Getting the Best from the Band
Getting the Best from Harrogate Band
This information is also available for download as a PDF document
This guide is intended to help you to make a success of your event by hiring The Harrogate Band. The Band pride themselves on their high standard of music, and also enjoy performing and sharing their music with others. Their performance itself, however, is only part of the overall event, and in order that we make the best possible contribution we ask that you spend a few moments to check through this guide.
The guide consists of the following parts:
Event Checklist - this is an overview of the key details of your event. Where possible we have completed this form, however please check through, completing any outstanding information and then return to our Secretary. This should ensure that both parties are clear about our respective commitments well in advance of the event.
How to get the best from the Band - This describes in more detail the points to consider when hiring the band, and also provides contacts and methods for publicising your event.
Concerts in the Harrogate Area - A Guide to Publicity (available in the PDF document above) - A brief guide to some of the ways in which your event can be publicised effectively in the Harrogate District
If you have any queries whatsoever about this guide, or any other aspect of hiring the Harrogate Band, please contact the Events and Concert Manager
Please provide as much information as possible
Details of Event
Date of event:
Type of Concert required:
How long will the band play for?
With what intervals?
Public or Private?
Other groups present?
What will be provided?
Approximate playing space available:
Warm-up / changing / storage room:
Type of access to concert stage:
Vehicular access for equipment trailer:
Space to park trailer / coach:
Refreshments provided? (Interval or afterwards?)
If event is outdoors
Is cover available?
Is there an alternative venue in case of wet weather?
Wet-weather cancellation details:
General playing location:
Any other important details:
Is the event to be promoted by the Hirer?
Are details of Band to be included in promotional material?
Will there be promotional material available for distribution by the Band?
Any other details:
How to get the best from the Band
What you want the Band to do
What to provide
- It's best to have a clear idea of what you want the band to do.
- What is the event - date, times, location?
- 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 compere and a programme.)
- Do you just want background music? If so, to what kind of event?
- Is the band accompanying singing or other activities? (In which case greater detail and liaison will be required.)
- Are additional groups (musical or other) also taking part in the same event? How will the time be shared?
- How long do you want the band to play for? With what intervals?
- For nearly all events the Band will require seating (usually around 25 brass and 2 percussionists).
- Chairs with arms make things difficult for brass players, so it's best to avoid them if at all possible.
- The band formation used is shown below. The Band would ideally expect to occupy a space of around 15m x 15m, though smaller spaces may be accommodated. We are able to play on some 'tiered' stages, but this is dependent entirely on the size and location of the tiers. This must be discussed and agreed with the band in advance.
- The Band will need a back room or similar space to congregate and warm-up before playing, including somewhere to store the instrument cases.
- It is useful to inform the band how they will access the venue - will there be a long way to carry equipment, or can the hall be accessed more easily? Is the venue at ground level, or is it on a higher floor, in which case is there a lift available? These points will then be borne in mind when the band is assembling its programme.
- The Band will usually arrive by private cars and will need somewhere to park. Instructions of where is suitable may be useful. Close vehicular access to the venue for the Band's larger instruments and equipment - which is often trailer borne - would be appreciated. A coach may also be used by the Band for longer journeys.
- Light refreshments are always welcome - particularly at intervals - as playing is thirsty work! If you would like to provide the band with more substantial refreshments, please do that at the end. It's not good practise to play immediately after eating and / or drinking well!
- The open-air is a good place for a brass band in the summer, but attention should be given to the location. Drums particularly are vulnerable to extreme heat and rain, so a shady spot or under cover of some kind is preferable.
- It is useful if the playing area can have some shelter from wind. Music stands carrying music are particularly difficult to deal with in even breezy conditions, so any shelter is always appreciated. The Band will bring their own pegs to hold the music on the stands.
- In the case of wet or inclement weather, what will happen? Will the event be cancelled, or moved indoors? Will the band still be required? If the band's services are cancelled, what notice would we receive, and would there still be payment available?
- From a practical point of view, the ground needs to be relatively flat. Not only is it important for the physical position for somebody who is to work sitting down for an hour or two, but music stands are top heavy and can be unstable if the ground is not good. If you want the band to play on grass, please bear in mind that chairs with thin legs, on soft ground quite easily sink into the turf. This can damage the grass, not to mention falling players and instruments!
- You need to think what will be going on around the Band. For safety, we should not be placed next to a busy road. Think also of animals - some of which can be startled by a band if they are not used to them.
- The Harrogate Band is an amateur organisation and most of their players have full-time jobs, so it is often difficult to get the Band together during working hours.
- We take bookings up to a year in advance, occasionally longer. Please book early. At minimum please give a few week's notice. The band is busy throughout the year with a wide range of activities and performances.
- Once at the venue, the Band will require time to set up - at least three quarters of an hour prior to the playing time, possibly longer in certain circumstances. If there is a shared arena, then details will need to be resolved of how and when the interchange between performances will take place.
- Percussion is always a challenge - it takes quite a while to set up properly. Modern brass band repertoire demands quite a range of percussion, however this will depend on the programme for your event, and in some cases the space available.
- The Band prefers engagements that have a reasonable length of playing required. An event that only demands 15 or 20 minutes of music is not ideal. An hour or two is more usual, and ensures that you get the best value from the Band. A typical format concert would be 45 minutes playing in each half, with a 15-minute break. Please bear in mind that extremes of heat and cold heat make sustained playing without a break more difficult.
- You will not have to pay professional rates for the services, however our performances are always carried out in a professional manner! We provide excellent value for money - a high standard musical performance for a reasonable fee. An appropriate fee will be quoted to you once we know in outline what the engagement entails.
- It does cost a lot of money to run the Band, including music, rehearsal facilities and of course instruments, which are in excess of £1000 each. The funding for this comes from our engagements and other fund raising activities. Individual players do not receive payment.
- We can really make your event come alive, so this is worth paying for.
- The band is experienced in publicising its services, although many of our performances are publicised by the organisers. We can help with distribution of material, publicity of the event on our award-winning website, and with advice regarding local media. Our own 'Guide to publicity' is attached for your reference. (see PDF document )
- In any promotional material, please ensure that the band is referred to as 'The Harrogate Band'. Our Musical director is Craig Ratcliffe. Further information can be provided on request from our secretary, or taken from our Website, www.harrogateband.org.