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Planning Retirement Online

Let's Party!

April 2013

Let's party in later life article series...

This series looks at some of the more unusual ideas to help you celebrate with style and panache – at affordable price levels, of course!

To see the full list of articles see the main Celebrating in Later Life page

Let’s party - Live Music

by LaterLife features editor Sally Smith

Party idea: Live MusicNo party would be complete without music. It sets the mood and atmosphere, entertains and generally helps any event run well.

Today, with modern electronics, it is easy to set up any area with some great sound based around a carefully put together programme of your favourite tracks.

But even better, what about having live music at your party? Even small lunch or dinner parties take on a whole new feel if there is a harpist, guitarist or small trio playing quietly in the background. For bigger events, hiring a dj is today quite affordable and, thanks to the still fast increasing number of small bands and groups, it is also well within most people’s budget to bring in a live band for an evening.

What fun it is to have live musicians at your event, but you need to do a little background work first. Generally you shouldn’t need an entertainment licence if the event is held in a home or privately booked room and is being attended by guests who have received personal invitations only. If you are looking at holding quite a big event in a hired room, then it is best just to double check this aspect with the property owners.

Thanks to the internet plus numerous local publications, it should be quite easy to track down local musicians. You can even contact local colleges or music teachers who may well be able to recommend a person or group who would be willing to give a good performance quite cheaply.

It is important to think about the type of music you want; most musicians have a large repertoire and it makes sense to talk to them about what you feel would work, your likes and dislikes. It is also important to hear them play before you finally book them. Personal recommendation is great, but what one person likes may not entirely fit in with your ideas for the event you are planning. Most organised musicians and bands today have sample music available on line, often on YouTube, so you can see and hear them perform before booking.

For most private events, one musician or band will play for the whole afternoon or evening, usually in two sets of about 40 minutes to an hour with a break in between.

Depending on how many people are coming in the band, they will need somewhere quite close by to park because of all the equipment. You will also need to provide adequate electrical points depending on the size of the band; you may well need at least five power points. However, again when you book you can discuss all these points.

Out of courtesy, neighbours need to be informed if you are looking at any music louder than a quiet harpist or guitarist.

A really good site to cover any music across the country is:


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