Category Archives: music

A Band Can’t Just Turn Up And Play These Days

There are a number of hoops a band has to jump through before playing at venues these days, in addition to being fully insured there are also certain health and safety considerations and paperwork to be completed

The document below is an example of what needs to be considered when playing at an army base.  It shows that bands can’t just turn up and play – for the particular gig the document relates to and many other HM Forces bases and government venues, they have to fill in security forms for every band member, get their insurers to stamp and sign a copy of their public liability certificate, as the certificate itself isn’t enough (!) provide vehicle registration details,  passport numbers and driving license references all in advance of the contract being issued.

Hazard (1) Effect of Hazard being realized (2) Details of Control Measures (3)
Arrival, unloading and Pre-performance set-up
  • Vehicle may cause injury to persons
  • Vehicle and persons may pose security risk
  • Unloading equipment may cause injury to band members or other person(s)
  • Electrical sockets may be overloaded causing fire safety hazard
  • Conform to venue security procedures & set speed limits , ensure vehicle & personal passes clearly displayed , park band vehicles safely for unloading, so that other vehicular access is not dangerously compromised or prevented
  • Unload heavy equipment carefully
  • Remove band vehicles to suitable public parking places
  • Relevant equipment shows valid  PAT stickers and Certificate available for checking purposes
  • Band members will carry each piece of equipment from their vehicle to the performance area via the route instructed by the venue.
  • Place equipment in correct location, ensuring that a)  items are placed on level surfaces, b) are completely stable and cannot be inadvertently pushed over

c) equipment does not block emergency exits and d) no item becomes a potential trip hazard for band, guests or staff

  • Carry out visual inspection of all wiring and electric plugs to ensure that they are in good condition and insulation is still effective
  • Plug electrical equipment into appropriate venue 13amp or 32 amp sockets (based on assumption they have been safety tested by qualified electrician) as instructed by venue staff, ensuring that circuits are not overloaded
  • Tape down any trailing wires to ensure that they will not impede pedestrian access and electrical safety will not be compromised
  • Ensure venue has unblocked emergency fire exits and extinguishers close to performance area
On Stage performance
  • Excessive noise may cause hearing damage
  • Band member dehydration
  • Guests accessing performance area may prevent performance, cause injury to band members or damage to band equipment
  • Ensure that sound levels do not exceed limits specified by venue
  • Ensure that band members are provided adequate liquid refreshment to avoid dehydration
  • Follow all hotel staff instructions regarding health and safety
  • Ensure no unauthorized persons is allowed access the stage / performance area


Post-performance break down, loading and Exit
  • Vehicle may cause injury to persons
  • Unloading equipment may cause injury to band members or other person(s)
  • Vehicle and persons may pose security risk




  • De-rig equipment carefully to avoid creating any obstructions to guests or staff as per “setup” above
  • Re-load into vehicles as per “unloading” above
  • Drive vehicles  as per “arriving” above
  • Hand in all passes / badges on exit of venue


Defined as “something with the potential to cause harm to a group or individual” Who might be harmed and how

3 The steps that will be taken in order to remove the hazard or reduce it so far as is reasonably practicable

Most party and wedding bands will find that they have to adhere to H&S to different degrees, depending on the venue. Catch 22 are local to me and you can see from their website that they are well prepared and have all the required certification and documentation in place.  A wedding band or indeed any type of band who play live at venues around the UK band will need to be prepared for anything the promoter or venue throws at you and action it well before arriving there, so best get everything on order in advance.

Wedding Bands

First off it’s probably important to make it clear that I’m not talking about wedding rings, or wedding bands as they are called in the US, this is about the type who stand up on stage in front of people and play songs, so if you need to know more about the ring type, back you go and refine your search ?

So how do you find a good band to play at a wedding? It’s a difficult decision to make, in part because being “the most important day of your life” it’s likely that you have just a few other jobs to be thinking about, such as a dress, flowers, the venue, décor for the venue, wedding favours, etc, the list goes on!

The other thing which makes it really difficult to chose, is that unless you have experience in booking bands for other events, such as corporate functions and the likes, how do you know who is good and who’s not? There are a number of ways to firstly find some bands and then to asses if they are any good.

To start off, you need to find some groups to check out, many of them will have their own website these days, and although it is entirely possible they could have a really good site but not be up to much, it’s pretty unlikely really. You may also find them advertised in local press and in wedding shops and related sites.

So, you’ve found a few that sound like they fit the bill, but how do you know if they are actually any good or not? Well firstly if they have a website, check to see if they have any songs on there as mp3 or even mp4 files, if so you can download them and play them to your better half, these could be live or studio recordings. Alternatively they may have some video up on their site, but myself, I think the better option is to have a look for them on You-tube, the beauty of this, is that you may find footage of performances, other than those which the band have published them self, this could give a much more honest view of the band and not just the highly polished performances they want you to see.

The other option is to go and see them playing live somewhere, the chances are that if you are planning your wedding to the extent where you want a live band there, you are most likely doing it quite a while in advance, so contact them and ask where they are booked to play live, but it’s a public event. Most good pop bands will certainly have other bookings which are open to the public, even if you have to pay a few pounds entry to the venue, it’s well worth it to make sure you find a band who really know how to play to and work a crowd.

You can of course always ask friends, colleagues and relatives if they have ever booked wedding bands before, I’m sure a lot of people will have done, so you can use their experience as a starting point.

The main thing is to make sure you do your homework, as choosing the right one can really make the evening go off with a bang. Most function bands will play the style of music you ask for(provided it’s within their repertoire of course), but an experienced one can keep people dancing and partying on the dance-floor all night long, which can sometimes be just as entertaining to watch as it is to actually get up and have a bit of a boogie.