I was at a dinner party on Saturday and the talk turned to weddings , as it does from time to time. Knowing of my fifteen plus years of experience booking wedding entertainment of my close friends asked the question , ” What is the worst wedding entertainment? ” Unsurprisingly everyone around the table had an opinion on this.
One of the gang told the story of attending a wedding where the DJ was a typical old school wedding DJ and , as well as talking over every song, he ignored the requests of the music loving and pretty hip , thirty something , Bride and Groom and played some very cheesey tunes. When he played Agadoo by Black Lace shortly before launching into the Birdie song the Bride actually apologised to the table my friend was sat on. She was mortified that her wedding had turned into the worst kind of disco when she herself would have been likely to be dancing in a trendy underground club to the latest dance music had she not been attending her own wedding!
Another friend mentioned a wedding band that he saw at a work colleagues wedding. The band was made up of other members of the sales team at the call centre his pal managed. By the time they took to the stage it was clear that any talent they may had whilst sober was not going to shine through now that they had enjoyed the host’s hospitality. The various members of the band looked pretty wasted. They sounded even worse!
For myself as a long time wedding entertainment booker I can recall a number of acts that I have auditioned (both DJs and bands) that were/ are earning decent money playing weddings that would never get rebooked at one of the many venues we look after. It saddens me that some of these will have been booked by Brides and Grooms lured into a false sense of expectation by glassy websites and mimed videos.
One particular band springs to mind. I auditioned them several years ago in Manchester Walkabout bar for a potential run of dates on the Walkabout circuit. They played a decent set but their timing was off, the musicianship was not great (they seemed under rehearsed) and the singer lacked any crowd interaction . On the plus side they were wearing smart , matching outfits and were doing the right material (although the set needed tweaking ) and the band were young.
After the audition the band expected that I would be giving them a serious number of dates. I pointed out that they showed promise but were not quite ready for the venues we booked and that I would be happy to see them again in a few months time if they could take on board some of my suggestions. They were outraged. They shot back with the news that they had been playing weddings in Cheshire for a £1000 plus and that their diary was nearly full. It was difficult to tell them that they needed to improve as they had already reached an audience willing to pay top dollar for them despite the fact that they were an entry level pub band who should be learning their craft , rehearsing and taking low paid gigs to get better. A decent website and some smart clothes had put them into gigs that they were not really ready for.
I am sure the band I am writing about did not ruin peoples weddings ,wedding audiences can be quite forgiving…after all they are there to party and celebrate with friends and family, but they were overpriced and cheating the Bride and Groom who could have booked an amazing band for the same price . A band who would have earned every penny they were paid by delivering a seamless night of entertainment.
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