Music, Entertainment, Excellence & Wisdom

by Bill Sargent of Bill Sargent Bands

Let's Talk! - Bill Sargent

“Let’s talk.”
Bill Sargent

"Let's Talk" - Bill Sargent

Part 6: Booking Entertainment – Things To Consider When Booking Your Band Or DJ

Things to consider when you are in the process of seeking and booking entertainment for your wedding or special event:

Alcohol & Drinking – For many bands and DJs, this is a part-time, “let’s make some extra money and have fun”, weekend event.  At the very least, you may wish to limit access to alcohol. Remember, this is supposed to be your party, not theirs.

Top professionals are ones who have reputations for professional behavior.

Meals for the Band – Bands should not require meals from their clients. They should be there to work, to provide music and entertainment, not be part of the party.

There may be an occasional exception to that. If the band is traveling a distance, or if someone with the band has been on location for many hours, due to an early setup or early music, then it would be a nice gesture to offer them a meal so they don’t have to leave the venue to eat.

Setup Times – Bands and DJs should be set up before the guests enter the room. There is nothing tackier than a band or DJ setting up during dinner. A good band will set up their main setup before guests arrive so when it comes time to perform the individual musicians are only entering with their individual instruments.

Apparel – A classy, elegant wedding deserves a classy, elegant looking band. Make sure your band isn’t going to show up in blue jeans, casual clothes or cheesy-looking outfits. Tuxedos or suits are best. Creating the proper image adds to the atmosphere and the entertainment value.

All four of the above should be addressed when booking entertainment for your event.

 

Booking Entertainment

AVOID ANY BAND OR DJ WHO INVITES YOU TO A WEDDING OR PRIVATE EVENT!

Be very wary of hiring a band who invites you to someone else’s wedding reception to see them perform. They will do the same to you.

I had a woman ask me to see my band at an upcoming wedding. She told me she would be no bother, that it would just be her, her daughter, and her future son-in-law at the back of the room. I told her I could not disclose that information; that all of my client’s private engagements are confidential information. I pointed out that if I were to allow her to do that, and I allowed my other clients to do the same, based on the number of calls I get per week, she could expect me to have about 30 uninvited guests in the back of the room at her wedding.

You can count on that band who invited you to someone else’s wedding doing the same to you at your wedding.

If you are invited to view a band or DJ while in the process of booking entertainment, I suggest doing so at an event that is similar in nature to what you have planned.

A note about our videos and viewing my band:

The vast majority of the events I perform for are private. I respect my client’s privacy. The date, time, and location of your event is never disclosed to anyone.

It may be some time before an upcoming public performance. My band is a unique offering and there is only one of me. It is possible that your date may not be booked for some time; it is also possible that I could be booked with the very next phone call. That is why I provide such extensive video demos, so you can actually see us perform LIVE at these events. You can do it instantly, today, not weeks down the road; and, you can do it in the comfort of your own home!

All our videos and audios are from live performances. Our videos are the real deal. Nothing has been “staged” for the purpose of the videos, nor has anything been “doctored” or altered to make things perfect. What you see is exactly the way we are.

Often, you’ll hear a large amount of audience chatter and conversation. That is because people can carry on a conversation in the same room with my band playing.

In Summary

I have given you my best, most sincere advice. If you choose another band or DJ for your entertainment and the experience was better because of something you learned here, then I have served my purpose. If you think that I may be a good fit for your special day, then I would be honored to have an opportunity to serve you and make your guests happy.

In our hi-tech world, people have become accustomed to texting and email for all interactions. However, a phone call or a face-to-face is still the very best way to conduct business. It offers the highest level of personalized customer service possible. After all, you deserve only the best!

 

If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 414-777-0100

Keep Swingin’!
Bill Sargent
BillSargentBands.com
Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

 

This is Part 6 in a series entitled, “The Biggest Mistakes a Bride Makes When Purchasing Music and Entertainment For Their Wedding” by Bill Sargent

Read the whole series:

1: A Band Or A DJ – Which To Choose? Choose Wisely!

2: Wedding Professionals – Hiring The Right One While Avoiding An Amateur

3: Entertainment Agency – Should I Use One Or Do It Myself?

4: Wrong Reasons for Choosing a Band or DJ

5: Mistakes and Problems – How to Avoid Them when Hiring Entertainment

 

©Bill Sargent. All rights reserved.

"Let's Talk" - Bill Sargent

Part 5: Mistakes and Problems – How to Avoid Them when Hiring Entertainment

Here are several ways to avoid mistakes and problems when hiring music for your wedding, special event, or party:

Mistake – Hiring bands based on overblown song lists

Many bands have song lists they are happy to provide for you that have songs numbering into the hundreds. It’s a marketing ploy in an attempt to make them look better than other bands. They usually can’t play all those songs as a group.

In a typical evening, a band will perform approximately 40 to 50 songs. The only thing that matters is the quality of the songs they play, not the quantity they can play.

Mistake – Bands with perfected videos and audios

Beware of bands who present a “staged” video or a studio-recorded audio for a demo. Technology allows people to get by with some amazing deceptions. A bad singer can be made to sing perfectly in tune and they have the luxury of an unlimited number of “redos” to eliminate bad takes. They will never be that good when actually performing.

Always view a band in live performance. See: Booking Entertainment – Things To Consider When Booking Your Band Or DJ

Mistake – Slick advertising without the track record to back it up

It’s easy to create an amazing website and advertising copy with cool graphics and professional videos. Many people are gifted at making the representation far better than the actual product. Look past all the glitz and glamour and focus on the credentials and track record. It’s all about experience and expertise.

Problem – Bands or DJs who guarantee specific performers

Any band that promises or guarantees a specific instrumentalist or vocalist is lying to you. NOBODY can make such a promise or guarantee.

Human beings are afflicted with the human condition. Females get pregnant. People get injured, they get sick, and some even die. People get job transfers or have a personality clash and quit the band. These things are beyond anybody’s control.

In many bands, if there is a personnel change, they have to cancel engagements to regroup. If a band member is unavailable on short notice, they may have to cancel the engagement or put on a horribly sub-par performance.

You can count on us!

In 35 years, we’ve never cancelled or failed to perform. Bill Sargent Bands are structured in such a way that I can do a last-minute substitution and not have it affect the quality of our performance. I use only the very best musicians in our region and have backups just as any pro football team would.

I am also very fortunate as to have very solid, steady professionals on my bands. In fact, some have been with me since our very first performance. These are people I can count on and they perform with consistency and excellence.

Avoid the mistakes and problems listed above by booking a Bill Sargent Band for your wedding or special event today!

 

If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 414-777-0100

Keep Swingin’!
Bill Sargent
BillSargentBands.com
Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

 

This is Part 5 in a series entitled, “The Biggest Mistakes a Bride Makes When Purchasing Music and Entertainment For Their Wedding” by Bill Sargent

Read the whole series:

1: A Band Or A DJ – Which To Choose? Choose Wisely!

2: Wedding Professionals – Hiring The Right One While Avoiding An Amateur

3: Entertainment Agency – Should I Use One Or Do It Myself?

4: Wrong Reasons for Choosing a Band or DJ

6: Booking Entertainment – Things To Consider When Booking Your Band Or DJ

 

©Bill Sargent. All rights reserved.

 

"Let's Talk" - Bill Sargent

Part 4: Wrong Reasons for Choosing a Band or DJ

Here are the most common ways that people choose the wrong band or DJ for the wrong reasons along with how to avoid these mistakes.

Wrong Reason #1 – SIZE

The SIZE (number of musicians) of the band has very little, if anything, to do with the volume of the band, or the amount of space needed, or the number of people in attendance

SIZE has nothing to do with VOLUME. Jimi Hendrix had 3 musicians in his band and could blow the windows out of any auditorium in the country.

In Milwaukee, in our big concert hall at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, the “band” (The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra) on stage could have as many as 72 musicians in it, and yet, if you sat in the balcony and sneezed at the wrong time during the music, everyone in the hall would hear you.

Most bands and DJs play everything at one volume all night long – loud. It becomes tiresome, boring and irritating.

SIZE has nothing to do with SPACE. Our Big Band has played in many places only intended for 3 or 4 musicians. It is the first 4 instruments that take up the bulk of the room: the drums, keyboard, guitar, and bass. With a band like mine, it’s only a matter of adding chairs. Our standard big band has the same minimum depth requirements as our small custom bands and only requires a few more feet of space, width-wise. Typically, people don’t use that extra 4 feet they saved for anything useful like another guest table.

SIZE has nothing to do with NUMBER OF GUESTS in attendance. REMEMBER – the music you HEAR is what you are hiring a band for. What you HEAR or your guests HEAR does NOT change due to the number of people who are in attendance. The band still sounds the same whether there are 40 people or 250 people.

The point here is very simple. Make your decision based on what YOU want to hear and see, NOT based on the size of the room or the number of people in attendance. If you want a small group of musicians and that is the sound you want, then that is what you should get. If you want a large group of musicians then there is no need to compromise.

 

Wrong Reason #2 – PRICE

THE SINGLE BIGGEST MISTAKE I see a bride or event entertainment chairman make IS shopping and buying based on price.

BIG mistake – BIG HUGE mistake !

You can price shop a cars and cameras with the same features. You can compare the same brand items between Pick ‘N Save and Woodman’s. You can also do comparisons between formalwear stores, invitations, flowers, cakes, caterers, and to some extent, reception locations.

However, you cannot do a price comparison on unique items. No two bands are alike. Even if they have the same instrumentation, they will be totally different. You can have the exact same musicians in the same combination and get vastly different results with different drummers or leaders.

The bottom line is this: The most expensive band is not necessarily the best band, and the cheapest band is not automatically the worst band OR vice versa.  You HAVE to make your choice based upon the qualifications, talent and track record of the bandleader. The biggest night of your life is riding on that person.

If the band is expensive to the point you think you are getting the very best, but it doesn’t provide you with the best, was it money well spent?

If you saved hundreds of dollars on one band over another band and your reception flops, were the savings worth it?

 

HELPFUL TIPS

MAKING CHOICES BASED ON BUDGET

Some things are critical in creating a celebration while other things are simply nice enhancements. If you eliminate the critical in lieu of the enhancements, you won’t have a memorable celebration.

It would be nice if you can have everything you want. If that is you, that’s awesome! If that’s not you and you’re operating on a tight limited budget, here are a few reality checks for you to consider.

  • You could get married at the Justice of the Peace at the County Courthouse, and you’d still be married.
  • You could wear a nice suit and dress, and you’d still look great!
  • You could send out invitations on postcards, and your friends and family would still show up.
  • You could pass out disposable cameras to your guests, and you’d still have great memories. (Everybody carries cameras with them today anyhow)
  • Flowers are flowers. Some are more expensive than others and they look great, but they don’t contribute anything functional to your celebration other than atmosphere.
  • The cake is going to be cut into small pieces anyhow. The important thing is that it tastes great, not that it looks too good to cut.
  • People won’t complain about the food; it’s a free meal. Almost no one can remember what they had to eat last week Tuesday, let alone at someone’s wedding last year.

Whether or not your family and friends stick around AFTER the meal and celebrates is ALL dependent on how GOOD the band is. Music sets the atmosphere during cocktails. Background music during dinner helps to put people in a festive mood and helps to sooth the clinking of silverware and the drone of chatter. The band for dancing and enjoyment after dinner is what makes the party. Nothing else or that came before can do that. It is the ONE thing that people will remember, literally, for years to come.

One of the most foolish errors I have witnessed is a bride spending a ton of money on all the above things for her wedding reception and when it gets down to the band (the one thing that makes or breaks the party) they consider hiring an inferior band or even a DJ to “save” themselves a couple of hundred bucks. That’s bad economics.

If you cut couple of hundred bucks on the music for the reception, you may end up with a multi-thousand dollar disappointment that you, as well as everyone else, will remember for years to come. Hiring the right music, the right band is the MOST important thing you will do past saying “I DO.”

Your band is your insurance policy on your event.

 

Bill Sargent Bands . . .

Controls Volume and adds dynamic range

One of the things that we excel at is our volume control and dynamics. My bands play with a wide dynamic range so the music is interesting has meaning. I keep the music at a level that makes conversation not only possible, but enjoyable. Many times we have people seated at tables directly in front of my big band carrying on conversations without having to ask us to turn down our volume.

We play in some very small spaces, sometimes for small groups

My big band has played some of the smallest rooms imaginable; rooms you would look at and say, “There’s no way you’ll ever get a big band in here, or even a large band.” But, we do. And it goes excellently and we get rave reviews.

The Bill Sargent Big Band has performed for weddings as small as 40 people, and they totally loved it. The guests in attendance at that particular wedding felt truly special knowing someone cared enough to give them the best.

The reason why a big band exists is because it sounds better than a small band. Every time you add another instrument it adds another layer, another voice, harmony, and texture to the sound. It makes the music more beautiful, more interesting and awesome. It is a higher quality experience.

We are worth our price

You can’t price compare between Bill Sargent and another band, because there is only one Bill Sargent. Nobody else is even remotely like me. When you are buying me, you are buying my unique knowledge, expertise and experience as well as my unique musical talent, attitude and customer service. It takes a special talent to assemble the right combination of musicians and coach them through a performance evening.

 

SPECIAL NOTE 

Most wedding coordinators and facility banquet managers are accustomed to having 1 person, a DJ, in their room with a sound setup. Many that have accommodated bands have only had a 4, 5 or 6 piece band in their facility. They may tell you a big band won’t work. Don’t automatically believe them. I have yet to encounter a room we could not fit in. Remember, this is your wedding, the biggest day of your life, and you deserve to have it your way.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 414-777-0100

Keep Swingin’!
Bill Sargent
BillSargentBands.com
Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

 

This is Part 4 in a series entitled, “The Biggest Mistakes a Bride Makes When Purchasing Music and Entertainment For Their Wedding” by Bill Sargent

Read the whole series:

1: A Band Or A DJ – Which To Choose? Choose Wisely!

2: Wedding Professionals – Hiring The Right One While Avoiding An Amateur

3: Entertainment Agency – Should I Use One Or Do It Myself?

5: Mistakes and Problems – How to Avoid Them when Hiring Entertainment

6: Booking Entertainment – Things To Consider When Booking Your Band Or DJ

 

©Bill Sargent. All rights reserved.