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Show Length for Wedding / Party / Corporate Event Bands

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by agreatheight, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. So I am tired of playing biker bars and seedy clubs, done it for a while now lol, so I have decided my next project is going to be a Wedding / Party / Event band. How long do these types of bands generally play?

  2. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Eastern North Dakota
    Varies. We were booked to play a private party from 8-11 with a couple breaks - the usual. We ended up playing with 2 breaks - but until after 1. They paid us extra of course. We did like 70 tunes that night. No repeats. We thought we did pretty well.
  3. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    It can vary greatly, IME. Weddings are typically inconsistent, unless there is a planner who orchestrates things. You can be physically present for a long time and not actually play much, because of other stuff happening, i.e. photos, toasts, etc.. Most folks provide food/drinks, but make sure it's part of your contract, some can be picky. Corporate events are more predictable, but those I've played at can run 4 hours, and usually require appropriate attire or even a tux. both usually pay well, but require some preparation. We provide a song list and let them choose some favorites. We will also learn some special tunes for a nominal fee, considering learning the tunes, making charts if needed, and rehearsal time. Whatever you do, don't sell yourself short.

    I'm sure others will chime in with more ideas, I'm a little tired right now.
  4. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Corporate and private gigs can vary greatly from event to event. Weddings we play are generally 4-5 hour gigs.
  5. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Wedding receptions are typically either 4 hours or 5 hours. Our typical wedding gig is 1 hour of cocktails (usually a solo piano or jazz quartet) plus either 3 or 4 hours of full band.

    For the 5 hour receptions, we've historically done four 50 minute sets with 10-15 minute breaks, but more recently, I've been doing three longer sets as I find that it creates a better flow for the evening. Each event is different, however, and we work closely with both the bride and groom and the facility manager/catering contact so that our schedule complements their schedule of events.
  6. chunkylover73


    Feb 1, 2009
    Our typical wedding gig consists of three-one hour sets with two half hour breaks of DJ music in between. We have all of this outlined in our wedding contract so that the bride and groom know exactly what to expect.
  7. I think this is what we are looking to get into, 3 x 1 hour sets with 1/2 hour breaks.
  8. Weddings usually run 4-5 hours for us. 4- 50 minute sets with breaks. But weddings are unpredictable so sometimes sets can go long or get cut short depending on the so many factors. We provide an Ipod with dance music for breaks to keep the party going.

    Corporate gigs? Usually about 3 hours. Pretty straight forward for us.

    Did I mention great pay?
  9. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    +1 to "varies and unpredictable". In every corporate or wedding gig I've played, how it worked was the organizer called us and said "I need a band that can play X style for Y hours". Y could be anything from 2 to 5 hours. Breaks depended on the scheduling of the event; could be one 1/2 hour break, could be one 3 hour break (seriously), could be a dozen unofficial breaks. IOW we never ever said (to them or to ourselves) "we can play 3 x 1 hour sets with 1/2 hour breaks". That is not an option, if you want to work. Also you have to consider that most corporate events and weddings require you to set up hella early, sometimes several hours before you will play.
  10. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    The corporate stuff I've done has always been weird set wise. You may play for an hour one set, play 15 minutes the next (Someone comes up to use the PA for awards etc.).
  11. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    My own wedding is an example: We hired two bands, each with their own schedule. The first band played before, during, and a short while after the ceremony, broken up like so:
    1/2 hour playing while guests arrive
    10 minute break
    5 minutes processional
    20 minutes break
    50 minutes (give or take) playing until the next band arrived.

    Then the second band was scheduled to be on deck for three hours total, taking whatever breaks they needed within that three hours.
  12. I understand that every event will be somewhat custom to make the clients happy, but at the same time I want to make things enjoyable for the band as well. I have been thinking about it and 3 hours of performing what I feel comfortable with, maybe +/- 1/2 hour. I have never loved playing more than that - fatigue sets in and it's hard to keep playing winners. The fourth set at a bar is always a whole lot less fun that the rest. Now, where the breaks go is of less importance, I think. But I also feel confident letting event planners know what we provide and what are looking for, and that turning down work is the right thing to do if the gig is outside the intended scope of this band.
  13. Corporate 1-3 hours..

    Weddings 3 Hours + optional additional sets.

    Weddigns are EASY to book.. you just have to think like the psycho bride and be cool to the dad.
  14. This is it really.
  15. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
    95% of our gigs are weddings. A LOT of planning goes into those gigs to do it right for the couple and the crowd.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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