How Much Does a Live Band Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

Those who want to book a band for their wedding, birthday party or retirement party are going to find that the prices are going to be dependent on the location, the band playing, the type of music, the number of people and how long you need the bank for.

The Ashleys Live by seanmcgrath, on Flickr
The Ashleys Live” (CC BY 2.0) by seanmcgrath

How much does a live band cost?

On average, a smaller local band that has four to six people will charge anywhere from $500 to as much as $16,000 for a local four-hour gig; however, the average band will charge about $1,500 to $2,500 for a five-hour set.  A band that is more popular is going to command a higher price tag, and the more members the band has, the higher the price will be.

Jazz and acoustic bands tend to charge $700 to $1,600, while the exclusive party and dance bands can charge more than $10,000.

If the band charges per hour instead of per event, the hourly rates will most likely fall between $300 and $2,000.  Most bands are going to require a minimum number of hours, though, which is usually around four hours.

Bands in larger cities, such as New York City or Chicago, are going to charge anywhere from $1,500 to $25,000 for a four to six-hour set.

According to PrettyPolly.com, nationwide acts can charge anywhere from $15,000 to $250,000 for an act.  For example, Jason Mraz will charge $100,000 or more for a gig, and the Foo Fighters will charge as much as $350,000 for a gig.  A rock band such as Hinder will charge $40,000.

Members on Weddingbee.com said they received quotes from as little as $1,200 to more than $16,000.

Live band overview

Bands prefer to book their gigs in “block” times, usually four hours at a time.  While they won’t play the full four hours, plan at least 30 to 45 minutes for a break.  Bands will try to work these breaks around special times such as a best man speech or cake cutting.  Most live bands will require a small break every hour.

Many special event bands will provide a basic lighting system that’s able to illuminate the stage.   They will also be responsible for setting up and taking down the stage equipment. They won’t include decorations or a backdrop.

Most bands should include all the equipment necessary to perform, but in some cases, as mentioned below, they may need a microphone or a loud speaker.

What are the extra costs?

Most bands may require food during the party.  Be sure to add plates for the band members that are going to attend.  Also keep in mind that some bands will have tech personnel, so be sure to include them as well.  This will depend on the size of the band.

Bands that have to travel more than 100 miles will more than likely stay at a local hotel.  This is going to be an added expense that isn’t included in the quote.

If you keep the band over the allotted time, you will be charged an overtime fee.  This will generally be pointed out in the contract you sign in the beginning.

Some bands are going to require that you supply them with the sound equipment such as the speakers and microphones.  If you don’t have this equipment available for the party, you may have to rent it from a local music store.  Special lighting may have to be provided as well.

A sound guy may be required if the band doesn’t provide one.

Tips to know

Play around with the SamHillBands.com search feature.  This can show you what bands may charge you in your area.

How can I save money?

Be sure to talk with at least three bands in your area.  Listen to the demos so you know what each band will sound like.  Most reputable bands should have a website or Facebook page you can look at.

Most bands are going to be more than happy to come down in price if you haggle with them.  Keep in mind that good bands are going to be booked well ahead of time.  To play it safe, book your band at least six to 12 months in advance.

ABC News says consider hiring a disc jockey instead of a live band to save more than $1,000.  Bands will always be much more than a DJ.


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