Adam here, co-founder of FixTheMusic. I thought I’d take some time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about set lists.
It’s a simple topic, but there’s certainly more to think about that meets the eye.
At FixTheMusic, we’ve built up a huge knowledge of professional cover bands over the years, so we thought we’d share it with you to help you in the process of hiring a wedding band. So let’s get started!
So, what exactly is a set list for a wedding band?
A set list is also referred to as a repertoire list or song list. Put simply, it’s a list of the covers that the wedding band have rehearsed and are able to perform at your wedding.
How many songs are on an average wedding band set list?
It really does vary hugely from band to band. More specialised bands, for example a Motown and soul wedding band, may have a smaller set list or around 40 to 60 covers, whereas a more versatile wedding band may have several hundred songs on their repertoire list.
What genres of covers are on wedding band set lists?
As mentioned above, some party bands perform a broad range of covers from 1950s rock ’n’ roll to 1970s funk, to 90s covers and even chart songs from recent years. Some bands specialise in one genre, e.g. 90s tribute wedding bands that perform covers exclusively from this decade.
But how many songs will the band perform at my wedding, as it can’t be every cover on the set list?
This is a good question. Most wedding bands will ask you to list some covers from their set list that you absolutely do want, and some that you definitely don’t want. Bands will then take your preferences on board to create a list of songs to perform on the evening. Wedding bands usually perform 2 sets of 45mins or 1 hour, meaning that they perform roughly 15-20 songs in each set, so 30-40 covers in total.
Can I choose every song for the band to perform on my wedding day?
Most bands will strongly advise against asking them to perform a list of songs completely dictated by the client. This is because experienced bands know exactly which songs will complement your preferences, in which order to perform them and, crucially, they need some leeway on the night to “read the room” in deciding which songs to perform at which moments.
What if there’s a song that I really want to be performed that isn’t on their set list?
Most wedding bands will offer to learn 1 or 2 songs free of charge, especially if it’s for your first dance. Any extra songs will be charged at a fee for learning and rehearsing. A fee is charged as it’s a time-consuming process to arrange the parts for each instrument, followed by rehearsing. In our experience, the cost is roughly £50 to £100 for each new song request, or a bit more for larger bands.
How often do wedding bands update their set lists?
Generally, bands update their set lists once a year after learning new material before the start of each summer wedding season.
Are the set lists for bands on FixTheMusic up-to-date?
The vast majority are up-to-date, but it can be worth checking with the band as they may have recently learned some new covers which they haven’t added to their profile yet.
Where can I find the band’s set list on their FixTheMusic profile?
On mobile, the set list is at the bottom of the page below the band’s photos. On widescreen desktop, the set list is on the right column, below the band’s photos.
What’s the usual format for a set list?
Most bands will group songs into categories, for example genres (e.g. funk, soul, indie, rock) or into decades (e.g. 50s, 60s, 70s…you get the picture). Most wedding bands list the song as well as the artist/composer.
Is there anything more to say about wedding band set lists?
I think that’s pretty much it. Set lists are a great way of getting a good idea about the style of the band so it’s important to look over it before booking. We hope this will serve to be a comprehensive list of FAQs on the subject, but If you still have a question about repertoire lists, let us know and we’ll add it to the list!
We hope you've enjoyed reading this blog post.
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— Adam is a co-founder of FixTheMusic and works on everything from copywriting and marketing to design and user experience. He studied Music at Cambridge University. Adam is a keen pianist, and also learned cello and trumpet from an early age.