Teen birthday or graduation parties that stand out from the rest are a challenge. But when you have a Christian teen who has worked extra hard in school, modeled great lifestyle choices, or overcome a difficulty, parents want to rise to that challenge and do something special for them. The recognition you give your teen in front of their friends goes a long way to reinforce their good choices. So, reward your teen with an over the top cool party using a local Christian band for extra excitement. Your teen may already be friends with or know of a Christian band they would like to have play at their party. But if they don’t, how do you find the right Christian band to make your party perfect?
First, be realistic. You cannot afford, nor do you need, a nationally known band. What you do need is a fun local Christian band that sounds like the music your teen and their friends listen to. Ask them what genres of music they prefer and who their favorite bands are. Helpful Hint: Get the correct spelling of the band's name from the teens because it is probably spelled differently than it sounds. You should be able to narrow it down to one or two preferred music genres and several bands you want your band to sound like.
Unfortunately, you cannot ask the local music club/bar owner for recommendations because many Christian bands do not play bars. You can find local Christian bands by searching on-line, but be careful…although you should use websites as a tool in your choice for a band; websites are not always the best representation of a band. Young bands that are popular frequently don’t spend the time they should on developing their websites. Other bands spend an inordinate amount of time but do not live up to their sites designs when they play live. The number of fans or friends on a bands site can be an indicator of the band's popularity, or it could mean the each member of the band knows many people.
There are three main resources to check:
(1) Start with the local Christian radio stations website. Many stations have a show which plays unsigned Christian bands exclusively. The station will often list the bands on their site. If they do not have a list you can e-mail or call the DJ who anchors the show to get recommendations.
(2) Take your band descriptions to the music department of your local Christian Bookstore. The clerks at the store know most of the Christian musicians in town and can probably tell you a little more about the bands recommended by the radio station.
(3) Finally, check with area Youth Group Leaders…these guys use Christian bands for youth group special events and probably know who is hot right now. They will also know which band is easiest to work with and who has the best attitudes.
After you have the names of several possible Christian bands, find out more about them online. Most bands have their own website, Facebook page, and u-tube videos which contain songs they have recorded and clips of live performances. Read the lyrics of songs and their watch their stage presentation to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises at your party. Go over both the music selections and recommendations with your teen to come up with first, second, and third choices.
Contact your first choice band using their website. There should be a “Booking” contact or information button or page. Make sure to tell them the date, time, location, and give a brief description of the event. The band will want to know about the sound system. Unless you are hosting a huge party in a huge room, the band probably only needs to mic their vocals and play through their amps. Specify this set up and you won’t have a problem as most bands already have this level of sound capability. If the band wants to do more – great…but you should not have to pay extra for it. Finally, ask for a price. You should be able to find a good band to play for $100 and $500, depending on your area and the popularity of the band.
How to Keep the Band Affordable
Bands greatest expenses are equipment, gas, and food. You will have already decreased expenses by asking for minimal equipment when discussing the sound system, and you have chosen a local band that does not have to travel far to play your event. But, there are a couple more ways to keep costs down:
(1) Do not assume the band will not come for less than what they ask for. If you really cannot afford what they ask, offer less. It’s OK to negotiate as long as you are not being cheap because you think you can get away with it. Remember that the band members probably put money into the band every month just to keep their ministry going. So, do the best you can. If it’s not enough, move on to your second choice band with no bad feelings.
(2) Negotiate the date of the party. Fridays and Saturdays in July, August, and September are the most popular times for bands to play shows so those dates are usually more expensive. Ask the band is a different date could save you money.
(3) Feed the band well and tell them you will feed them well when you are negotiating the price. Send home extra food from the party with them, make them goodie bags, and stock their vehicles with water and assorted beverages (non alcoholic). Many local band members are college students who will live on what you give them for several days after your party.
(4) Set up a table for the band to sell their CD’s and t-shirts at your party and tell them they can sell merchandise when negotiating the price. When you send out party invitations remember to tell the guests the band will be there and will have band stuff to sell.
(5) Pay the band 1/2 when they agree to do the party and tell them you will do so. Cash is always in short supply for bands and often gas money to get to the event is a problem. Pay the other 1/2 in cash (not a check) as soon as they arrive. Make it easy for them to play for you and they will be more likely to do a great job!
The final details are to check with your city for noise ordinances (usually this is just a quick call to the police department), call the band a few days before the party to get an arrival time and any other details they need, make sure there are plenty of electrical circuits for the band, and most importantly HAVE FUN!
Credit: Christa ConnellyCredit: Christa Connelly