Complete Guide to Hiring a Band: Costs, Planning and Essentials

How to Hire a Live BandThe Complete Guide to Hiring a Live Band

Live music is effervescent, it brings joy, energy and fun to any occasion – so we want to make sure you have everything you need to book exactly the right Live band for your event.

Whether you want to hire a band to get everyone up and dancing at your party, looking for the perfect wedding band, planning to book a band for a corporate or launch event, we’re here to help. You’ll find answers to all your questions below and to save you time, just fill in our Request a Quote form and we’ll get our talented bands to contact you direct.

Search for Live Bands | Request a Quote | What Type of Band Will Suit My Event? | How Much Does a Band Cost? | Set Times & Venue Requirements | Insurance, Contracts & Other Essentials

Party Band

What Type of Band Will Suit My Event?

This all comes down to what type of event you’re planning, how many people will be attending, their age range, what style of music you and your guests enjoy and what kind of atmosphere you’re looking to create.

You might be planning a themed-event, in which case you’ll need music to match. For a 70s night, you could go for a band that plays Soul & Motown music or Glam Rock covers. If your event has a Las Vegas theme, how about a Rat Pack Show? Not only will these groups play the music of the era, they’ll dress the part too.

At Entertainers Worldwide, you can find live bands specialising in everything from Brazilian music to Reggae, from Irish music to Blues. We can cater for all kinds of themes.

Function & Party Bands

One of the most popular types of band for events is a Function & Party Band. These bands have big set lists, a big sound and exist for the sole purpose of raising the roof at your party!

If you want guests up, dancing, singing along and letting loose on the dance floor, this is the type of band for you. The basic line-up usually consists of a guitarist and/or keyboard player, lead singer, drummer and bass player. Bigger bands might have separate backing singers, a saxophone player or even a whole brass section.

Function bands are experts at entertaining crowds and know just how to get your guests involved. They play high-energy, popular classics covering a wide variety of genres so there will be something to please each and every one of your guests, whether they love Stevie Wonder or Katy Perry.

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Party Band Hire

For fans of The Rolling Stones, Elvis, The Beatles, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, a party band is a great choice. And don’t forget, you can always discuss the setlist with the band in advance, to make sure they include all your favourites.

Equally, if you’re not too confident in deciding what the music should be, you can simply tell the band a bit about your event and let them take it from there – after all, they have the benefit of experience, so you can trust them to deliver a setlist your guests will love.

Cover Bands

There is some crossover between Cover Bands and Function & Party Bands – both play at parties, functions, weddings and other events. In many cases they play similar music and would suit the same events.

The difference is that certain Cover Bands might focus on playing covers from a particular genre, such as rock or indie music. So, if you and your guests love a particular style of music, this could be a good option for you.

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Soul & Motown Bands

For lovers of Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Sister Sledge and Michael Jackson, you can really get down with a Soul & Motown Band. Guaranteed to get everybody moving, this type of band will perform timeless soul classics, disco anthems and up-to-date funky tunes, so you can boogie all night long.

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Rock Bands

If classic rock and modern guitar hits are more your thing, why not hire a Rock Band? For some up-beat, head-banging fun, you really can’t beat this. Take yourself on a journey of heavy metal and hard rock through the ages, with Deep Purple, Guns & Roses, Bon Jovi, the Foo Fighters and Metallica, right through to The Killers and Queens of the Stone Age. The perfect choice for a rocking birthday party or wedding.

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Acoustic Bands

Acoustic Bands are a popular choice at private parties, corporate events, weddings and festivals. They tend to be smaller than function bands and can move around and set up more easily, making them ideal for smaller venues or events where guests are moving from place to place.

A common line-up is a singer and acoustic guitarist, but it can also be a full band. Although their instruments are acoustic, they may still use a PA to amplify their sound. Just like a function band, they play an array of well-known chart hits, from every musical era you can think of, and can tailor their sets to suit your event perfectly.

An Acoustic Group creates the perfect atmosphere at your wedding ceremony, playing your special song as you walk down the aisle and performing gorgeous music during the wedding breakfast and drinks reception, helping your guests relax while they are having their photos taken or sipping their first glass of champagne.

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Jazz Band Hire

Jazz Bands

For something with that extra touch of magic, a Jazz Band makes an excellent choice for any sophisticated occasion. As well as Traditional jazz from the 1920s, there are many other styles on offer.

Music from the Big Band and Swing era includes the enduring and hopelessly romantic songs of Gershwin and Cole Porter, perfect for a wedding, corporate event or gala dinner.

For dancing, it’s got to be Period Jazz from the Duke Ellington era, or Jump Jive from the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, where jazz crosses over with rhythm and blues.

Smooth, modern jazz with a Latin American influence would be ideal background music for a suave dinner party.

Jazz Bands come in all sizes, from duos, trios and four or five-piece bands, to big ensembles. For larger venues, options include Big Bands & Orchestras, Rat Pack Shows and Swing Bands.

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Rat Pack Shows 

Transport your guests back to the magical era of the 1940s and 1950s with tributes to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Junior, Tony Bennett and more.

Your guests will be treated to a spectacular show featuring timeless classics such as “Fly Me to the Moon” and “New York, New York”, often with a modern twist, inspired by the likes of Michael Bublé and Jamie Cullum. This is a great accompaniment to any occasion, from a corporate dinner to a small party or vintage-themed event.

String Quartet Hire

String Quartets & Classical Groups

Hiring a String Quartet is a wonderful way to bring a touch of elegance to any sit-down dinner, wedding or corporate event.

This classic ensemble consists of two violins, a viola and a cello and there is a huge body of wonderful music written especially for this combination of musicians. Well-known composers of the genre include Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Ravel and Dvorak. Some of these pieces are simply sublime.

If you’re looking to mix things up a bit, many quartets today offer diverse sets including film scores, TV theme tunes, scores from musicals and operas, show tunes and string versions of popular hits, from Adele to Daft Punk.

As well as the classic string quartet, there are DuosTrios and Quintets, usually combining strings, piano and strings or woodwind instruments.

Whichever format you choose, a Classical Group is ideal for providing sophisticated background music during your wedding day and will make a real impact at any smart occasion.

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Wedding Band Hire

Booking a Band For Your Wedding

More and more couples are hiring bands for live music at their wedding. Take a look through this huge selection of professional, well-rehearsed, experienced wedding bands who are expert at creating a welcoming atmosphere and getting your guests up and on that dance floor. They will talk to the audience in between songs and know just how to bring people out of their shells.

If you’re looking for some gentle music for your wedding ceremony, breakfast or drinks reception, most wedding bands can offer an acoustic line-up, or you could consider booking a String Quartet or Acoustic Band to play during the day-time.

Choosing a band for your evening reception really comes down to your own personal taste, but you also want to consider the different friends and family you have invited. Playing a variety of genres, wedding bands have setlists designed to appeal to all ages, so that each and every one of your guests has a night to remember!

Of course, we can’t talk about music for your wedding day without mentioning that all-important first dance. According to Spotify, the most popular first dance songs of 2018 include the 2017 Ed Sheeran hit ‘Perfect’ and the classic Etta James song ‘At Last’. Whether you prefer old or new, happy or sad, let the band know in advance, so they can make sure they’ve got it prepared.

One thing to mention is that, while the band will be delighted to accommodate your special requests, when it comes to what order the music is played in, this is usually best left to the band, who know how to arrange their set lists for maximum effect!

Be sure to look over these things to ask your wedding band before you confirm the booking.

Other popular choices of bands hired for weddings include Function & Party Bands, Cover Bands, Soul & Motown Bands and Barn Dance & Ceilidh Bands.

And if you need more inspiration take a look at our Wedding Entertainment page, where you’ll find plenty of inspiration and ideas, and everything from Wedding Inspiration Videos and Wedding Checklists to Wedding Ceremony and First dance Playlists.

How Much Does a Live Band Cost to Hire?

This will depend on the number of band members, how experienced they are and how far they have to travel to your event.

A Duo or Trio will be a cheaper option at around £300 to £500 in the UK ($500 in the U.S. and €600 in Europe). For a 4 or 5-piece band you can expect to pay between £1000 and £2000 in the UK ($1000-$2000 in the U.S. and 600€-1200€ in Europe). A top quality band with high calibre musicians and the best equipment will cost anything from £2000 to £10,000 in the UK ($2000 to $10,000 in the U.S. and 2,200€ to 11,000€ in Europe).

It is often assumed that booking a band to play in London will be more expensive than elsewhere in the regions however this is not necessarily true due to the number of musicians drawn to the capital that work together and form groups and ensembles.

Bands will charge more at key times of year such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

One thing to consider when deciding on your budget, is that it’s worth paying for a reliable band who will provide high quality entertainment. It might be tempting to find the cheapest band you can find, and it might work out fine, but just make sure they are going to turn up on time and deliver a great evening’s entertainment. See our Essential Tips below for information on booking terms and conditions.

Since the prices do vary widely, we highly recommend getting in touch with your chosen performers for a completely free, no-obligation quote.

How Long Will a Band Play For

How Long Will They Play For?

Two 60-minute sets is typical, although bands will do their best to tailor this to your requirements. If your event is lasting all day, you can speak to the band and agree on a schedule together. Extra or longer performances will cost more so keep an eye on your budget.

Many live bands can offer acoustic sets as well as a full band lineup, or will have the facility to play recorded music through the PA using a laptop. Either way, your guests can enjoy some background music during dinner or in between sets and this will be cheaper than hiring multiple acts.

Suitable Venues for Live Bands & Groups

When choosing your venue, it’s a good idea to consider the type of event you’re planning and how much space you’ll need.

Will the band need a stage and if so, what size? Will you need extra room for a DJ or host? Is there room for equipment such as speakers? Is the room big enough for all of your guests? Is there a dance floor? Is there parking and easy access, allowing the band to unload and set up in good time?

Other Considerations

 Stage Size

We recommend using the following guidelines to ensure that your stage is the right size for your band (measurements given are Width x Depth):

  • Solo Performer: 8ft x 6ft (2.5m x 2m)
  • Duo: 12ft x 8ft (3.6m x 2.5m)
  • Trio: 16ft x 12ft (4.8m x 3.6m)
  • 4-5 Piece Band: 20ft x 12ft (6m x 3.6m)
  • 5-6 Piece Band: 20ft x 16ft (6m x 4.8m)
  • 7-8 Piece Band: 17ft x 10ft (5m x 3m)
  • 8-10 Piece Band: 16ft x 24ft (4.8m x 7.3m)
  • 10-12 Piece Band: 16ft x 28ft (4.8m x 8.5m)

Alternatively, you can work it out by much space each band member will need. In his article Determining Stage Sizes, Doug Matthews recommends the following square footage per musician:

Electronic rhythm instruments. 25 – 30 ft² per musician (e.g. guitar, bass, keyboards) including amplifiers and equipment.

Acoustic instruments. 10 – 15 ft² per musician (e.g. brass, woodwinds, strings), including chairs and music stands.

Specific stage requirements may be laid out in your contract. If in doubt, check with the band when you book that the venue you have in mind is suitable.


One important thing to consider, especially when booking a live band, is whether or not there are noise restrictions or sound limiters at the venue. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem as the band may be able to use a special drum kit to keep the overall noise level down. Check this out before hand to avoid any issues on the night.

Backstage Area

While not all bands expect the luxury of a fully-fitted dressing room, they will need somewhere away from the guests to get changed, warm up and relax in between sets, ideally with enough seats for all the band members and a mirror.

Bands will often make do with a small room such as a back office. Obviously, if you’ve hired a symphony orchestra they will need a bit more space. If in doubt, check with the band.

Tips for Hiring a band

Essential Tips for Hiring a Live Band

How far in advance should I book?  

Popular bands can get booked up months, or even years, in advance. Friday and Saturday nights are often busy for bands and Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve get booked up well ahead of time. So, get your booking in nice and early!

What equipment and set up requirements will there be?

Live bands usually provide their own equipment, including instruments, microphones, amplifiers, PA system and basic stage lighting.

As far as setting up goes, it takes about an hour and a half for the average band to unload their equipment, set up and sound check. They will need a safe supply of electricity and four or more power point sockets near the stage area.

If staging and lighting equipment is not already in place at the venue, and you’re wondering if the band can provide it, do check this well in advance.

Can Live Bands also provide a Disco and / or DJ?

Many Function & Party bands can provide a Disco and DJ service. This will cost extra but may work out cheaper than hiring a separate service.

If the band can’t help, you can find DJs and a whole host of other Event Services, including mobile bars and photographers for hire, here at Entertainers Worldwide!

We have plenty more information about the practicalities of booking entertainment on our FAQs page, where you can find everything you need to know about Deposits & Travel expenses | Cancellations | DBS Checks | Performer Insurance & Risk Assessments .


Booking a live band is easy with Entertainers Worldwide. Using our website you can search through different types of bands, view their profiles and read their all-important reviews. Many of our listed acts also include video samples of their performances.

Once you’ve found the band you want to book, simply use the contact form on their profile page. We are not an agency, so you can deal directly with your chosen group, with no extra booking fees or commission to pay. And if you can’t find exactly the right band in your area, fill in our Request a Quote form and we’ll find them for you!

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