It’s a time of year everyone looks forward to, and provides the perfect excuse to get friends or colleagues together for a party. I’ll assume for a moment you’ve got most things sorted: the food, the drinks, the sunscreen, the good company. That means there’s only one thing left to organise—the music!
To get you off and running, we’ve put together a list of our top 10 music ideas for a summer party. We’ve included just about everything you’ll need. Whether it’s party songs to test your dance moves on, or feel good music to sunbathe to, this playlist will have you covered. You can find our Spotify summer party playlist with all these songs at the bottom too.
And we haven’t stopped there either! Each song has a matching live music recommendation—Encore’s pick, if you will. We think every good event deserves live music. So, follow the links to our curated choices if you hear something you like: we promise you won’t be disappointed!
Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles
After that long English winter, this song feels super relevant. It’s one of the best known songs of all time (289 million streams on Spotify and counting), so you can count on this being a hit!
Encore’s pick: Phil Short (singing guitarist)
- Influences: Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Queen, and of course, The Beatles.
- Most high-profile gig: That would have to be the Heineken Cup Final at The Millenium Stadium!
- Favourite review: “Everyone loved Phil! Many were up singing and dancing and didn’t want him to leave. I wish he could have carried on. We would still be there now!”
Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars
Groovy has a middle name and we know what is is—Uptown Funk. This one is a real gem, with a smattering of old school cool courtesy of that funky slap bass and brass. Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson outdid themselves with this one, but we think our Encore Pick is a pretty close contender for the best cover!
Encore’s pick: Annex (function band)
- Influences: Each other! Pharrell Williams, Gnarls Barkley, Stevie Wonder.
- What makes them special?: They take everyday pop tunes and add a funky twist, combining jazzy chords, funky bass lines, and foot tapping grooves.
- Favourite review: “Fantastic band! EVERYBODY loved them and came up and asked me who this band were. Would definitely hire them again!”
Move On Up by Curtis Mayfield
This song is a timeless classic, and not just if you’re an Arsenal fan! That horn line screams summer party music—Kanye West knew it too, sampling it shamelessly in his 2006 single, Touch The Sky (although we don’t think his version hasn’t dated as well as Curtis’ has!)
Encore’s pick: Funk With Us (soul & Motown band)
- Influences: Marvin Gaye, Kool and The Gang, Earth, Wind, and Fire.
- What makes them special?: Well it’s in the name, isn’t it? They are an upbeat bunch, who love jumping in and encouraging the crowd to dance along.
- Favourite review: “I cannot rate this band high enough! They definitely got the party started. Great musicians, listened to what kind of music we wanted, and are absolutely lovely people.”
Mas, Que Nada! by Tamba Trio
If you’re not already a fan of Brazilian music, I’m certain this tune push you over the edge. Brazilians know how to do summer parties (Carnival anyone?), so we’ve taken a leaf out of their book and added this great samba classic to our list of summer party music ideas.
Encore’s pick: Sambinha Jazz Band (jazz band)
- Influences: Chick Corea, Jorge Ben Jor, Sergio Mendes, Buena Vista Social Club, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto.
- Most high-profile gig: Must have been the private residence of the Brazilian Ambassador in London. It was a very fancy private party in the heart of Mayfair. We had to go through a lot of security!
- Favourite review: “Their music transformed the atmosphere, carrying us through the eras: from 1920’s speakeasy to vintage Brazilian cafe!”
Sway by Michael Buble
Sway is one of those songs that just won’t go away—it’s been performed by singers as diverse as Dean Martin and The Pussycat Dolls. Why? Well, if you haven’t had a boogie to it before, perhaps under the moon of warm summer night, then we won’t be able to explain! Below is a beautifully stripped down version for voice and guitar that will simply melt your heart (and those at any summer party).
Encore’s pick: Liane Silva (singer)
- Influences: Jeff Buckley, Alicia Keys, Amy Winehouse.
- Most high-profile gig: The Crawdaddy Club.
- Favourite review: “We have used Liane at NYEAT Restaurant in Wimbledon for just over a year now. She’s always been on time and always gives 10/10 to her performances. Would highly recommend for parties, engagements and events.”
Despacito by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee
Real simple—it’s perhaps one of the most catchy songs ever written, and needs no introduction. This is the one that’ll get the whole party singing along. For something a little different, check out this version by party band, More Is More.
Encore’s pick: More Is More (party band)
- Influences: Too many to count!
- What makes them special?: Unconventional line-up, explosive performances will leave you always wanting more.
- Favourite review: “Great communication, very flexible, reliable, incredible musicians and wonderful sense of humour. They were well up for having a go at a song they’d never done before and it turned out to be the song of the night!”
Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People
If most summer party music ideas are a bit old-hat to you, why not go in a different direction? This indie tune by Foster The People will set the mood without much fuss.
- Influences: Lana Del Ray, Meghan Trainor, The Kinks, John Mayer.
- What makes them special?: A combined collection of hundreds of contemporary and classic hits, accept impromptu requests, and a tailor made set of songs, played in a fresh and contemporary style.
- Favourite review: “The afternoon set from Oh My Duo was just gorgeous, a lovely chilled out vibe—just what we wanted.”
Take on Me by a-ha
That scene from La La Land, where Ryan Gosling is on the keytar, should be reason enough—but it also sums about what a good summer party is all about. Fun music! Especially from the 80s.
Encore’s pick: On Shuffle (acoustic trio)
- Influences: Amy Winehouse, Lianne La Havas, Joni Mitchell, Ariana Grande, Stevie Wonder.
- Most high-profile gig: The Houses of Parliament for an event for Tulip Siddiq.
- Favourite review: “The band got the crowd going with a great acoustic first set, and followed it through with a dance floor filled electric second set.”
El Son De La Negra by Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan
Lounging by the pool, margaritas, and mariachi music. The perfect summer combo. Mariachi music is the traditional sound of Mexico and is a joy to listen to and enjoy at a great party.
Encore’s pick: Mariachi Las Adelitas (mariachi band)
- Influences: Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan
- Most high-profile gig: The Women’s Mariachi Festival in L.A, California— we received a standing ovation and were interviewed and played live on TV!
- Favourite review: “Awesome group! They were really easy-going and went along with the free-flowing style of the event perfectly, greeting guests as they arrived and then wandering through the party, playing at different intervals.”
Summertime by Klazz Brothers & Cuba Percussion
We’ve picked this version of Summertime because it’s just too perfect—laid back Latin percussion, pianist dancing around the ivories, all on an unforgettable jazz tune.
Encore’s pick: Camino Sonoro Jazz Band (jazz band)
- Influences: Swing, and Latin Jazz
- What makes them special?: A blend of Bossa nova, Latin beats, jazz and swing, creating a truly unique sound.
- Favourite review: “Camino Sonoro—gorgeous in every way! They were so tight together and have such a wonderful sound. They even let me sing a couple of numbers with them!”
Cover image courtesy of Mariachi Las Adelitas