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Everything You Need To Know About Booking Indian And Bollywood Entertainment

Everything You Need To Know About Booking Indian And Bollywood Entertainment

Bring the energy, expertise and elegance of Indian music to your wedding, party or corporate event. From the beauty of the sitar to show-stopping Bollywood hits, Alive Network has the talent to delight and entertain your guests all night long!

What is an Indian or Bollywood act?

At Alive Network, our Indian and Bollywood bands and musicians are carefully chosen to give you a choice of both traditional classical artists and innovative musical fusion acts.

  • A classical sitar player will play seated on a raised platform, so that guests can see this beautiful and complex instrument being played.
  • Fusion acts, by contrast, bring the glamour and exuberance of Bollywood to their act, often combining music and dance into an act that's visually stunning.
  • Bollywood bands take that one step (or more to the point, lots of steps!) further, filling your venue with the hit songs from Bollywood and the irrepressible beat of Bhangra, plus some classic chart tracks as you've probably never heard them before. Perfect for a party, exciting for an event, wonderful for any wedding!
  • Bollywood dancers bring the exciting choreography of great Bollywood set dance numbers to your venue (see our Dancers section for more details).

Examples of Indian or Bollywood acts available from Alive Network

What to look for in quality Indian and Bollywood acts

Indian musicians often train for a lifetime to achieve the levels of skill required, studying with some of the greatest players in Indian and beyond. So, the more experienced your sitar player is, the more you'll be dazzled by their skill.

Look too for experience working with Western artists and performing for a variety of audience types, so you know they will be ideal for a audience who may not know Indian music themselves. Sitar player Ravi, for example, has collaborated with Sir Paul McCartney, played with major orchestras and performed at over 800 events.

Choosing a musical Indian act is much about what will suit your event as their level of experience. Look for bands that play music which your guests will love, whether the reflective sound of a flute and drum duo for a drinks reception, or the high glamour of a strings fusion act for a corporate event or product launch.

For events where guests can really sit and listen, the Chakrada sitar and tabla duo offer the assurance of two experienced performers who have worked with each other extensively.

We have developed an ever evolving trust and delight in each other’s musical virtuosity. Our comfort with each other is never compromised by complacency - we are still able to surprise and challenge each other with playful musical dialogues that intrigue and delight our audiences.

- Ricky, Chakrada 

For Bollywood bands, look at the range of music the band will play, and the 'crossover' items between pop and Bollywood that give non-Indian audiences and the younger generation a 'way in' to the music. Party band, Bollywood Nights effortlessly mix blues, funk and soul into an dance-floor filling sound that is hotter than a late night vindaloo! Bollywood Mantra’s lead singer, Shama has trained with some of the top names in Indian singing, and their fusion of Bollywood charm and world beats from urban to Latin. Jai Ho!

What format will my Indian music act offer?

Indian performers are extremely adaptable and flexible, vital skills when performing at traditional Indian wedding celebrations! The more traditional acts suit a more gentle energy of event or ceremony, where guests can sit back and enjoy the skill of the musicians and the intricate patterns in the music, whether at a wedding ceremony or during a drinks reception.

For high-energy and visual impact, fusion acts can take a stage by storm for a 20-minute extravaganza that’ll leave audiences breathless. A Bollywood dance band, by contrast, can keep people dancing to their two sets of around 50 minutes each.

Fusion Strings offer a mixture of both high impact and sophisticated drinks reception accompaniment:

A popular format is to start with up to one hour of light classical and popular music as background to a drinks reception or during dinner. This is followed by a dramatic change in both costume and tempo, when the main high-energy performance begins with either our duo or duo plus dancer. The length of our main show is typically 20-30 minutes.

- Liz, Fusion Strings 

(For a fully choreographer Bollywood dancer show with optional live musicians, drummers and fire dancers, check out Bollywood Live.)

What formats will acts offer for a traditional Indian wedding?

Our experienced Indian musicians will be delighted to be part of your wedding celebrations as follows:

  • Mehndi ceremony and sangeet

    Any of our Indian acts will be delighted to play during your ‘ladies only’ Mehndi ceremony. The Indian Flute And Tabla Duo bring traditional instruments and melodies for laid back, culturally rich entertainment, suitable for a relaxed and delightful mendhi ceremony. 
Our music suits both those with an understanding of Indian music and those who are total newcomers to the genre. Our instruments have an instantly attractive, pure and unobtrusive tone and set a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere for any occasion. Those who have never heard Indian music before are often amazed by the unusual intricacies and nuances to be found in this rich culture.

- Marc, Indian Flute and Tabla Duo

  • Sangeet ceremony

    Choose from the best in Indian music and dance for your Sangeet, with plenty of entertainment for all to help make those introductions of the bride to her new family just a little more relaxed! Our performers will be happy to help with the choice of your romantic dance song together, if you wish to perform one.

  • Main wedding ceremony (Shaadi)

    Your wedding entertainment ceremony starts with the groom’s Baraat, or procession. Choose from the traditional accompaniment of the Dhol (drum) as you arrive on your white horse. If your transport has four wheels instead of four hooves, why not opt for something a little more upbeat, such as dance act Bollywood Beauties with extra Dohl drummers and fire-eaters!

    For the ceremony itself, (Shaadi) most couples opt for traditional Gujarati weddings songs (Lagna Geet), Shennai, folk songs (Fatanas) or Bollywood music to accompany their Hindi wedding ceremony. These can be performed either by a live band or, more usually these days, by a specialised Indian wedding DJ.

    Whichever you choose for your Indian wedding background music, the performers or DJ should liaise with your priest to ensure the music complements the rituals being performed, whether in a silent or non-silent ceremony.

  • Cocktail Hour

    For the cocktail hour between the ceremony and the reception, why not opt for a fusion act such as the Live Indo-Jazz Band, whose unique sound blends traditional melodies for northern India with jazz, Latin and Bollywood, played on sax, clarinet, Indian harmonium and tabla.

  • Wedding reception

    For the wedding meal, Bollywood Nights offer a trio playing an instrumental classical set during dinner, for up to 2 hours.

    For the wedding party itself, well, that’s definitely the time for a Bollywood band! Get everyone up and dancing to Bhangra beats, Bollywood favs and contemporary chart classics, perhaps with a bit of a twist too. Bollywood Nights are a super-tight band of multicultural musicians that perform Bollywood grooves reborn with a unique soul funk twist, and it’s an awesome sound that your guests will love.

  • Vidaai Songs for the Bride’s 'Farewell'

    Ask us about singers for these soulful songs for when bride says a symbolic 'goodbye' to her family, her home, and her friends for her new married life.

Indian music for non-Hindi weddings

Of course there is nothing to say that you can’t have Indian music at a non-Indian wedding! Fusion Strings offer the best of both worlds for both church and civil weddings:

Why not have a romantic violin-cello duo for your wedding ceremony, played by us on traditional acoustic instruments, followed by a more upbeat electric performance for your reception. Your guests will be surprised to see us playing a very different style of music, having changed costumes, and performing with very different instruments!

- Liz, Fusion Strings 

What equipment will my Indian music or dance act require?

Most traditional Indian musicians will be entirely self-contained, bringing their own discreet sound systems. They may also require a small raised stage, which ensures they can be seen and gives them a more comfortable surface to sit on.

We work best on a raised surface where we can have a couple of square meters to lay a beautiful embroidered throw. Both sit in this space with minimal amplification equipment (we use a very small but high quality PA system).

- Marc, Indian Flute and Tabla Duo 

Other acts have different requirements, based on their style of performance.

  • Fusion Strings perform to backing tracks, so will bring their own sound system.
  • Bollywood Nights bring their own PA system, and can upscale this for events with more than 600 people attending.

Like many party and function bands, Bollywood Mantra provide a PA but not lighting as standard, although this is available as an optional extra if required.

What space will my Indian musicians and dancers require?

Each act will have different requirements, based on the number of players, what instruments they are playing, and the inclusion of any dancers. For example, a sitar requires a wider space than a regular guitar, and an Indian percussion player requires a space of different dimensions to a pop drum kit. If you are in any doubt as to whether an act will fit into your venue space, just call the Alive Network team for advice.

We need a raised platform minimum size, 8ft x 4ft, and can provide our own PA if required.

- Ricky, Chakrada 

Try to have a gap between performers and your guests anyway, so people can sit back and enjoy the show, or dance in safety without fear of tripping over cables, etc.

If your event involves playing outside, you should provide some form of shelter in case of an unexpected shower, plus any stage or flooring required. if your event runs into the evening, you’ll also need lighting, and if it’s for a group of more than 100 guests, you’ll probably need extra PA and a clean, independent power source too.

What performance length will my Indian performers offer?

Again, this largely depends on the event. For festival and corporate functions, most acts will offer between 20-50 minutes of music, maybe up to an hour. For parties, they might perform a single set, or split their performance into two sets of around 50 minutes each.

For traditional wedding ceremonies, they will stay for the duration playing when required, and for dinners might offer to play throughout, with occasional short breaks. Do bear in mind that your musicians will need these ‘comfort breaks’, and that your guests might also appreciate a break as well! Wall-to-wall music at social events such as weddings can be tiring on those attending, so a break now and again will probably be welcomed anyway.

What are the costs of Indian Musicians and Bollywood bands for hire?

Indian acts offer exceptional value for money.

  • A highly experienced sitar player like Ravi costing from as little as £250.
  • Classical duos charge from £595 depending on the length of performance required.
  • The four-piece Indo-Jazz Band cost from a very reasonable £900, with discounts available of you don’t need their PA system.
  • High impact Indian fusion acts start at £1500, with an optional dancer available for a further charge.
  • Bollywood bands, Bollywood Mantra charge just £1594 for their standard 8-piece line-up, while Bollywood Nights start at £2800+.

Is there anything else I need to know?

There are a few simple ways to ensure your performers feel welcomed, comfortable and part of your event.

Venue Access: Some artists may have particular requirements such as a parking space close to the venue, or flat access for their instruments (Indian drums can be heavy!).

Meet and Greet: Ensure someone is available to meet your artists, show them the performing area, their changing room (see below), and generally make them feel welcome.

Changing Rooms: Whatever instrument they play or show they perform, any performer will require somewhere to leave their instrument boxes and change out of their day clothes. A private, lockable room with easy access to a nearby bathroom or toilet is best. Please don’t insult your artists by assuming they can change in the toilets or a chair store.

We are equally happy to dress to the themes of an Indian wedding and have performed during several religious ceremonies, as we are to dress to a contemporary understated level.

- Marc, Indian Flute and Tabla Duo

Nearby power supply: Any performer using a PA system will require access to 13 amp sockets for their sound system.

Food and soft drinks: Do offer your performers a meal between sets or similar, especially if they are to attend your day-long Indian wedding celebrations! Playing, singing and dancing is thirsty work, so do ensure your Indian music acts have access to at least a litre each of bottled water (still not fizzy) or glasses and jugs of cool tap water. At events where alcohol is served, many performers will be pleasantly surprised with an offer of a beer or glass of wine after their performance. However, don’t be offended if they decline your offer, as they will probably have to drive home after their performance.

Sound limiters: These devices check the volume of music played, whether live or recorded. If the sound levels exceed the limits set by the local licensing authority, the sound limiter will cut the power. Most classical Indian music ensembles won’t have any problems with sound limiters, but a Bollywood band might be a different matter. Always check in advance if your venue has limiters, and inform Alive Network as soon as possible so your band can adjust their instrumentation or line-up accordingly.

How to book Indian entertainment from Alive Network

First of all, browse all the talented performers in this category here at Alive Network online. When you find your ideal act (or acts!), add them to your Wish List, and do an instant online quote and availability check. Once you’ve chosen your act(s), simply book them using the buttons.

Once you have booked, one of the Alive Network agents will contact you on the next working day to double-check details such as your venue, the exact format required and the timings of your event.