Questions and advice about hiring live music at your wedding, party or corporate event


I’ve found some artists I like on your website, what happens now?

Once you’ve listened through our artist demos, watched their incredible video performances and read what they have to offer, you’ll have a great idea of whether one of our acts might be suitable to entertain guests at your event. Whilst our website offers you a guide price for each artist based on the region of your event, we can only provide you with an accurate quotation once we obtain a few more details about your event.


How do I get an accurate quote?

On an artist’s profile page, use the dropdown modifiers to select the region where your event will take place and the size band you’re considering (if applicable). This will display a guideline price of how much the artist is likely to cost. If you’re happy with what you’ve seen and heard, hit the green button that says ‘GET A DETAILED QUOTE. This will direct you to a small form that asks for some further details. Once this form has been submitted, it will enable our customer service team to deal with your enquiry and confirm the artist’s availability to ensure that they’re free to play at your event.

Once we’ve received your enquiry, we aim to get back to you with an accurate quote within 24 hours. Alternatively, you can contact us over email via info@showbott.com, by calling 001132 784382 or by using our Contact Form.


Can I get multiple quotes?

Of course! There isn’t a limit on how many no-obligation quotes you get from us. You can choose to fill out a quote form for each act you like, or simply note down the names of every act you’re interested in and pop them all on the one form!


Can I book more than one act?

Yes, it’s common for a customer to book more than one type of act for their event. Perhaps you’re getting married and want a string quartet to play during the ceremony, a classical pianist to bring a touch of class to your wedding breakfast followed by an incredible soul function band to get your reception moving. Whatever the requirements, we’ve got something for you. Each booking will be treated separately with a different contract issued for each artist you book with us. If you’d like further suggestions about particular aspects of your event, please get in touch for some advice.


How and when do I pay?

Once you’ve received your quotes from us and make a final decision on the entertainment you are after, we’ll issue a contract that confirms the booking with both you and the artist. We will then require a deposit from you, which can be paid using debit or credit card, cheque, BACS or online bank transfer. The deposit amount is specified at the time of booking and included within the price of the quote. The remaining balance is payable to the artist at the time of the event unless otherwise specified.


Can I make changes to my booking once it’s confirmed?

Yes, it is possible to amend your booking. Just get in touch as soon as you can and inform us of what you’d like to change. There are instances where extra costs may be incurred; such as a band’s early arrival or if your require them to play longer than specified – but we’ll always inform you of these costs before progressing with any changes. Once the amendments are agreed, we’ll issue both you and the artist with revised contracts detailing the new arrangements so that all parties are aware of the changes. We ask that requests to modify a booking are made in sufficient time before your event.

*Please note, we will not be able to amend a booking less than 7 days before your event.


What security do I get when booking one of your acts?

Once a booking is confirmed, we send you a legally-binding contract that clearly outlines the expectations of all three parties; you (the client), the artist and us (the agent). Should the terms of this contract be broken by any party, subsequent legal action can be taken. The contract includes dates and timings of your event, any pre-agreed requirements from the artist or yourself, and how/when the final balance will be received for the booking.

This contract is can only be cancelled if someone has died or is taken seriously ill. If this is the case, please contact us as soon as possible. In the event of a death or serious illness from the artist, we will get in touch with you immediately to discuss the situation and plan for any adjustments.

What if the artist cannot perform because of illness or injury?

In the unlikely event that one of the artists cannot perform due to illness or injury, we will endeavour to rectify the situation as swiftly and easily as possible. At Showbott, we work around the clock to prevent unavoidable situations putting additional stress on your event. If a situation like this occurs, our clients and artists can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Unless you have booked a solo artist, all our ensembles have high quality stand-in members who can be called upon at very short notice. Failing this, Showbott has a wealth of high-quality regular function players on our roster that would be able to suitably fit the demographic of a vacant member. If a solo act is unable to perform, we can help to make alternative arrangements and provide you with a similar high-quality artist if required. In other words, have the ability to make this unfortunate situation completely hassle-free and have the appropriate precautions in place to deal with all eventualities.

Why should I book with an agency rather than independently?

Sometimes booking a band that you’ve seen performing in a local pub or music venue sounds appealing. Unfortunately, you’re leaving yourself open to the possibility of countless problems and ultimately being let down for your big event.

It’s not uncommon for local or unrepresented bands to break agreements should they get a better offer. Perhaps there’s the opportunity to perform at a more local gig, play for more money or in front of some influential industry folk. Regardless of the reason, it means that you’ll be left without any entertainment at late notice and have to start hunting around for a replacement. (That is of course if the band are good enough to inform you before your event at all)!

When booking with Showbott, a legally binding contract is exchanged which prevents this kind of thing from happening and eliminated the chance of choosing an unreliable act. Booking with us also means that there is someone available to deal with the situation in an emergency, so that you don’t have to.

Something else to consider is that at Showbott, our strict application procedure offers a level of quality assurance that you don’t get with local or independent musicians. This covers everything from their level of musicianship, ability to interact with an audience, behaviour at an event, experience and all-round professionalism. These attributes are under constant review to ensure our acts remain of the highest quality and ruin your big day. Any feedback, good or bad is always welcome in order for us to continue improving.

A final advantage of using an agency to book your entertainment involves quality of equipment. Performing down the local pub or club carries a different expectation to playing a giant ball-room full of dignitaries. We ensure that all our musicians invest in a suitably high-level of equipment for what’s required. This extends from instruments to include PA and lighting systems that often aren’t a consideration for independent acts.

Paying your deposit to us means that you’ve secured reliability, professionalism and a stress-free way to book an incredible act!

How does Showbott make sure that it’s acts are all top quality?

The artists that you see on our website have all been through a strict application process before being advertised to our customers. Think of it like just a job interview; when an applicant applies, we need to make sure they fulfill the person specification and have experience of the meeting the job description. If lucky enough to get through the interview process, we monitor their progress on a probationary period. After each booking, the customer will receive a brief feedback form which is closely monitored and allows us to make any tweaks/pass on both positive and negative feedback to the artist. In the unlikely situation that an artist is given poor feedback, we investigate the situation further and act accordingly.

We feel that our process is transparent. Customers book having made a judgement on artists based on their demos, videos, images and reviews. Should the act not up live up to your expectations, we want to know about it so that we can keep our standards as high as possible. Remember, it’s in our interest to ensure that the talent on display is of the highest quality and professionalism, as our great reputation will be damaged if this is not the case.

What makes Showbott different?

At Showbott, we pride ourselves on providing a professional service with a personal touch. We don’t view our customers or our artists as just another row on a spreadsheet and therefore take great care in making sure we get things right – whilst always trying to self-evaluate and improve.

You’ll deal with the same member of our team throughout the process so a greater understanding can be achieved about your requirements and the finer details of your event. It is our job to help you find the perfect live entertainment for your event in an easy, safe and secure way.

Crucially, Showbott’s was founded by professional musicians with 15 years experience. Having played at thousands of weddings, large corporate events, exhibitions and theatres; we know exactly what it takes to put on a fantastic show! More importantly, we are confident that we know what audiences look for in their acts – and what musicians look for from us.

We aim to offer competitive and reasonable pricing. Our flat commission rate consists of a low fixed percentage regardless of the artist fee. Commision is included within all prices on our website and with the final price when you receive when requesting a detailed quote. This means that you have the full picture before booking with us whilst our artists aren’t losing out to a greedy agents taking a large percentage of their earnings. In addition to this, we regularly review all our artist’s pricing tariffs and advise if we think they are asking too much. There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect act and then getting a shock by the price tag!
We’re here to offer advice, so if you’re new to the process of booking an act or need further clarification, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer your queries.


Can I cancel my booking once it’s confirmed?

Cancellations are sometimes necessary and often arise from a difficult situation. Our personable staff are on hand to help and make things easy when dealing with a delicate situation. Just give us a call on 01132 784382 or email info@showbott with your booking reference and we will deal with the request as swiftly and sensitively as possible.

*Please note – you need to contact us as soon as possible so that we can inform the artist and start cancellation proceedings.

What are the subsequent costs of cancellation?

If you need to cancel your booking with us, you are breaking a legally-binding contract and it is therefore likely that you will have to pay a cancellation fee.

These tariffs are as follows:

Cancellation within 24 hours of receiving your contract: No cancellation fee, but your deposit is will not be refunded. (Please note, this is not applicable if your event is within 7 days of booking; in which case the full balance is still due).

Cancellation up to 90 days before your event: 50% of the remaining balance owed on your contract would be due and your deposit will not be refunded.

Cancellation up to 60 days before your event: 75% of the remaining balance would be due and your deposit will not be refunded.

Cancellation less than 60 days before your event: 100% of the remaining balance would be due and your deposit will not be refunded.

These policies are in place so that our artists do not suffer loss of earnings due to cancellation. The respective timescales allow adequate time for them to make another booking on the required date. All these costs are included in the contract issued to you at the time of booking.

As explained in ‘can I cancel my booking?’ sometimes bookings have to be cancelled for unforeseen reasons, such as a fire at the venue, natural disaster or a death. A full list of these instances are outlined in the contact under ‘Unavoidable Occurrences’ section. Should an ‘Unavoidable Occurrence’ prevent the booking going ahead, we will allow you to cancel you booking with no further charges.

What happens if the artist cancels or becomes unavailable?

Our artists are also legally bound by the contract once a booking has been made and therefore cannot pull out of the agreement. Should they do this without valid reason (such as an ‘Unavoidable Occurrence’ like death or serious illness, you are within your rights to sue the artist for damages. In the unlikely event that this happens, we will work with you to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, finding a suitable replacement to entertainment your guests.

Please also see the FAQ, ‘What if the artist cannot perform because of illness or injury?

What if I have need to make a complaint?

In the uncommon instance that you need to make a complaint, we are on hand to help deal with the situation and resolve the issue.

If your complaint refers to one of our artists, then please get in touch and make us aware of the situation, providing as much detail as possible. Whilst we are happy to discuss this over the phone, it is often preferable for you to send us an email that details the issue so that we can document everything properly. We will investigate the issue fully with the artist involved and give you their account of proceedings. We then work hard with all parties to find a suitable and amicable agreement in order for the issue to be resolved. Should you continue to be dissatisfied with the outcome, we will co-operate in helping you to take further legal action against the musicians in question. It is important to note we’ve yet to experience a situation where this is necessary. Should any of our acts behave in an unprofessional manner, they will no longer be associated with Showbott Entertainment and receive no further work from us.

In the unlikely event that you are unsatisfied with Showbott’s level of customer service, then please make us aware of this by phone or email so that we can address the issue immediately. Should you continue to be dissatisfied with our response, we will offer financial compensation for your inconvenience.


How much space and time does an artist need to set up?

Equipment setup and sound check for regular function band takes 1.5 hours – so these timings will need to be factored into your event. This includes loading equipment into the performance space from vehicles. If your venue has difficult the access from the car park to the stage (i.e. stairs/no lift, obstructions, awkward terrain, long distances) please make us aware of this so we can inform the band and compensate accordingly.

We will state the required setup time for the artist you have booked on the contract we issue.

Please be aware that in the instance that speeches or auctions significantly overrun, the band still required the same amount of time to set up and sound check.

Will my artist need to sound check?

For the vast majority of acts, yes. This process involves balancing the instruments suitably within your venue. Every venue’s acoustics are different, so it is important that this process isn’t rushed in order for you to obtain the best quality sound from the act on the night. You may want to consider moving your guests to another space during this process if viable. If not, just be prepared that there will be some noise made by the band before the start of the performance.

Are alternative arrival times and arrangements an option?

In a word, yes. All our artists are flexible with regards to arrangements and the available options are often stated on their artist profiles. Some requests may incur an additional cost, such as an early arrival time or late finish (after midnight) – but these are accounted for at the time of booking. This is often a good way of getting artists to setup and soundcheck at a more suitable time to the day’s proceedings. If you wish to modify your booking at a later date, please read the ‘can I make changes to my booking once it’s confirmed? FAQ for more details.

Will my artist need electricity to perform?

The vast majority of our acts will need an electricity supply in order to perform. This includes some musicians that are playing traditionally ‘acoustic’ instruments, but use amplification during their performance so that they can be heard in larger spaces. We will specify whether your artist requires an electricity supply in the contract and how many sockets they require. Bands will often bring their own extensions and multi-way plugs, but please be considerate of the number of plugs required – you wouldn’t want to run a PA system, amplifiers and lighting from a single 13 amp plug! This is particularly important if your event is being held in a marquee, teepee or other outdoor venue using a generator. If you have any further queries on this, please just ask!

All our artists are required to have a valid PAT Certificate and this can be provided upon request by the venue.

Does my act require changing facilities?

You’ll want your entertainment to be suitably dressed for the function by the time they come to perform. Please be considerate of the kind of facility they might need to get dressed in order to look the part. Artist’s rarely arrive in their performance clothing due to the impracticalities of lifting heavy equipment etc, so they’ll need the time and space to get changed. Often a portaloo in a field isn’t sufficient for a full band to get smartly dressed; particularly when surrounded by fun-loving party guests, so please make arrangements for this when planning your event. If there are no changing facilities available, please let the artist know in advance.

Where will the performers hang out?

Being a musician often requires a lot of hanging around. It is therefore important that there is somewhere appropriate for the artists to relax and hang out between performances. It is not acceptable to expect artists to wait outside the venue or in cars (and you ideally want them on site at all times in order to be ready to perform when required). If it is not feasible to provide a relaxation area for the musicians, please make us aware as soon as possible.

How much room will the band need to perform?

Ideally, the bigger performance space the band have, the better they will be able to ‘perform’. As a rough guideline, the following dimensions are appropriate:

  • 3 band members – 4 meters x 4 meters

  • 4 band members – 5 meters x 4 meters

  • 5 or 6 band members – 6 meters x 4 meters

  • Over 6 band members – 7 meters x 5 meters +

Will I need to provide a rider for the artist (food and drink)?

Unless specified, our evening entertainers will require food and drink to be provided for them. The majority of our performers will be involved in your event for a minimum of 12 hours from leaving home, so it is important they are fed an adequate meal in order to perform to the best of their ability. This is specifically a hot meal (not a sandwich or bag of crisps) and suitable drinks. Providing an alcoholic drink isn’t a requirement, but probably would be appreciated! Letting the band access the evening buffet is also sufficient, but please be considerate of the time they receive their food and allow enough time to eat it before you require them to perform. It is important to let the band, caters and bar staff know of any arrangements so that questions don’t need to be asked on the night.

Full details of the act’s requirements can be found under the ‘Rider’ section of the contract.


Will it be an issue if my venue has a sound limiter?

No, but it is worth checking with your venue that they can have bands perform at their premises. Sound limiters are the bane of musicians lives, as it often reduces the atmosphere required to perform and if set particularly low, can cut power to the venue one the limiter is in the red. This is less than ideal for guests or musicians, as it halts the party and could potentially damage electrical equipment on stage. We occasionally come across venues that really shouldn’t be allowing bands to play in their function rooms due to the number of complaints from neighbours/hotel guests etc. Sound limiters can be set so low that a crowd clapping or a cappella vocal group can cut the power. Our artists are briefed to always be considerate in such situations and turn down accordingly, but both yourselves and your venue need to be realistic about the amount of volume a band will produce (even when playing very quietly).

So how loud are the band going to play?

This depends on a number of factors. The drum kit sets the precedence for a band’s overall volume and doesn’t have to be mic’d up if your venue requires a quiet performance. Vocalists and other instruments need to be heard in addition to the volume of the drums, so this will contribute to the overall decibel level. The drummer often has the option to play with ‘hot rods’ instead of drumsticks which will reduce the volume further. However, we ask all our customers to use their common sense and book a band suitable for the environment. If sound is likely to be an issue for the venue or guests, perhaps consider a jazz trio or acoustic act over a pop function band or big band!

As a rough guide when discussing this with your venue;

  • A whisper is around 30dB.

  • Chat amongst friends is 60dB.

  • Pianist playing at around 65dB.

  • Dog barking can be around 75dB.

  • Audience applause of around 80 people can be about 85dB.

  • Some venues have their sound limiters set at around 85dB which can be a problem if booking louder acts with amplification.

  • A violin player can be around 90dB.

  • 90dB is a common setting for sound limiters, which arguably is still too quiet for many bands.

  • Woodwind or horn player 95-100dB

  • Bass Drum’s can be around 105dB if not hit particularly hard.

  • A Symphony Orchestra will play at 110dB+

  • A regular disco can be 120dB+

  • A rock concert might be at 140dB+

Bass frequencies often affect sound limiters too, so it’s worth tweaking the bass levels in order to work within the limitations.


I’d like to see the artist play before booking. Is this possible?

It is rarely possible for you to see the artist play before booking them. The vast majority of our acts don’t perform at public events as they are too busy entertaining crowds at private functions! In the rare instance that an act does play to a public audience, we cannot guarantee that they will be available by the time the public gig comes around. To counteract this, we provide as much information and media for each act as possible. This includes videos, multiple audio recordings (often including live tracks), setlists, images, biographies and customer testimonials. Part of the artist application process with Showbott ensures that all media submitted is a true reflection of the artist’s performance abilities.

Can I contact the artist directly?

Any correspondence with the artist is done through ourselves up until 1 month before your event. At this point, the artist will get in touch and finalise the finer details of your event such as a first dance, set list requests etc. Any questions you have before the 1 month point, be sure to direct them to us and we’ll get them answered as quickly as possible. As we are representing our artists, we can often answer most queries before this point without troubling them.

Can I pick what songs the band will play?

Yes (within reason). This should ideally include songs from the set list provided on the artist’s page, but musician’s are often happy to accommodate client requests before the event – providing they have sufficient time to learn the material. It’s definitely worth specifying any songs on their set list that you don’t like. For example, if you love the look the look of a band’s set list but hate Ed Sheeran – let the band know! It’s also worth noting that our artists have a good sense of what works and what doesn’t in terms of a set list, so it’s often worth trusting their judgement.

Can I request that the band play our first dance?

In almost all cases, this is possible and stated in the ‘More Info’ section of an artist profile. Just keep in mind the type of song you ask for and consider whether your artist will be able to suitably recreate it. A male funk trio might not be able to suitably recreate an Adele tune in the way you were hoping. Then again… Whilst you might not know whether you want to take up this option at the time of booking, please let us know about the request as soon as you can and we’ll forward it onto the musicians.


Is that a problem?

Definitely not! Maybe you are looking for something quite niche, or maybe you’re a little overwhelmed by the amount of talent on offer. Don’t worry, we’re on hand to help you find your perfect entertainment. If you drop us a message or call us armed with a set of adjectives describing what you might like, we’ll be able to make some suitable suggestions. If our suggestions aren’t quite on point, we’re happy to continue refining our suggestions until you’re completely satisfied. We can also make recommendations based on previous customer feedback, price range or anything else that might impact on your decision! We value our reputation, so it’s in our interest to ensure you get the service that your deserve.

Not found the answer you’re looking for? Don’t worry, we’re happy to help put your mind at ease. For any additional queries you may have, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Helping you understand the security and reliability of booking with a UK entertainment agency