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What are Acoustic Bands?

Acoustic bands and soloists play chilled-out music in an unplugged style. They can also perform lively high-tempo music, ideal for dancing. Usually consisting of vocals and acoustic guitar, they will often feature other acoustic instruments, such as saxophone, banjo, bass, digital piano and Cajon.

Acoustic artists can play a wide range of musical styles, from vintage music of the ‘20s and ‘30s to the 1950’s musical explosion, and right up to current pop and rock music. Acoustic bands create a uniquely informal ambiance, perfectly suited to a range of relaxed or low-key occasions, from intimate wedding ceremonies to laid back drinks receptions or private afternoon parties.

What music will an Acoustic Band play?

An acoustic band can cover a wide range of musical genres in an unplugged style – from indie, rock, and pop, to Motown, soul and jazz music, old and new. Playing acoustic versions of tunes that most of your guests will recognise, a typical repertoire might include the musical stylings of:

  • Amy Winehouse
  • Bill Withers
  • Bob Marley
  • Bruno Mars
  • David Bowie
  • Diana Ross
  • Doris Day
  • Drake
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Elvis
  • Ennio Morricone
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Gnarls Barkley
  • Green Day
  • Guns n’ Roses
  • Jessie J
  • Johnny Cash
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Lady Gaga
  • Nina Simone
  • Oasis
  • Pharrell
  • Pixies
  • Prince
  • Rihanna
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Whitney Houston
  • The Zutons

You can view the unique set list of each acoustic band on their profile page.

Popular types of Acoustic Bands

1. Acoustic Duos

Typically made up of vocals and an instrument, but sometimes simply instrumental, such as guitar or ukulele, our acoustic duos can provide stunning harmonies and warm acoustic music, for a soulful and laid-back ambiance. Covering a wide range of genres, and acoustic versions of songs by artists such as Jackie Wilson, Elvis, Stevie Wonder, and Jason Mraz.

2. Acoustic Trios, Quartets and Bands

All of our acoustic trios, quartets and bands feature a range of unplugged instruments, most frequently acoustic guitar, double bass and Cajon percussion box. Many also feature vocals and wind, brass and other string instruments, with some improvising to perfection with washboard and spoons! Bands either perform music in one genre, such as jazz, swing or Latin style, while many cover a range of styles within their repertoires, from The Rolling Stones to Bruno Mars.

Is an Acoustic Band suitable for my event?

Often the headline afternoon entertainment, acoustic music is flexible, cool, soulful and can be great fun! It’s ideal for occasions like:

If your event calls for a really relaxed and intimate vibe, then a live acoustic band is perfect. Able to cover a wide remit of music, their stripped-back, acoustic arrangements can help to create the ideal mood for your special occasion, be it a birthday party, an anniversary, an informal wedding ceremony, or a chilled out daytime corporate event. Instrumental acoustic music can create a fantastic background atmosphere, if you prefer your event entertainment to be low key.

Due to its beautifully warm and informal nature, acoustic music is perfect for laid-back wedding ceremonies and receptions, especially where space is an issue or you just want something a bit different for your special day. Your acoustic band can play as your guests arrive, during the wedding ceremony and the signing of the registers, and they can entertain into the afternoon’s celebrations.

You can choose to have an unplugged band that covers all musical styles, from the old classics to contemporary music. Alternatively, you can opt for an acoustic band that performs a specific style of music to accent your party theme, such as roaring twenties Gatsby style, swing, lively Mariachi music, Spanish, Balkan music, skiffle rock and roll, or a range of music played in a Mumford and Sons style! Whatever you choose, all of our acoustic bands can create a unique intimate vibe for your special party.

Some bands perform an interactive set, roaming between you and your guests, injecting interactive fun, and drawing the crowd in.

Several of our acoustic bands also offer the option for spontaneous song requests on the day, so they can be flexible and reactive to your guests wishes, offering the ultimate in musical personalisation!

Space considerations at your event

As with all our artists, the performance space they need will be dependent on their line-up and the type of instruments they perform with – a double-bass taking up much more space than an acoustic guitar or a washboard! Much of this is down to your personal preference and what will sound great, but our artists usually have a minimum number of members and instruments that you can add to if you want a broader performance.

If space is limited at your party venue, you may wish to select a vocal and guitar duo, who can happily perform seated on a couple of armless chairs, taking up only around 2 x 1 metres. However, if you’re entertaining in a large venue and would like a performance to match, you could choose a fun 5-piece acoustic band with a variety of instruments. For approximate requirements, see ‘How much space will an acoustic band need?’, below.

Volume - How loud is an acoustic band?

The size of your band, their line-up and the venue’s acoustics will influence the volume of the acoustic band on the day of the event. Also, your choice as to whether you’d like your band to act as chilled background music or a lively feature to your event will determine how loud they play! Our artists will always attempt to perform in a volume according to your event needs. Ambient background music can range from 65 – 85 decibels (dB), but if you’re after something a little more energetic your band can pump this up to create a fun and dynamic atmosphere, a maximum of around 95 dB.

The volume of the band is always balanced against the level of the drum kit. If your venue has a sound limiter or strict volume limitations, most acoustic bands can cater for this. Many bands can reduce the volume of their drum kit by using hot rods or brushes, which can significantly reduce the overall volume of the band.

How much does an Acoustic Band cost?

Acoustic bands and acoustic solo artists offer many different booking options for your event requirements. This table outlines the rough costs for acoustic soloists and bands:

Type of Artist Cost Range
Acoustic Duos £450 - £630
Acoustic 3- and 4-piece bands £600 - £1,630
Larger acoustic bands £1,220 - £1,870

One way to reduce costs is to select an artist who lives near your venue, since their travel time and cost will be minimal. You can find the location of all Alive Network acoustic artists on their profile pages, and your Entertainment Coordinator can recommend a range of amazing musicians near your venue.

Who are the top 10 Acoustic Bands in the UK right now?

Our list of UK-based acoustic bands features artists deemed the best in their field, based on popularity, innovation, and performance quality:

How long will an Acoustic Band play for?

Our acoustic bands and soloists will perform two 40- or 60-minute sets as standard, with many offering three shorter 40-minute sets, or the option to perform for longer if required.

Acoustic artists can also vary their performance times to fit with your event schedule. They can offer intimate daytime wedding ceremony music or relaxed background music during an afternoon drinks reception, or for a wedding breakfast, for example.

How much space will an Acoustic Band need?

This table gives an idea of roughly how much performance space needed by different formats of acoustic artists:

Type of Acoustic Artist Performance Space Required
  Duos 3 x 2 metres
   Trios 3 x 3 metres
    4-piece band 4 x 3 metres
     5 and 6-piece band 5 x 3 metres

Smaller options are available. These approximate performance area measurements will vary, depending on the number of musicians and the type of instruments in the band you choose. Your Entertainment Coordinator can explore options and space requirements with you.

How long will it take for an Acoustic Band to set up?

If they can park relatively close to your venue’s performance area, it can take around 60 – 90 minutes for an acoustic band to unload, set up and sound checked. Solo acoustic artists usually need less time, taking around 30 minutes to set-up.

Following their performance, it can take anything between 15 and 60 minutes to pack away and load out.

What equipment will an Acoustic Band need?

Acoustic bands usually need the following for their ‘unplugged’ sets:

  • parking provision, with easy venue access
  • sturdy, armless chairs
  • good lighting – particularly if they’re performing in a marquee
  • a dedicated, suitably-sized, safe, dry, flat performance area
  • if they’ve agreed to perform outside, your musicians will need suitable shelter from the elements
  • refreshments – soft drinks and hot food, depending how long you’ve booked them for
  • a secure, lockable changing room

For information on the following, see our Frequently Asked Questions:

If you have any other queries, simply visit our FAQ page.

Alternatively, our dedicated expert entertainment coordinators are on-hand to help. Simply call 0845 108 5500 or email enquiries@alivenetwork.com.

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