#1: Bad band breaks
A concern that afflicts many planners is that a band may take too many or too long of breaks. However, bands will generally play about an hour before taking a very short 10-15 minute break. Most dancers, after rocking out so hard, are also ready to grab a drink or momentary seat. The band will be back on stage before you know it and even when they aren’t playing they will usually put music on to keep the lively mood present.
#2: Bands don’t have enough variety
You may be surprised at the versatility of a band. Professional-grade bands not only have a long list of songs they can play they are often able to fill requests on the spot by sheer skilled attempt as well. Larger bands are often called “Variety Bands”, that’s because they have just that, variety. They will usually know the top 40 songs, popular rock songs, and an array of country, trending, and even rap music. There are bands that are specialized and those are excellent for certain events (Gatsby party/country dance/luau/etc…) but a general band will know many genres. Numerous bands will even learn special request songs and have them prepared before the event.
#3: DJ’s talk too much
Media has sometimes created cringe-worthy images of DJ’s including the one where they talk, and talk, and talk telling not only unnecessary stories but embarrassing ones as well. The good news is that an experienced DJ will only occupy the mic when necessary or when asked, they usually have a pretty good feel for the party and people. Generally, they will announce the entrance, commencement, bouquet toss, and any other things you have you have asked of them, beyond this they are not likely to rant and drive the crowd off the floor.
#4: Start with slow songs followed by the upbeat tunes
Some coordinators request that bands/DJs play big band-style music earlier in the event and only later in the evening appeal to the younger crowd. However, you may be surprised at the number of older adults who enjoy a good pop song. Of course avoiding more provocative tunes is suggested but modern, catchy beats are fun for anyone to dance to. If you start event introductions with calmer tunes to welcome the crowd it will allow people to offer greetings and get settled but once you are ready to begin the dancing portion of your event, ramp it up. Consider starting with a bang, this will create an obvious signal for guests to know that it is now time to dance.
#5: You can control it all
You may want to pick out a 10,000 long playlist for your DJ or attempt to create the set list for your band. Perhaps you want to micromanage every minute of announcements, every break, and each article of clothing worn. The truth of the matter is, the more micromanaging you do, the worse your event will be. Managing a band/DJ falls on a regular bell-curve. If you don’t do enough guiding, you may not get what you want, if you are trying to manage things too heavily you will tire yourself, your entertainers, and your guests. If you offer just enough management (give guidelines, ideas, genres) you will likely get what you wanted and some of what you didn’t even know you wanted. If your entertainment is professional grade, trust them. They have done this much more than you have. Having some flexibility will allow them to read the crowd and give them exactly what they want.
–Nikole Higgins, Communication Director, Nikole@utahliveband.com