What is a function band?
A function band (or cover band / wedding band / party band as they’re also known) is a live band that specialises in performing popular rock and pop music for function events such as weddings, corporate events and private parties. They usually consist of a drummer, bass player, guitarist and lead singer, with larger bands also including a keyboard player, brass section and backing singers.
Function bands are a self-contained entertainment package, providing all of the equipment required when you book a band, without clients having to hire additional sound and lighting equipment. They often travel over a large geographical area, and their performances are designed specifically for the demands of private events.
What music do function bands play?
A function band setlist will contain a variety of rock and popular music from the 1950s right through to current chart acts, performing dancefloor-filling hits. A typical repertoire might feature artists such as:
- The Beatles
- The Rolling Stones
- The Kinks
- Van Morrison
- Stevie Wonder
- Bruno Mars
- The Killers
- Daft Punk
- Taylor Swift
- Take That
- Maroon 5
- Ed Sheeran
- James Bay
- Kings of Leon
- Arctic Monkeys
- Justin Bieber
- Katy Perry
Popular types of function band
Usually formed of 3–5 members with an indie/pop/rock guitar based sound, covering artists like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles through to The Killers and Arctic Monkeys.
Containing anything from 5–12 members, often with female lead vocals and more prominent use of keyboards or a brass section, playing classic pop and Motown through to contemporary pop/RnB artists like Taylor Swift, Pharrell, Rihanna, Maroon 5, Amy Winehouse, Beyoncé.
Where in the UK do Alive function bands perform?
Function bands are regularly booked for a range of events and locations across the UK and internationally – for weddings, corporate events, private parties, venues, festivals, and more. The most popular locations include:
Most popular counties:
Most popular cities:
Is a function band suitable for my event?
Rock and pop function bands specialise in lively and energetic performances so you and your guests can party! They are usually the headline evening entertainment, perfect for events including:
For weddings, a live band can perform the first dance, as well as provide background music between sets, delivering an all-in-one wedding entertainment solution. Many function bands also offer jazz or acoustic sets for your drinks reception, and solo guitar / piano for your ceremony and wedding breakfast. These options can help to keep costs down, in comparison with hiring separate performers for your wedding day.
For corporate events, bands can provide walk-on music for awards ceremonies.
Volume considerations at your event
If you’ve ever been to a live gig, you’ll know there’s nothing quite like the exciting, big sound of a live band! Function bands can offer an electrifying live performance with a sound and volume to match. A volume level in the region of 95dB – 110dB is standard.
If your venue has a sound limiter or volume restrictions, many bands offer an electronic drum kit option which can significantly reduce the overall volume of the band. You can find our sound limiter friendly bands here.
If you prefer your entertainment to serve as background music, where guests can still easily hold a conversation in the same room, then you might like to consider a Jazz / Swing band, solo singer / guitarist or Rat Pack singer. All of these artists are able to perform popular music but in a more laid-back style.
For more information about volume, see below.
How much does a function band cost?
Prices vary depending on the number of members in the band and their travel distance to your event.
In 2017, the average price of a 4–5-piece wedding function band is around £1,350 – £1,700.
Larger bands who specialise in corporate events vary in price between £2,000 – £10,000 depending on their size and experience.
This table shows a breakdown of the range of costs for different types of function bands:
|Number of musicians / Type of Act
|Function Band Duos
||£420 - £850
||£570 - £1,600
||£900 - £3,600
|7-piece bands +
||£1,200 - £5,100
|Large format Rock and Pop bands
||£3,300 - £7,500
Who are the top 10 best function bands in the UK right now?
Below are the bands that we feel are currently flying the flag as the leading rock and pop function bands in the UK right now, based on a combination of popularity, performance quality and innovation:
For a list of Alive's most booked function bands right now, see our 'Top 10 Function Bands For Hire in 2017' article
How long will a function band play for?
Most function bands offer two 60-minute performances as standard, though many can perform for longer if required. You can spread out a two-hour performance by splitting it into three 40-minute sets.
For most weddings and private parties, the band would arrive at 6pm, get set up and sound checked by 7.30pm to 8pm, then start the first performance around 9pm, with the second performance starting around 10.30pm, through to a standard midnight curfew. Many bands will offer longer performances at an additional cost, including finishing times of 1am and 2am.
Bands will provide background music from an MP3 player or laptop between their performances.
How loud is a function band?
The average volume level of most fully-amplified 4-piece guitar-based rock and pop function bands, is between 95dB – 110 dB (decibels), with occasional volume peaks of around 120dB. This is a big, roof-raising sound with lots of energy, making them the perfect headliners to your party!
If your venue has noise restrictions or a sound limiter, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a band. Just speak to our Entertainment Coordinators before you book to find the right artists for you. Many of our bands have the option of an electric drum kit, which can significantly help to reduce overall volume. Check out our sound limiter friendly collection here.
How much space will a function band need?
Most function bands can work within a space of 4 metres wide by 3 metres deep, but this increases as you add more members. The guide below shows how much space bands of different sizes require:
|Size of Function 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
How long will it take for a function band to set up?
To unload, set up and sound check takes on average 60 – 90 minutes, depending on how close the band can park relative to the space they’re performing in. Some busy London hotels insist bands load in via a suppliers entrance, using an elevator shared with caterers and staff. This can greatly extend set up times.
After the performance, it takes around 45 – 60 minutes to pack down and load out.
What equipment will a function band need?
To really rock at your event, most function bands need:
- a suitably-sized, safe, dry performance area. If performing outside, they will require cover – either from the rain or from the scorching sun!
- a minimum of four 13 amp power sockets, depending on the line-up
- parking provision, preferably 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.
Function bands will provide their own PA system, microphones, stage lighting, backline amplifiers and instruments.
In a band? How do you join a function band agency?
For information on joining Alive Network please visit our 'How to join' pages here.
What you will need in order to apply?
- High quality audio tracks and promo photos
- Reliable, good quality equipment & your own transport
- A setlist of music suited to private events
- Smart formal stage clothes, suited to private events
- A PA system & stage lighting suited to audiences of up to 200 people
- Reliable, professional band mates
For a more comprehensive function band booking guide please read ‘Booking a function 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.