The information found in Part 1 is advice on booking bands for weddings, parties, and other special events. It is neither a discussion of musical tastes, nor a listing of bands, but it is intended to help you understand the entertainment business, as you seek the perfect band for your event. Information that relates to any law or contract issue is not intended as legal counsel. State and local laws vary.
Let’s begin by talking about the very end of the shopping process… the contract. There is a disturbing trend lately, where some wedding and entertainment vendors try to avoid signing a written contract, by claiming that your email exchange with them is all the agreement you’ll need in order to secure their services. Plus a deposit. Oh yeah, and they claim to be from your town, but the only address they’ll give you is in a distant city. Wait… what? This sounds remarkably like the tactics of the notorious Nigerian email scammers. You’ll notice on some of the wedding vendor websites…
Even the most wary shopper can fall prey to some of the tricks and traps that abound in our business, resulting in wasted money, or possibly a ruined event. One of those tricks was recently pointed out to me by a prospective client. “I found a band with over a hundred glowing reviews on Wedding Wire, but when I looked at the entire last year on their Facebook page, they showed only four or five pictures of the band members performing together. And many of their online photos seem to be from the same performance. Any idea what gives?”
The first possible explanation that comes to mind is the recent Yelp fake review scandal (see the Fortune Magazine article) where 19 companies in New York were heavily fined for selling fake Yelp reviews. This was not an isolated incident – 19 companies in New York alone made a business of writing and selling fake reviews. Let that sink in.
The exact same thing could be happening to The Knot and Wedding Wire. No intention to disparage…
Read many stories about the DC area music industry. No names are used, but local band leaders will know who each story is about. Others will find every story informative or cautionary.
Band leaders often ask us “Why don't you just book through the agencies like everybody else does?” We're also asked “Why don't you like the agencies?” and “Why don't agencies like your band?” The first obvious answer is… Agencies don't like us because they don't ever make any money from our band. It's that simple.
The truth is, we don't have anything against most agencies. It's only the unethical ones we don't like. All local band leaders know who I’m talking about. We simply will not work with dishonest business people. Bethesda bridal shop owner Claire Dratch once said to me, “Be careful with whom you associate. You are known by the company you keep.” That’s excellent advice for all of us.