radiance

frequently asked questions

Bands

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Our bands range from roughly $6000-$12,000 per event, depending on the group, location, and date.

People commonly compare one band to another based solely on cost. But it’s important to keep in mind not all bands or companies are created equal. We recommend you ask as many questions as you can about a group or company’s tenure, approach, style, ethics, and policies.

Several primary factors determine band cost:

Band size. Larger groups (9-11 pieces) tend to be more costly than smaller groups (6-7 pieces).

Tenure. Recently formed bands are often priced more aggressively than bands who possess longer tenures.

Location. Cost is relative to your venue’s distance from Boston, MA. Sites exceeding 2 hours from Boston may require overnight accommodations.

Event Date. The calendar year is separated into prime months and off-season months, each with varying costs. And within peak months (April to October), there are Fridays and some Sundays that yield lower call volume. We reduce our costs for such dates.

Supply and Demand. This has more to do with a band’s cost than any other factor. The most requested ensembles, those who book 1-2 years in advance, will be the most costly.

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Hiring a band for your special event isn’t just about music and instruments. It’s an investment that will generate life-long, priceless memories.

Our band pricing reflects a standard four hour, dinner/dance reception performance, to begin at the conclusion of your cocktail reception. We provide quotes specific to your location and event date. There is no tax associated with our costs.

Our bands are self-sufficient and provide all the necessary equipment to perform a dinner/dance reception, including:

  • MC Services
  • DJ Services
  • 2 New Songs of your choice
  • State of the Art Sound System + Engineer
  • LED Lighting to illuminate the performance area
  • All Musical Equipment

We include a DJ from within the band who is available throughout the entirety of the dinner/dance performance. We MC the evening, directing the flow of events based on a timeline you have devised. We’ll also learn two new songs, just for your event.

With any of our groups, you receive the backing and support of New England’s most trusted entertainment company, with over 30 years and 20,000 events to our credit. Wilson Stevens is a second-generation family business that is held in the highest regard by all New England’s top venues, event planners, and thousands of past clients.

Optional Services:

While our paperwork and costs contain no hidden fees, there are a handful of optional services our bands can provide, such as:

  • Cocktail Music. Our most commonly used cocktail instrument is electric piano, though depending on your needs, we can utilize additional musicians (a duo or trio). Cocktail musicians perform background jazz/swing and other music from the “Great American Songbook.”
  • On-Site Ceremony Music. Our most commonly used ceremony instrument is also an electric piano, but we can utilize additional musicians from the band as well (guitar or saxophone). We will learn the individual songs you require for your ceremony.
  • PA System & Wireless Microphone(s) for On-Site Ceremonies or Alternate Locations. Should you need a wireless microphone for your vows, readers, and/ or a lapel microphone for the officiant, our sound engineer can provide & monitor this service. The PA allows access to mp3 music, DJ’d by the sound engineer. This is also available if you want to support formalities in a location separate from the band.
  • Overtime. This refers to extending the full band performance beyond 4 hours. This is a service you can decide upon during your event. However, we suggest you contract Overtime ahead of time if possible, which allows the band to structure their performance accordingly. Cost varies per band based on size.
  • DJ Overtime, to keep your party going well into the night.
  • Architectural Uplighting, Pinspots & Concert Lighting

These services can be added at any time, and do not have to be decided upon when you book a band. One of our consultants will be happy to provide pricing on the above-listed services.

Band Breaks:

We take two breaks during our performance. The first generally takes place while guests are consuming the main course and lasts 20-25 minutes, during which we DJ appropriate music. The second usually takes place during the dancing portion of the evening. It lasts 10-15 minutes, during which we DJ high energy music to keep the dance floor packed.

The above is administered seamlessly. Our reviews underscore the success of this system.

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We always say this is the most important topic related to bands. Turnover is frequent in our industry. Anyone who tells you otherwise is being disingenuous. Consider this subject with the following questions in mind:

“What happens if a lead vocalist has an emergency the night of my event? Or leaves the band?”

If there is an emergency that bars a lead vocalist from performing, we spare no expense to bring in a replacement of equal or more exceptional talent. After 30+ years, we have the most extensive network of performers in New England and beyond. We will have your back in the case of an emergency.

If a lead singer is permanently replaced, we notify you, introduce you to the new vocalist and invite you to a showcase to view the band. If you are unhappy after the viewing, we will refund your deposit, and you’ll be free to pursue any course you wish. The changes we undergo make our bands stronger. However, you should still have confidence you won’t be locked into a group if you’re unhappy with a change of vocalists.

We suggest you go in with your eyes open. You are not investing in individuals, but rather, an experience, a brand, and the guarantee of an incredible party. This can be achieved with different personnel if necessary. If you are emotionally prepared for the possibility of turnover, it will help you make a more informed decision.

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We kindly request that you provide the band with vendor meals. Your venue or caterer will offer these hot meals at a lower cost than your guests’ plates.

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Our ensembles perform under tents often throughout each season. We have several requirements put in place to ensure safety as well as uninterrupted performances:

1) We’re unable to perform directly on the ground, and request a platform of 22 feet wide by 10 feet deep, minimum.

2) The tent must have available side wall flaps, in the event of inclement weather.

3) We require (3) three separate 20 amp electrical circuits located at the bandstand.

4) We need “close” road access or paved access to the set-up area.

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We often say that “vendor meals are to the band industry, what tipping is to the service industry”. While it is customary to feed the band, our bands do not require gratuity. Clients who choose to tip generally do so in the $25-$50 per member range.

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Unless requested otherwise, our male musicians dress in suit/ties and female musicians in elegant evening dresses. Black Tie is available upon request as well!

Choosing & Reserving a Band

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We understand that choosing a band is very much a matter of taste. Our goal is to pair you and your family with a group that matches your personality, preferences, and budget. Call us anytime, Monday- Friday, 9 AM-5 PM.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed at first, or struggle to understand the criteria on which to make a band decision. Choosing a band is like anything else in life; If it feels right, it probably is. Conversely, if you aren’t feeling it, it’s probably not the right fit. Go with your gut. But also follow through with the steps below:

Request Availability, as it isn’t worth reviewing bands who may not be available for your date!

Review Band Videos. Band videos help you gauge what you are drawn to, as well as what turns you off. Taste in music is very subjective, and different people are drawn to very different things.

Read Reviews from Recent Events. Websites like weddingwire.com offer instant and easy access to verified band reviews and info on many types of event professionals.

Google Search. You’d be surprised how much you’ll learn after a few simple google searches.

Read Blogs. Blogs can also be a helpful way to gain insight into the types of events at which bands have been performing. They also offer a peek into real events, where you might gain inspiration for ideas related to your own celebration.

Attend Live Showcases. We offer monthly events where you can sit down, have dinner and a drink, all while watching some of our most requested bands perform a range of their material.

View Song-lists, and Other Available Materials. The more data you review, the better informed you’ll be.

Talk to Your Other Vendors. These are the professionals who work alongside ensembles every weekend. They may be able to offer valuable insight.

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We accept bookings on a first come, first serve basis. We are unable to offer “rights of first refusals” or “soft holds”. This is a policy put in place to protect your interests, because if we held bands for others, we couldn’t make them available to you!

Our booking procedure begin with the verbal indication you want to move forward. We then initiate the following steps:

1.) Determine if the artist is still open for your date. If so, we take them off the books, immediately, so no one else can book them.

2.) We’ll email paperwork to you outlining the details of the event (date, time, venue, etc.). Many of these details can be fine-tuned at a later time as well. We ask that you sign & return with the first Payment of 50% payment within 5 days (first payments can be made by personal check, Visa, or Mastercard).


3.) Final Payment is due 14 days before the event. This may be paid by check only and mailed to our offices. We’ll reach out with a friendly reminder in the days leading up to this due-date. We’re unable to accept final payments on-site at the event or accept credit cards for the Final Payment. Thank you for your understanding.

And always know— we’re here to help throughout every stage of the process.

We are often asked about our cancellation policy. If you are forced to cancel for any reason, we are able to refund all but $250 of the deposit at the point at which we are able to re-book the band for your date. Otherwise, the deposit is retained by the band as damages.

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When is the best time to hire a band? As soon as you feel comfortable!

Request Availability ASAP:

Every month we are forced to inform someone that we’re sold out for their date. It’s the least fun part of our job. Most people feel dismayed and react with shock. We’ve often heard “but all the books say to begin 9 months out!”.

While this can be true in some instances, roughly nine months is hardly the industry standard anymore—and generally, it isn’t nearly enough time. So when someone asks us “how far advance should we book our band,” the best advice we can give is always: “As soon as you are able.”

Other things to keep in mind: Peak season generally falls between April and October. So if you’re planning an event outside of those months you may have more flexibility with your timeline. And of course, there are always great bands that fall through the cracks for prime dates. We recently asked our Facebook fans how far in advance they booked their band and answers ranged from 7 to 23 months. We advise our clients not to move forward until they’re comfortable, but to try and get comfortable as soon as possible!

Don’t move forward under duress:

This should be a joyous process. And while we’re always working with multiple clients for the same date, there is always more than one band that can give you the party of a lifetime. So give yourself a break and try to enjoy this special time.

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We offer events where you can sit down, have a cocktail, all while watching some of our most requested bands perform a range of their material. Our showcases are free and only require an RSVP to attend. These events take place in a low pressure, casual environment that we’ve created in response to our clients’ needs. Our bands perform exclusively at private events, so these showcases (and some public club events) are the only options for live viewing.

While people often ask if they can attend a private event to view a band, we have a policy that bars this practice. Most venues in which our bands perform have a stringent non-viewing policy as well. They perceive this as an insurance liability. But most importantly, we aren’t comfortable inviting strangers to our clients’ private affairs.

Unfortunately, showcases cannot accommodate everyone at all times. And while you should ideally be able to see bands you’re interested in, if you limit yourself to reviewing only those with upcoming viewing opportunities, your options become limited. The majority of our bookings are taken sight-unseen based on band videos, reviews, referrals, and our reputation.

My Event

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In a nutshell, the Song Selection Process is a compromise between two parties. We’ll lean towards your preferences, and also ask you trust our ability to call songs that create the best party possible.

You’ll see many of our reviews mention the packed dance-floors. This occurred by letting us do what we do best. We require substantial discretion in this area to create the best party possible.

You can read our policy on this subject in a streamlined form on each band’s song list. If the above doesn’t sound like a good fit for you, that is ok! However, we should talk about it now and make sure we can meet your expectations. Lastly, we update our song lists 2-3 times a year as each group learns new music and incorporates emerging trends.

We came across a pithy blog on this very subject, here:

Wedding Music; How To Sift Through The Noise

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Our primary sound equipment will arrive approximately 3 hours prior to the start of your reception. Our artists will arrive 1 hour prior to their start time.

We work hand in hand with your venue. Upon arrival, we’ll do a final check of your timeline with the event coordinator. Throughout the evening, we sync our music with the service of food courses and formalities. While the flow of events is based on the timeline you have devised, we ultimately take cues directly from your venue or event planner.

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Certainly. We have several options to help you extend the evening…

Overtime refers to extending the full band performance beyond 4 hours. This is a service you can decide upon during your event. However, we suggest you contract Overtime ahead of time if possible, which allows the band to structure their performance accordingly.

We also have a popular alternative to overtime, where the band DJs music to keep your party rocking into the night. You can even use a combo, though it needs to begin with band overtime.

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Unfortunately, we’re unable to make a recording upon request. The only way to produce a suitable recording would be to use a studio, which isn’t feasible. Thank you for your understanding.

Rest assured, our musicians are professionals and will do a perfect job of reproducing any song they are given. If you’re more comfortable knowing exactly how a song will sound, we can also DJ the original recording. This is especially common for choreographed dances.

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We begin this process 3-4 months before your celebration. You’ll work directly with our liaison on all details, including timeline, formalities, special songs, and more. One thing to remember: we must finalize all your music choices no later than 14 days prior to your event to ensure adequate preparation.

Payment & Contract

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Absolutely. We can re-issue your paperwork with timing changes or the addition of services. The only stipulation is all details must be finalized no later than 14 days prior to your event. But don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of time for event planning!

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Booking:

Our booking process begins with a verbal indication that you are ready to move forward. If the band you wish to reserve remains available at that time, we then take them “off the books,” immediately, so no one else can book them. We’ll email paperwork to you outlining the details of the event (date, time, venue, etc.). Many of these details can be fine-tuned at a later time as well.

First Payment:

We ask that you sign & return with the first Payment of 50% payment within 5 days (first payments can be made by personal check, Visa, or Mastercard).

Final Payment:

Final Payment is due 14 days before the event. This may be paid by check only and mailed to our offices. We’ll reach out with a friendly reminder in the days leading up to this due-date. We’re unable to accept final payments on-site at the event or accept credit cards for the Final Payment. Thank you for your understanding.

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Many venues won’t allow a vendor through the door without advance proof of Insurance. We are fully insured and routinely provide General Liability Insurance Certificates for our bands (up to $2,000,000).

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We’d love to hear from you. Give us a call at 978.256.0360 or email us. e-mail us Wilson Stevens Productions
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