What is a Motown or soul wedding band?
Soul, RnB and Motown has deep-seated roots in African-American music of the 40s and 50s, such as gospel and jazz. As such, the sound is expressive and genuine, often reflecting the pride, strength, joy, sorrow, triumphs and failures of life. It can be lively and optimistic one moment, and slow and regretful the next, but always served in fabulous style.
A soul band is a live music group dedicated to performing popular soul and Motown hits for special occasions, like weddings, private parties and corporate events. Typically featuring a strong lead singer with backing vocals, drums, guitars, percussion, keyboards, and occasionally with a horn or string section, they usually range in size from 3–5 performers, right up to the impact of a big band, with 10+ members.
They can perform a range of music to reflect the atmosphere you’d like to create at your event - from old classics to contemporary hits - and most offer the option to tailor their set to suit. Think Percy Sledge, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott, Joss Stone, and Beyoncé.
They are a self-contained entertainment package, providing everything needed for a booking, without the need to hire additional sound and lighting equipment. Often travelling over a wide geographical area, their performances are designed specifically for private events.
What music will they play?
Old classics or modern hits, soul and Motown bands will perform the best range of music to get you and your guests moving. Think music from the likes of:
- Aretha Franklin
- Bruno Mars
- Ella Fitzgerald
- Frank Sinatra
- Jackie Wilson
- James Brown
- Jill Scott
- John Legend
- Joss Stone
- Marvin Gaye
- Michael Jackson
- Nat King Cole
- Otis Redding
- Percy Sledge
- Pharrell Williams
- Sister Sledge
- Stevie Wonder
- The Four Tops
- The Jackson 5
- The Supremes
- The Temptations
- Van Morrison
- Whitney Houston
- Wilson Pickett
Check out the repertoire for each band on their individual profile pages. Many will offer the option to tailor their set list to your specific passions!
Popular types of Motown wedding band
Take jazz music, add a strong beat coupled with lyrics about life, love and freedom, and you have Rhythm and Blues music. Nowadays, RnB is a genre in its own right, sprouting sub-genres such as funk, ska, and hip-hop. This genre is home to artists as disparate as Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Jay Z, Mary J. Blige and Justin Timberlake.
Born out of jazz and rhythm and blues in the late 1950s, soul music also has links to American gospel, combining powerful rhythms and strong, emotive vocals. Artists in this field include Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Sam Cook and Joss Stone.
Calling themselves ‘the new definition of soul’, this style of music was named after Detroit-based record label, Motown Records. Founded in 1958, the Motown record label created a new sound by merging soul and new pop, which proved extremely popular, filling dance-floors in night clubs and discos ever since. Motown artists include artists like Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Diana Ross and The Supremes, the Four Tops, The Temptations, The Pointer Sisters, the Jackson 5, and Lionel Ritchie.
Usually containing between from 3–10+ members, often with female lead vocals and more prominent use of keyboards or a brass section. Most of our soul, RnB and Motown bands will perform a range of classic pop and Motown hits, to modern pop and RnB artists like Rhianna, Amy Winehouse, Pharrell, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé.
Do you have a soul or Motown tribute band near me?
Our bands headline at a variety of occasions across the UK and internationally – from private parties and weddings to corporate events. They most frequently perform in:
Most popular counties:
Most popular cities:
Are they suitable for my event?
Soul bands specialise in fantastically fun, spirited performances, certain to fill the dance floor! They are usually the headline evening entertainment, but can provide several options for your own event, be it a:
Our bands come in all shapes and sizes, from sole soul singers and dynamic duets performing with backing tracks, to impressive 10-piece big bands with a lively brass section that will blow you away! Many offer flexibility for your event, and many solo artists also offer a live band option. You can scale most options up or down, depending on your budget and event requirements. You may want a lower-key version of your chosen band’s set for your wedding ceremony or afternoon drinks reception, for example, adding members in the evening for a larger line-up, making your party an energetic event after the lights go down!
Soul music is all-inclusive, and a great choice if you want all your guests to get up and enjoy themselves - whatever their age! They’re also great for exciting corporate events, fun cocktail parties, and can even provide walk-on music for awards ceremonies.
How much do soul bands for hire cost?
The cost of a Motown or soul band will vary, depending on line-up and the options each band offers.
In the last 12 months, the average price of a 5-piece band is around £1,600.
This table shows the cost ranges for different types of acts:
|Type of Artist
||£390 – £720
||£660 – £780
||£610 – £1,200
||£960 – £2,420
|7-piece bands +
||£1,270 – £3,620
||£1,740 – £7,500
Booking a band who are local to your venue is one way to reduce costs, as their travel time will be minimal. The home town location of all Alive Network bands are displayed on their profile pages, and your Entertainment Coordinator can also recommend the best bands closest to your venue.
How long will they play for?
Most bands offer performances made up of two 45- or 60-minute sets, with a break of around 30 minutes in-between. In fact, many offer the flexibility of several set choices, such as one longer set or three shorter sets, so they can tailor their performances to your individual event. For example, at a wedding drinks reception, your band could perform a 40-minute set of lovely laid-back soul music, then take a break to reappear on-stage for the loud and lively party set later on, at your evening reception.
Some bands also offer the option of after-midnight finishes, if you’d like to continue the party into the wee small hours. The booking options for each artist can be found on their profile page, and our Event Coordinators will be happy to discuss the options available.
How much space will they need?
The performance space needed will depend on the format of band you choose, how many members it has and the number and type of instruments they use, as well as their sound equipment. Also, our bands specialise in providing a fantastic visual, as well as musical, performance so they’re likely to need plenty of room to move around to get your guests hyped up!
If you have a large space to fill, you may wish to opt for the impact of a big band with plenty of gusto. However, smaller bands and artists can also do an excellent job of delivering an energetic performance and getting the room jumping at a large venue.
This table gives a rough guide to the space a live soul artist will need to perform in:
|Size of band
||Performance Space Required
| Solo singer
||2 × 2 metres
| Duo artists
||3 × 2 metres
| 3-piece band
||3 × 3 metres
| 4-piece band
||4 × 3 metres
| 5 and 6-piece band
||5 × 3 metres
| 7-piece band and bigger
||5/6 × 4 metres
If your band features dancers or backing singers, remember to ensure there’s plenty of space at your venue so the band can give their peak performance. Your dedicated Event Coordinator can provide you with specific measurements for your chosen band.
How long will it take for them to set up?
It usually takes anything from 60 – 90 minutes for a band to unload, set up and perform their vital sound check. This will depend on how close they can park relative to the performance area – some busy inner-city hotels require bands to load in via a supplier’s entrance, using a shared staff elevator, which can impact their set up time.
Following their final set, it can take around 20 – 60 minutes to pack down and load out.
What equipment will they need?
To funk up your special occasion with style, our performers will appreciate:
- a dedicated, suitably-sized, safe, dry, flat performance area or stage
- if consented to an outside performance, they will need cover from all types of elements
- adequate lighting, especially if they're performing in a marquee, for example
- a minimum of four 13 amp power sockets, depending on the line-up
- parking provision with easy access to the venue
- a secure, lockable changing room
- refreshments – soft drinks and food, in some occasions and depending on the length of time you’ve booked them for
Our bands will bring their own instruments, PA sound system, microphones, stage lighting, and backline amplifiers. If you’re planning an event at a very large venue with over 200 guests, we recommend you discuss your requirements with your Event Coordinator, as you may need to hire an additional sound system.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.