Contrary to what some may say, you really don't need a professional event planner or booking agent to book a band. Event planners are very helpful folks for very many things, but they aren't the only ones who can hire entertainment. GigMasters has helped book entertainment for over 125,000 events, the majority of these clients were ordinary people looking to hire bands, entertainers or vendors for their party. You too can book an amazing band for your next big event.
What to look for: There a few things to consider before you begin wading through the internet looking for the perfect band for your event. Most obviously, ask yourself what type of band do you want to hire? A cover band, jazz band, rock band, polka band - we will leave that up to you. We don't play favorites. Beyond the type of music you want to hear, you also have to think about how big of a band you want. This will depend on how many guests you will be entertaining and where your event is taking place. You don't want the band to outnumber your guests and you need to make sure they have the proper space to perform. It may seem as overly simple but thinking in these basic terms really is a great way to get started.
Negotiating: GigMasters allows you to receive a price quote from one performer or from multiple performers. We always recommend contacting more than one performer so that you can get a realistic sense of pricing. Even if you are looking to book a band outside of GigMasters, it really helps to price out more than one option. Often clients ask us whether or not it is acceptable to negotiate pricing with their prospective bands. Of course it is! That said, most bands know that if they quote too high of a price the client is going to walk away. Chances are, especially if the band knows that you are contacting other groups for quotes, that their bid is going to be pretty close to market price. Working bands know that these decisions often come down to pricing. Unless you have reason to believe otherwise, you can normally assume that you are getting a fair quote. If you have fallen in love with a band but they are outside of your price range - be honest with them. Usually they can find a way to make it work. Maybe they will play slightly shorter sets or won't bring every single member of the band. There is almost always some room for negotiating. If not, maybe it wasn't meant to be.
Booking: So you have found the band of your dreams and have come to an agreement about pricing. That's it, right? Not quite. Well, if you are happy with a 'handshake agreement' maybe you can call it a day but we strongly recommend you get a firmer agreement in writing. A few of the benefits of booking through GigMasters include a saved record of the booking and the options of securely paying your deposits and balances online (read more about our deposit guarantee). We also have an optional contract feature that puts all of the details of your booking in writing. Whether or not you book with us, you should certainly ask your performer for a contract. This will give you peace of mind knowing that your performer will meet the conditions of your agreement (and will do the same for them). We highly recommend contracts (click here for more on why).
Staying in touch: In the weeks or days leading up to your event you may think of a number of things you want to pass on to your band. Hopefully you have already discussed most of the bigger points (and have them written into your contract) but inevitably more things will come to you as the event gets closer. While you should feel comfortable contacting your bandleader with questions and last second thoughts, keep in mind that you are almost certainly not the only gig they have on the books. Try not to overwhelm them or they might stop returning your calls altogether. If you have booked a good, experienced band - they have done this many times before. They are professionals.
Those are the basics. GigMasters Booking 101. We are always here to help you along the way and are happy to answer any questions you have along the way whether or not you book with us. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.