When I started Cover Band Central, I had played in almost every variation of a cover band. I’ve worked extensively in classic rock bands, had long stints in a couple of blues bands, gigged with an all female dance outfit, played with party bands at casinos and festivals, covered Country and R&B, performed for vocal recitals, and jammed on huge stages with several tribute acts. But up until a few months ago, I had never been in a wedding band.
As is my nature, I began listing the things that I love about this new found vocation. If you’ve ever considered playing in a wedding band but have had some reservations, here I give you some solid reasons why you should go for it.
1. Free food and drinks
Who doesn’t love a free meal? Especially when it’s really good food!
I’ve found that most of the dining fare ranges from above average to excellent quality. And as a participant in the celebration, you’re usually encouraged to enjoy it!
2. Great pay
Weddings are expensive. Couples planning a nuptial party expect that they’ll have to shell out to get quality entertainment. If you can learn the right songs and play them consistently well, then you will be handsomely compensated. Right up there with tribute bands, it’s one of the best ways to make great money playing covers.
3. It’s an easy gig
As long as you have you act together, playing a wedding is one of the easiest gigs there is. Most nights in a bar will consist of three or four sets, or if you think about the time on stage instead, you’re playing for a good 2-3 hours…or more.
The wedding receptions I’ve played have been either three or four hour events, and not once have they started on time. We usually and up playing two sets no matter what, but the time on stage is significantly less than it would be at a club, making it a breeze to get the job done.
4 You get to play with skilled musicians
To get work in a wedding band, one consistent prerequisite is that you have to be proficient at your instrument with several styles and genres of music. If you’re lucky enough to play weddings, you’ll be treated with talented musicians on stage.
5. Wide variety of music
There are a great number of wedding songs that every musician needs to know if they want to do well in that type of gig, and they range from classic standards to modern hits. Covering many different styles of music and learning new material not only keeps you on your toes and makes you a better musician, it’s also fun, too! Bands that just play bars or clubs tend to stick to only a couple of different genres, and usually end up playing most of the same songs at every gig. In a wedding band, you’re constantly hitting on a healthy mix of musical styles.
6. People dress nice
Including the band. It’s always nice to get gussied up and be out in public. It also doesn’t hurt to have people in attendance looking their best. Musicians know that not only are we playing on stage all night and entertaining the guests, but we’re also looking out into the crowd and being entertained ourselves. It’s aesthetically pleasing for us when we spend hours on stage to have pretty people in our line of sight.
7. Everyone is in a good mood
It’s a party, after all. Guests arrive with smiles and laughter and are eager to catch up with family and friends. The festive nature of the event makes people happy by default, and as a musician it’s rewarding to play for folks that are there to celebrate.
8. People dance
One of the challenges of playing in a band is to ensure that people are drinking, partying, dancing and having fun. It’s almost a given at a wedding that you’ll have people dancing every time. Whether it’s the bride and groom, the mother/son, or the father/daughter – or all three – there is dancing built right into the gig. And once people have a couple of drinks and loosen up, you’re almost guaranteed to have a packed dance floor.
9. It ends early
As I stated earlier, wedding receptions are usually either three or four hours long. With most kicking off in the late afternoon or early evening, you’re generally home before midnight (if it’s not too far away). Playing in bars and clubs will almost always keep you out working until the wee hours, so if you like to get to sleep before sunrise, weddings are the right gig for you.
10. You get a lot of work
If your band has built up a good reputation and you have a reliable person doing your marketing and booking, there will never be a shortage of gigs. People are always getting married – sometimes more than once. By staying on top of music that people want to hear and always working on perfecting your craft, you’ll find that playing in a wedding band will keep you employed for years.
Full time bass player and owner of Cover Band Central