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5 mistakes to avoid when booking live music for your New Year’s Eve event


New Year’s Eve—for many, it’s the most important night of the year. It’s a time to look back fondly on the year that was, but also look forward with enthusiasm for the year to come. It only follows that booking live music for any kind of New Year’s Eve event comes with some pretty high expectations, and with it, the possibility of getting so many things wrong.

But fear not! At Encore, we regularly receive questions about organising live music for NYE parties. We’ve compiled 5 potential pitfalls based on discussions with our customers, and have written up a quick guide to traversing the minefield that is booking live music for your NYE party.

Great party/function band, Funk With Us; available to book on Encore

Leaving it too late!

This is the most common mistake we see customers make when organising their NYE events. All too often we receive an influx of enquiries in December, urgently asking whether our top live bands are free for their event. As you can imagine, the answer, especially at this late point in the year, is a big no. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.

You’ll massively increase your chances of finding the perfect musical act for your NYE event by searching (and booking them in) early. At Encore, we recommend doing this before the end of July to maximise your options—don’t prepare to fail, prepare for a win! Your guests will thank you for it.

Under-cooking it/overcooking it

Curating the music for a NYE event is even more difficult than a normal party; you’ll have to raise the bar! The key to curating a successful musical event is to know your audience. This holds true for any NYE event, big or small.

If your NYE party is for a small group of close companions and friends, you’re probably not going to get much mileage from an 8-piece party band: you’ll have completely overcooked it. But, a well-chosen pop duo or singing guitarist? Now you’re talking.

The same goes for under-cooking it. A jazz duo for a big NYE event at a city bar will probably leave a lot to be desired—a party band or cover band, in conjunction with a post-countdown DJ set is bound to go over a treat.

Encore cover band, The Covered, getting the crowd clapping along!

Too many requests, too little time

If you’re hiring professional musicians for your NYE event, there is a high likelihood they’ve done this before. But, asking for 40 song requests that aren’t even in their song-list most likely won’t go over too well—plus, the chances they’ll be able to cover all the songs in a performance slot from 11pm to 1am is slim.

Let the musician take the responsibility for most of the playlist, but choose 5-10 of your favourite songs to pepper the playlist; the musician will thank you for it! This will also let you get on with the social aspects of the party, and making those moments of belting out the lyrics to your favourite songs with your friends/guests all the more sweet.

Picking something too niche/picking something too safe

Everyone loves music they’re familiar with, so it’s best to curate your choice of musician/band based on the music your audience would want to hear on the night. A Bavarian oompah band playing at a NYE event probably isn’t the wisest choice—unless of course you live in Bavaria! So make this choice with your audience in mind.

By that same token, your audience may well appreciate a few more adventurous musical options. If you told me I’d be bringing in the 2016 New Year with a band covering Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, I would be the first to send a disapproving smirk your way. But, in the end, I can’t think of a song I’d rather have brought the New Year in on—sometimes, out-of-the-box musical choices can be far more memorable than safe ones!

Take some musical risks! It’s what makes NYE worth the hassle. Image via Lost Paradise

Booking anywhere other than Encore 😉

We’d love to help you find the perfect musical act for your NYE event! We have thousands of professional musicians signed up all over the UK, ready to wow your guests and give you a performance to remember.

Feel free to email us at [email protected], or put through an enquiry for NYE via our homepage.

(Featured image courtesy of Debbie Boyd Band; available to book via Encore)


Harry Burgess

Our Bookings Specialist, Harry, composes strange sounds and has a well-developed instrument acquisition syndrome.

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