JUST A COUPLE of things to think about when you hire a band ...
- Cash is king. When you hire a band for one night, and there's trust between the two parties, paying the band at the end of the night is fine. Bills are best, but checks work too. A smart bar or business owner knows how to do the bookkeeping, knows they don't need a tax form if it's under a certain amount, knows to tell the band exactly how they will be paid. Do not leave the band wondering who will pay them, and don't tell them "the check is coming from corporate HQ" when they inquire about it the following Monday, after the gig.
- Make sure you are having an appropriate event for a band. Some church picnic are great places for live music. So are most bars, venues, places where people are ready to have a good time. If you are having a party, and it's mostly young families, and most bail by 9 pm before the band has warmed up, well .... so be it.
- A good band feeds off the crowd, and vice versa. If the venue is dead, the band will reflect the atmosphere. A good band will soldier ahead and play hard no matter who is in the place. But it has an effect.
- Make the band feel welcome. You don't have to let them have free beer or food, but it's a nice gesture. Don't hesitate to let the band know what they can and can't have. One awesome place we play puts a limit on one beverage per set per band member, a great idea and very fair. And if it's a dinner or event, they try to have a table or place the band can sit and eat before playing.
- Tell the band what you think after the event. If they weren't very good, politely thank them for their time, and book another band the next time. That speaks volumes.
- If the gig is in town, do your best to let the band know when they can set up. When we play at One Restaurant in Quincy, we set up the day before, because we have to go through the main dining area and it wouldn't work if we did it right before the show. A good band prefers to set up early anyway, to put out any sound fires and troubleshoot well before the gig.
- Advertise the band. Make them feel welcome. Tell them you are looking forward to them playing.
- Have fun! The most important part of all, for everybody involved.