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The Ultimate Guide To...
Booking Cover Bands
What is a cover band?
A cover band is a group of musicians that specialise in playing live music covers of popular rock, pop and chart tracks, both classic and contemporary. Typically consisting of a lead singer, guitarist, bass guitarist and drummer, cover bands may also include synths, a brass section or backing singers but generally, when a line up is extended beyond a standard 4-piece, male fronted guitar band, and additional singers are included for example, they are better defined as wedding bands, function bands or party bands.
As cover bands play a repertoire of well-known songs, they are a crowd-pleasing option for private events, weddings and public performances in pubs, clubs & venues. Depending on the event type, most cover bands offer a complete entertainment package, providing sound and lighting equipment, with no need to hire any additional services. Bands performing gigs for public venues, like music bars, clubs or restaurants, may use in-house PA sound systems and lighting.
For private events and wedding entertainment, cover band sets are specifically tailored to parties and may include DJ options.
Often mainstays at their local music venue, professional cover bands are also used to performing internationally and all over the UK, and will often travel large distances.
Cover bands as discussed here are different to their tribute bands counterparts who specialise in the music of one artist, era or genre. To find out more please visit the tribute bands page here.
What music will a cover band play?
From Led Zeppelin to Beyoncé, cover bands do it all! Most cover bands play a huge range of rock, indie and chart music incorporating classic artists like Stevie Wonder to current floor fillers, with some bands preferring guitar-based rock, pop and dance, or funk and soul. A standard set list may include songs from artists such as
The repertoire for each of our cover bands is featured on their profile pages. Usually artists will tailor their set list to your specific event requirements, and this can be discussed with your Alive Network Entertainment Coordinator.
Popular types of cover band
1. Guitar bands
Unsurprisingly these bands specialise in a repertoire based around guitar music – think rock, indie or pop. Often consisting of 3–5 members, guitar bands will cover artists from Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys and Oasis, to The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.
2. Pop/Funk/Soul bands
Comprising of 4–12 members and usually fronted by a female singer, pop, funk and soul bands may feature a brass section or keyboards. Repertoires include modern chart artists such as Jess Glynne, Rihanna and Beyoncé as well as classic soul and Motown artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder.
Where in the UK do Alive cover bands perform?
Cover bands are as at home in their local music bar as they are performing a party in Abu Dhabi! The most popular UK locations include:
Most popular counties:
- West Sussex
- East Sussex
- North Yorkshire
- West Midlands
- West Yorkshire
Most popular cities:
- Newcastle upon Tyne
Is a cover band suitable for my event?
A cover band is usually the headline act to your celebrations, featuring towards the end of the evening when guests are ready to dance and enjoy the music! Performances are best scheduled after any food has been served so that guests can dance comfortably, and make the most of a lively and energetic atmosphere.
If you want to party hard after the final set, almost all cover bands offer DJ options in addition to their live performance.
For all-day celebrations, cover bands can offer laid back acoustic sets. These are more chilled out and daytime-friendly, providing a perfect backdrop for drinks receptions and dining.
Booking one band for your entire event is a great option for those looking to simplify their event planning as logistics and price are minimised, compared with hiring several separate performers.
Space considerations at your event
A typical 4-piece band will need around 4m width × 3m depth as a comfortable performance space. For approximate requirements, see ‘How much space will a cover band need?’, below.
How much does a cover band cost?
Cover band costs can vary, depending on the number of musicians, and the options each band offers.
In 2017, the average price of a 4-piece cover band is around £1,300.
The table below demonstrates the range of fees for different types of cover bands:
|Type of Artist||Cost Range|
|3-piece bands||£700 - £1,500|
|4-piece bands||£720 - £1,850|
|5-piece bands||£950 - £1,900|
|Larger line-ups||£2,000 - £4,500+|
Booking a band local to your venue is a great way to reduce cost as travel fees will be minimal. The home town of all Alive Network cover bands is included on their profile pages, and your Entertainment Coordinator can recommend the best bands near your venue. There’s no need to limit your search to just local bands, however! Your perfect cover band may be willing to travel at nominal cost.
Who are the top 10 cover bands in the UK right now?
Our list features the UK’s best cover bands, based on reputation, performance quality and innovation:
How long will a cover band play for?
Cover bands usually perform two 60-minute sets, or occasionally three 40-minute sets.
Bands that are booked for an evening performance might arrive at 6pm, set up and perform the sound check by 7.30pm to 8pm, get changed and ready to start the first performance by around 9pm. After a break of around 30 minutes, the second set might start at 10.30pm, finishing at 11.30pm, before the usual midnight curfew.
Many cover bands offer DJ sets or longer performances including finishing times of 1am and 2am. You can find the booking options on each cover band’s profile page.
Times supplied are an example and cover bands performing at both public and private events will liaise with you, tailoring their performance times to suit your celebration.
How much space will a cover band need?
The table below demonstrates how much space party bands of different sizes might require:
|Size of Cover Band||Performance Space Required|
|3-piece band||3 x 3 metres|
|4-piece band||4 x 3 metres|
|5 and 6-piece band||5 x 3 metres|
|7-piece band and bigger||5/6 x 4 metres|
Of course, measurements may vary depending on the number of artists and the type of instruments in your chosen cover band. Your Entertainment Coordinator can discuss the options with you.
How long will it take for a cover band to set up?
Depending how close to the performance space a cover band can park, unloading, setting up and performing their sound check will take around 60 – 90 minutes.
Some venues require bands to load in via a supplier’s entrance and/or use a shared staff elevator, which can increase set up times.
It takes a cover band around 45 – 60 minutes to pack down and load out, following their performance.
What equipment will a cover band need?
Most cover bands need:
Cover bands usually provide their own microphones, backline amplifiers, PA sound system and stage lighting.
If you are planning a large celebration with 200+ guests, you may need a larger PA system – especially if it is an outdoor event. Your dedicated Entertainment Coordinator will be happy to discuss the requirements for specific cover bands.
In a cover band? Interested in joining a cover band agency?
For info on how to join Alive Network please visit our 'How to join' pages here.
You will need:
- Polished demo recordings and promo photos
- Reliable equipment & transport
- A setlist of music suited to private events
- Smart formal stage clothes, suited to private events
- A PA system & stage lighting suitable for audiences of up to 200 people
- Reliable, professional band mates