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Sax player closes his eyes and playsNietzsche once said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” For Barine Steynberg and Larry Pullen, any event without music would be a mistake.

Most of the time, if you ask delegates what they remember about an event, you will be told it’s the food and the music. Since we are no food experts, let’s focus on the music.

The presence of a live performer at an event or conference gives a completely different ambience to the function. They create a more intimate and professional feel to your event. In order for this to happen, you as the event organiser need to know the following:

You get two types of corporate bands: party bands and background-music bands. As an event planner you need to determine which type your client requires for their event. A gala dinner or cocktail function is suited for a background-music band while for a more relaxed or party function, a party band is the perfect choice.

Before you get a quotation make sure that the band has the answers to the following questions:
• Where is the event?
• How many people will be attending the event?
• Is there a theme or style for the event?
• How long do you want them to perform? (The norm is two sets of 45 minutes each with an interval)
• What is the date and time of the event?
• Will the event be recorded?
When you get the quote back, make sure that all the all the hospitality and technical riders have been stipulated. This will ensure that there will be no nasty shocks when you get the final bill.


Some bands have preferred suppliers that will give you an industry-related rate to supply all the technical requirements for the event. You can of course use your own suppliers if they have the same equipment that the band needs.

The presence of a live performer at an event or conference gives a completely different ambience to the function

Usually the lighting and technical equipment that venues supply are for speakers and as a result are not suitable for a band. Another important thing to check with the venue is if they have a comfortable waiting area for the band to be in until they are required to perform.

Make sure to give the band a programme or running order. That way they will know when they need to be on stage and what is expected of them. Bands generally have meals before everyone else does as they are normally either on stage during meals or just after the attendees have their meals. Ask the band what time they would like to have their meals served to ensure that this does not clash with your programme.

Generally, to keep a band happy there are three rules: pay them, feed them and quench their thirst.
A band of any worth will normally be very busy and on the road a lot of the time, so if you are having to provide accommodation make sure that each has their own room.
Apply the golden rule: treat them the way you want to be treated. These are people that you are booking and not equipment.

The next time you are deciding on what type of entertainment you want to book for your event, remember these wise words from Plato, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

Larry Pullen and Barine Steynberg have many years’ experience in the music industry. They are the management team of Cue-Sonic Music.

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