Archive for February, 2009

How To Avoid Sending Mixed Messages To Your Music Provider

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Last night, my band and I played a Mardi Gras party/fund raiser for a local civic group. The event went pretty well, but suffered from “mixed messages.”

One lady hired me, another phoned me – just prior to the event – to go over details, and a third gave me marching orders at the job (which conflicted with what the previous two ladies had said.) Also, the stage area had been subdivided with pillars and ferns, and the decorator had used up every power source within 12 feet of the band stand for stage lighting. (Don’t get me wrong – lighting is great. But you can’t dance to it. Bands today require electricity, as even a quick glance at our contract would have told my employers.)

My point is simply that this party – like a lot of similar events – had an abundance of chiefs, none of whom (apparently) had sole responsibility for the band. And so, each of our bosses probably assumed that one of the others had taken care of making sure that the stage decor didn’t conflict with their contractual responsibilities – whereas, in fact, nobody had done so. Nor did any of the chiefs seem to understand that they were giving contradictory instructions.

We all got through it, and I doubt if most of the guests were any the wiser. Plus, organizations like the one who hired us depend on volunteer help, not professional (ie. “paid”) party planners. So there are bound to be some areas of overlap and others of gaps.

But – for your next event – you can make your life (and mine) ever so much easier. Put one person in charge of interfacing with your music provider, of being sure that you are in compliance with whatever agreements you have signed, and of disseminating all the who, what, where, and when that applies to music. Your band or deejay will thank you, and your committee won’t get stressed out by having other co-chairs over-ruling their carefully worked-out plans.

It’s Never “Too Early” To Alert A Band To Your Special Song

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Every bride who hires me receives my Wedding Work Sheet, which lets me know what she wants to happen (and when), plus the names of all the key personnel (groom, Best Man, Maid Of Honor, parents, clergyman, etc.) There is also a spot for any and all special songs. I ask all my brides to return the completed sheet to me, two weeks before the wedding.

But – and let me make this perfectly clear – any bride who already knows what song she wants for her first dance is welcome to share that information any time. The earlier, the better.

I just heard from the mom of a bride-to-be (in 10 weeks) who wanted me to know that her daughter had selected “Always” by Bon Jovi for her first foray onto the dance floor as a married woman. This was great, for two reasons:
1. The sooner we know what the first dance will be, the sooner we can learn it, and the more times we can have performed it, prior to the that bride’s wedding. (And we can get a lot more familiar with it in 10 weeks than 2.)
2. When the mom told me “Always” by Bon Jovi, she automatically excluded any chance that we would accidentally play the wrong “Always.” (Like a lot of romantic song titles, there’s another – very well known – tune with this same name.)

By giving me the information early, this bride and her mom have checked one more item off their “to-do” list. That’s good for them, and good for me as their music provider, too. Everybody wins.

And – you know what? – I love it when that happens!

Last Minute Bargains (And Risks)

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Good News! – the Economy is tanking. Or – to be more precise – certain sectors of the Economy are in distress.

How can this possibly be “good news?” Well, if you are planning an event (and if you are a bit of a gambler), you may be able to get much more party bang for your buck.

If you were to call me today (in mid-February) for a Christmas party, the cost of my 8-piece band would be $3,500. But, if you called me today for an event this coming March or early April, I’d be prepared to wheel and deal. You could either get the 8-member group for less, or could hire fewer players (to save even more money!)

Venues and other party suppliers are also willing to negotiate, as open dates loom closer. This is where your willingness to gamble becomes important. If you are secure in the knowledge that some music provider and some venue will be available on your date, then waiting until 4 to 6 weeks prior to the event to do your booking can save you 15%, 20%, or even more.

Why? Vendors who wouldn’t dream of offering discounts 3 months out can become amazingly receptive to negotiation when those months become weeks. Most agree that it is better to make some money than none at all.

Granted, waiting until near your chosen date raises the chances that you won’t get that special band or venue. But, if you’re willing to run that risk, your Chevy budget could r