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How to Hire a DJ or Band for Your Party

For many, music makes the party! Whether you are hiring a band or a deejay to keep guests entertained at your event, there's a little business to take care of before you can dance the night away. Consider these tips for hiring a Deejay or Band to help make your party planning process easier.

The Search: Finding a Deejay/Band

You don't to have hit the town party hopping every night in order to find the right deejay or band for your event, but a word of mouth reference from someone you know or a trusted source is a good idea!

Call your friends and get a recommendation for a deejay or band that they've used.

Been to a fabulous party lately where you really loved the music? Get in touch the party host or the band or deejay directly and inquire about their services.

Maybe there's a bar or restaurant with a deejay or band that you like? Check with the venue's manager and ask how their dealings have been with the deejay or band and then find out if they are available for private events.

Be sure to set up an interview with the deejay before you book to make sure they are the right fit for your event.

The Interview: Questions to Ask Your Potential Dee Jay or Band

Experiencing a band or deejay in action is the best interview you can have, but there are a few biz details you'll need to discuss for your event.

What is the cost for the deejay or band's services and what does that include, such as how many band members they have and the breaks they take and how long.

Can they provide recommendations with phone numbers that you can call?

Can they think of extra costs based on the location? Speaking of the location, check to see if there is a curfew for playing loud music or any other restrictions.

Some deejays do giveaways at parties with games (common at bat mitzvahs). Inquire about this service or if they have musical props (i.e. tambourines, inflatable guitars) to get guests in the mood! Also, you may want to see if the have a connection to get the props personalized for your event. (Expect to pay extra for the swag items.)

If you haven't experienced their work, you need to do so via a DVD or by attending a live performance.
Keep the conversation casual but businesslike, as you don't want this to feel like an interrogation, but you do want to know that you're going to rock your party.

The Contract : Avoid Unexpected Fees or Surprises

It's not official until you write it down! Even if you and your deejay have become fast friends, those free props he promised you won't happen unless it's in writing. Which is why it's worth putting details that are important to you in writing in your contract or agreement with the deejay or band along with some of these other points:

The price for the band or deejay's services and what that price includes.

Agreed upon overtime charges should you incur them.

The time they will arrive and the time they will depart.

Their scheduled break times and how long they will be.

Additional costs for rentals or fees that they may incur (i.e. an extra microphone, downloading certain songs, personalized props, etc).

Their cancellation policy or procedure for a "force majeure" situation - meaning what happens if there is an unforeseen circumstance, natural or otherwise, on the day or leading up to the day of the party which makes it impossible for the event to take place.

The Event: Make your List and Check it Twice

Even though you've put down the deposit and the contract has been signed, it's up to you to double check the deejay or band is fully prepared for your event. Keep things tips in mind to ensure a smooth and flawless event.

Check-in the week before the event to confirm their arrival time and set up.

Make sure you have their contact information including a cell phone number and know who to you call if they are late to your party (especially if you have hired them through an agency).

Make all necessary introductions at the event so the "communication" can be clear - this is especially important if you have planned events happening like a deejay or lead singer announcing that all gather to sing Happy Birthday and the caterer needs to bring out the cake.

Create a timetable for the party with important scheduled "events" that are going to take place such as "10:00pm cake is served and 'Birthday' by the Beatles is played by deejay." Distribute it to all who will be "playing a part" in the party. You don't want the deejay or band to be on a break during one of these moments!

Finally, make sure to give the deejay or band a written play list of specific songs that you both have agreed that you like and want to be played at the party.

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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