Tuesday, 20 March 2012

How to Choose the right band for your Wedding

OK, so the date is set, the planning has started, your perfect day is in your sights. With the hundred and one things that you have to organise to make your wedding day perfect, there is little doubt hiring the right band or entertainment may be one of the most important decisions you can make.
 Setting the right atmosphere for your reception by choosing a professional experienced Wedding band or act may be the the differnce to really make your celebration one to remember

What kind of entertainment do you want ? 
There are many types of wedding / function bands. The most popular are
  • rock /. indie / pop
  • Soul / disco 
  • Jazz / background
  • Tribute ( dedciated to one act in particular - for example ' an ABBA tribute ' or a genre tribute, for example Motown) 
  • Orchestral ( string quarlets etc ) 
  • Rat pack / Big band / Crooners 

Timing and Tactics - get exactly what you want !
For many people a to book a band just for the reception is enough. But, there are no rules to how you want your wedding to pan out  with regards to entertainment.. For example, you may want a string quartet to play during the Wedding meal. Or you may want to actually book an acoustic act during the ceremony.- my own was booked to play a deaf wedding ( the bride and groom were hard of hearing / deaf  )  with a sign language interpreter during the ceremony for only 3 songs -  ( this was a specific request by the bride and groom for what they wanted from us on their special day)
 So booking entertainment may be a lot more creative than maybe just a live band at the reception. It's totally up to you and by dealing with an agency you can cover all the ins and outs of how your ideas and creative plans for your entertainment may become a reality

Why use an agency?
Many of the bands on agencies are experienced in playing Weddings and larger functions. Dealing with a good agency direct is helpful as they will recommend the best musical acts taliored for your exact needs, and know how to overcome any problems or worries you may have about technicalities. Therefore Problems you may or may not have seen are something that an agency will be aware of due to experience, and more often that not the agency will be able to answer most, if not all of your questions if you are unsure how certain things may work. 

An agent will also write up a contract for you and the act. So everyone knows where they stand in the event of natural diaster or smaller problems or details. It is true that for many Weddings, booking a band that you know, or are recomended is normally a good option and sometimes the best. However by using an agent you have an intermediate who works in the best interest of the bands / acts and the client to make sure no stone is unturned in terms of what if situations and that you get exactly what you ask for. After all it does the agency no good at all to have booked you an unreliable or 2nd rate act. 

Reputation is Key
Most agencies are very strict with Bands / acts that have any bad feedback at all from the client that has Justification. They normally would drop the band from their roster if they were un-punctual or un proffessional. The reputation of the agency and acts they represent is key to the agency succsess. So by using an agency you are normally dealing with someone who understands all the ins and outs of supplying an act or band for your wedding and it is in their best interests to find you the best act available for your budget requirements. Agencies do not mess around with bad or unreliable acts. They are looking for the best acts they can possibly get !

Pricing and availability
How long is a peice of string? Pricing can vary for many reasons. An experienced popular and established wedding band no doubt charge higher as their diaries are alot busier an are in demand, and so will normally have a set rate they will rarely will not play less for. However, off peak nights, say midweek or even fridays and sundays could bring the price down. Some bands and agencies wont budge on price but some will depending on the day of the week and time of year.  The summer is going to be hard to get discounted acts due to it being a busy period, but in January for example bands and acts may play for less.

Other pricing considerations
  • How many people in the band? - Also consider how many people there are in the band you book. If you want a solo acoustic act, this will come at much cheaper price then lets say an 8 piece soul band with brass section.
  • Uniqueness - If the act you require is rare or even unique then expect that this will refelct in price
  • Location - Most acts have an add on charge for distance.  A Band booked to play in their home townnwill obviosuly charge a less than if they have to travel 200 miles for the event
  • Set length - how long do you want the band to play ? Most agencies will specify how long the act would normally play for, for their set price. Additional time could cost additional money

All things considered a band just starting out will normally come at cheaper price than a very busy experienced wedding band. Bands who are looking for work and want to build reputation will want to be paid well, but will be alot more flexable with pricing. The agent normally will give you options to bands on their books that are good but new,  and may come at price that fits your budget. Or even direct you to an excellent duo or solo act who may be amazing but are of course cheaper because their are less members in the band.

How much would you expect to pay? 
Most Agencies work on the basis that the act have a recomended price they work for and then an agent fee of 15 to 20 percent is put on top. So one band may cost £400 and another £1000. That is for the act to specify to the agent and the agency works off the indvidual bands / acts pricing structure.
For experienced bands who make a living from Weddings and Functions you would normally be looking at paying £700 plus to book them. ( it can be a lot more depending )  This may include the agents fee or the agents fee may be on top. Some bands will play for a lot less but you would be hard pushed to find an agency full band for less than £350. If you do pick up a band from an agency at very cheap price question why ? and make sure you check the band out as much as possible to guard against the fact they might not be that good as you think, or maybe they are just cheap and that's that

Its worth noting that tribute bands are normally expensive because they are specific in what they do.

Solo artists would normally come at least £200 upwards. Their is vast array of solo artists who can come at variable prices. If you have a low budget with careful research or the help of a good agency you can could pick up a gem of an act that fits your budget. This also applies to duos , but expect them at no cheaper than £250 / £300

To confirm the booking as well as a signed contract the agency will normally ask for a deposit. This will protect you and the booked act against anything that goes horribly wrong. You can expect a full refund if their is major problem with the act - some agencies may hold back an admin fee, but a good agency will fully refund if the the problem has been with the act they supplied - it will all be specified in the contract of course so you know where you stand - worst scenario - the band didnt turn up! - very rare buthappens. Also if there is a viable exuse for a band not turning up - lets say a car accident or illness - the agent may be able to send down a replacement act at very short notice - and this may come at a disccount to over all price
Expect a deposit of 30 to 50 percent of overall price to confirm the booking. Once this has been paid and the contract signed then the act or band are committed to your Wedding. The remainder of the fee would normally be paid before the event. Each agency has its own policy within the contract, but expect to pay the rest a month or a week before the Wedding depending on the contract you have signed

What extra can the band provide ?
The band or act also may come with additional lighting and DJ options. This is worth asking the agency about when booking the act, if this is not specified in pre-contract discussions, ( it normally is specified ). Most serious weddings bands and acts ( but not all ) will set up their own lighting rig, ( and of course PA ), and some for an extra charge ( or free  ), will DJ the event to the end of the reception or when required. Price may fluctuate if you want the band to play longer than that they normally would. This would be negotiated before the contract is signed. Some bands however may play longer than asked on he night of the event for no extra charge. This is at their discretion if it is not in the contract.

Additional Details?
Ask the agency everything. Don't leave a stone unturned. Find out what songs the act or band normally play, and specify requests from the their repertoire or even ask for the band to learn certain songs you would like them to play. For most professional bands this is not a problem at all. Some discretion is maybe needed here. Although it is nice to have requests played or the band learn certain songs you wanted, it would be a  but much to ask the band to learn a whole new set? If this was the case maybe you have booked the wrong act and should look for one that plays the music you want. ( I once got asked to play a Wedding in my duo that we turned down because, although I was in an original act that mostly played original music - they wanted us to learn and play around 30 songs that we didn't know - due to time restraints and wondering why they wanted us we eventually turned down the show ) 
Make sure you are happy with your selection and everything is clear to all involved and that the agency and band /. act, know exactly what you want from them ( and that they are happy with this and can provide )  Read the contract and specify if you are not happy with anything - although most contracts look scary and cover quite a a lot- they are normally standard contracts that most agencies use with small changes depending on how that agency works. However, negotiate an amendment if needed.

To sum up

Obviously in the end - if you know a band personally or that come recommended then this may work for your Wedding.  As I mentioned earlier, this may be the best option for you. But agencies are their for a reason and specialise in sending quality acts that will deliver what you need with a written and signed contract.
On a day when you really want nothing to go wrong - and you want as little worry as possible it is worth remembered a good Live band agency wants to deliver a good service where everyone involved is satisfied and happy!!!

stuart mills ( music agent as apostrophe agency ) 

Friday, 16 March 2012

Giff Gaff down due to burst water pipe

My Phone network is down due a burst water pipe - LMAO - and theres me giving them plugs on my blog site - !!!!!!!!!!! lol read the article below ....


If it wasn't for the fact its my Mums birthday and I can't phone her I maybe wouldn't be so angry !!!!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Chainsaw artist and Sculptor Robot Cossey

Apostrophe would love to introduce you to the work of Sculptor Robot Cossey. Yes that's Robot not Robert!!!

Robot has been working on community / environmental / government and private commission's in the UK for over 13 years.. Armed with a Chainsaw Robots mostly works with various wood carvings but stone, marble and well any material is fair game for this experienced sculptor

We will be displaying techniques and chainsaw do's and don'ts over the next few months via this blog for but now I would like you to enter the world of Robot Cossey

Promo Video of Robot Cossey ( featuring music from Luke Brown )

Enjoy the following pics - if you would like more info on Robots work send us an email at apostropheartagency@hotmail.co.uk 
more of Robots work can be viewed on 

Thursday, 8 March 2012

My Top 5 bands / acts that are not famous

This is a personal favourite list of acts I have had the pleasure of booking over the last ten years that I regard as talented by booking them kept me enjoying what I do,  and although haven't maybe gone on to bigger things, I waned to highlight my favorite acts I have come across that havent gone on to major deals. They are all worth a sneeky look !

Some of these acts are still very active and some are not so , or have split up. However their music lives on via social media so why not point them your way !

The list is just a personal thing - I think they all hot number one at one stage !! today it just panned out like this ! Also you can maybe see my Bias to solo songwriters here aposed to bands. I can't help that x

5 - Ben Drummond
Ben is heavy weight of the UK unsigned midlands music scene. Adaptable and talented as a singer / bass player / guitarist and probably other things too. He is well worth checking out. Ben used to be in popular midlands trio ' positive firefly ' who's other two members have both gone on to success at varying levels.( Scott Matthews went on to  sign for Island as a solo artist, and Matt Thomas is in the Joy Formidable  who recently  provided the main song in feature film ' Breaking Dawn ' of the  Twilight's saga. 
Ben keeps good company!!!!
Musicianship alone, Ben has a reputation for excelling and is very active on the scene. Take a look. When watching the Video below make sure you catch the guitaring skills at the end !!

4 - Nell Bryden ( New York )
Nell is probably the most successful act on this list. Mainly down to hard work and talent! Apparently I was the first ever UK promoter to book Nell in England ( she later told me ) ( so her first gig in the UK was in Wolverhampton - lucky her lol ). I think I booked Nell three times all  in all, when she was on her self organised, self promoted UK tours. It gives me some sense of reward that although Nell Isn't main stream yet  she seems to be going from strength to strength and has had some minor success in UK. I walked into the pub I first booked at last year ( I don't work their anymore ) and Nell was  playing on their sound system. I wouldn't think any of the staff in that Bar would know any different or that Nell had kicked off her music career in the UK in that very same pub. But hearing that her music is getting played in a commercial chain bar, is very satisfying indeed.
 Above any act I have ever met ,  Nell showed me what hard work and dedication to your art can do and maybe this is someone worth keeping your eye on as she is obviously isn't finished with the music industry yet!

3 - Ian Darby
Ian is personal favourite. Great guitar player and pianist with a strong distinctive voice and great song writing skills. For the people that have met and seen Ian play there is little doubt his charm and talent will stick in their minds. In my opinion Ian is maybe unlucky not to have got further in the Industry as his talent is obvious. I think like allot of acts Ian is best when you catch him live. Some acts just have that X-Factor and send a shiver down your spine

2 - Louisa Hall
Personally Louisa is my favourite singer of all. She probably was the most hobbyist and humble attitude to her work ( songwriting ) of all the acts listed. No ego at all, this adds to her charm. Louisa songs were written on a personal level  and I had to encourage her on stage when i heard her sing. In fact I heard her sing and marched her on stage.......In fact looking back she very much took over my life for a while I was so mesmerised by her songs. Ever get the feeling you have found something golden? I don't think I have ever heard such a natural sweet vocal - added to her simplistic but effective song writing style I totally fell in love with her music.
 With Louisa I think life came first and her songwriting was a hobby that she took a lot of enjoyment out of. Her music was personal and this massively added to its effect. My bias would demand you take a look at her music. It really is a treat !!!!!

1 - The Dirty BackBeats
I maybe booked this act a few times for a year or so.They blew me away. I think they nearly got signed. then. when it didn't happen they split up.  'A bunch of drama students turned into a band ' was how they were described to me once. With a retro sound and look, they are probably my favourite band for live performance of all. To describe the lead singer. Let me think........he was like a manic Captain Beefheart on stilts. Some serious theatrics went into every show from the singer , and he had the ability to scare people with his facial expressions / intense stare and manic use of space. To listen to this band is one thing ( they are great , but the reason they are number one on my list is because Live they were just something else! Shame they are no more !!


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Hitler gets Double Crossed by Walt Disney ( parody )


 First of all I made this video for fun. After being a fan of all the Hitler parodies from the film ' Downfall ' especially. the bunker scene, I wanted to make my own version, A bit like my take on the ' Benton you tube spoofs ' I posted recently.http://apostrophe-stu.blogspot.com/2012/03/benton-goes-swimming.html

However I wasn't sure whether to Blog promote my latest Video  ' mess around '. Well I wasn't going to. However it seems my subtitles will not show on You Tube unless you click ( cc ) the subtitles option.  I was given an option of embedding ( so subtitles stick anyway ) if I posted the code to a site. So that's what I'm doing on here. Lets hope it works. As technology and I haven't see eye to eye in the last few days !!!

I quite liked the theme of Disney cheesing off Hitler and a lot of the dialogue I wrote is based around fact

  • Warner Bros's shorts looney tunes were more successful than Disney's shorts and Warners Characters were considered more rounded, Of course their was a massive 
  • rivalry between Diseny and Warner. 
  • Disney to this day has had a shadow cast over him ( true or not ) of rumours of racism ( 
  • within his work and on a personal level )  and possible actual ( rumoured ) links to the Nazi Party ( however, even if this is
  •  true I'm pretty sure Adolf didn't have much to do with Disney film making LOL ) I'm not 
  • leaving any links for the this debate - their are many sources online for and and against - google it and see 
  • the Nazi's used animation as a form for propaganda and so did studios such as Disney
So Obviously I had a bit of fun with scripting this spoof. I've watched a lot of the ' Downfall ' spoof / parodies, of the same bunker scene - and their are some great ones out there - some bad ones too - but some are quite clever

I hope anyone who watches my version will see the funny side in it and I am pretty sure any animation Geeks out there will enjoy some of the references I took from fact. Anyway it's just a bit of fun and I think I'm slowly getting addicted to ' messing around with videos ' and displaying them online. 

If anyone can suggest any links I should look at on You Tube of any hilarious Video spoof - leave a link on my blog - cheers

Monday, 5 March 2012

Benton Goes Swimming

As I get very bored late at night and can never sleep I thought I would make a Benton Movie just for fun - this ones for you Luke !!!!!!

enjoy !!!!!!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Live Music At Cheltenham Races - Apostrophe Music

Apostrophe Music News

If your going to Cheltenham Race Week March 13th to 16th of March then you may be interested to know that Apostrophe Music are providing Live Entertainment at the Spectre Pub for four days consecutively during Cheltenham race week.

So once you have finished your great day at the races and are looking for somewhere to spend some of you winnings we highly recommend you have a look at the Quality Cover Acts we are providing The Spectre Pub that week.

Wed 14th of March - start time 9 pm ( LADIES DAY at Cheltenham Races )

Most definitely an act for the ladies - young good looking with the voice of an angel - check out the very popular Luke Brown -

Thur 15th March - start time 7.30 pm ( St Patricks Thursday at Cheltenham Races )
 Without doubt the most popular Cover Band Apsostrophe have on their roster A Favourite at The Spectre the Copicats will not disappoint and if you want a good night out then go and party watching this great act!!!!!
Fri 16th March start time 7.30pm ( The Gold Cup at Cheltenham Races ) 
A fantastic Irish act to see out Cheltenham Races. We know Cheltenham will be cray after the Gold Cup so if you want to see out the race week and see in St Patricks day in style there is only one place to be. The Spectre pub !!!!
Sat 17th March - start time 9.15 pm ( St Patricks Days )
Another Crowd Favourite at the Spectre Pub. AKA return to play you some top quality cover songs spanning many decades and will give your St Patrick Day Celebrations a massive boost if you are partying in the Spectre Pub 


Thursday, 1 March 2012

Dead Rock Stars Waking Me Up In the Morning

Ok, so this post is dedicated to my mother, who seemed to enjoy waking me in the morning telling me rock stars I am a fan of are dead !!!!! ......and her being so blasé about it !!!

First of all as a teenager ( 14 to 16 ) I was a massive Queen fan. Especially pre 1980 Queen. I  love the early stuff. and Freddy Mercury is definitely, still to this day, one of my favourite vocalist with his unique style. What a singer!!!!

I think I was probably the age of around 17 in 1991 and  I remember my Mum barging into my room and saying - ' come on get up, get out of bed ', and on her way out in passing, saying ' oh by the way Freddy Mercury is Dead '. Knowing I was a fan - she seemed a little blasé about it - but I thought - Ok, why should my mum care - its not like Michael Bolton has Died LOL ( this is the music she subjected me to in her car where Michael ruled the airwaves )

Lets fast forward to 1993 and by now I am a Frank Zappa freak. I have found my music after years of searching. I respected Freddy, but Frank and his music was, and still is one of my main obsessions,

Same scenario.....my mum in my room waking me up to tell me - ' You know that guy your into, Zappa or whoever, .......well he;s DEAD ! ' .....and then I'm sure she smiled and left the room.

GUTTED.....cheers mum !!!

I knew he had been ill but hadn't followed it to closely - so I was shocked at the news - and instantly gutted I would never get to see him play live.

This is my mum taking an interest in the music I like - by never talking to me about the people I listen to until they die. HA

If Michael Bolton ( no dis-respect Michael - I  hope you live forever- and your mullet too lol ) ever pops his clogs, I may have to get up early that day and pay my mother a visit.


Rest In Peace DAVY JONES from the Monkees

Just a quick Ode to Davy Jones from the Monkees - One of my fav moments from one of my Fav Music films ' Head ' - ' Daddy's Song ' ............enjoy