What is a tribute band?
Tribute acts & tribute bands are formed of either a group of live musicians or one live singer, recreating the sound, performance, and often the look of a particular band or artist.
Paying homage to both current and past artists, tribute bands and solo tribute acts are a great way to experience music of the artists you love up close and personal, at a fraction of the cost of the real thing.
Often imitating bands from a bygone era, such as The Beatles, tribute bands can offer a fantastic opportunity to step back in time and experience all your favourite band’s hits and feel the magic once again!
If you’re trying to recreate a moment in time for a special occasion, many tribute bands and artists also pay respect to a specific era, like the swinging ‘60s or the electro-pop of the ‘80s, or a specific genre of music, like soul and Motown, or Rat Pack and swing. Whatever your theme, tribute acts are the ultimate way to bring your event to life.
What music will a tribute act play?
Tribute acts come in all shapes and sizes, specialising in songs from the artists they’re imitating, or from a specific era or genre of music. Tracks include music from the 1950s right through to current chart acts, with specific repertoires consisting of the well-known hits by your favourite music icons! Popular bands and artists in this category include tributes to:
Solo tribute acts:
- David Bowie
- Elton John
- Frank Sinatra
- Gary Barlow
- George Michael
- Jimi Hendrix
- Johnny Cash
- Lady Gaga
- Michael Bublé
- Michael Jackson
- Robbie Williams
- Shirley Bassey
- Tom Jones
- Van Morrison
- Green Day
- Led Zeppelin
- Maroon 5
- Take That
- The Beach Boys
- The Beatles
- The Blues Brothers
- The Kinks
- The Rolling Stones
Era-based entertainment can cover periods from the 1950s right through to the 1990s. Many tribute bands cover a specific style of music, providing the perfect musical nostalgia to set the scene for your event, including:
- Brit pop
- Soul and Motown
- Rat Pack and swing
Popular types of tribute acts
1. Tribute bands
A tribute band is a live band that only performs the music of the artist they’re honouring – Abba or The Beatles, for example. They typically match the instrumentation and performance style of the original band, and will usually attempt to recreate their style with costumes, accessories and wigs to look as authentic as possible. Some tribute bands may even feature ‘lookalike’ musicians in an attempt to match the appearance of the original band, but this is considered less important than with solo artists.
Our tribute bands cover great bands, past and present, from Blondie and The Blues Brothers through to Oasis and Take That.
2. Solo tribute singers
Usually singing over pre-recorded backing tracks, solo tribute acts are live performers who imitate the musical style and songs of a particular famous solo artist, such as Elvis, Michael Bublé or Lady Gaga. In an attempt to copy the original artist as authentically as possible, solo tribute singers will usually dress up like them. Many will even have an uncanny resemblance to the original artist, faithfully completing the guise!
Where in the UK do Alive tribute artists perform?
Our tribute acts are often booked for private parties, corporate events, weddings, venues and festivals across the UK and internationally. Popular locations include:
Most popular counties:
Most popular cities:
Is a tribute act suitable for my event?
Tribute artists specialise in lively and uplifting performances so you and your guests can have an amazing time on the dance floor! They are usually the headline evening entertainment, perfect for events such as:
Many acts offer a DJ package in addition to their standard set. You can view and select the options for each tribute act on their profile page.
Volume considerations at your event
Depending on which artist and line-up you choose, our live tribute solo artists and tribute bands perform to a wide range of volumes. Large tribute bands can offer a thrilling live performance with a sound and volume to match. The volume of large tribute bands is often in the region of 95dB – 110dB. With a full band this can be a big sound (roughly equivalent to the volume of a lawnmower) and great for big parties.
If your venue has a volume restriction, many bands offer the option of an electric drum kit, to reduce the overall volume.
Solo tribute artists often perform over backing tracks, singing through a PA system, and as such, it’s far easier to set the volume in accordance with your event requirements. This is great for venues with sound limiters or for smaller events.
If you prefer your music to serve as laid-back ‘background’ entertainment, setting the scene for your event, where guests can still easily hold a conversation, then you could consider a solo tribute artist. Many soloists can perform on a more ‘low-key’ basis, but this is dependent on the style you’re after, and you may prefer your tribute act to perform as a headline at your event.
Feel free to ask your Entertainment Coordinator for advice if you venue does have any sound restrictions or a limiter, and do check out our handy guide to sound limiters here.
Space considerations at your event
A typical solo artist will need around 2 metres wide by 2 metres deep, and a standard 4-piece band will need an area of around 4 metres wide by 3 metres deep. Bear in mind that more space will be needed if you choose an artist with a dance routine!
For approximate requirements, see ‘How much space will a tribute act need?’, below.
How much does a tribute act cost?
Prices vary depending on the number of members, the quality and experience of the band and their travel distance to your event.
In 2017, the average price of a 4–5-piece tribute band is around £1,500.
More established bands, such as The Bootleg Beatles, command upwards of £12,000.
Here’s a breakdown of the cost range between different tribute artists:
|Type of Act
|Solo tribute artists (with backing tracks)
||£450 - £860
|Live Tribute Bands:
|Duo tribute artists
||£540 - £950
|3-piece tribute bands
||£700 - £1,300
|5-piece tribute bands
||£750 - £2,700
|7-piece bands +
||£1,300 - £3,200
|Large format tribute bands
||£1,700 - £4,200+
Who are the top 10 best tribute bands in the UK right now?
Below are the acts that we feel are among the best tribute artists in the UK right now, based on a mixture of popularity, performance quality and innovation:
For a list of Alive's most booked tribute bands right now, see our 'Top 10 Tribute Bands For Hire in 2017' article
How long will a tribute band play for?
Most tribute artists perform as headline acts, and as such will play one 45- to 60-minute set. However, for private events where a whole evening’s entertainment is required, most can tailor their set to 2 × 45 or 2 × 60 minute sets.
When choosing a start time for the first performance at a private party, bear in mind the catering! If your guests have just eaten, they probably won’t feel like dancing immediately. For the average wedding/birthday party, 9pm is an ideal start time, with a 30- to 45-minute break afterward the first set, and a final performance running until close. Note that some acts also offer a later finish, up to 1am for example.
How much space will a tribute act need?
This will depend on the size of the band you book and whether their show needs a large performance area. It’s worth bearing in mind that an act with accompanying dancers – or a Michael Jackson solo tribute act! – will need plenty of room for dance routines. Your Entertainment Coordinator will be happy to advise should you need more guidance.
Here are some guidelines based on ‘normal’ space requirements. These would work well for most tribute bands unless additional dance routine space was required:
|Size of Tribute Artist
||Performance Space Required
| Solo artist
||3 x 2 metres
| 2–3-piece band
||3 x 3 metres
| 4-piece band
||4 x 3 metres
| 5 and 6-piece band
||5 x 3 metres
| 7-piece and bigger:
||5/6 x 4 metres
How long will it take for a tribute act to set up?
Your chosen tribute act will arrive at a time to suit you and set up their equipment in the performance area. Depending on how close the band can park, unloading, setting up and carrying out a sound check takes around 60 – 90 minutes. This time is to ensure that your act will sound great, as levels for each instrument will need to be balanced correctly.
Background music from a laptop or iPod is usually played while the act gets changed and ready for the performance.
Some busy London hotels insist bands ‘load in’ via their shared supplier’s entrance, which can greatly extend set up times.
If your event includes a sit-down meal, the set-up and sound check would usually take place after the meal when guests leave the room to get drinks and stretch their legs, and while the room is being cleared. If you would prefer the band to be set up before guests arrive, this can be arranged – just see the artists’ profile for early arrival options.
It takes around 45 – 60 minutes to pack down and load out after the performance.
What equipment will a tribute act need?
Most tribute acts need some or all of the following:
- a suitably-sized, safe, dry, flat performance area. If performing outside, they will require cover – either from the rain or the sun
- one to four power sockets, and sometimes more depending on the size of the line-up (your Entertainment Coordinator can advise)
- parking provision, ideally with easy access to the venue
- a secure, lockable changing room
- refreshments such as soft drinks and sometimes food, depending on how long you have booked them for.
The majority of our tribute acts will provide their own professional-quality PA system, microphones, stage lighting, backline amplifiers and instruments. Those promising to be an accurate copy of the original artist will use authentic-looking instruments.
Most tribute bands provide PA systems suitable for average-sized private events, but if you’re planning a large event with over 200 people, you may need to hire separate PA and lighting. A few will provide stage lighting too. For details on particular artists, our dedicated Entertainment Coordinators are here to help!
For a more comprehensive tribute band booking guide please read ‘Booking a tribute band – Everything you’ll ever need to know’.
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 email@example.com.