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Everything you'll ever need to know about booking a rock and pop function, party or covers band
Find out what a Rock and Pop function band will do at your event, how various types of party band differ from each other, what type of music they'll play, how much space they will require, how to ensure quality, how much it costs to hire a Rock and Pop covers band and much more.
To view our rock and pop function bands please click here.
By Alive Network, with contributions from members of Cartoon Kings, Hipster, The Kicks, Live Wires and Funkytown
What are Rock and Pop function bands bands and what do they do?
Rock and pop function bands provide a high energy performance that's ideal for dancing. They generally cover a diverse range of popular music spanning the 1950's through to contemporary chart acts. You could expect music from bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and Van Morrison going through the decades to bands like The Kings of Leon, The Killers, Oasis, Florence and the Machine, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Lily Allen and Katy Perry.
Rock and Pop function bands tend to be divided into two formats of band:
1. Guitar orientated with a rock/indie/rock n roll sound, usually 3-5 members with male or mixed vocals, covering artists like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys, etc.
2. Pop orientated, usually with female lead vocals, usually with keyboards and a brass section, often with 5-7 members, playing music by Stevie Wonder, Bee Gees, 70's disco, Amy Winehouse, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Duffy etc. These types of bands can often also offer a jazz set if required.
The choice as to which format you choose will largely be based on your musical preferences. The guitar based bands are most popular as they are often slightly less expensive (less members) and they play the type of music that people who like bands are into.
What should I look for to ensure I get a quality party band?
All of the Rock and Pop party bands on the Alive Network web site have already been carefully pre-vetted so they represent the very best of what's available in the UK. We have selected our artist roster from literally thousands of applications so in order to ensure quality all you need to do is choose a band from our web site. Its risk free and you have peace of mind that we've already done the hard work for you.
If you do choose to look around elsewhere, here's what you should look for:
1. A great demo CD
The music should be in time, in tune, and be well produced (it should sound like a high quality recording).
2. Great photos
If a band can't be bothered to have decent photos produced, what else will they be skimping on?
3. Customer reviews and testimonials
Make sure you can read genuine recent reviews from previous customers. You'll find loads readily available here on the Alive Network web site.
The band should use professional quality PA, instruments, amplifiers and microphones.
5. Experience and background
Check that the band consists of high calibre session musicians with a strong track record of playing at prestigious corporate events or at high quality wedding venues. Review the experience of individual players within the band as well as the experience of the band as a whole.
6. The backing of a reliable agency
No agent, no backup if anything goes wrong.
Look for an agency that responds quickly, efficiently, and takes the time to listen to your individual requirements. They will be your point of contact so you need to be happy that they're providing a high quality service too.
You get what you pay for, so don't cut corners unless you don't mind risking the success of your event. We represent hundreds of artists, all of whom define their own fees, so our prices are a good indicator of what's usual to pay.
What exactly will a covers band do at my event? What will the format be?
The band will arrive at a time to suit you and set up their equipment where required. To unload, set up and sound check takes on average 60 - 90 minutes. This time is important if you want the band to sound good as levels will need to be balanced correctly. Usually they will play background music from a laptop or iPod whilst they get changed and ready for the performance.
Assuming your event is a wedding or includes a sit down meal, it is usual that set-up and sound check would happen after the meal whilst the room is cleared, and whilst guests leave the room to get drinks and stretch their legs. If you would prefer the band to be set up before guests arrive, this can be arranged but usually costs more because of the extra time involved.
The bands first live performance would usually commence about 8.30pm and last 1 hour. They would then take a break until the next set is required. If a wedding, this usually covers the time when the evening buffet is served or when the cake is cut. During this time the band would play background music from a laptop or iPod.
The second live performance would then usually start around 10.30pm lasting 1 hour until 11.30pm, plus hopefully a few encores! When the performance is finished, the band will usually play more background music until the contracted finish time. Most bands will leave this music running whilst they dismantle their equipment at the end of the night.
The band should start loading their equipment back into their vehicles only after the agreed contract finish time. It takes around 45 minutes to an hour to pack down and load out.
What equipment will the band provide?
99.9% of the function bands working with Alive Network will provide all of their own equipment. This would include PA, instruments, amplifiers, basic stage lighting and either a laptop or iPod to play background music through their PA between performances. Some of the larger corporate events tend to use a dedicated audio visual company, and often they will provide PA and lighting for the band.
Although there is a difference between the size of PA systems used by the various cover bands we represent, they will all bring a PA system suitable for up to 150 people, which covers most private parties and weddings. Bands with larger PA systems won't necessarily turn them up any louder but the option is there if needed, and larger systems usually sound much higher quality. Looking at the size and quality of their PA and lighting systems is a good way to judge value for money between several bands. Ask your Alive Network co-ordinator if you need help with this.
Important note: If your event will have more than 150 people, or if the room where the band will perform holds significantly more than 150 people, it's worth remembering that a larger PA system will need to be considered and you should discuss this with your coordinator. As a guide, you need roughly 10 watts per person, so a 300 capacity room will ideally require a 3000 watt (3K) PA system. Most of our bands can arrange larger PA.
How much space will a Rock and Pop party band need?
There is a useful stage size guide on our FAQ page.
Allow an absolute minimum of 1 metre across per person, but ideally 1.5 metres across. Allow 2 square metres for a drummer. Remember, space is needed in front and to the sides to accommodate the bands PA, speakers and lighting stands.
Minimum band stage size requirements
3 piece band: 3 x 3 metres
4 piece band: 4 metres wide by 3 metres deep
5 and 6 piece band: 5 metres wide by 3 metres deep
7 piece and bigger: 5/6 metres wide by 4 metres deep
The more room the band have, the more comfortable they'll be, and the better they'll perform.
That said, bands will do their very best to fit within what ever space you have to work with, just don't expect miracles.
How long will the bands performance last?
The standard is 2 x 60 minute sets, but this can be split into 3 x 40 minute sets. Many bands prefer to play 2 sets because it avoids stopping and starting so they can keep guests on a high for longer.
When choosing the start time for the bands first performance, bear in mind that if your guests have just eaten, they probably won't want to dance right away. Also, they'll be more in the mood for dancing as the light fades outside and once they've had a few drinks. For the average wedding/birthday party, 9pm would be the ideal start time, with a 30-45 minute break afterwards, and a final performance running until close to a midnight curfew.
What happens when the band aren't playing?
The band will need somewhere to go before and between performances. If a changing room or staff room can be arranged, this ensures the band can rest comfortably, prepare their set lists, warm up, and start their show in a good frame of mind.
The band will provide background music on a laptop or iPod. You can also provide your own play lists if you prefer, but ensure you discuss this with the band in advance. (They will call you approximately 3 weeks before the event to work out the finer details).
The usual format would be for them to provide background music as soon as they've set up, then between and after their performances. This will be left running until the finish time on your contract, and often until the band have finished packing up if guests are still present. You can request background music until later, but this will usually cost more.
Many bands offer a DJ package as an optional extra, which means you'll either get a separate DJ with decks and lights, or more often, someone from the band will DJ from a laptop or decks, taking requests, making announcements, and generally providing a more interactive service than just leaving a play list running whilst the band take a break. If you don't mind not having the same level of equipment or song choice that you would get from a professional DJ, this can be a very cost effective solution at around £120 extra.
Also bear in mind that once the band has finished playing, most guests will leave the dance floor to get a drink, catch their breath, chat to friends, and even a professional DJ will find it hard to fight against the pull of the bar! Most people find that background music is more than adequate to fill the gaps and this costs nothing.
Are there any options available to customise my covers band or their performance?
Different cover bands offer different options, ranging from adding or subtracting members (eg, adding a brass section) through to the provision of extra PA/lighting, star cloth or a DJ service. The options available for each band are shown on their profile page and are selectable when you make an online enquiry.
If you have a particular theme in mind, most bands will make an effort to meet it, either matching repertoire or clothing. It is best to specify exactly what you want when you make the booking to be sure your chosen band can definitely accommodate.
How much will it cost to hire a function band?
This depends greatly on the size, quality and experience of the band. All Alive Network function bands are carefully vetted and so therefore represent the top percentage of quality live bands in the UK. Our party bands range from as little as £650 for a trio, to £5000 for a top flight 11 piece function band. You could book a local pub band for £300 or £400, but it wouldn't be to the same level or calibre of a professional function band, and you wouldn't get security.
The average fee for a party/wedding orientated function band is approx £1250.
The best way to reduce costs is to avoid early arrival times (bands charge extra for this) and try to find a band who are based close by. The home town location of all Alive Network cover bands is shown on the roster pages and also on each bands profile page. You can also ask your coordinator to recommend the best band local to your event.
Why is there a difference between the costs of different party bands?
Generally, you pay more for a reputable band with a high level of experience, stronger ability, and good quality equipment. The minimum standard of our bands is already very high as we carefully vet everyone we work with, but you get what you pay for.
Also, when you search for bands available on your event date and in your event location, those bands who are travelling from outside the area will add travel fees, and these are included in the prices you see on our web site. Travel fees can sometimes be 50% extra on top of the bands normal price, so there can be a big difference in the cost of local bands compared to acts from outside the area.
The number of members in the band also greatly affects cost, with 3 or 4 piece bands costing much less than 10 or 11 piece bands.
Some higher earning bands are also VAT registered which pushes the overall cost up.
What security will I get when booking a Rock and Pop covers band?
When you book a Rock and Pop band through Alive Network you'll receive a legally binding contract which protects you against any foreseeable eventuality. This means that short of the band being seriously injured or abducted by aliens, your booking is 100% safe.
You also get the full backing and support of Alive Network, the UK's largest live entertainment agency, as well as the assistance and advice of your personal Alive Network coordinator who will always be on hand to help if you have any questions or concerns.
You can think of Alive Network as your entertainment insurance.
What happens if the band is ill?
It's very rare that problems occur, but if the unthinkable does happen, Alive Network will help you to source a replacement artist, even at very short notice. We work with hundreds of bands across the UK and have a huge database of contacts to fall back on in an emergency.
Given sufficient notice, you will always be fully informed and involved in agreeing a replacement artist. If you aren't happy with the replacement we suggest you can choose another of our acts, or else receive a full refund. If an emergency happens on the day of your event and we cannot contact you, we will liaise with your venue, and send the closest matching alternative artist so you are not left in the lurch.
Is there anything I need to provide for the band?
The band will need a safe performance area, with at least 3 or 4 power sockets in close proximity.
They will require food and refreshments (preferably a hot meal as they'll be on the go for approximately 12 hours and will be hungry). If you can't provide a hot meal, some of the evening buffet will usually be ok. A plate of cold sandwiches isn't really sufficient considering the length of time the band are working for, and their inability to get anything better once at your event. Food is usually provided before or after the bands first set.
You do not need to provide alcohol. Soft drinks, water, tea and coffee are all fine. Please make sure you inform the bar staff that soft drinks should not be charged to the band.
A changing room is very much appreciated including enough seats for all the band members, and if possible, a mirror.
Is there anything else I need to know?
We've put together a selection of useful tips and insights provided directly by our artists.
Becky, Cartoon Kings quotes “Bands are great fun and really make a feature of your event. It is worth working together with the band. They will want to make your event perfect and will often go out of their way to meet your requests, but it is also worth taking their advice. The band will have the benefit of experience and will know what has and hasn't worked in the past. They know their own repertoire inside out and will know which songs work best alongside other songs, and how you can maximise enjoyment for your guests."
Dan, Funkytown quotes “Ideally, you should allow 1.5 hours for the band to load in, set up and sound check. The time needed depends on the venue itself and access to the performance space. If the stage is on the third floor and there aren’t any lifts, it will obviously take longer to load in than if the space was first floor and accessible from the car park.”
Joe, Hipster quotes “It is always worth having somebody available to greet the band on arrival to show them where they will be setting up. Often the band will have travelled some distance to get to the venue so it’s worth asking if they need anything when they arrive. Musicians are always friendly and approachable, and will do what they can to make your event all the more memorable.”
Matt, Livewires quotes “If there is a query, don't be afraid to ask! The bands perform week in, week out so something that might seem a strange request will probably be normal to the band. From my experience, the more interaction the client and audience have with the band, the better the event, as bands really bounce off an audience and therefore get more fired up to put on a good show!”
Mark, The Kicks quotes “Our sole mission is to keep the dance floor filled for the entire evening and our show has been tailored to this over years of work. With this in mind, it’s worth remembering that the band are probably best being entrusted with the design of the set list as we know what has worked historically. Feel free to make requests and we’ll do the rest.”
How do I make a booking?
Once your Alive Network agent sends you a quote and you are happy with the price, that agent will go through the logistics and timings, confirming the details of your booking. You will then be required to pay a deposit, usually over the phone by credit card, and then contracts and receipts will be emailed to you. The band will also sign the same agreement.
Once a booking has been made you will be put in touch with the artist 3 weeks before the event to double check the arrangements and make any changes necessary.
Rock and pop function band roster pages
Cover bands available to hire.
Party Bands to hire throughout the UK
Bands are great fun and really make a feature of your event. It is worth taking their advice, as they will want to make your event perfect. They know their repertoire and will know which songs work best alongside other songs, and how to maximise enjoyment for your guests.
Rock and Pop
Young, energetic, super-professional and one of the most exciting and
experienced party bands to work exclusively with Alive Network!
Hipster are an all male 4-piece band, and cover a huge range of music
from The Beatles to The Kings of Leon!
Rock and Pop
Young, energetic four piece party band from Essex, covering the Beatles to the present day greats such as The Killers & Oasis. Their tight harmonies and professional sound come with years of experience in the live music industry. A great party band.
Rock and Pop
Highly experienced, highly professional & experts at making your night one to remember, Live Wires are a 4 piece rock and pop band with a cool, energetic sound. Their repertoire includes The Beatles, The Stones, Kings Of Leon, Killers and much more!
Rock and Pop
The Kicks are a powerful, edgy 4-piece indie-rock band with one of the most talented, energetic and charismatic front men in the country, backed up by superb musicianship and huge backing vocals. If you want a party, The Kicks will kick it off!
Rock and Pop
One of our most frequently recommended bands! A lively, hugely entertaining 4 piece rock & pop band covering hits from The Beatles & Kinks through to Killers & Kings of Leon!
Rock and Pop
The Supertones are a fantastic four piece rock and pop covers band, specialising in contemporary classics. With a stunning live show, performing everything from The Kinks to The Killers, The Supertones are sure to rock your function!
Rock and Pop
Energetic & versatile 5 piece rock & pop band performing mostly in Central England. Choose both electric and acoustic sets depending on your event. Smaller line ups available. Great repertoire, great sound, great style, Excellent choice!
Rock and Pop
Get Funked is a 10 piece band and are the ultimate live experience, oozing soul, class, integrity, energy, unbelievable musical ability and stunning presentation!
Rock and Pop
Subsonic are a young and stylish band of the highest calibre who have performed for stars from X factor, Ant and Dec, Roman Abramovich and Disney! With a repertoire of classic pop, rock n roll, soul, funk and current hits, they will MAKE your event!
Rock and Pop
Funkytown are a 6 piece Funk/Pop/Soul band with fantastic female vocals. From Aretha Franklin to Mark Ronson's latest collaborations, they can provide great party music for all occasions. Available as an extended 8, 9 or 10 piece band on request!
The more interaction the client and audience have with the band, the better the event, as bands really bounce off an audience.