If you would like to book the Band, please use the hyperlink below to take you to the online booking form.
Please follow the link to the pdf file Booking Form.
However, before filling in the form, you may find it useful to read to following information about booking the band.
What do you want the Band to do? It's best to have a clear idea of what you want the band to do. Start by telling the band what the event is.
These are some of the sort of things the band gets asked to do:
Do you want a full concert? Will there be a formal audience for the band (in which case the band may want to prepare a compère and a programme)?
Do you just want background music (to what?)?
Is it accompanying congregational singing (in which case you'll need to go into great detail)?
Are other groups (musical and otherwise) also taking part in the same event? How do you propose sharing out the time and space?
How long do you want the band to play?
Usually the Musical Director will arrange the programme, but if you would like a certain piece or type of music, please discuss it beforehand. Never expect the band to be able to respond favourably to "Can you play..." requests on the day/night because it's impossible to carry around a full repertoire. A possible exception is a Christmas concert where people want favourite carols - but even then carol books don't always have every type of Christmas song.
What to provide
Please provide seating (the band will tell you how many). Chairs with arms make things difficult for brass players, so it's best to avoid them. Brass bands usually sit in horseshoe 'formation' (i.e. 3 sides of a square), usually two rows deep.
The band will need a back room or similar to congregate before playing, including somewhere secure to store their instrument cases.
Band members will often come by car and will need somewhere to park. Players of some of the larger instruments, such as tuba and percussion, will appreciate being able to get a car close to the venue in order to unload and load. Rushen Band have a van that goes to each engagement. It is very helpful to provide a reserved space for our van as close to the stage/playing area as possible.
Light refreshments are a nice gesture half way through. If you would like to reward the musicians with more substantial refreshments, please do that at the end. It's not good to play immediately after eating and drinking well!
The open-air is a good place for a brass band in the summer, but it needs special attention. Drums particularly are vulnerable to extreme heat and rain, so you may be asked to find a shady spot.
From a practical point of view, the ground needs to be flat. Not only is it important for the physical positioning for somebody who is to work sitting down for an hour or two, but music stands can get a bit top heavy and blow over in the wind if the ground is not good.
If you want the band to play on grass, please pay particular attention to the type of chairs you provide. On more than one occasion we have played on soft grass and we have been given chairs with thin circular legs that penetrate slowly but surely into the soft ground!
If your space is hard ground, make sure you tell us so we can bring something to protect our instruments when we put them down.
Please pay attention to what is going on around the band. For safety, don't place them right next to a fast road. Think also of animals; you could end up with dogs barking throughout the engagement! Horses particularly can be startled by a band if they are not used to them. So if you're having pony rides and a brass band at a summer fete, please don't place the two attractions next to one another.
Don't forget that we, like most brass bands, are amateur, so it is often difficult to get a band together during working hours.
The band gets booked up over a year in advance. Please book early. At minimum please give a month notice. The band's busiest times are during the summer season, with such things as garden parties and concerts in the park, and also in the run-up to Christmas.
Once at the venue, the band will require time to set up. If the band has sole use of the space for the duration of their engagement, so much the better, but if it's a shared arena, then at least 10 minutes will be required to get things straight before the band can play.
Percussion is always a challenge in this situation - it takes quite a while to set up properly. A reduced percussion set may be called for if there is a lot of moving around. Even if the band has its own place to play, percussionists usually arrive first and will need access up to an hour before the event in order to set up.
It's unlikely that band members will be very enthusiastic about re-organising their day to play for 15 or 20 minutes. About an hour is usual, or two hours for a formal concert. A suggestion for a typical concert is 45 minutes playing, 15 minutes break and another 45 minutes playing. Please bear in mind that heat makes it more difficult for sustained playing without a break.
As most brass bands are amateur, you fortunately won't have to pay all the players professional rates! However, you should be prepared to pay a reasonable fee as it costs a lot of money to run a band. For example, a cornet (the smallest instrument) can cost well over £1000. Music and rehearsal facilities have to be paid for. The funding for this comes from the engagements we do and from the fundraising efforts of our sister organisation The Friends of Rushen Silver Band.
A brass band can make an event really come alive, so they're worth paying for. For public garden fetes etc. families of the band members may also come and boost your takings!