Throwing a garden party is the perfect way to celebrate any special occasion in the summer, and what better way to entertain your guests than having a performance from a live band?
Here at Henderson Management, we have booked live bands for countless garden parties and outdoor functions. When doing so, we are often asked some very important questions... So we're here to assist and give you our expert advice!
No licence is required if you want to book an act to provide music at a private residence. Public entertainment is now covered by the Licensing Act 2003 and the guidance from The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is very clear: "Any performances of live music that take place in private homes and gardens for private parties and weddings will not be licensable unless the host takes the unusual step of charging his guests to attend and with a view to making a profit."
If your function is being held at a hotel, restaurant or similar sort of venue, the venue themselves should already hold an appropriate licence which covers both the supply of alcohol as well as what sort of entertainment is allowed. If you want to hold an event at some other venue which is neither a private home nor licensed premises, you can apply for a Temporary Event Notice from your local authority. Check with your local authority or at The Department for Culture, Media and Sport for more guidance. Similarly PRS for music (formerly the Performing Rights Society) who collect royalties on behalf of composers and publishers does not require a licence for a private event.
Live bands are loud! Although it is perfectly legal and you don't need a licence to host a private function with a live band, nobody wants to be an annoyance to their neighbours. If your garden is surrounded by a number of other homes, it's always a good idea to inform your neighbours of what's happening and when. It's also a good idea to have the band perform in the day time to avoid any disturbance.
In most cases when accommodating a live band outdoors, you will need to provide some sort of shelter for the band to perform under (for example a gazebo or marquee) as there's a chance their equipment could be damaged in the rain without it. There are some exceptions to this however we wouldn't recommend hosting a live band in your garden without some form of shelter.
If your function is being held in a marquee always ensure you have a flat/hard/level surface for your live band to set-up and perform on. Trying to set up a drum kit, for example, on an uneven grass surface or matting overlaid on grass is not Ideal as they are susceptible to falling over.
Gardens vary widely in size, so it can be hard to tell whether or not your garden is a suitable size sometimes. You don't necessarily need to have a huge space for a live band however If you do feel your garden is too small, it might be a better option to consider a solo act or potentially a duo instead. Singers in particular are great and incredibly popular for garden parties as they typically don't require much setup, whereas a full live band equipped with guitar amps, a drum kit etc. will take up a lot more space with their setup.