What is a vintage band?
A vintage band can come in a huge number of shapes and sizes. In essence, a vintage band is a collection of musicians, ranging from duos to 10 piece bands, who perform in the style of a previous era or genre from the past. If you’re looking to hire a retro band, hire a swing band or hire a more specific themed band for your party then you’ll certainly find what you need here!
These bands will often have a fresh take on those styles, performing modern songs with a twist, and can be adaptable to the theme of your event to ensure the entertainment is in line with your theme. If you are looking particularly for wedding bands with something memorable, we highly recommend these groups. Similarly if you’re looking for a party band who fit your vintage themed event, you’ll certainly find a great live band among these groups.
What types of groups are there?
For a themed event or wedding, getting the live music to match it perfectly is so important. Luckily there are so many different types of bands to choose from in this category, many of which are incredibly nuanced and specific, such as The Great Gatsby themed bands or 1920s jazz bands. Alternatively you might have an era in mind, such as the 50s and 60s, or you simply know you want your guests dancing to rock n roll music! Here are some examples of the range of vintage themed bands you can find on Encore:
- Postmodern Jukebox bands
- Swing bands
- Rat pack bands
- Big bands
- 1920s jazz bands
- 1940s wartime singers
- 50s rock n roll bands
- 60s tribute bands
- 80s cover bands
- Great Gatsby bands
- Dixieland bands
- Retro bands
- Barbershop groups
Which events are vintage bands suitable for?
While vintage wedding bands are definitely on trend this year, these bands work wonderfully at all sorts of events. Vintage style bands are well suited to themed parties and events, but the timeless nature of the music makes it a real crowd pleaser for all sorts of events. Here is a small selection of the types of events that our bands have performed at:
- Great Gatsby themed events
- Peaky Blinders themed events
- Outdoor public events
- Award ceremonies
- Tea dance parties
- Summer garden parties
- Engagement parties
- Christmas parties
- Birthday parties
- Private parties
- Corporate events
- Charity events
What music can vintage groups play?
Vintage bands will have tailored song lists to match the style of their band, and it will usually comprise of classic songs from the era as well as modern songs adapted to the style. For example, Nouveau Lounge (one of Encore’s most popular vintage jazz bands) have a song list that ranges from Nat King Cole’s L-O-V-E and At Last by Etta James through to TLC’s No Scrubs and their vintage cover of Britney Spears’ Oops I did it again.
You can always choose from the songs on each band’s song list, and most groups will be happy to take a few requests that they don’t already have on their list. With the jazz style groups, they’ll be happy to add traditional jazz songs to the setlist for you as they’ll be well versed in these songs.
As the bands are often adapting the music especially to suit the style, it takes a little longer to prepare the parts for the band to learn compared to a usual cover band. It can sometimes cost a little extra for the bands to prepare the requests.
To see just how well our vintage bands put their twist on their customer’s favourite songs, take a look at the videos of The Modern Vintage Swing Band showcasing a swing-style medley including covers of Oasis, Siszo, Estelle and Tom Jones.
How much does it cost to hire a vintage themed band?
Each group will set its own performance rates, but fees of around £250-500 per person for two hours tends to be the standard amount for many events. Some bands will have a set fee for an evening event, whereas others may charge hourly depending on the amount of performance time required. When you submit an enquiry with Encore, we’ll show you a graph of expected rates to guide your budget selection. As a guide, if you were hiring a professional 4 piece band, you can expect to receive quotes between £800-2000.
Typical band prices (based on 2x45 minute sets):
|3 piece band||£600-1600|
|5 piece band||£1000-2500|
|7 piece band||£1400-3500|
The exact quote will depend on several factors, including the distance to your venue, the size of the space and equipment they need accordingly and whether there will be any waiting periods between different parts of the performance.
The easiest way to compare quotes for your event is to fill out our short enquiry form, which we’ll then use to send you prices from available vintage bands. You’ll see quotes from available bands based on your exact event details, and they’ll only be from musicians with confirmed availability on your date, so it’s the easiest and quickest way to find and book a vintage band for a specific event!
Set up details
How much space does the band need?
It’s a good idea to check with your band when you’re planning how you use your venue space for the event, as a band will take up a bit more room than just the people - they’ll need to consider their PA, monitors, lightint, amps, drums and keyboard (depending on the line-up you choose). As a guide, a six-piece band would need at least 5 x 3 meters. If the style of group you choose don’t have instruments (such as a 1940s vocal group), they will of course require less space as they won’t have as much equipment or as many instruments.
How long does the band need to set up?
The vintage band you hire will arrive around an hour before the time you’d like them to begin performing, depending on the needs of their technical set up. This will give them a chance to set up all of the technical equipment and do a quick sound check to ensure the balance is perfect for your space and guests. For larger line-ups where there are more instruments involved (such as brass sections for example) this is really important and may take a little longer.
How long can a vintage themed band play for?
Performance lengths can vary in length from 30 minutes to over 2 hours in total, and our groups are able to adjust their timings depending on your needs. Usually the performance will be divided into sets of 45 mins to 1 hour each, in order to give the musicians adequate breaks to allow them to play at their best for you throughout.
Remember that when bands aren’t playing live, they can play background or disco music through their PA system to keep the energy and atmosphere of the event consistent while they take their breaks.
The groups are happy to play the sets in a row (with a 15 minute break in between for example), or spread throughout the day - just be sure to let them know when you request a quote from them, as it may affect the price if they need to stay at the venue for longer when they aren’t performing.
What equipment do I need to provide for a band?
All bands with amplification will require a power supply to hook up all the amplification equipment. They may also need chairs without arms, but will be able to let you know of this in advance. Often most members of the band are standing up when they perform.
The band will appreciate a meal, especially if they set up before guests arrive and then perform later in the evening, as it is unlikely they can leave the venue to get adequate sustenance.
It is likely the band will also need parking as they will be transporting a lot of instruments and equipment. If there is no parking near a door, they need to access an unloading bay near the door so they could then park elsewhere afterwards.
Can a band play outside?
Bands can usually play outdoors during the warmer months as long as there is some shelter from rain and sun, which can damage their equipment and instruments. They will also need a power source such as a generator or extension cables if near an indoor power source. In the same way that you’re unlikely to have outdoor parties in the winter, our bands generally don't play outside in the colder months, as low temperatures can damage the instruments, you can always ask in case they are happy to make an exception or find a solution that works for you both.
If you have a plan A and plan B (for example outside, or at a nearby indoor space) it’s worth checking that both options have the power and space that the band would need.
Can a vintage band take song requests?
Definitely! Bands are usually happy to take a few song requests in advance of the event, but with vintage bands especially, you’ll need to make the requests well in advance because the band will need to arrange the music and parts in their unique style for the musicians in the group.
Booking a Vintage band on Encore
Does Encore have any vintage themed bands in my area?
We have over 40,000 professional musicians on our books at Encore, so we pride ourselves on being able to find you a local musician, wherever you are in the UK. You can see our selection of vintage bands in your area here: vintage bands for hire. We have experts in vintage bands at the office and you are welcome to call our friendly and professional team on 020 3111 1480 Monday-Friday 10am-6pm, and we’ll be happy to personally help you find what you need!
How far in advance should I book?
We advise booking as soon as possible, especially if you have special musical requests, but we do handle last-minute musician bookings all the time and can easily find a vintage band at short notice.
How do I handle contracts and payment?
The easiest way to handle contracts and payment is to book through Encore. Our bookings process is extremely straightforward, and once you have confirmed a booking with your chosen quartet, contracts and payments will be handled painlessly and effortlessly by our secure payment system.
You can learn more about the Encore booking process here or email [email protected].
Can you recommend me a great vintage band for my event?
The best way to make sure you find the best group for your event to match your event is to complete our enquiry form. You’ll receive tailored quotes and recordings from available vintage bands musicians near you. If you’d prefer to go directly to our musicians and get inspired, some of our most popular vintage bands are: