How to Hire Musicians & Bands for a Private Dinner Party – A Short Guide

6 NOVEMBER 2021 (Updated 30 OCTOBER 2023)
Blog post by Adam Southall

In the beginning, music was live. Before the phonograph was invented in 1877 and recordings became widespread (from about 1900), you had to hear a musician in person to hear music at all.

A more dramatic way of putting this is that music was performed in real-time for thousands of years and only recorded for 100 of them. When it boils down to it, music is essentially something that happens in the moment.

We at FixTheMusic want to encourage those moments to happen more often, particularly in the home. It’s not as expensive as you might think, and it can elevate a simple drinks gathering amongst friends to a night to remember. If you upgrade a dinner party to include live music, the performance may even become the centrepiece of the evening that everyone remembers.

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Live music should not be limited to one-off events like weddings, funerals and birthdays ending in zero. It should be enjoyed regularly, and the more innocuous the occasion the better; your guests will arrive unassuming and leave feeling elated!

Last year I hosted a Burns’ Night dinner, Scotland’s unofficial public holiday celebrating the work of poet Robert Burns. The guest list was small – a handful of friends and family – and the food was classic (cock-a-leekie soup, haggis, neeps ’n’ tatties, and homemade trifle).

The highlight was hiring a London-based bagpiper to play outside in the street before the serving of the haggis.

It was a Saturday evening around 7:45pm when the bagpiper kicked off with Scotland the Brave.

Had it been a weekday or a later hour, our neighbours may have been less kind. As it happened the reedy tones and the uplifting medley caught the attention of many in the street, and one by one windows were thrown open to catch the tune.

Someone shouted ‘encore’ and the bagpiper duly obliged with a delightful uptempo folk number which gathered applause from both sides of the street.

We then invited him upstairs to play the Scottish smallpipes in our living room.

If the thought of enduring bagpipes indoors fills you with dread, think again.

The Smallpipes are a beautifully mellow instrument, well suited to indoor playing and background music, and the intimacy of hearing the instrument up-close, along with an explanation of how it works, made for a great break between our starter and main course.

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Sure, you can be your own DJ and searching Spotify or YouTube for your favourite songs has never been easier, but it’s not quite the same as making personal requests when a musician is performing live in the flesh.

Cover bands on FixTheMusic have public liability insurance and PAT tested equipment.

Here are some of our most in-demand function bands for dinner parties performing live...

View more videos and read verified reviews of The London Roaming Band ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of Wandering Three ➡️

Should you be looking for something a little different for your dinner party, then other great choices include Caribbean steel drum bands, a trad jazz lineup like The Moonshine Jazz Band, a vintage-style jazz band, or even a roaming acoustic act like the modern Mexican mariachi band Sonora Mariachi Band, whose pop covers are original and great fun.

View more videos and read verified reviews of Sonora Mariachi Band ➡️

Another popular Mexican live music group is The London Mariachi Band...a group of musicians with over 15 years of experience. They are a group of young and professional musicians who create the best Mexican music. They are dedicated to entertaining each audience in the best possible way and spreading the Mariachi word.

View more videos and read verified reviews of The London Mariachi Band ➡️

FixTheMusic also has a great selection of acoustic singers and acoustic duos, from gentle folk-based repertoire to the beautiful pop covers sung by London-based guitarist-singer, Thomas Philip.

View more videos and read verified reviews of Thomas Philip ➡️

Other popular choices include a classical harpist. Cheshire-based harpist Ellie Tessa has performed at numerous dinner parties – and provides a very elegant style of background music for drinks receptions in particular.

View more videos and read verified reviews of Ellie Tessa ➡️

Whatever music you choose, performing outdoors requires cover from rain (it wouldn't be a British summer without) so musicians don't get wet and, more importantly, any electrical equipment is protected from water.

Mariachi bands are also an ideal choice for outside parties this summer. With no need for electricity or wires, they can set up anywhere in the house – and instantly bring that fiesta feeling to the event.

Sonora Mariachi Band are one of our most popular pop covers mariachi bands based in London.

Acoustic duos are also an excellent idea for a laid-back dinner party, providing light musical accompaniment while your guests enjoy cocktails and nibbles.

Here are a few of FixTheMusic's most popular acoustic duos...

View more videos and read verified reviews of Sunbirds Duo ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of Acoustic Royale ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of Thomas Philip ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of Cover Brothers ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of NOMAD Lite ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of The London Acoustic Duo ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of Acoustic Nights ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of Wandering Three ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of The Manhattan Roamers ➡️

A Burns supper is usually held around 25th January, and is just one of many dates worth putting in the diary alongside those of the saints (e.g. Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day), traditional English public holidays like May Day (morris dancing anyone?) and a whole host of festivals from around the world including Germany’s Oktoberfest and Mexico’s Day of the Dead.

There are musicians to suit all these occasions from solo violinist, brought in to serenade during a marriage proposal, to Spanish guitarists who specialise in Mariachi songs and repertoire.

But it’s not just official dates that can be celebrated with music. The point we’re making here is that your favourite music is always worth celebrating.

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Try hiring a saxophonist or trumpet player to perform some jazz standards, or an acoustic guitarist or pianist to cover pop classics either in the background or accompanying a drunken singalong. A laptop playlist is all very well but it’s not the real thing. Why settle for a mud hut when you can bring the Empire State Building into your living room?

FixTheMusic is a one-stop shop for booking outstanding professional musicians – and it's completely free for you to use.

Fill in the enquiry form to receive offers directly from hand-picked musicians. Once you've confirmed details with your preferred act, book and pay securely through our secure online checkout.

— 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.