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requests for private parties/weddings


jeff42

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Here's a question. How do you guys handle requests for private functions and weddings?

Do you take requests?

How long before the gig do you take requests?

How many requests?

Do you put a "request clause" in the contract?

 

I'm not talking about songs you already know that may or may not be in the set that day. I mean songs that the band is asked to play that you don't know.

 

We are playing more and more private functions this summer and we are starting to get a lot of requests for songs we don't normally do.

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Here's a question. How do you guys handle requests for private functions and weddings?

Do you take requests?

How long before the gig do you take requests?

How many requests?

Do you put a "request clause" in the contract?


I'm not talking about songs you already know that may or may not be in the set that day. I mean songs that the band is asked to play that you don't know.


We are playing more and more private functions this summer and we are starting to get a lot of requests for songs we don't normally do.

 

 

ESPECIALLY for weddings, this should be something you consider strongly.

 

I'd recommend a formal process/procedure in your contract/agreement that still affords you a LOT of wiggle/decline room. Language along the lines of "Will discuss and agree upon formal requests with client up to X days out from performance".

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Special requests come with territory if you're doing weddings. Here's the text that we include in the "contract worksheet" that we go through with each wedding client we work with. We've found our customers to be happy with this approach - and understanding on the couple of tunes that we declined to attempt (one was an ethnic piece that was completely foreign to us, the other was a complex big band arrangement that we simply couldn't do justice to).

 

Special Song Requirements
:

 

Rhythm 21 wants to do everything possible to may your event special - and will happily learn 2-3 "special" songs for your event (i.e, for a bridal dance, "Daddy/Daugher" dance, etc.) Please specify any special songs you'd like us to play for your event. Note: I
n the unlikely event that you request a song that we feel we can't do justice to, we reserve to right to let you know up front that we won't be able to learn and perform it - but will happily play a recorded version of it!

 

 

To Be Determined - Special Song Requirements MUST be finalized a minimum of 30 days prior to the date of performance to allow Rhythm 21 sufficient time to learn and rehearse them!

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We will learn 2-3 new songs for the these events. For weddings they are usually a must (First Dance, Father-Daughter dance).

 

We never take requests on the fly though except from the person that booked us.

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^^^^ That's good!

 

 

Thanks - we've taken a little different tact with our "contract" for weddings and private parties. So many of the contracts I've read seem geared people who "live in the industry" so to speak and just strike me as "harsh".

 

As a private party/wedding act - we find ourselves dealing with people who have never hired a band in their lives (and may never do it again). Rather than sticking a contract in front of them - our document covers pretty much all the same stuff - except that it reads more like an "interview". In the end, all the details end up specified and documented - it just doesn't seem as harsh as the "here's our contract, sign it" documents I've read.

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Thanks - we've taken a little different tact with our "contract" for weddings and private parties. So many of the contracts I've read seem geared people who "live in the industry" so to speak and just strike me as "harsh".


As a private party/wedding act - we find ourselves dealing with people who have never hired a band in their lives (and may never do it again). Rather than sticking a contract in front of them - our document covers pretty much all the same stuff - except that it reads more like an "interview". In the end, all the details end up specified and documented - it just doesn't seem as harsh as the "here's our contract, sign it" documents I've read.

 

 

care to share? the contracts we have do seem to have too much of a harsh professional tone to 'em.

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care to share? the contracts we have do seem to have too much of a harsh professional tone to 'em.

 

 

Sure! I posted a response in the Backstage with the Band section on the new HC 2.0 post - with a copy of the our performance agreement in a Word Doc attached to the post. The post title is "Contract Example".

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We will play 1-2 requests for weddings, anymore than that is $100.00 a song. Some people think bands are a jukebox and there is no problem doing requests. We played a wedding about 5 years ago where we had to learn 5 songs. The artists were Elton John,Celine Dion,Jimmy Buffet, B.J. thomas and AC/DC.:eek:

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We mostly don't do weddings, but we do private parties. We don't take requests at all for these things. We do offer to play any music that they want during band breaks.

 

We have a few private parties this summer including one for a local winery. The owners of the winery have seen our band perform so they know exactly what to expect.

 

Max

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Sure! I posted a response in the Backstage with the Band section on the new HC 2.0 post - with a copy of the our performance agreement in a Word Doc attached to the post. The post title is "Contract Example".

 

 

Thanks spacenorman! I like the way it's written and I may borrow the style form now on.

 

 

 

We will play 1-2 requests for weddings, anymore than that is $100.00 a song.

 

 

this is something I can get behind

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We mostly don't do weddings, but we do private parties. We don't take requests at all for these things. We do offer to play any music that they want during band breaks.


We have a few private parties this summer including one for a local winery. The owners of the winery have seen our band perform so they know exactly what to expect.


Max

 

The private gigs we got coming up in the next few months are from people we don't know at all but have seen us play our casino gigs. each have asked for 1 song so far and the songs arev easy "almost standards"

 

We have no problem giving these parties 1 or 2 songs, if we can pull em off...

 

if it's a half a set.. or dream theater epic, well yeah there will be a problem.

 

:lol:

 

So this is why we are putting a request clause into future contracts.

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We will play 1-2 requests for weddings, anymore than that is $100.00 a song. Some people think bands are a jukebox and there is no problem doing requests. We played a wedding about 5 years ago where we had to learn 5 songs. The artists were Elton John,Celine Dion,Jimmy Buffet, B.J. thomas and AC/DC.
:eek:

 

Things change:

We used to always have a big Steamer trunk with us that was full of sheet music, cheat sheets, chord charts, music books etc. of every and any genre you could think of....from Rock to Jewish folk ballads & polkas, waltzes, you name it. If someone requested a song we didn't know we would answer something like, " We'll see if we can do that a little later". Our always present manager would then go thru that trunk until she found some sort of music for that song; be it sheet music, cheat sheet, music book whatever.

99 out of 100 times that song was in that trunk SOMEWHERE!! :lol:

We'd put that sheet (or whatever) up on the keyboard stand, gather round behind the keyboardist so we all could see & off we'd go, on the fly, sometimes songs that none of us had ever even heard before. If the melody was a problem for the vocalist (my sister) we would ask the person that requested the song to come up and sing it. The crowd doesn't care if you

fake one no matter how badly...and, in fact, usually give you a big thumbs up for the effort and being such good sports a lot more so then we ever got slammed for not sounding our best on a song or two. I'd say we got a lot more booking out of trying our best to do them then we lost because of it. We got many a big tip that way.

 

(Harder to do today with today's music, no doubt, but just sayin', you should put a little ego/pride aside to accomodate the crowd whenever possible IMO. Things change I guess).

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Sure! I posted a response in the Backstage with the Band section on the new HC 2.0 post - with a copy of the our performance agreement in a Word Doc attached to the post. The post title is "Contract Example".

 

Thank you so much for that! :thu:

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Things change:

We used to always have a big Steamer trunk with us that was full of sheet music, cheat sheets, chord charts, music books etc. of every and any genre you could think of....from Rock to Jewish folk ballads & polkas, waltzes, you name it. If someone requested a song we didn't know we would answer something like, " We'll see if we can do that a little later". Our always present manager would then go thru that trunk until she found some sort of music for that song; be it sheet music, cheat sheet, music book whatever.

99 out of 100 times that song was in that trunk SOMEWHERE!!
:lol:
We'd put that sheet (or whatever) up on the keyboard stand, gather round behind the keyboardist so we all could see & off we'd go, on the fly, sometimes songs that none of us had ever even heard before. If the melody was a problem for the vocalist (my sister) we would ask the person that requested the song to come up and sing it. The crowd doesn't care if you

fake one no matter how badly...and, in fact, usually give you a big thumbs up for the effort and being such good sports a lot more so then we ever got slammed for not sounding our best on a song or two. I'd say we got a lot more booking out of trying our best to do them then we lost because of it. We got many a big tip that way.


(Harder to do today with today's music, no doubt, but just sayin', you should put a little ego/pride aside to accomodate the crowd whenever possible IMO. Things change I guess).

 

You must have misunderstood my post. We agreed to play those songs a month before the wedding. Since we had to learn the songs beforehand that is why we charge extra. If someone comes up to us at a gig and asks us to play a song we already know then we will do it. We can't half ass a first dance or father /daughter song.

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Good luck with that one.


We have something very similar and can ALWAYS count on the two song request (songs none of us know) one week before the wedding.
:facepalm:

In that case, we'll play those songs on the iPod through P.A. during the break.

 

Yeah ... we often get 'em late too. Most of the time, it's not a big deal to learn it quick - and the client walks away feeling he got treated special. When we get a "late" one that we can't do justice with a single rehearsal, the client usually figures they did it to themselves and don't hold it against us. That is one of the benefits of spelling it out in the performance agreement - even if you don't hold the client to it.

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Always good to get special requests in pocket so you can do a good version, but yeah, expect the oddball, last-minute requests, even while you are playing the gig.

 

Apparently, some people don't understand why an acoustic duo can't convincingly pull off The Electric Slide (and would have charged you $1000 more just for trying). Even with thorough preparation, you may get cussed out by a drunk father of the bride for not knowing Daddy's Little Girl (I did).

 

Having an ipod or better yet, a laptop w/wireless internet so you can d/l & play those WTF requests during your breaks can be a lifesaver.

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You must have misunderstood my post. We agreed to play those songs a month before the wedding. Since we had to learn the songs beforehand that is why we charge extra. If someone comes up to us at a gig and
asks us to play a song we already know
then we will do it. We can't half ass a first dance or father /daughter song.

 

 

And you misunderstood mine. Working up songs that are requested in advance is a no brainer, although IMO unless you are talking about 3 or more songs to learn I think it's a little bit of a rip to charge extra for learning them. Having to learn a couple songs specially requested in advance is, or should be, part of the job of any band playing a wedding IMO. In other words I totally agree that you can't "half-ass" a first dance or father/daughter song, I'm just saying that you find out what they are in advance and learn them. As part of your fee, not as an extra charge because you have to learn something you don't already know. IMO that comes with the Wedding Band territory as part of the "basic package" if you will.

But that's just my $ .02.

 

Any band can play a song that someone comes up and requests at the gig if the band already knows the song. Why wouldn't you play it ?

 

My post was about people requesting songs at the gig that you DON'T KNOW and playing them anyway, "on the fly" so to speak.

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And you misunderstood mine. Working up songs that are requested in advance is a no brainer, although IMO unless you are talking about 3 or more songs to learn I think it's a little bit of a rip to charge extra for learning them. Having to learn a couple songs specially requested in advance is, or should be, part of the job of any band playing a wedding IMO. In other words I totally agree that you can't "half-ass" a first dance or father/daughter song, I'm just saying that you find out what they are in advance and learn them. As part of your fee, not as an extra charge because you have to learn something you don't already know. IMO that comes with the Wedding Band territory as part of the "basic package" if you will.

But that's just my $ .02.


Any band can play a song that someone comes up and requests at the gig if the band already knows the song. Why wouldn't you play it ?


My post was about people requesting songs at the gig that you DON'T KNOW and playing them anyway, "on the fly" so to speak.

And you still misunderstood my original post.:confused: We will learn 1-2 requests for weddings, anymore than that is $100.00 a song.

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And you still misunderstood my original post.
:confused:
We will learn 1-2 requests for weddings, anymore than that is $100.00 a song.

Part of me wants to disagree with this, as Pickinatit says...

 

But the other part of me says: if it's working for ya and not costing you gigs, then why not?

 

I'm guessing this kind of thing gets easier to do when you've been around a while and aren't "desperate" for the gig.

 

We had one wedding gig on the books that fell through, due to the wedding being moved out of state, and we were prepared to work up about 12-15 songs just for that one wedding: but that would have been our first.

 

I can see where an established band would want/need to put the clamps on this situation though, within reason.

 

I'll shoot your idea to Tim for future consideration for wedding gigs: hell, at last year's Oaks festival event, we got 100 bucks cash to play an extra song after the gig, so what you're saying isn't really that out of line if the clients have the cake to pony up. :thu:

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