Willow Entertainment
Boston & New York

Reserving live bands for your function

Many of our clients have never booked live entertainment before and therefore we get a lot of questions. The following information is designed to give you an idea of how the process works, what to expect and to help you understand our philosophy and approach. Our job is two fold: to find you the best entertainment possible and take the fear and confusion out of the process.

Coordinating the Details - Corporate Functions
A willow representative will be with you every step of the way, before, during and after your event.

Our bands have performed for many of Boston's biggest events and our proven track record makes us a first call among function industry professionals, meeting planners, destination management companies. Additionally, our groups have performed at virtually every venue in the Northeast and easily adapt to any location, crowd, or scenario.

Coordinating the Details - Weddings

Every client is sent a reception planner-worksheet and information package to fill out roughly 2-3 months prior to the wedding. The reception planner provides us with vital information regarding the timeline of your wedding, formalities, specialty dances, toasts, specific songs, etc. It is especially important that any material the band will need to learn for your event be submitted no later than one month before the date. After you have completed your worksheet, Willow will schedule a pre-event consultation with the bandleader or musical director. This can be done in person or over the phone. Each BW band has a person who coordinates the pre-planning AND does on-site management to make sure things go exactly as you wish.

Sound personnel and musicians will generally arrive at the event site 2 to 3 hours prior to the agreed upon "performance time." Set-up times can always be adjusted to meet your specific needs.

Sets & Breaks
The standard booking time for bands is 4hr blocks. Bands usually play 3 sets during a 4 hour period and take two 20 minute breaks. Most bands provide music on CDs during breaks.

Tuxedo (formal gowns for female members) is the traditional dress for private events. Other modern options include Jacket & Tie, Business Casual, and Hip Casual.

The Cocktail Reception
If you choose to utilize the musicians from the Band, options often may include solo keyboard (a piano will be played if available), keys and sax, or keys, sax, guitar and bass. The entire band may also be available (depending on the location of cocktail reception) and will generally keep the volume to a minimum.

Ceremony Music (for weddings)
Some musicians from the band can be hired to perform at your wedding ceremony. Available options (in solo or group) from the band might include: piano, trumpet, or sax, etc.

Sound, Electrical, Staging, and Load-in requirements
Many of our featured bands come with an on-sight pro-audio engineer and a state of the art PA sound system customized for your event location/venue. Our groups have close working relationships with many of the top venues throughout the Northeast and will handle all electrical, staging, and load-in concerns directly with the venue, leaving you with one less thing you have to worry about. For functions taking place at private residences or specialty sites, it is recommended that the person acting as "on-site production manager" contact the band well in advance so that we may provide detailed information regarding band requirements.

Sound, Size & Volumes Concerns

Will they be too loud?
The keys to proper band volume are experience, professionalism, and equipment. Have you ever wondered why some 4-piece rock bands sound much louder than many 10-piece orchestras? Bands play through what is called a PA system (Public Address System) where all instruments are amplified and wired through a mixing board. A sound engineer controls each individual instrument level. Mixing boards have master volume controls such that once a band is properly “plugged-in,” the sound levels can be manipulated much in the same way as you would control the stereo system in your car. Good musicians properly “pace” the evening and know when to play quietly and when to pump up the volume.

I am worried my venue does not have enough space . . . will a band fit?
This depends on the instruments used in the band. Drum sets, percussion kits and keyboards take up the most stage space. Horn players and vocalists need only the small amount of space it takes to stand.

Due to the limited space at many venues, most bands have learned to adjust and fit into very small spaces. More then likely Willow

Entertainment has worked at the venue you are using and is aware of its limitations.

What size band do I need?
Most wedding dance bands consist of 3-8 members (swing bands can have up to 20 pieces). As many private functions have guests ranging in age, personalities, and tastes, bands that can play a wide variety of styles are more than likely to suit every one’s needs. With this in mind, bands with more members can usually cover more bases and play more styles.


Do bands charge for travel?
All bands have different policies and rates concerning travel. Events requiring extensive travel may require overnight accommodations for the band members and crew.

Chooseing The Right Band For Your Event

Reviewing Videos, CDs, Bios and Song lists
Willow Entertainment provides our clients with audio samples, video samples, pictures, song lists, and client testimonials. The point of demos is to portray the broadest range of styles to give the listener an idea of how flexible a particular band can be. When listening, it is essential to listen for the group’s overall musicality. Remember, they are trying to appeal to a varying array of people. Just because you don’t like a specific song or two, don’t immediately rule them out.

How long should I wait to book a band?
On average, most bands book about 6 to 12 months in advance for popular dates. Top bands may book as many as 2 years in advance. The earlier you start looking for a band, the more choices you will have available. Since band availability can literally change from day to day, it is seldom advantageous to take more than a month to book a band

What is required to book band?
A signed contract and deposit is needed to secure a band. Deposit amounts are normally one third to one half of the total cost of the group. Out of fairness to all clients, temporary holds may not be placed on specific bands. The only way to take a group off the market is by delivery of a signed contract along with a deposit to Willow Entertainment.


Contact us, or call 617.421.9336 © Willow Entertainment 2005.

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