When should I book my party band?
From our experience, most of the quality function, party and wedding bands on the Norwich and Norfolk circuit are booked out for major events, like New Year’s Eve, around 18 months ahead. It’s also common to find weddings booked that far ahead too, so if you’re set on a particular act it’s essential to book early.
Ensuring the date is – and stays – available
With Avenue we normally have at least a rolling 12-month visibility of our full availability. Beyond that we’re quite happy to commit to dates up to two years ahead. That’s not to say that we’re not available for short-notice bookings and to cover cancellations (some of the most fun parties we’ve ever played at have only been confirmed a few days before), but obviously our diary can’t be too flexible in these circumstances. Like members of most working bands in Norfolk, both of us play with other acts which may also have been booked months ahead.
It’s important to check the terms of booking when you confirm your act. Our policy is to always supply a full booking agreement that helps look after the interests of both parties. For example, if one of us is indisposed through illness, we’ll do our level best to make sure a substitute or replacement act from among our associates is offered to you to fill the gap.
We generally ask for a non-refundable deposit for private bookings. We’re fastidious about keeping date commitments, and never cancel existing bookings because ‘something better has turned up’ (and that applies to everything from pub bookings to the largest events).
Meeting your band beforehand
Of course, it’s always best to see your preferred act playing live before going ahead with a booking, just to make sure that’s the kind of thing you want. With Avenue we’ll always try to accommodate these requests. If you’re seeing several acts to decide which to invite to play, you should be aware that they’ll be unable to ringfence your date until they have a confirmed booking. Sadly we’ve come across occasions where, by the time the ‘beauty parade’ has concluded, the chosen act has already been booked by another party.
That said, many of the best function, party and wedding bands play predominantly private gigs, so finding public dates to see them can be a problem anyway. Even if you do get to a public gig, it’s quite possible the band might not be playing the kind of music you want for your party. For example, with Avenue we typically perform a very different set as restaurant background music to that we might play for dancing.
We also take bookings from people from further afield who are holding events in Norfolk and who are unlikely to be able to meet us in person before the day. For example, we played a wedding on the coast for a couple who actually lived in London (a particularly delightful day as it turned out, where we met renowned chef Galton Blackistone, owner of Morston Hall).
With larger function and wedding bands the members may sometimes appear anonymous, and if you book your band a long way ahead it’s not unusual for key members to have changed before the date rolls round.
With Avenue a great deal of the enjoyment comes from the personal interaction between us as individuals and your guests. We’re a small-scale act, essentially providing a personal, boutique service. The moral is to always find out about the band’s reputation and to ask around about their reliability and professionalism rather than focusing solely on the repertoire.
With Avenue we’re happy to provide references on request, and we’re naturally always pleased to receive testimonials and feedback from clients.