We want to do everything to help ensure that your event runs smoothly and that you and your guests (and us too for that matter) all have a great time celebrating with you. We've found that working through the details early in the planning process helps to ensure that no surprises occur as your event date approaches. With this in mind, this page represents a collection of many of the questions we have been asked during the event planning process.
What are your rates?
Our rates vary according to type of event, length of event, types of music desired, time of year, travel distance, etc. If we're available we'll do our best to accommodate your needs. Please consult the booking page for specifics on packages. If our rates are not posted on the bookings page, you can access them here.
How long does it take for you to setup and teardown your equipment?
While we can be setup and ready to go in as little as 30 minutes, generally it takes us around 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete setup and to perform a sound check. Our standard rates are based on us arriving 2 hours before your event begins so that we can complete setup and the sound check 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. For planning purposes you should allow for 45 minutes for us to teardown and loading of our equipment.
What size of an area do you need?
For the full band, ideally, we should have an area that is at least 14' wide by 12' from front to back. We can generally accommodate other sizes, but 14' by 12' is preferred. You can see our stage layout here. In addition to the performance area we ask that we have an area in another room at the venue to stow our cases, bags and other packing gear during the performance. It will make for a cleaner and more professional performance area.
What do you wear?
For almost all events we play, the 4-piece rhythm section and saxophonist all dress uniformly, either in all black attire, or with black slacks and forest green button-down shirst. Our 2 vocalists wear appropriate attire..
How long are your sets?
Our first set generally lasts for 60 minutes, followed by a 15 minute break. Subsequent sets are 45 minutes followed by a 15 minute break. We can, however, adapt our playing schedule to accommodate your event.
I really like your Gold and Platinum Packages that combine a jazz quartet with the full band. Could you provide us with a sample wedding timeline for these Packages?
Sure thing. Our Gold Package works very well with a 4 1/2 to 5 hour reception and the Platinum Package is suggested for a 5 1/2 to 6 hour reception. Here is what a typical timeline might look like for a 5 hour reception with the Gold Package. For a 6 hour reception using the Platinum Package, the end time just changes to 11 pm, with the last dance at 10:55.
Will you perform requests?
Given that we can locate music for your special request, we are more than happy to write an arrangement and rehearse it for your event. Please consult our booking page for specifics on requests.
What is your payment procedure?
A 50 percent deposit is due with return of the contract; the balance is due before one week before the date of the event. Please note that we can only hold the date of your event for you with a signed contract and deposit, so it is important to complete the contract process as soon as possible. While we prefer payment by check, we can accept credit card payments through PayPal. If you prefer to pay by credit card, we add 3% to your PayPal invoice to cover the costs PayPal charges.
Do you provide a PA system?
Yes, we will bring our own PA system to the venue. Our PA system can accommodate room sizes that can handle approximately 500 people. For events that use a larger hall and/or where more than 500 guests are expected, we would need to rent a larger system and would need to pass those costs on to you. We would be happy to work with the Event Coordinator to facilitate this.
We are planning an outdoor event. Are there any special considerations?
When we play outdoors during daylight hours shade must be provided for us. This can either be from a natural source like under a tree, or by a tent or tarp. We also require that our equipment be fully protected from moisture. If we arrive at an event and determine that we cannot play due to failure on the part of the client to provide shade and weather protection, the deposit is forfeited. If we begin playing and must stop during the performance due to water, the entire fee is charged.
We are there for your event to play. The last thing we want to do is have to cancel due to inadequate preparation due to weather. If you are renting the venue where your event is being held, be sure to check with the venue coordinator to ensure that the sprinkler system won't operate during the event in the area where the band is playing. Unfortunately, we have first-hand experience where we had to cut a performance short when sprinklers came on during the event and no one knew how to turn them off.
While the weather in the Bay Area is almost ideal, in the evenings/nights it frequently cools off considerably. Please give the Band the same consideration as you do your guests. If you are providiing portable heaters for the comfort of your guests, be sure to plan to place one near the Band so that we can stay warm too.
Are there any special things we should discuss regarding the venue?
If you are holding your event in a large ballroom of a hotel and are renting only a portion of the ballroom, the most important question to ask your hotel coordinator is if there will be any activity going on in the other portion of the ballroom. We had the unfortunate experience of playing a wedding reception in a split ballroom. On the other side of the folding 1" partition was another wedding reception, also with a live band. The hotel placed both bands back-to-back, separated only by the 1" partition. The band on the other side was playing full blast while we were attempting to play as a jazz quartet during dinner service. We couldn't even hear ourselves over the band on the other side. I felt terrible for the bride and groom and the guests, as well as the other band members as we struggled all night to hear ourselves. I would not wish this on anyone!
If you are planning on having the jazz quartet play in one location during cocktails, for example, and then have the full band play in a different location, be sure to discuss this with us and the venue, as we'll need a way to relocate our equipment from one spot to another with minimal interference to your guests.
Please be sure to check with your venue to see if we (the band) need to provide liability insurance for the event. While this requrement is rare, we can procure a one-day event insurance policy to comply with your venue's requirements, but will need to pass that fee on to you. In 2011, this fee is approximately $125 per event.
Is there a fee for traveling?
Performance locations more than 50 miles from downtown San Jose incur a traveling fee. The travel fee will be part of any contract submitted to you. To calculate distance we use Yahoo Maps, entering "San Jose, CA" as the starting point and the location of your venue as the ending point. For distances greater than 100 miles where we end late at night, we may add hotel costs to the travel fee.
Do your rates include a site visit?
We will work with your venue coordinator to be get any logistical information sorted out as needed. This normally does not require a site visit, so a site visit is not included in our fee.
Your band sounds very full. Are you using pre-recorded backing tracks?
We are quite proud of our ability to work as a unit to provide a full sound canvas for our vocalists. We have a wide range of instruments including a saxophone to ensure that we're providing plenty of backing sound. We can assure you that nothing we do during our performance has been pre-recorded. Everything you hear is being performed live by the musicians. Each of the instrumentalists in The Sound Effect has over 20 years of professional playing experience so we are all experienced in filling musical spaces, resulting in a full sound.
We are having the ceremony, cocktails, dinner and reception at different locations within our wedding venue. Can you provide multiple PA systems and equipment to cover these different locations?
We have performed at several events where we have provided multiple PA systems and played at multiple venues. In these cases it is important to determine what your needs are and the distances between locations so that we can determine the amount of equipment we need to bring. We also want to indicate what we're providing and where in the contract, so that we all have an understanding of the requirements for your event. The pricing on our booking page is based on us setting up and playing in one location only. Depending on distance between locations, we generally charge a $100 setup/teardown fee for each additional location in which we are providing music and/or a PA system.
Do your prices include someone to manage sound?
The prices quoted on our booking page do not include a sound person. We try to judge the necessity of a sound person by the number of expected guests. When the number of guests exceeds 200, we add a sound person to the total fee. The cost of a sound person is 10% of the fee on the booking page.
Can you provide lighting for the stage?
Several clients have requested us to provide lighting, so we have now added this option for our performances. In order to cover setup and teardown costs, we charge a $150 fee. Be sure to mention that you want lighting so that this cost is included in the contract. Our lighting consists of two sets of 4 colored floodlights which can be constantly on or sequenced with the music. Please be advised that our lighting consumes around 1300 watts, about twice as much as our audio equipment. In order to ensure that circuits are not overloaded, we strongly recommend that the lights be put on a circuit separate from our audio equipment. We put one of these light stands on each side of the band.
Our venue does not have free parking. How is that handled?
If free public parking is not provided at the venue, we ask for the band to be reimbursed for parking costs. When possible we work with the event coordinator to establish the exact cost for parking and pass only the exact fee on to you.
Can you make introductions and announcements?
Yes, we are happy to handle any MC duties you may request. Our vocalists use wireless microphones which can be used by the wedding party for toasts and other announcements.
Do you provide music during your breaks?
Yes, we generally provide pre-recorded music mixes during our breaks. These mixes cover the same genres as the music we perform.
Will the songs sound like the originals?
Some more than others. In most cases the instrumentation of the original artist does not match the instrumentation of The Sound Effect. Rather than trying to recreate the exact sound of the original artist, we focus on writing an arrangement of the music that highlights our instrumentation and our vocalists. This differentiates us from a 'tribute' style band that focuses solely on the works of one music group or artist.
We're holding our ceremony and reception at the same site, so we'd like to you to complete setup 2 hours before you are needed to play for the reception. Is there an additional fee for that?
Our prices are based on us arriving 90 minutes to 2 hours before we start playing and based on the assumption that we can teardown and pack up immediately after our performance is complete. Our pricing assumes that having setup complete 30 minutes before we begin playing is sufficient.. Generally when we are requested to complete setup more than 30 minutes in advance of our playing time we charge an early setup fee.
Are we expected to feed the Band?
When we play for at least 3 hours at an event where food is served, we request that we get fed also. We are there approximately 90 minutes before the performance to setup and remain there about 45 minutes or so after the performance to pack up, so for a 3 hour performance we are at the venue for over 5 hours. Generally, caterers are willing to provide food for the band at little or no cost to you. If your caterer is unwilling to provide this discount we can instead add a meal stipend to the total cost. It is expected that we be allowed to have beverages served during the event.
Our event may run slightly ahead of or behind schedule. How do you handle that?
When we are hired to play as a jazz quartet followed by the full band we generally play as a jazz quartet until the main course has been served to you and your guests. After that we'll take our dinner break and play recorded jazz music during that time. Immediately after dinner is an ideal time for any speeches or toasts, as you have the attention of your guests, the band is on break, and it provides a good transition into dancing.
I've got a big event planned. What can I do to best coordinate our event activities with the band?
We want to do everything we can to work with you to dynamically coordinate activities during your event. During large events we frequently have different people coming to us making various requests of us. In order for us to ensure that we're sequencing things the way you'd like us to, we ask that you assign a band liaison for your event and we will act on the requests of the liaison to be sure that we are satisfying your desires. The best way to do this is to have the liaison come up and introduce themselves to us as we are setting up. Since final payment is due before we begin playing, this is a good time for the liaison to provide us with the final payment.
Are your rates negotiable?
It is our policy to charge fixed rates. During holiday periods, however, we reserve the right to charge a higher fee. All performances are under contract and all costs are clearly spelled out. Rates assume that we can setup up to 30 minutes before the beginning of the event and can immediately begin teardown and packing after the conclusion of the event. If you are considering hiring us for a nonprofit event, we have special nonprofit rates available..
Are there any "hidden" fees?
Once you agree to enter a contract with us, all fees are spelled out in writing. While most bands work with a "flexible" fee schedule, we work solely with fixed fees, which are available on request. These fees assume that we can arrive for setup 2 hours before the beginning of the event, and conclude setup 30 minutes before the event begins. It also assumes that we can immediately begin teardown and loading after the end of the event. When your event requires us to setup early with more than 30 minutes between the conclusion of setup and the start of our playing time, then we charge an addiitonal "early setup" fee. Our rates also assume that your event does not include an extended break. All fees are specified along with the agreed to timeline in the contract that both parties sign.
I'm considering a DJ versus a live band for my wedding. Which one should I choose?
Since we're a live band, it is impossible to answer this question without bias. When compared against a live band, almost all DJ's have a larger library of songs from which to choose, so if you're searching for the widest possible variety in music and genres, then your decision should be weighed toward a DJ. The songlist of The Sound Effect is based on the most requested songs for bands throughout the country who play a variety of music and genres, so we feel we cover the musical tastes of most audiences.
If cost is your number one concern, In general, since a DJ is a one-person operation, the costs will be lower than for a live band. That being said, the per-person costs for a live band are generally lower than the costs for a DJ. As far as the impression your guests will have, with a DJ keep in mind that you are listening to a recording of a performance musicians made in another time and place, while a live band allows for dynamic interaction between the audience and the musicians. For a comparison, when you consider your favorite musical, do you get more enjoyment out of seeing the movie or a live performance?
Can I hear you perform live before making a decision?
One of the most important aspects in making a decision for a live band is to feel at ease with the musicians who will be entertaining your guests during your event. It is also important to be able to hear a variety of songs that might represent what you would have played during your event. Hearing a live band perform at a club is not conducive to either of those considerations. We invite you to come to one of our rehearsals so that we all have time for you to meet us, interact with us and see how we interact with each other as we perform some of the tunes we would likely play at your event. We can also send you a demo CD or DVD and promotional package to assist you in your decision making.
I really like your band and would like to hire you. What's the next step?
First of all, we need to be sure that the date is available. After that is determined and the start and end times and pricing is agreed upon, we'll send you a contract for review. Included within the contract is an expiration date, usually 1 week from the date the contract is mailed to you. During this period we will hold the date open for you as you make your final determination. As long as we received the signed contract and deposit within this one week period, the date is locked in for your event.
Do you follow a set order of songs?
Yes, we prepare a custom setlist for each of our events. We carefully prepare the setlists, alternating between vocalists to allow them time to rest their vocal cords. We also construct the setlist so that the saxophonist isn't switching horns frequently in order to help keep the flow of the music going. When possible we discuss the type of music preferred by our clients and will gladly provide our "Active" list which are the 100 or so songs currently in our playbook. Our clients may then select some "Must Play" songs and some "Do Not Play" as well as preferred styles and we'll utilize that information to create a setlist for your event. Please realize that while we currently have over 250 arrangements, as listed on the website, we select 100 or so of these to have in our "Active" list for a calendar year. 100 songs is about the maximum number that we can reasonably keep performance-ready at any given time.
Can you play for longer than was contracted?
Yes, we can be prepared to play extra time if requested, and generally add a clause in the contract for extra playing time up to an hour.
Are you listed on other websites where I may find other services?
Yes, we are listed on several websites that have other services. Some of them are:
Preferred vendor listed in the Sunnyvale, California Musicians section of Decidio.com