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

Performing or playing music for fun and extra money on weekends does not qualify someone as a wedding professional.

This business is filled with amateurs and hobbyists. A person can go to Costco, spend a few hundred dollars on a camera set-up, post a few photos on an inexpensive website, and call themselves a wedding photographer. A laptop and a few hundred dollars at a music store can create a wedding DJ.

Here are just a few of the things I’ve seen at weddings:

  • Some bands come in with a pre-determined set list of songs in the order they are to be played; like they’ve got some sort of crystal ball? BIG MISTAKE! People are unpredictable. The mood of the audience is different depending on the weather or how the wedding ceremony went. I maintain the flexibility to work with my audience “in the moment”, observing them while choosing songs accordingly.
  • One band I know of played an entire evening of fast songs and played only one slow song the entire evening! Many men don’t dance a lot and they’re hesitant to make a spectacle of themselves on a dance floor. However, they are totally at ease snuggling up to the one they love for a romantic slow song. We provide a balance of dance music so there’s something for everyone.
  • How about the DJ I saw start the music at a wedding reception with the first song being “Runaround Sue”?

“Here’s my story, sad but true
It’s about a girl that I once knew
She took my love then ran around
With every single guy in town” !!!

Can we say clueless and tacky?

  • One bandleader did the “Hokey Pokey” and instructed the women to throw their whole chest in and their whole chest out!
  • There’s a well-known local band whose singer makes crude remarks and comes on to women in the audience all night; from the stage!
  • How about bands that do songs like “Margaritaville” or “Cocaine” when families with kids are present? Or the DJ who drinks gets obnoxious over the microphone?

How do these things happen? Amateurs who don’t know any better. As the saying goes, they don’t know that they don’t know.

 

Why a wedding professional is critical: WEDDINGS ARE NOT SIMPLE

A wedding is the very most difficult performance situation that exists. It is not something you want to trust to an amateur or hobbyist.

Here’s why:

COMMONALITY – At most musical performances there is an element of commonality; they are all doctors or lawyers, men or women, young or old. Weddings have none of that.

Most family and friends have very little in common. Typically, they have a wide variety of occupations, hobbies, and political interests. Some live locally while others have traveled from out of state and they usually range from 5 years old to 90 years old.

With such diversity, there are two main factors that come into play – personality types and musical tastes.

MUSICAL TASTES – This is where the wedding audience really separates itself from other audiences. As a group, the typical wedding has very little in commonality. Aunt Mary is an office worker at Northwestern Mutual and she’s into the opera. Cousin Jack works at Miller Brewing and is into blues bands. Uncle Fred owns a small restaurant is loves to polka. Your parents love the classic big bands and rock ‘n roll. Grandpa and Grandma love classical music and Dixieland jazz. Cousin Alice works at Allen Bradley and adores bluegrass and country music. Your friends may be into hip-hop or pop. A few may be superb swing dancers. Some may be Christian and are easily offended by lyrics of some songs.

PERSONALITIES – Within this odd mix of people, there are three distinct sub groups. The first group loves to dance and all they want is some exciting music, so they can move on the dance floor all night.

The second group are the social ones. These people want to converse and catch up on good times with family and friends all night long. They want to be able to hear and carry on a conversation without shouting. One of the worst things that can happen to this group are sub-woofers from a DJ or band that makes their clothes vibrate.

Finally, there are the passive introverts. These people are shy; they aren’t comfortable being social and they don’t dance. But, they want to enjoy themselves also. They are the people watchers. After a while, people watching wears itself out. This is where live musicians performing music comes in and saves their evening and good time. A DJ standing at a table just doesn’t cut it for them.

The key here is to put all these people in the same room at the same time and make sure everybody has a good time without offending anyone while keeping them there until the end.

People will stay for the free meal. They’ve invested their time and money, now they’re going to get their free meal. But, when the music kicks in, are they going to stick around? At many weddings, half the group won’t like the music and will leave early, some very soon after dinner leaving you with unhappy people and a half empty room.

Is this something you are willing to trust to an amateur or a hobbyist or will you enjoy your special day, with less stress, by hiring a wedding professional?

 

A not so classy band or DJ for a classy wedding

A big mistake brides make is they fail to take into account the aura, the atmosphere, of a wedding. They fail to realize that an elegant wedding is neither the same setting nor the same temperament that they are accustomed to on their nights out and typical parties.

People do not act the same in fine dresses, beautiful gowns and tuxedos as they do on Friday nights out. An elegant bridal gown will make you feel different and act different; a guy’s temperament changes in a fine tuxedo.

The Friday night hip-hop will not have the same effect at your wedding as it does on Friday night. It is a clash of cultures. Most brides don’t want things to be the same as the usual Friday night out. Much money and effort has gone into to making this day once-in-a-lifetime special and unique. The music and entertainment must reflect that.

Some music subconsciously causes people to drink more than others. You may want to avoid a “big drunk” party. That can be embarrassing while creating hard feelings and bad memories.

 

Hiring a band or DJ that puts on a show

IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER that the night you’ve dreamed of your whole life is all about YOU. This is YOUR night. It is not about an egotistical singer or DJ who is trying to put on a show and garner the constant attention of your family and friends. It’s not about a light show designed to hold the attention of everyone in the room all night long.

Your wedding night is about the beautiful bride, her handsome husband, and the love and adoration of their family and friends. THAT is where the focus of the evening should be.

 

Hiring a band or DJ that uses a brand name

Be wary of those bands and DJs who use a “cool name”. Names like:

Music on Wheels
Have Music Will Travel
Rockin’ DJs
The Black Tie Orchestra
Night Moves
Disco Men

Under the cover and protection of a brand name, a DJ or band can give have a bad night or incident, they can screw over a client, they can “no show”, they can cancel at the last minute; all things that would ruin and finish anyone else’s career. With a “brand name”, they can change their name, and they’re back in business the very next day as a new act like nothing ever happened. Their lack of character and integrity won’t change with a name change.

I receive many last minute calls from brides who have had their band cancel on short notice – even ones who had contracts. The sad part is, by the time the band cancels; all the real good options are already booked.

How do you avoid this? Hire someone whose name is on their product and their reputation is on the line. I HAVE to give my best, give excellence, perform well and keep my word; my real name is on every performance I give – Bill Sargent. I can’t change my name; I’m stuck with it for life.

 

Why Bill Sargent Bands are your best choice

In my entire career, I have never cancelled an engagement, nor have I not shown up, for any reason. My career has been focused on building a reputation for quality and excellence and that’s not going to change.

I provide my brides with an evening of class and elegance; of fun, smiles and romance that can be enjoyed by all ages, families, and guys who don’t dance well. If they’re not in a good mood when we start, we’ll change all that and they’ll go home happy with great memories. Best of all, you’ll be the one who gets the credit for hiring such an awesome band.

My musicians are the very top musicians in Wisconsin; the best around. They are all top-notch professionals.

As wedding professionals, we play music the whole family, of ALL ages, can and will enjoy. There will not be any songs of questionable content. Everyone will be able to easily carry on conversations. For those who don’t want to converse or dance, they’ll have an entertaining group of enthusiastic musicians to watch and listen to.

If you give people a natural, unobtrusive atmosphere they will, each in their own way, enjoy themselves.

 

Why am I better at this than anybody else?

  • Because I’m the drummer. Over my career, I have performed with a lot of famous people nationally. I have studied dancers and tempos like with the best. Dancers dance to the drummer; the rest of the instruments and voices simply make everything pretty and enjoyable. It’s the beat and it will always be the beat.
  • Drummers ALWAYS have the best bands. The drummer is the fire, the spark plug, the dynamics, the mood, and the natural musical director of the band.
  • Finally, I am a wedding professional with more wedding reception experience than anyone else in Wisconsin. While I started doing weddings in 1976, my band business has just celebrated its 35th year of making brides and their families very happy and their special days unique, designed just for them. I am playing better than at any time in my life and my band is better than it has ever been before. I and my fellow musicians care about what we do, and it is all about excellence.

 

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 2 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!

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

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

 

©Bill Sargent. All rights reserved.

"Let's Talk" - Bill Sargent

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

Do I choose a band or a DJ for my event? The following commentary regarding bands and DJs is only applicable to brides and event coordinators who seek to have a unique, elegant wedding or special event experience and memory.

Maybe you want a DJ because that’s what most of your friends did or are planning to do. I understand. If that is what you want to do and that is your reasoning, then this article is not for you. I am not your guy and I wish you all the very best. If this is not you, then read on.

First things first. Please understand that I realize that DJs have a place and serve a purpose.  Those places are events where music and entertainment are not a high priority; maybe a small, low budget party is another place where a DJ would serve the purpose.

However, when you’re putting on a once-in-a-lifetime event, say a wedding, or a major anniversary, or a fundraiser where the guests are expected to part with a few hundred or thousand dollars that evening, it is then that the expectations and the level of the overall experience rises dramatically.

In my opinion and experience, hiring a DJ lowers the quality of the experience more than any other single thing. Your guests will hear the same songs and the same recordings that they’ve heard at everyone else’s wedding or event from a guy behind a table draped in black (with maybe even some business advertising on) with cheesy lights trying to look like a nightclub that people go to on Friday nights.

You just spent thousands of dollars dressing up elegantly, choosing just the right location with a beautiful room, creating a romantic atmosphere and dinner for a classy event and it has been cheapened with a DJ who counteracts that image. Instead of a UNIQUE wedding unlike any your friends or family have attended, your spectacular reception has just turned into another “me too” wedding.

IF YOU ARE SET ON CHOOSING A DJ, here are a few things to consider.

Inquire about their actual music training and experience. Yes, that really is important. Musical performances, in addition to the artistic considerations, have psychological human-behavioral effects and responses to be considered. Is their experience and training anything beyond playing a radio, liking music, and/or having once played in a school band?

Typically, this DJ not a professional musician and has little or no musical training. The only qualification needed to be a DJ is the credit card to purchase their sound and light setup. Do not be influenced by “certifications” such as “Certified by the American Profession DJs Association”; certifications that were purchased for image and marketing purposes only.

Do they consume alcohol before or during the event? Have you ever noticed how one personality who owns the microphone for the evening, who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, can become very “wordy”, obnoxious, and annoying? Did you know that every single time someone makes an announcement from the stage, they are disrupting conversations between friends and family while drawing attention to themselves? If the night of your life is dependent on that one single person, it may be too late to change course and salvage your evening.

Is the prospective DJ in the habit of conducting less than dignified games or calling out and embarrassing a guest at your event?

Then there is another one I witnessed where the DJ started the wedding reception (the very first song) with the song “Runaround Sue” – “It’s about a girl that I once knew, She took my love then ran around, With every single guy in town, . . . Sue goes out with other guys”. WHAT WAS HE THINKING?! Answer: He wasn’t. This was a night to celebrate the vow to love and honor for the rest of their lives.

The stories are endless. But, this is what CAN happen when one person, and uneducated part-time hobbyist, is in control of your evening.

If you’re going with a DJ, choose wisely. You’re putting you’re special day in the hands of one person.

Provided you don’t mind doing basically the same thing all your friends did for their wedding reception, there are a few decent DJs and even some good ones out there. Do some thorough research and you may be fortunate to find one.

Finally, the alternative

Your wedding is unique, and you deserve special treatment. We do it with class and recognition that this is the bride’s evening and that where the spotlight and focus of attention should be for that evening.

We don’t duplicate one wedding to the next. We create REAL music, played by REAL people, using REAL instruments resulting in REAL entertainment. Our music is created in real time. It will never be duplicated in exactly the same way again – ever – anyplace.

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 1 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:

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

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

 

©Bill Sargent. All rights reserved.

 

"Let's Talk" - Bill Sargent

My First Blog Entry

Hello blogging world. The time for procrastination is over. I have decided to do this thing. Cue the music!

Why?

Because I think I can contribute and help some people. Over the years, having played with a whole bunch of famous people, having the most successful band business in the history of the state of Wisconsin, and having done more weddings than anyone alive, . . . pardon the pun, but I’ve learned a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.

Hopefully my writing skills, although not my area of expertise, will be adequate to communicate some ideas, some concepts, and some principles that will improve some of your experiences in life, whether that be your wedding, a corporate event, or some totally unrelated area of everyday life.

SECOND WHY – Why do I do this music thing?

Because I need to. It’s as simple as that. Deep inside, I have an insatiable need to be creative and to make people happy. I didn’t learn it, didn’t ask for it, didn’t go to school for it; I was born with it. It’s the way I’m wired; the way God made me.

Along the way, I realized that I was also given the gift of vision and I learned to be totally dissatisfied with mediocrity. Today, the pursuit of excellence is everything. It’s not about competing with others, it’s about competing with myself; to be better each day than the day before. Without that, life gets totally boring; at least for me.

How do I satisfy all these urges and traits in music?

  • Play only the best music possible. There are a gazillion songs from which to choose. Life is way to short to be playing mediocre songs.
  • Play with the very best musicians possible. It is not satisfying to have to struggle with anything less. I always want to be the worst musician on the stage. That’s how I stay challenged and how I grow.
  • Perform for people who place a value on excellent music. The days of my performing to inebriated, drugged out people are waaaaaay behind me. It’s a two-way street – I give people my very best to make them happy and give them enjoyment and memories, and they appreciate the gift, the talent, and the years of learning and effort that went into making all that happen. That creates mutual happiness and satisfaction. My mission is then fulfilled, and it propels me ahead; I have served my purpose.

What’s in this for me?

The hope is that I may help you in some way with this blog.

I will begin with a series of posts dealing with THE BIGGEST MISTAKES BRIDES MAKE when choosing and purchasing music/entertainment for their wedding. DO NOT TUNE OUT if you don’t have a wedding in your future. The wisdom and knowledge I will be putting forth will apply to virtually ANY EVENT for which you will be needing music/entertainment.

If you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to call me at 414-777-0100.

Until the next time, strive for excellence and keep swingin’!

Bill Sargent
BillSargentBands.com
Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

©Bill Sargent. All rights reserved.