FAQs

Hiring the band

Why should I hire Down for the Count's musicians?

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 15 years ago. Our original line-up, the Down for the Count Swing and Soul Band (which we now call The Get Downs), 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. We're happy to meet up with you anywhere between London and Warwickshire to discuss your event in person - or we're always available on the phone, email, Skype or Zoom to answer your questions.

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

We also NEVER use backing tracks or click tracks - every single note you hear from Down for the Count is completely live, giving our performance unrivalled spontaneity.

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.

See us live before booking: unlike many bands, we regularly perform shows which are open to the public. Usually in public we performing as our Swing Orchestra (a slightly different style from how we usually perform at private parties) but it's still a great opportunity to see our sound and musicianship and to meet the musicians who will be performing for you. Check out our calendar of public shows here.

Advice: we've performed at weddings for 15 years and we have loads of advice about how to make them run smoothly and make the most of having live music. Check out our Event Planning Advice articles and get in touch if you have any questions.

Are you an agency?

We often get asked this question - no, we're not an agency. We're a collective of around 30 musicians, who perform together in a range of different combinations to create fantastic line-ups.

For example, all of us can get on stage together at the same time and blow your socks off as the Down for the Count Concert Orchestra - but this is not perfect for all events, so 10 of those musicians can also combine together to make our premium party band The Motown Collective whilst a slightly different combination of 5 make up our roaming band The Vintage Strollers.

We think that working like this is great because performing together so often over the years has given us a great understanding of each other's musical styles. We're very tight and well-rehearsed because of how often we perform together and have developed a fantastic, unique sound.

Working as a collective also means we're great at putting together live music packages for your event. If you want live music for your wedding ceremony, drinks reception, and party, then we can easily put together a package of slightly different line-ups made up of similar musicians who'll perform for you all day - which saves you money and means you have fewer suppliers to deal with, as we take care of all your musical entertainment needs.

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 non-refundable 40% retainer fee to secure the date, along with a signed booking form, which we prepare for you.

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

There's a bit more detail about the booking process here.

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, band size 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.

What if we need to reschedule our event?

Click here to read our COVID-19 update

We understand that you might be concerned about booking a band with the current ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affecting large gatherings. We ask for a non-refundable 40% retainer fee to secure bookings (which has been our policy since before the pandemic).

If it transpires that you need to reschedule your booking because of government restrictions on gatherings, we are very happy to transfer the booking to another date. We just have two conditions which may apply:

1. The new date has to be one on which the band is available (we're happy to share our availability with you to find a mutually convenient new date and we're being as flexible as possible to give you the widest possible choice of dates);

2. If you're rescheduling for more than 12 months after the original event date, there may be a modest increase in fees, to bring your event in line with the pricing structure which will be in place at the time of your event. However we won't do this unless we really have to.

We're happy to talk through all the options with you, and are committed to doing everything we can to make sure that your event is as close as possible to the way you dreamt it.

Please just get in touch and we'll talk through the options, and answer any queries or concerns you may have.

Do you have a COVID-19 update?

Yes we do - here's our COVID-19 update, please don't hesitate to get in touch if your question isn't answered here.

Setting up and other requirements

How long do you need to set up?

We need 60 minutes to set up for the party bands although we suggest you leave 90 minutes in case there is a difficult load-in and to give us a small amount of contingency time. 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.

You might like to read some of our advice about managing your event timings here.

How much space do you need?

The stage sizes needed are as follows:

  • 6- to 12-piece line-ups: 7m by 4m
  • 13-piece and larger line-ups: 9m by 5m
  • Shows with dancers: 10m by 6m

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. We politely ask that the crew room has chairs for each performer, a table, heating, lighting, and power sockets. We do still need a changing room if your event is in a marquee, teepee or other temporary structure.

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! We don't usually ask you to provide food for afternoon performances, unless we have to be onsite for a long time or have to travel a long distance to your event.

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 - we're happy to share the horror stories with you if you'd like...

The last thing you want is for your band to be unable to perform because there is not enough power to your marquee - so please, hire a generator.

Do I need to provide any equipment?

If your event is for up to 200 people, you don't need to provide anything - we bring all the PA and stage lighting required.

If you have a larger event (200 people or more), we either need you to provide a full spec PA and lighting rig through your production company, or we might need to hire in extra equipment - please discuss it with us and we'll talk you through the options.

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?

Our party bands usually play two 60 minute sets. Longer performances may be available on request; please discuss this with us in advance. 

Our roaming trios usually play for three 40 minute sets.

Please get in touch to discuss the performance length options for our other bands.

Can I have the jazz band play during a drinks reception in the afternoon, and then have a party 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?

The answer to this question depends on two things: (1) what time the band is setting up, and (2) your room layout. If the band has set up before the speeches, and we're set up in a location where our speakers cover the area where your guests are sitting, then it's no problem using our microphone for speeches. Sometimes, if you have an unusual room layouts(such as an L-shaped room), or a stage which is a bit of distance from your guests, we'd need to hire in extra speakers, which will incur an additional charge.

It's best to let us know the timings of your speeches and the room layout and we'll talk you through the options.

Get in touch