popular recently.
Join an entertainment agency/ list with an entertainment directory
One of the best ways to secure more work as a party band is by joining the books of an entertainment agency or securing a listing on an entertainment directory (like Last Minute Musicians).
An entertainment agent will often have hundreds of acts on their books, providing everything from fire-eaters to caricaturists, and tribute bands to acoustic acts. Brides and grooms-to-be or corporate events planners will then go to the agency to help plan their entertainment and select an act that’s suitable. Hopefully, that will be you! Be warned, most agencies will take a commission from any bookings.
An entertainment directory is a slightly simpler process. By registering for a small fee, you get to build your own profile on the site, adding all of your promotional material. Prospective clients will then browse through what’s available and negotiate with you directly.
Play public gigs
While some function bands prefer to stay off of the pubs and clubs circuit, in favour of the higher paid private bookings, playing the odd pub can be very useful to party bands – especially to a new act looking to get established.
The live experience will help you tighten your set and figure out what works, and where in the set it should be. You’ll also be able to invite down any prospective clients who want to see you live before they make a final decision.
Finally, you never know who is going to be at the audience! Any one of the people in front of you could potentially be key to securing a private booking, residency or anything else! Make sure you take along business cards, flyers and any other physical advertising you have.
It sounds obvious nowadays, but one of the big ways that clients find a band is online. This often through social media, so stay on top of your posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, while using the appropriate hashtags. Build (or have someone build) an attractive looking website, that can act as a central hub of information for clients.
There are various Facebook communities specifically designed for musicians, such as UK Musicians for gigs, or Dep Musicians in the UK. These groups often have new gig opportunities being posted every hour and are also great places to find advice.
Stay in touch with former clients
A great way to secure repeat bookings is by staying in touch with your former clients. Put together a mailing list that you can contact via services like Mailchimp, with news and information on your band. This way you’ll stay in the minds of your previous clients, for when they have another celebration. Corporate bookings, for instance, can easily take place every year and building up a loyal client base is a brilliant way to become a more successful party band.
From everyone at Last Minute Musicians, we wish you the best of luck with your musical career. If you’re looking for more bookings, consider registering for a listing.
Words: Jon Fellowes of https://www.lastminutemusicians.com/