Here, we try to answer the most asked questions. If you don't see what you are curious about, please call, email, or use the contact page.
Why Use Wally West Music Resource?
Wally is a committed member of the community and a lifelong resident of the Triad. Wally oversees every aspect of the booking process himself, so there's no large agency staff to muddle up the service you expect. Being a performer himself, Wally is proud of the personal and professional relationships he has with every musician, band, group and DJ that is represented. His talent offerings boast a wide variety of musical styles that are the most popular choices for corporate, social and private events. Every musician represented is a working professional with years of experience in the entertainment industry. Wally knows the scene like no other agency, but more importantly, he knows how to match the right music with your event. Wally will negotiate the best price and service for your event with the musician, band, group or DJ. With thorough consultation and negotiation, your event becomes musically stress-free. Wally is a member of the Better Business Bureau, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Guilford Merchants Association.
How Do I Go About Hiring Music for My Event Through Wally West Music Resource?
After we correspond and decide what musician, band, group, or DJ suits your needs best, a deposit and signed contract is issued. All dates are secured on a first-come/first-serve basis. Once we receive your signed contract and deposit, the date is yours! We always contract our work. And you can pay your deposit and balance in cash, by cashiers check, money order, personal check, American Express, Visa, Discover, or Master Card!
How Far in Advance Should I Book Entertainment for My Event?
Generally, we recommend no less than 1 to 3 months in advance. For weddings and holiday parties, 6 to 12 months is a good guide line. Having this amount of time prior to your event ensures options. We consider music to be an important addition to your event; therefore, it is good to have plenty of time to consult, choose and secure your entertainment. We also realize that last-minute situations occur, and we have successfully provided music with just a few days notice!
When Do We Get In Touch Prior to My Event?
We prefer to begin dialoguing the event approximately two to four weeks prior to the event. It is necessary to begin our conversation at this time to ensure that any special song requests can be honored, and that the flow of the event can be properly planned and discussed. As a rule, at the beginning of your event week we will touch base as well. At this time we will review and confirm all information, discuss any last minute changes, and go through the flow of the event in great detail. The reason for this week-of-event check in is twofold: (a) it keeps the event fresh in our minds, and (b) most last minute changes have usually occurred by this time and we can account for them. We are more than happy to hear from you any time regarding plans for your event. We understand that most people have little experience in planning a party or event. We, on the other hand, have a lot of experience and would be happy to share it with you at any time! For wedding ceremonies and receptions, we send you our questionnaires to fill out prior to our consultations with you to help achieve a personalized event.
Do You Have Liability Insurance?
YES! Wally West Music Resource's musicians, bands, groups and DJs are all covered under our $1,000,000 Business Liability Insurance Policy. If you or your venue needs a certificate of insurance, we can easily supply this — just ask. We are fully insured!
How Big of a Performance Area is Required? What are the Power/Electrical Requirements?
The size of the performance area varies, depending on which musician, group, band or DJ will be performing. Typically, a 5 - 6 piece band needs an area of about 10 X 20 feet. A stage is not required, but if there is one available, that's great. Usually, bands do not require any additional power other than a couple of standard wall sockets. Two separate circuits would be advisable, particularly if the band you have secured is using lighting.
Can My Musical Entertainment Perform Outdoors?
Yes! However, outdoor events can be risky and unpredictable. There is an outdoor clause in our contract that explains the risks involved with such an event. Basically, if there is any possibility of getting wet due to precipitation, or if it's too cold, no band can setup and perform safely outside. To avoid cancellation and loss of money, have an indoor alternative. Please ask about your event and your preference for outdoor performances.
To Summarize, What Is The Process For Securing Musical Service For My Special Event?
Here's the way I am accustomed to working with you in planning music for your special event or wedding ceremony and/or reception:
• If desired, we can meet to see if we are a "good fit" for one another.
• If you want to move forward to secure my services, I will issue you a contract that covers all the particulars that we've discussed.
• You receive this contract via email (or US Postal Mail if you prefer) - look it over, and if everything is agreeable, sign it and return it to me with a deposit - the signed contract and deposit guarantees the date and times.
• For Wedding Events - once I receive your contract and deposit, I email you my ceremony/reception questionnaire(s) that I have created that allow you and your fiancée to begin thinking about your ceremony and/or reception music. This questionnaire(s) help us both in determining the overall "feel" of both the ceremony and/or reception, and allow for a full custom-tailored affair! You send me completed copies, then we schedule a meeting time.
• We then meet to discuss and begin our "tweaking" process. We can meet one additional time before the wedding date to finalize everything as well.
Securing a musical act for your event allows for up to three personal meetings, as well as unlimited emails and phone calls to plan your event. Additional personal meetings are charged $50.00/hour.
Wally West Music Resource was recently featured in Leigh Pearce Weddings' blog (thanks, Leigh!). Below is a list of questions that was given to me to answer. Although the questions below focus primarily on wedding events, there is information that applies to many types of events.
Please tell us a little bit about your company.
Wally West Music Resource was founded in 1995 through my love of performing music. Being a professional saxophone player with a bevy of musical contacts in the area, I decided to quit my job in the music retail industry to concentrate on providing prospective clients with talented, reliable and dependable musical service with a concentration on the performers’ education and experience. 16 years later, I’m still going strong as a sole proprietor – I’m solely responsible for every event that is contracted through my business!
Why should a bride and groom choose Wally West Music Resource rather than another similar company?
Reputation and peace of mind are the foundations of my business. The musicians, bands, ensembles, groups, and DJs that work under my umbrella are not only professionally linked to me, but they’re also personally linked through friendship, as well as a common goal of providing top-notch musical service. Being both a performer and a musical contractor, I have the knowledge and experience to assist clients with their musical choices. I’m not just behind a desk, but I’m also “on the scene” as well as a performer, and I want my clients to know that I care about their wedding reception, and I want their musical experience to be the best it can be! I think this is worth mentioning, too - my business is completely covered under a business liability insurance policy, allowing me and my fellow entertainers to serve your event worry-free.
What are all of the options that a bride and groom have for their wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, and/or reception? About how many musicians do you employ?
Wow, there are so many choices! From string duos, trios and quartets to classical guitar, from harp to instrumental duos, from jazz trios and quartets to DJs and great variety bands, I have a lot to offer. Knock on wood, I’ve never had to turn anyone down for entertainment I couldn’t provide. I only have one employee – myself – but all of the musicians that I offer for musical service work under my umbrella as sub-contractors. By working under my umbrella, these musicians and I are able to offer my clients personal service with attention to detail.
What are the credentials and years of experience for most of your musicians?
Most every musician I represent has a degree in music and also performs for his or her livelihood, part-time or full-time. Every musician I represent has years of experience in providing quality entertainment. There – you can relax and breathe easy – because my musicians are educated, have the experience, and won’t let you down.
Are there weather restrictions for your musicians, and if so, what are they?
Great question, as there has been a definite upswing in outdoor events over the past several years! Typically, I ask that you consider the fact that musicians are people, too, so having a musician or group perform outdoors for three hours in direct sunlight when the temperature is 96 degrees, is a little much to ask! The same is true with cold weather as well. Having a covering to protect from the elements (sun, wind, rain) is necessary most of the time, and having a stable floor is also a necessity most of the time, since dirt, gravel or uneven ground can make things hazardous. And as we all know, water and electricity don’t mix well, so I take the safety of the musicians and the events’ guests very seriously, and subsequently, I take the necessary precautions. However, there are always exceptions, and the best way to know what’s expected and what’s not is to call or email about your event and let’s talk through it. I want to accommodate your wishes.
Could you please inform us of what your prices range from? For example, what are your prices for a soloist compared to a quartet or band?
I am proud to say that I work with clients with regard to not just musical tastes, but also budgetary concerns as well. I also price each event separately, as there is no such thing to me as a “cookie-cutter” wedding event. Pricing is figured through many variables, such as date, time, location, as well as the type of entertainment being considered. A simple way to shop is to take into account the number of “mouths to feed.” There are many events that I contract which are under $1000.00, and conversely, there are many that are over $1000.00. Again, I try to work within a client’s budget to achieve the best possible musical situation, and I want to accommodate your wishes. Let’s find a way together to make what you want happen!
How soon should a couple book your services, and what do you require to secure their date?
There are many publications in the wedding market that advise couples to make decisions on their entertainment as far as one year in advance, but most of my wedding clients book music for both their ceremony and reception as few as three months out and as much as 12 months out. A median time averages out to 5-6 months out. To secure entertainment, my process is simple – once we decide on the right musical entity, I draw up a contract, have the client sign it and take a deposit – usually 20-25% of the total fee. Once I receive the signed contract and deposit, we are “official!”
Does a couple need any special equipment or certain size area for the musicians? Can you provide anything other than musical entertainment, for example lighting?
Taking into account the space that is needed for a performance area for a certain musician, group or band varies greatly, depending on the size of the group, so the best way to figure out these needs is for us to communicate and decide what musical entity you’re interested in. This has never been an issue, so it is a matter that I don’t worry too much about. Generally, any special equipment that is required for a performance is provided by the musical entity – I never ask a client to provide anything other than a space to perform, access to electricity, and in the case of DJs, a “dressed” banquet table. If a client requests special lighting, video, photo booths, draping, or the like, I have other vendors on file who I can recommend. I generally keep things simple and concentrate on quality musical service!
How often do the band/quartet members need to take breaks, and will you provide other musical options to fill in during that time?
Generally, bands take breaks about every hour. We like to give the reception a chance to “breathe.” If the band is utilizing a sound system, then recorded can be played while the band breaks. Sometimes there is no need for a sound system with small ensembles or with classical music, so no provisions are in place to provide recorded music, but many venues offer a built-in house sound system for these occasions.
If, for example, the maid of honor would like to sing a song for the bride and groom, can you work with that person and practice the song? Are there additional fees for the practice sessions? How soon should they provide that song?
I like it when a friend of the bride or groom wants to share musical talent with the guests at the reception! What a great way to make the reception more interactive and personable! Sharing the name and key of the song with the band early on is helpful. Typically, a quick run-through right before the reception is ideal, and if this can happen, there is no fee. It’s only when a full-scale rehearsal prior to the wedding date is needed when fees are incurred. And I have to say, that this almost never happens. The spontaneity of the guest vocalist at the reception is a wonderful thing to behold, and really makes for a fun way to bring friends and family together.
Do you have hourly contracts, or are they set for a certain amount of time? If they are set for a certain time length, what are the charges for going over that time? How long does it take you to set up and break down?
I always contract an event turnkey, meaning I always calculate an event based on the clients’ start and end times. Overtime is possible when the band does not have another engagement following yours. Overtime is usually done "on-the-fly." At approximately 15 minutes before the band or DJ is scheduled to end, we will locate you to see what you would like us to do. If you would like us to continue, we will continue performing with billing done in 1/2-hour increments. If you know ahead of time that you would like to add overtime, consider booking the additional time before the engagement, as this knowledge will enhance the flow of the party.
Can a couple have a complimentary meeting with the musicians and hear them play a bit before booking them? If not, what is the fee?
Another great question! The information I have available on my website is simply there to stir interest in a particular musical genre, style, ensemble, musician or band. This includes downloadable sound files that offer a brief experience of what a musical entity sounds like. In most cases, I have additional recordings (live and studio produced) to further the listening experience. I completely understand the need to “test drive before you buy;” however, most times it is almost impossible to gather a group of musicians together on a given evening simply for the sake of a personal audition. I do try to find when a group is performing live so that we can accommodate a visit to hear a group performing in action. What better way to audition a group when you can see them in action? Many times, these groups will be performing for private events, and although an interested party is not an invitee, we can arrange to hear a group from outside a ballroom without interrupting a private function. I also rely on past clients, their reviews and their experiences to help in the selection process. Additionally, other vendors and venues can chime in as well on their opinions on these performers.
Can a couple request certain songs to be played? Do bands generally play from a list of music, or does the couple have free reign?
Most bands have a set list that they pull from, and they are certainly willing to share their song list with brides and grooms to accommodate their requests! Most bands will also offer to learn a special song for a first dance if they don’t already have that requested song in their repertoire. With DJs, simply put, I want to play what you want to hear, and can put together a song list individually tailored to a client’s requests and tastes!
Can you also emcee the couple’s reception and provide a cordless microphone?
Any reception that I am personally on, I do act as emcee and I do provide a wireless microphone. The bands that I represent will also do the same, however, not all bands have wireless capabilities. If you are in need of wireless capabilities, please ask and I will do my best to accommodate your needs!
What is the attire of the musicians?
Most groups or bands wear semi-formal attire (suit or sport coat and tie for the guys, dresses for the ladies). If you have a formal evening wedding, we can generally accommodate formal attire (tuxedos).
Is gratuity included in the contract? Are there any additional expenses not included in the contract, other than overtime? What are the traveling fees?
I get asked about gratuity quite a bit, so thanks for asking. In my mind, a gratuity is just that – a bonus that is given in return for better-than-expected or outstanding service, so it is not figured into the contracted amount. A gratuity is not expected, rather it is earned, so if you feel a musician, band or group has gone above and beyond, a gratuity is certainly appreciated! There are no other fees associated with a musical performance. I hate “surprises” and unexpected fees and I have never imposed anything on anyone in that regard! Travel is already calculated into the contracted fee within your contract, too.
If a member of the band or set falls sick or has an emergency, what will happen?
Every musician, group and band has a professional substitute player that they can call if some emergency should arise. There is a clause in my contract that addresses this concern. I take contracted events seriously, and I am proud to say that I’ve never had to deal with an emergency that wasn’t handled efficiently and expediently and without causing duress with the client!
Please inform us of any other information you would like our brides to know about your company. Also, feel free to send photos for us to include in the blog post!
I am proud to be a member of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Guilford Merchants Association, the Better Business Bureau (with an A+ rating), as well as the American Federation of Musicians. I have invested my life’s work to offering quality musical service and I hope to earn the business of your blog’s readers.