FAQs

Down for the Count performing at an event

Hiring the band

Why should I hire Down for the Count party bands?

Here are some reasons we think you should hire our live bands for your event:

Experience: Down for the Count is a collective of musicians who formed 12 years ago. Our original line-up, the Down for the Count Swing and Soul Band, has performed together on hundreds of occasions over the years and the line-up has hardly changed since 2005. Therefore we not only have a unique on-stage energy, but we are also very well rehearsed and have developed a fantastic and unique sound that really sets us apart from other function bands.

Attention to detail: we pay attention to detail and treat every event separately. We know everyone has separate needs and we work closely with you to make sure you have the perfect entertainment for your event.

Personal service: we pride ourselves on our personal service. Many clients comment on how easy we are to contact, and how approachable we are when discussing and planning your event - whether your event is large or small, we work with you to provide the best possible entertainment to make your event one that sticks in everyone's memory.

Equipment: we use top-of-the-range PA and lighting equipment to make sure each performance looks and sounds slick and professional.

Flexible: we are a flexible group and provide musical entertainment packages for a whole day of entertainment. Whether you're looking for classical musicians for your wedding ceremony, jazz musicians for a drinks reception, a fantastic party band, or all three, you're sure to find it here.

Reviews: don't just take our word for it. You can read reviews from people who have booked the band, many of whom are happy to be contacted directly to provide a personal reference.

What do I need to do to hire the band?

First of all, check we're available for your event by filling out our contact form.

If you want to go ahead with a booking, we require a 20% retainer fee along with a signed booking form, which we prepare for you.

The remaining balance is normally due 10 days before your event.

Can I see the band live before booking?

Yes! We regularly perform in public, usually (but not always) with our vintage Swing Orchestra. You can find out the next dates on our Gig Calendar.

How much does it cost to hire the band?

We prefer not to advertise our prices on the website, because they can vary so much depending on the location and, to a certain extent, the time of year and day of the week.

However, we respond to all booking enquiries very quickly – almost always within 24 hours, and often a lot quicker than that.

Please be assured that compared to similar function bands, our prices are extremely competitive – and we will never quote more for a performance just because we think a client can afford it.

How far do you travel?

Most of our performances are within 100 miles of London but we have performed all over the country and internationally.

When we travel more than 150 miles from London we will require overnight accommodation, which we will factor in to the quote we send you.

Are you insured?

Yes, the band holds a £5m Public Liability Insurance policy with Musicians Insurance Services, and all of our electrical equipment is regularly PAT tested. Please ask us if you need copies of these documents.

Setting up and other requirements

How long do you need to set up?

We need around 90 minutes to set up for the party bands. We usually use a digital mixing desk, so often won't need to soundcheck - which means we won't disturb your guests.

Our smaller jazz band line-ups will take about 45 minutes to set up and soundcheck.

We like to arrive two hours before we are due to start playing; this means we have time to set-up at a non-stressful pace, get changed and have a quick break before we start playing.

It usually takes about 45 minutes to pack up when we've finished playing.

How much space do you need?

The Swing & Soul Band needs about 18' x 8' performance space. However, we are used to squeezing into small spaces so we'll do our best wherever we are!

Is there anything I need to provide?

There are a few things we do need to make sure everything goes smoothly on the day.

Firstly, please make sure we have a green room/changing room that we can use throughout our stay at your venue. It doesn't have to be anything glamorous, but we do need somewhere to leave our belongings and prepare for the performance.

Secondly, like all function bands we require food and soft drinks for each musician and crew member. Again, we don't have expensive tastes but it's really important to have something to keep us going!

Finally, if you are hiring our string quartet, please note the musicians will need armless chairs.

How much power do you need?

We need at least three separate 13 amp domestic power sockets close to the performance space. This does NOT mean a four-way extension lead taken out of a single socket, as it will not provide enough power for the lights and speakers.

If we are playing outside or in a marquee, we strongly urge you to hire a generator to provide power for the band and your caterers etc - please don't rely on running lots of extension cables from your house!

Can you play outside?

Yes, but only if we have adequate cover over us. This is to protect us - and more importantly our equipment - against both sun and rain, as both can get in the way of a good performance.

When booked for outdoor engagements, we do reserve the right not to perform if doing so would risk damage to our equipment. It's always best to have a wet weather plan, just in case!

You must also check that there is an adequate power supply close to the performance space.

Can you play in marquees?

Yes, playing in a marquee is no problem.

However, if you are hiring one to put in your own garden we urge you to hire a generator to provide power for the band, caterers, marquee lighting etc.

Painful past experience has taught us that it's much safer than running lots of extension cords from your house! The last thing you want is for your band to be unable to perform because there is not enough power outside - so please, hire a generator.

Do I need to provide any equipment?

No – we bring all the necessary equipment for performances in England; we just need somewhere to plug it in!

For international events, we may need instruments, PA and lighting supplied - you can see our tech spec for more information.

 

Can you arrive to set up earlier in the day?

Yes we can, but if you want us to arrive before 5pm (or more than three hours before we are due to start playing, for afternoon events) we may have to charge an extra fee.

We always aim to finish setting up before your guests arrive, and will be as flexible as possible to try and accommodate your needs.

 

The band's performance

My venue has a sound limiter. Is this a problem?

This is one of the most important things on your event checklist. If you haven't checked whether or not your venue has a sound limiter - please do so today!

The short answer is - yes, we can usually perform with a sound limiter. However, we strongly advise you to read our Essential Guide to Sound Limiters before booking us (or indeed, booking any live entertainment for your party!)

How loud are you?

Although we are a large band, we are not particularly loud. Most of the music we perform is acoustic in nature - we don't have several guitars battling each other, meaning that our 9- to 14-piece line-ups are no louder than a 4- to 5-piece rock and pop band.

If you're interested in volume levels, read our Essential Guide to Sound Limiters for more information.

How long do you play for?

We usually play either two 60 minute sets or three 40 minute sets of music. We prefer playing two 60 minute sets - we find that having fewer breaks improves the flow of the evening.  

Longer performances may be available on request; please discuss this in advance.

 

Can I have the jazz band play during a drinks reception in the afternoon, and then have the Swing & Soul Band in the evening?

Yes, we often provide packages like this and they work very well - and it works out much cheaper than hiring two separate bands.

We can also provide music for your wedding ceremony - find out more here.

Can you play after midnight?

Our quotes are based on us finishing at midnight; if you want us to go on longer, there will usually be an additional charge. Please ask us for more information.

What happens between sets?

We bring along an iPad and use it to play recorded music similar to the style of music we perform.

However, with our Auto DJ option you can plug your own laptop, mp3 player or iPod into our PA system so that you have complete control over the songs played.

This is free of charge between sets - if you want the disco to go on for longer, just contact us for a quote.

Can we use your equipment for a disco after you've performed?

Our top-quality PA system is fantastic for a disco after we've finished playing. There are some limitations with this, but generally speaking it's much cheaper to use our equipment for your disco than hiring your own DJ - please get in touch for a quote.

Can you learn our first dance?

Usually we can, yes - as long as it's a song that suits the instrumentation of our band. You can see of our first dance suggestions here, or visit the page of the band you're booking and see if it's in their repertoire.

If not, get in touch with your choice of first dance song and we'll see if we can learn it for you.

What about other requests?

When you book the band you are more than welcome to go through our repertoire list and highlight songs you particularly do (or do not) want us to play.

Sometimes it is possible to learn new songs, but it can be hard to fit this into the band's busy schedule and may incur additional charges. Let us know well in advance and we can discuss the options with you straight away!

Can we use your microphone for the speeches?

Yes, this is usually fine assuming the band is set up by the time of your speeches (this may incur extra costs if you need us to set up earlier).

Please note that we only provide wired microphones free-of-charge, meaning you'll need to deliver your speeches from the 'stage' area, standing behind our speakers to avoid feedback.

If you want freedom to deliver the speeches from anywhere in the room, you can hire a wireless microphone from us but there will be a small extra charge for this.