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Everything you'll ever need to know about booking a 70's Disco and Funk band

Everything you'll ever need to know about booking a 70's Disco and Funk band

Everything you'll ever need to know about booking a 70's Disco and Funk band. Find out what a 70's Disco and Funk band will do at your event, how various types of 70's Disco and Funk bands 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 70's Disco and Funk band and much more.

By Alive Network, with contributions from members of Sonic and Absolute 70s.

What are 70’s Disco and Funk bands and what do they do?

1970s style Disco and Funk bands will play music from that era, namely the Bee Gees, Jackson 5, Chic, Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Village People, Sister Sledge, Hot Chocolate, Abba, Real Thing, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, the Sunshine Band etc. 

These bands usually dress in costume complete with afro wigs, flares and high collars, inspiring great dance moves with music that will entertain at any party, wedding or corporate event.

70’s disco and funk bands are usually larger in format than Rock and Pop bands, with the average band featuring 6 members.

Most of our 70’s Disco and Funk bands play fully live with a drummer, bass guitarist, lead guitarist, keyboard, male and female vocalists, and brass players.  A few are available performing over backing tracks, which means there are less band members required in the line up.

The biggest thing to remember with these bands is that they are FUN!  They are great for parties where an element of the outrageous is required, or where it’s important to break the ice early on.

Examples of 70's Disco & Funk Bands

What should I look for to ensure quality?

All of the 70’s Disco and Funk 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.

4. Equipment
The band should use professional quality PA, instruments, amplifiers and microphones.  All bands should have Public Liability Insurance and have PAT certificates for all of their electrical equipment.

5. Experience and background
Check that the band consists of high calibre 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.

7. Cost
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 70’s Disco and Funk 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 a mixed taped playlist 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 they provide?

99.9% of the 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 70’s Disco and Funk 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 they 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 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 dancing 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 or variations available to me?

Different bands offer different options, ranging from adding or subtracting members (eg, adding a brass section, or an extra female singer so that they can change costumes mid-set) through to the provision of extra PA, lighting, special effects, star cloths, video screens, lasers, 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.

Some bands will have a PA engineer who helps set up the PA system and will listen to the band from an audience perspective, changing instrument and vocal levels as necessary.

How much will it cost to hire a 70's Disco and Funk band?

This depends greatly on the size, quality and experience of the band.  All Alive Network bands are carefully vetted and so therefore represent the top percentage of quality live bands in the UK.  Our bands range from as little as £800 for a trio, to £4000 for a top flight 10 piece function band.

The average fee for a party/wedding orientated 70’s Funk band is approx £1500.

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 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 cost of 70's Disco and Funk 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 do 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 a 3 piece band singing to backing tracks costing much less than a 10 or 11 piece band. 

Some higher earning bands are also VAT registered which pushes the overall cost up.

What security will I get when booking?

When you book a 70’s Disco and Funk 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 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’ll need to provide or ensure for them?

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.  They will also need somewhere safe to keep personal belongings while they are at the venue. 
A loading bay or parking close to the stage area would be beneficial so that heavy equipment can be unloaded/loaded as close to the performance area as possible.  Information about stairs or other obstructions that could make unloading awkward would also be useful.   

Is there anything else I need to know?

We've put together a selection of useful tips and insights provided directly by our artists.

Sera, Sonic quotes “A live band can really make an event!  The day after an event, people are unlikely to talk about the food or the flowers, but a quality band will be a talking point for days, weeks, months, and even years to come.  The atmosphere a band can create cannot be beaten by a DJ, or any other style of entertainment.

Need some help or advice choosing a 70's Disco or Funk band? We're here to help!

If you would like help selecting the perfect entertainment for your event, simply give us a call or submit the quick enquiry form below and one of our talented entertainment coordinators will be happy to assist.

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