Hiring a band or a DJ? Considering entertainment options for your next event

Clients are constantly asking my team and I what the best way is to assure that their event is a huge success as they debate between having a band or a DJ. Often the decision comes down to budget, as a full band can cost over $8,000 and a DJ usually ranges from $1,000 to $2,500.

As an event producer, it is important to listen to your client and identify their true desires for the event. This will help you bridge the gap between budget and expectations. When working with the right company, there are options which allow the client to get the live music experience, at a rate that can flex to fit any budget.
Hiring a band or a DJ? Considering entertainment options for your next event
Clients often assume that they have to choose a band or a DJ – one or the other. We often recommend alternate options, such as bringing in various live music components throughout the night to complement a DJ. Live musicians can be pricey, but the most expensive part of hiring them is getting the musicians to the event. Once they are onsite, keeping them there isn’t as expensive as you might think. You can take advantage of this by having the musicians stay for an extended period of time and performing at various parts of the event, perhaps during cocktails or dinner, then staying to complement a traditional DJ.

Here is an example of how to accomplish this blend of entertainment:

  • Book a duo for cocktails, such as a pianist and violinist.
  • Use the same duo and add a third musician such as a singer or guitarist for a two to three hour dinner set.
  • If the violinist has a cool vibe and owns an electric violin, you might consider having them stay for an hour and perform during the DJ’s dance set. They can roam the dance floor playing over the DJ’s music, engaging the crowd. This will help further transform the mood from dinner to dancing by providing a live and energetic musical component.

I would strongly recommend having the DJ onsite for the entire event to play between the musician’s sets, but most importantly to kick off the dancing portion of the event. The dancing portion traditionally occurs immediately following the dinner set. This transition is crucial and often overlooked, which I’ll discuss more in-depth in my next article.

When planning an event, it all comes back to budget. This doesn’t mean your budget makes or breaks your event. How and where you choose to spend your money is what counts. The key to accomplish any of the elements mentioned in this article is to make sure that you are working with professional musicians who have experience performing with other performers. This will allow you to use multiple combinations of different types of entertainment, which in turn gets the most value for your money.

It is ideal to work with a company whose roster contains various entertainers and has the hands on experience working with them. This allows them to affectively help guide you through the selection process, as well as make recommendations specifically suited to your event needs and budget.

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