'How long does band sound check take?' All your set-up questions answered
Lee Broderick
Author: Lee Broderick

Lee has worked as a touring musician and songwriter since graduating from LIPA in 2010. After returning from a two-year stint in Nashville working as a staff writer for Universal Music Publishing, Lee joined our exclusive roster as the frontman of one of our most popular bands - Festival Nights. He combines his live performance and songwriting alongside work as Content & Social Media Manager for Tailored Entertainment.

'How long does band sound check take?' All your set-up questions answered

Happy August, wedding planners!

Summer sees us in full swing here at Tailored, providing amazing wedding entertainment to happy couples in gorgeous rural estates, city hotels and stunning countryside barns right across the country.

At this particularly busy time of year, you’ll find our office team working around the clock to ensure every one of our unique wedding bands has all the information they need for every event, and each client knows that every box has been ticked ahead of their big day. It’s a non-stop job and our expert booking agents are the very best at what they do!

We often find, however, that one of the biggest areas for concern for our clients centres around their band’s arrival, the set up and band sound check. This is totally understandable – this part of your booking may seem a mere technicality compared to the main event, but for our bands setting up, a live band sound check is crucial to ensuring the night goes exactly as you would expect.

How Long Does It Take To Set Up?
London Wedding Band Festival Nights, mid-soundcheck.

So, we’ve chatted to our lovely bookings team, as well as some of our busiest bands, to get an idea of your most frequently asked questions around this rather mysterious but important part of your wedding day. Cause we’re nice like that.

Let’s get cracking, shall we?

How long does it take a live band to set up at a wedding?

This is the million-dollar question. Wedding day logistics are often tight for time and very complex, so giving your band hours for sound check is often not seen as feasible. We totally get this - our bands always try and make their set up goes as quick, quiet and seamless as possible. To ensure the band can get everything done efficiently and effectively, we ask that our bands are given 90 minutes for their set up.

What does the set-up entail and how long does a sound check last?

There’s a lot to get done in this time! First, the band must liaise with the venue management or event planner to confirm location, timings and any other important details. They then need to load in all their equipment (which is often a lot more than you’d think – at least a medium sized van’s full), set it all up in position and cable everything together. This usually takes about an hour.

How Long Does It Take To Set Up?
Party band 4 To The Floor get set up for a show.

Next, is the band soundcheck – this is when the band make sure that they sound great from the very first song. Every venue is different, so each soundcheck in each venue requires something different from the band and the sound engineer. The band also need to make sure they can hear themselves! This is an easily forgotten point but a crucial one. They do this in one of two ways; either via speakers placed on the floor next to their feet (known as monitors) or via ‘in-ear-monitors’ (essentially very expensive headphones!). This is an incredibly important part of making sure the show goes just as you’d expect. How long does a sound check last, I hear you ask! A live band sound check can take anywhere from 15-20 minutes, or longer depending on the size of your wedding band. 

Can you sound check through headphones?

This was a question given to us by Festival Folk, one of our awesome festival style wedding bands. It’s a fair question, and we understand why people ask it – bands can make a fair amount of noise before they’re meant to if they’re not careful! Unfortunately, it’s not possible to soundcheck through headphones. Without going into too much detail, our bands need to hear the sound through the speakers they will be using for the performance in order to fix any potential problems before the show. However, professional acts like Essex Wedding Band Festival Folk work hard to make sure they cause as little disruption as possible.

We’ve been told our venue has a sound limiter. Will this affect the band?

The short answer is yes, it will – but it’s nothing to worry about! Our bands have plenty experience dealing with sound limiters. If you’d like more information on what sound limiters are and what affect they might have on your wedding day, you can check out our awesome blog on that very subject right here…

Wedding venues with sound limiters. What are they and how will it affect my wedding entertainment?

How Long Does It Take To Set Up?

Can you arrive in the morning to set up and come back later?

We certainly can! If you’d like your band to arrive and set up before you and your guests arrive, we can make this happen for an additional ‘early load-in’ fee. There are other options too – the band can conduct part of the set up and then come back later to soundcheck, for example. Our bands are very relaxed and flexible. We’re happy to work around your schedule.

Can't the band set up outside the room and then just bring everything in and place it where we want you to perform?

This question came via a client from one of our wedding bands in Devon, the wonderful The Big Strut. Whilst some band equipment can be assembled outside the room and brought into the performance space to cut down on set up time, its not possible to do this for the whole PA and lighting rig. Lots the equipment is extremely heavy and needs setting up securely and correctly in situ for the duration of the show. What’s more, everything from the bands amps to the microphones need to be cabled into the sound desk…doing this in a second location and moving into position later would cause a whole lot more disruption!

How Long Does It Take To Soundcheck?
Devon wedding band, One Soul

How much space does a band need?

This really depends on how many people there are in the band. For a standard four-piece band, we recommend a minimum of 2.5m x 5m.

How many plug sockets do you need?

So long as the plug sockets are safely connected to a mains supply (which is a legal requirement for all licensed wedding venues), two standard 13A plug sockets will be fine.

Can the set up take place in front of guests?

So long as you’re happy for your guests to see the band set up and conduct their band sound check, our bands are happy to set up and conduct their live band sound check in front of guests!

We’re using a generator. How much power would you need?

We get this question a lot – it’s a particular concern for people planning weddings and events in their houses or on private land. The first and most important thing to say is that any good, reputable hire company from which you would source a generator would be able to make sure the unit you hire is powerful enough to support the requirements of a live band. The minimum power draw for a band would be about 10Kva (kilo-volt-ampere). But it’s always best to check with your generator supplier to be sure.

Finally, do make sure you can situate your power unit somewhere that’s a good distance from your guests – nothing spoils the mood like the rumble of a generator… not to mention the diesel fumes!

So, there you have it! If you’ve got a burning question that hasn’t been answered in this blog, contact us and chat to our friendly office team. There’s no question they haven’t heard before! We can’t wait to hear from you.

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