Band or DJ - who should you hire for your event?

May 9, 2021

Whether it's a serious event, a crazy party or a casual celebration, music creates a mood and sets the tone. Be it a birthday, a wedding, a funeral, a christening or a corporate event, music is always there no matter what the occasion is. It should be a perfect reflection of you as the organizer, but also of the event itself.

Every celebration is unique and the live band and DJ bring different sides, advantages and disadvantages. The most important thing is to figure out what works best for you, your style and your guests. There are a few aspects you should consider. To help you decide, we'll ask a few of the most important questions and answer them from the band's point of view and DJ. It's up to you to decide what suits you better.

How much of a budget do you have?

The size of your entertainment budget can significantly influence your choice. In most cases, it will cost more to hire a live band than a DJ. This is not surprising due to several factors, such as transportation costs for a larger group, equipment and instruments. However, live music is definitely worth the price if you hire a great band. They will definitely know how to lift the mood and motivate the audience. Prices for bands vary depending on the number of musicians, how many hours you want to play, what day of the week it is and what time of year it is.

The size of your entertainment budget can significantly influence your choice

On the other hand, there are exceptions where famous DJs can be just as expensive as live bands. But the prices are lower in most cases. This range can also be based on experience level, as well as whether you are hiring a DJ for whom music is more of a hobby than a full-time job. The more experience or prominence a DJ has, the higher the cost.

What kind of event are you hosting?

What can also help you choose is the type of event you are having. Is it a wedding? A corporate event? A birthday party? The atmosphere of the event you are organizing will help you determine the music, the general mood you want to achieve and accordingly the person or people who will deliver the music. If you're hosting a private birthday party, you can hire a band to play covers of your favorite songs, as they can improvise, change the lyrics and add any fun twists that suit guests. Even if you are hosting a quieter, more intimate and formal event, a string quartet will be a perfect fit.

DJs can create a great atmosphere for dancing with a much wider range of music genres and play any song you want. They can also simply provide more intimate ambient music. With all of this, a DJ can take breaks without interrupting the music. No matter what type of party you are hosting, keep in mind the mood of the guests and the general reason you have gathered, and this will make it much easier for you to decide whether you want a DJ or a live band.

What is your guest list?

Does your guest list consist of different ages and musical tastes? Are friends from school, young cousins or grandparents, uncles, older relatives, even children coming to the party? Do they prefer acoustic guitar covers for cocktails, jazz or disco for a dance party? It's important to remember that you are essentially hosting an event for others and the choice of music will largely depend on the guest list. Consider the age range of the guests and the preferences of the group. When you're hosting a party in your own honour, sometimes it's about having a good time and focusing less on fulfilling the guests' requests. 

Does your guest list consist of different ages and musical tastes?

The DJ will be able to create a set list that includes various hits from all genres and for all generations. The live band is fun and can lift the mood for non-dancing guests with their improvisations. Younger guests may want modern, fast-paced music and may not understand the way the band interprets the songs. The band may or may not suit the tastes of many of your guests, which can lower the mood of your party. Regardless of whether you choose DJ or a live band, the selection of songs may be limited, but depending on the guest list, they will have a lot of fun no matter what music is played.

How big is the venue space?

The size of the reception hall is another factor you need to consider. The band needs more space than the DJ, so before you book a venue, make sure it has room for live musicians. In addition to the restrictions on the musicians, there may also be restrictions on the equipment they can bring. So the band will need more space than the DJ, especially if they have many members. The DJ will only need a table, speakers and a lighting system. It is important to check with the venue how much space they have available before booking.

Live band or DJ?

Music is key to keeping guests on their feet on the dance floor and setting a good mood. For those who have a particular taste in music and want good energy, a live band is a way to go. However, if you want to hear music from all genres and all eras, hire a DJ. If you absolutely want live music but can't afford a band all day, consider having the band play only at the ceremony or cocktail party and then spinning the DJ at the reception.

Should you choose a DJ?

A DJ has been spinning records for decades, in clubs, at festivals and at weddings. While it is true that live bend usually costs more, the cost of renting a DJ also varies greatly. The reason for this is that there are different types of DJs: some specialize in parties, while others are well-known club DJs who host private parties on the side. DJs are also independent artists who offer genres of music for all ages, and the songs will sound exactly how you want them to. A great DJ can really set the mood and keep the party going. They also take up less space, and even if they take a break, the energy can stay at the same high level. On the other hand, improvisation is hard, and for the guests who don't want to dance, the DJ won't be as much fun, and they'll be much less personal since they can't personalize the music. Ultimately, you should think carefully ahead of time about the experience you are looking for and what music you do and do not want to hear.

A DJ has been spinning records for decades, in clubs, at festivals and at weddings

Should you go for a live band?

There is no denying that a live band can have a huge impact on the overall atmosphere by exciting the audience, but also creating a sense of sophistication. A good band will interact with the people on the dance floor, pay attention to the mood, and choose music accordingly. You and your guests will enjoy the performance, and the live band can add charm and a unique and memorable experience to any song.

The downside can be that bands can be more expensive than DJs. Also, no matter how great they are, they have a limited repertoire, especially if they stick to one style, take up more space, and have to take breaks, which can cause the energy of the party to drop. But keep in mind that with a live band, you get live energy and experience that simply cannot be replicated.

When you hire a professional musician, you know what you're getting. Someone with experience who knows how to move a crowd, but also politely deny a request for an off-the-wall song, as well as stick to the time frame. Choosing a music professional is a big deal and a big commitment. That's why you can find the best musicians for your event at Spotfood. And once you find the right band or DJ, you can be sure that your event will be everything you have always dreamed of.