If you’re a pub landlord/landlady in the process of thinking about re-opening, once lockdown measures are eased further – you may want to consider how to put bums back on seats. If you’ve never thought about hiring live entertainment as part of your offerings – keep reading this blog for an overview of what to do.
The provision of live music is widespread and can produce great nights to draw in new customers and encourage repeat business from regulars. Check that your licence allows live music and if not, apply for a variation. Keep the night(s) regular i.e. every Friday night or every first Sunday of the month - whichever night(s) you choose stick to it.
A rule of thumb for the cost of these nights is that you should take at least 3 times as much as the act costs above the average takings for a night without live music. For instance, if your average take is £1000 for a Friday and the act costs £150 you must take at least £1450 to cover the cost.
Stick with it - don't give up on live music after the first or second night just because you don't reach expected sales - it can take many weeks or even months to build up a regular following.
Keep your roster varied in the style of offering - jazz, rhythm and blues, soul, rock, acoustic, folk, solo, duo and bands. Don't be tempted to keep booking in the same bands/acts over and over again - for instance on a weekly night book bands no more than 4 times a year.
Host a Battle of the Bands for local bands - they compete for a prize and they are likely to bring plenty of friends and family along to support them. Tailor nights to suit your customers. If the majority seem to enjoy rock, then put mostly rock nights on, but keep putting other genres in the roster to please other customers. Try and get out to listen to some bands in other venues - see how other pubs operate and how bands perform.
When taking enquiries from potential acts always get a link to their website or social networking site (most bands have them now) -to check that the music is what you want? Do the band list venues where they are playing? Do they invite their friends/fans to attend? Which other bands are they featuring on their respective sites? Are they suitable for your venue?
Draw up a simple contract between you and the artist to include:
Make your venue suitable for live music. If you have no stage area then create an area in the pub that is clearly for the band. Clear tables and chairs, put up a back drop (blackout is best); buy some LED "cans" - lighting that is low energy produces little heat and you can vary the colour and even flash to the music; put RCD (cut-out units) into the sockets where the act will plug in their kit.
On the night when the act/band arrives - welcome them, show them where to set up, go over the performance times etc, what you expect them to do if there is an emergency, i.e. in case of a fire or any unruly behaviour. In these events they should stop playing immediately. Also offer them somewhere to store their surplus kit (guitar cases etc) and somewhere to change, if you have the space.
Check the "nuisance value" - bands will carry out a sound check before they perform (to make sure they sound good) - take the opportunity to assess whether the volume is too loud for comfort in the building and whether it is likely to be a nuisance to your neighbours. If it's too loud, ask the band to reduce the volume and make sure you monitor the level during their performance.
Tell the staff what music you have on and encourage them to check them out (on social network sites etc) and then to talk the band up with customers. Publicise the gig with posters, table talkers, chalk boards, on your own website/social networking site well in advance.
If you're a pub owner and would like to hire our Saxophonist services for your entertainment slot - get in touch! We are accustomed to working the pub gig scene and travel across the counties including: Essex, London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex.