It seems that, over the past decade, wedding venues have become ever more careful when dealing with sound levels. Whether that’s down to council regulations or nearby noise complaints, it’s an issue that has to be addressed. Unfortunately for you, this can really put a damper on your live entertainment. Bands For Hire guides you through the best options for live music for wedding venues with sound restrictions.
Many years ago when I began working in the entertainment industry, I would occasionally come across a venue with a noise limiter installed, perhaps ensuring a maximum sound level of around the 105-110db mark. Even then it proved difficult for many bands. However, these days it’s not unusual for venues to limit levels to 86db, which when put into perspective is quieter than a food blender!
For small acoustic duos, classical artists and jazz bands this isn’t really an issue. However, for pop, rock, and soul bands – especially those with brass – it can be something of a hindrance, but one musicians have become quite familiar with.
If a live band is fairly high up on your priority list, then be sure to check the small print before booking your venue as it’s something that can easily be overlooked.
In-House PA Systems and Sound Ceilings
As well as sound limiters, some venues have started to go a step further by installing their own in-house PA systems or sound ceilings, sometimes restricting live drums, guitar amps and even monitors. With this in mind it’s important to understand exactly what the venue requirements are and outline these very early on in your band enquiries. Whilst many bands have learned to work with these limitations, some may not be able to, or are simply unwilling to compromise on their live performance.
The main difficulty bands have is usually the drum kit and bass guitar. Bands can easily turn the bass down, but turning down live drums can be difficult as it’s the natural volume of the acoustic kit that causes the issue, even without microphones.
Many bands will opt for ‘hotrods’ (softer sounding drum sticks) which is usually enough, but in some cases you might consider searching for a band that can use an electronic drum kit or even backing tracks instead of live drums.
Alternative Live Music Options
Roaming Acoustic Bands
If a full-on live band is simply not going to work, then you may be pleasantly surprised with the alternatives. Unplugged or “roaming” acoustic bands have become extremely popular in recent years, bringing some tongue-in-cheek table-top entertainment to your guests without the overbearing volume that a full band inevitably brings.
If you dare to be a little bit different, a Mariachi band is also completely unplugged and is bound to bring a little humour to the proceedings as they interact with your guests and ensure a jovial atmosphere throughout.
Soloists and Duos with Backing Tracks
If you want the impact of a full sound (but would rather avoid sound issues altogether), then hiring a solo act or duo with backing tracks isn’t a bad idea. A band with backing tracks is much like a DJ in that the sound can be set to the exact volume required.
Undercover Singing Waiters
Get the party underway by hiring a group of singing waiters; they’ll quietly work alongside the catering crew until they burst into song – much to your guests’ surprise! From classical to contemporary pop, all acts either work unplugged or alongside backing tracks for a no fuss set-up and performance.
If you’re keen on a live acoustic or jazz band but don’t think it’s going to hit the spot later on in the evening, then a mixture of live music and a wedding DJ is always a great combo. DJs can play with just about any PA system or sound requirements making them the perfect choice for venues with sound restrictions.
Find out more information and discover an enormous variety of wedding music with Bands For Hire here.