Archive for June 27th, 2007

“Where Would You Like The Band?” (Part One)

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Few annoyances can ruin a party as quickly for your guests – especially your older ones – than being so close to a band or DJ that conversation is impossible.

Fortunately, of all the potential bugaboos that can plague your party planning, Senior Sonic Sensitivity Syndrome is one of the easiest to nip in the bud. How? Let me count the ways:

1. Open Seating. Folks who don’t want to be near the PA speakers will usually gravitate to the most distant tables, if they have that option. If Fussy Uncle Fred finds that his assigned seat is near the music source, he will be miserable (and he will make you miserable, too.)

2. Dinner Music. Tell your band or DJ you want low volume until after dessert. When the music is soft, your guests won’t have to shout at each other to be heard. This will lower the overall decibel level of the room. Then, to really cut back on the complaints, also keep the dinner repertoire instrumental (as opposed to vocal), and free from overly-busy solos. (You may need to remind your musicians that they are not being paid by the note.)

3. Aesthetic Distance. I recommend placing the entire dance floor between the stage and the first row of tables. In this way, nobody is seated next to a throbbing bass amp. When tables are set 5 feet from the stage – with others 100 feet away – somebody always gets cheated. Either the music level is right for those closest to the band (but not for those in the back), or it is blasting the folks down front in order to be correct for the room at large. If the dance floor takes up the first 20 feet in front of the stage, the only people who’ll experience the full audio impact of the band are volunteers (dancers).

Of course, even if you allow your guests to choose where they sit, and you hold the music down during dinner, and even leave lots of space between the diners and your band – someone will still complain. But you will have made it a lot harder for them to do so.