Top 5 Tips To Make Sure Your Party Is A Success

Top 5 Tips To Make Sure Your Party Is A Success

Here are my top 5 tips to ensure that your party is successful.

  1. Find the right location
  2. Get the people there
  3. Give them plenty to eat and drink
  4. Avoid long speeches
  5. Provide great entertainment

1. Find The Right Location

There is no right or wrong location when it comes to planning an event or party. It all comes down to what suits your needs. The most important aspect is matching your numbers to the size of your space.

People Create Energy

Energy is an intangible thing, but groups of people definitely emit energy. The most obvious example of this is a large crowd of people at either a concert or a sporting fixture. This group energy often gets described as “the atmosphere” or “the vibe”. It’s unlikely that you’ll have sixty thousand people at your party, but then you won’t be holding your party in a football arena. The important thing is matching your expected numbers to the size of the venue.

Avoid Disjointed Spaces

The best parties are when everybody is all in together. Venues with separate spaces break up the energy flow which can affect the vibe of your party. There is a memorable party scene in the film, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”. The party is being held in an apartment and the guests are packed in like sardines. It’s a perfect example of how the density of people creates atmosphere inducive of a memorable party.

A Room With A View

A venue with a spectacular outlook will make your party visually memorable, however it’s definitely not an essential element. A lounge room in someone’s house can be totally memorable if the next 4 elements are in order.

2. Get The People There

Pitching Is Everything

We live in a competitive world, and this crosses over into getting people along to your party or event. Depending on the time of year, you may be competing with (i) other events/parties (ii) major sporting events, e.g. Bledisloe Cup (iii) people’s family commitments (iv)  conscientiousness regarding work commitments

Saturday Nights

Saturday night is the most common choice as “party night”, but this can add to the difficulties in getting people to show up. Your potential guests may have invitations to one or more other parties on the same night. This is especially a factor to consider in summer months. To counteract this, you’ll need to sell your party as the superior party or event to attend.

You’ll also need to invite your guests well in advance, and keep reminding them of what an amazing party you’ll be having.

Fridays and Sundays

Choosing Friday and Sunday tend to be second and third choices, but choosing either of these days is a strong strategy to avoid competing with potentially a multitude of other parties. Sundays are particularly underrated for parties. The general view is that most people have to work the next day, but realistically if your party runs from 5pm until 10pm this shouldn’t be a deterrent. Besides, if people are that worried about working, how much much fun will they be at your party, anyway?

Ultimately, any day is a great day for a party if you throw a great party!

3. Give Them Plenty To Eat And Drink

My Dad used to say to me (the day after one of his numerous parties), “the sign of a good party is plenty of alcohol left over the next day”. When I first heard him say this I was puzzled, but as I pondered on this pearl of wisdom I realised the truth in it.

Food Upon Arrival

Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach is something to avoid, so I recommend plenty of food available upon arrival. It’s all about giving your guests the opportunity to pace themselves. If your guests get smashed in the first hour things can turn ugly.

On the topic of food, make sure you provide plenty of gluten free options. It’s becoming more  and more common for people to be on restrictive diets. Many people either can’t eat or try to avoid eating bread. Offer options such as sushi or sliced vegetables with dip.

If your guests are well catered for, they won’t want to leave. If they are hungry and sober, they’ll leave quickly.

4. Avoid Long Speeches

The Ultimate Party Killing Story

I once played at a 21st Birthday Party where the father of the girl turning 21 took the microphone and preluded his speech with, “I have 21 pages to get through… one page for each year of my daughter’s life”. His speech lasted for one and a quarter hours, after which everybody left. We then played to an empty room for the rest of the night, (except for the birthday girl and her immediate family).

Well written speeches can be hilarious. Work out what you want to say, and then add some funny bits. Avoid people speaking “off the cuff”. Speakers who are unprepared will ramble. A few drunks will laugh and encourage them, while they proceed will killing the vibe of your party.

If you are having speeches, make three your limit.

5. Provide Great Entertainment

Nothing beats hiring professionals who know what they are doing. If you are hiring professional caterers to feed your guests, then also consider hiring professional entertainers to entertain your guests.

A lot of the time, guests can keep themselves entertained with find people to talk to, or finding someone to talk at. People dread being cornered by a bore. Your guests came to your party to have fun, not to be talked at. Give them an escape… “Yes, that’s really interesting, but I love this song and I really want to dance”!

Great Entertainment Will Make Your Guests Want To Come To Your Next Party Or Event

It’s all about creating a memorable experience for your guests (and yourself). If your guests are having a great time, then you’ll be having a great time.

Examples of entertainment could include;

  • Magician
  • Comedian
  • Surprise singers
  • An engaging and entertaining band
Top 5 Tips To Make Sure Your Party Is A Success
Party time!
Top 5 Tips To Make Sure Your Party Is A Success
Dancing

And…if you want a ukulele player in Sydney, try – http://www.sugarmanslim.com/

Same Sex Marriage and Band Hire

Same Sex Marriage and Band Hire

Last Saturday night we played at a post wedding celebration for Daniel and Damon. There wedding was in New York, U.S.A. last year. Obviously, the wedding was wasn’t in Australia, because that can’t happen here, yet.

Same sex marriage after party

Damon (one of the grooms) is from America. Daniel (the other groom) is Australian. The party was at Icebergs at Bondi Beach. It was a cocktail styled function (a particular format of which I am a big fan). Cocktail style styled functions are wonderful because guests aren’t stuck sitting between two people for half the night. They are free to mingle and move around. The ambiance is far more relaxed. Also, generally people tend to dance more at this type of function.

Icebergs, Bondi Beach

While we have never played at a same sex “wedding“, we have played at three same sex “commitment ceremonies”. These have been exactly like weddings, except that Australian Law doesn’t recognise the marriage as being legal.

I am mostly extremely proud to be Australian, but I must admit a little embarrassment that Australia is so far behind so many other countries around the world when it comes to marriage equality. Hopefully, our country’s leaders with cease stalling on this matter.

In an era where marriage has moved away from the old notion of “until death do us part”, and become more like a “legal partnership”, the current government’s procrastination on this matter is antiquated to say the least.

For your information, here is a list of countries that recognise same sex marriages;

Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Uruguay

To read more about same sex marriages, you might like to click on these links;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage

http://www.freedomtomarry.org/landscape/entry/c/international

http://www.pinkfamilies.com/same-sex-marriage-how-many-countries-allow-gay-marriage/

And finally… here’s some footage from the night!

Memorable Events – How Hiring A Band Can Help

should i hire a band for my 40th

Memorable Events – How Hiring a Band Can Help

Our lives are made up of memories. The more amazing they are, the better our lives have been.

Last week I drove past The Albion Park Aerodrome (just south of Wollongong). I had a flash back to the only time in my life that I have ever been up in a small four-seater light aeroplane.
A family friend (who I used to call Uncle John) had a passion for flying and had a licence to fly light aircraft. As a treat one day, he took his his son, my brother and me up for about an hour flying over the Illawarra District. I must have been around 11 or 12 years of age, yet the memory is still strong in my mind. And, every time I drive south along Princes Highway and go past the little Albion Park Aerodrome, I recall the experience. That was a long times ago, but it’s a memory that I always remember and cherish. ‘Uncle John’ died about twenty years ago, and his son has also recently passed away, yet the memory of that hour long flight remains with me.
Similarly, whenever I play with my band at a function, whether it be a wedding, birthday party or ball, I am aware of how significant these special events are in people’s lives. These are occasions and milestones that always stay with us, so it’s important to make sure you remember them as exceptional experiences and not as regrets.
At almost every function we play at, the organiser  has employed a photographer. They are there to capture the ‘memories’ in photographs. We (the band) are there to create the memories. The guys in my band are sick of hearing me say this, as it’s become my mantra whenever playing at private functions…

“Come on guys, let’s create some memories!”

Memorable Events - How Hiring A Band Can Help

 

Memorable Events - How Hiring A Band Can Help
Party time!

Jacqui & Kieran – Centennial Park Dining

Jacqui and Kieran –

Centennial Park Dining, 11th July, 2015

On Saturday, 11th July, 2015 we played at Jacqui and Kieran’s wedding reception at Centennial Park Dining. *(For more information on this venue, please refer to their website – http://www.cpdining.com.au/  )

Jacqui and Kieran are a great couple with heaps of friends and family members who love to dance.

Jacqui is a high school music teacher. One of her close friends is Natalie. She is also a high school music teacher. The two of them met while studying music at University of New South Wales. At the wedding, Natalie was one of Jacqui’s bridesmaids, and as a special treat, Natalie actually sang the song for the bridal dance. The song was “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, (originally recorded by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons). Here’s a short piece of footage of Natalie singing this song with the band, while Kieran and Jacqui dance their bridal dance.

 

I managed to get an awesome collection of photographs from the evening.

This is me and the groom, Kieran.

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

 

Here I am with the bride, Jacqui

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

 

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

 

Long Reef Golf Club – What’s The Best Band To Hire?

Long Reef Golf Club – What’s The Best Band To Hire?

Long Reef Golf Club - What's The Best Band To Hire?
Slide McBride playing at Long Reef Golf Club

 

Maybe you have made a booking to hold your event, function or wedding reception at Long Reef Golf Club and now you are pondering on what’s the best band to hire for this venue.  We love playing at Long Reef Golf Club, Collaroy, and these are three reasons that come straight to mind.

1. The people who run the events are so amazing

You can meet “nice, friendly” people every day, but when you encounter “nice, friendly” people who are fantastic at their job and are totally switched on to you needs, then that takes things to a completely different level. Toni, Chantelle and Alex are exceptional at what they do. “Passion” is one thing, but professionalism and attention to detail take things to a completely different level. Follow this link to read more, from the Long Reef Golf Club website – http://longreefgolfclub.com.au/beach-weddings/meet-team/

2. It’s such a cracking location

Going to the Northern Beaches is like visiting a different country. The area offers something unique to the rest of Sydney. It’s a whole “vibe” thing. The sea, the surf and the area’s separation contribute to this, but more than anything, it’s the people. They are relaxed and chilled but also friendly and approachable. In addition, they are also cultured and intelligent. These traits translate through the staff at Long Reef Golf Club. It extends through from the event-sales staff right through to the bar and wait staff.

3. The venue’s layout enables us to demonstrate our full versatility

We (the band) can play in so many different formats, but at Long Reef Golf Club, we can really show off our full versatility. We can play outdoors in our roving acoustic format. We can also play outdoors with amplification which works so well in the summer when the afternoons are so long. When we play inside, it is possible for us to do two separate set-ups. We can play relaxed dinner music with a cut-down version of using amplifiers. We can then crank things up in the annexed room with the wooden dance floor.

We have quite a bit of footage of the band playing at Long Reef Golf Club – some indoors and some outdoors. Please take a look…

 

 

Best Band To Hire For Event at Zest, The Spit

Best Band To Hire For Event at Zest, The Spit

Maybe you are wondering, “Who would be the best band to hire for my forthcoming event at Zest, The Spit”? I have had a long association with Zest at the Spit. My band actually played at the opening of this venue. We always relish the opportunity to play there. It’s a superb venue and here are the three things that make it so;

  1. Their food
  2. Their service
  3. The location

Food

If you hire a band, photographer, videographer or professional MC, it is expected that you supply these people with a “service meal” or “crew meal”. This is typically a main course. Therefore, whenever we play at Zest, we get a sample of the menu. So when I write here that the food at Zest is superb, I am writing from my experiences. In addition to this, anyone who make a comments on Zest always rave about how good the food is.

Service

I have played at pretty much every venue in Sydney, and I have witnessed plenty of substandard service. Some venues will use “agency staff”, which usually equates to backpackers on holiday trying to earn a few dollars before the go scuba diving in Cairns. Needless to say, their attitude and effort leave much to be desired. In complete contract, the staff at Zest are totally professional. They are quick, friendly and attentive and… they actually smile.

Location

The Spit is a gorgeous location, and Zest makes perfect use of this harbour backdrop. Pre-dinner drinks are typically held outside on the balcony. Guests can mingle with the ambiance of water and boats, and with stunning views across to Clontarf. The decor of the room is modern and contemporary.

My band specialises in playing at events for between 50 and 150 people where we set up on the floor and become a focus point for the party. A venue such as Zest, The Spit is perfect for what we do. We can play outside on the balcony (in our roving acoustic format). We can also play in this format in the bar area next door to the dining room. We can play throughout dinner at an intensity where people can still comfortably hold a conversation. After dinner, we can cause a commotion to get your gets into motion and inspire them to dance the rest of the evening away.

Best Band To Hire For Event at Zest, The Spit
Singing During Dinner at Zest, The Spit

For more on Zest at The Spit, check out their website –

http://zest.net.au/

Best Band To Hire For ‘View By Sydney’

hire a band

Best Band To Hire For ‘View By Sydney’

One of my favourite venues in Sydney has just been rebranded. It is now called “View By Sydney”.

I have had a long association with this venue under various names and incarnations. Initially the venue was Ottoman Cuisine. It was an exceptional Turkish restaurant owned by chef, Serif Kaya. He was commuting from Canberra but tired from the long drive to work.

Next, it became The Wharf at Pier 2. This was a re-location of the Wharf Restaurant from it’s original location at the end of piers 4 & 5 (The Sydney Theatre Company). Their lease came up for renewal and the people on the board of the Sydney Theatre Company wanted their space back. The end of their lease coincided with Serif Kaya wanting to stay in Canberra, so Serif leased out the restaurant space and it became The Wharf at Pier 2.

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out. The Wharf at Pier 2 went into receivership and the lease was taken over by The Dede’s Group. They have a few restaurants around Sydney’s waterfront, including Dede’s (at The Sydney Rowing Club, Abbotsford)  and Deckhouse (in Woolwich).  Originally, the restaurant was called Dedes On The Wharf, but Dede’s Group has now re-branded the restaurant as ‘View By Sydney’.

Enough on history, what about the space?

The restaurant is in a great part of town. Situated at Dawe’s Point near the based of the Harbour Bridge, it’s close to the CBD,  has exquisite views of the harbour yet there is  plenty of parking. The room will comfortably sit 150 for dinner. Naturally, they can accommodate larger and small groups, but 150 people is comfortable.

For pre-dinner drinks, they have an outdoor area that looks across the harbour to Lavender Bay and the Harbour Bridge. There are wharves adjacent, so you have the option of using a ferry or water taxi as your means of transport. If you use this outdoor space for your pre-dinner drinks, the band can start off in our roving acoustic mode.

The space for the band to set up inside is small but completely adequate for my four piece band. The venue will lay a dance floor in front of where the band sets up, which is usually the northern corner of the room.

Best Band To Hire For 'View By Sydney'
Guests dancing

 

Best Band To Hire For An Event At Athol Hall

Best Band To Hire For An Event At Athol Hall

If there’s one venue in Sydney that suits the band better than anywhere else in Sydney, it’s got to be Athol Hall, AND… if there’s one venue that we have played at more than any other venue in Sydney, it’s got to be Athol Hall.

Set in Sydney Harbour National Park, Athol Hall is just down from Taronga Zoo off Bradley’s Head Road in Mosman on Sydney’s lower North Shore. It has views across to the Sydney CBD.

There are four things that I love about Athol Hall;

  1. The outdoor space
  2. The indoor space
  3. The owner of the business
  4. The native wildlife

The Outdoor Space

Athol Hall boasts an expansive lawn, surrounded by native Australian bushland. This is a perfect setting for the band to perform in our “roving acoustic” format, but rather than trying to describe this using words, these film clips will show this better.

The Indoor Space

The hall itself is wooden and approximately a hundred years old and has loads of rustic charm. Old wood enhances the quality of resonance. Much the same as an old violin or double bass having a superior sound, when the band plays acoustically inside the hall, the sound is amazing.

The hall is the perfect size for weddings and parties. We recently played at a wedding there for 30 people. We have also played there for a capacity crowd of around 160.

Here’s the band rocking out at Athol Hall (later in the evening).

The Owners Of The Business (Athol Hall)

In this day and age, a function-venue actually being run by a husband and wife partnership is a rarity. I would estimate 95% of function-venues in Sydney are run by corporations with vast networks of managers and staff. What is so refreshing about playing at Athol Hall is that every time we turn up there to play, the business owner, Susan Hewitt is there setting things up and liaising with other suppliers. We have a chat and a catch up before we get on with things. It’s so refreshing!

The Native Wildlife

This is a superb venue if you are going to have guests coming from overseas. The wildlife is surprisingly tame. They help create that ‘uniquely Australian’ vibe. There are kookaburras, possums, bush turkeys and lizards. Check out the cheeky possum in this clip (below).

Buying a Bed and Hiring a Band

Buying a Bed and Hiring a Band

What could possibly be similar about the experiences of buying a bed or hiring a band? If you’d like to know, then read on…

Earlier this year, I was waking up with a sore back, and decided that I needed a new mattress. So, like everyone does in this day and age, I open up my laptop and hit Google with key words, “mattresses” + “Sydney”. The result was overwhelming. An endless list appears, and I stared at the screen for about half an hour until I gave up wading through the listings. Can’t I just find a local mattress shop and physically go there and lie on a few beds?

I knew that my local David Jones store has a mattress section, so I went down and got some good old-fashion customer service. The only problem was that their cheapest mattress was $3,500. I was tempted, but not convinced and so I continued on in my hunt.

A few days later, I was driving down Parramatta Road through Annandale, and noticed a shop called “Mattress City”.  http://www.mattresscity.net.au/ I didn’t stop, but made a mental note of the business’s name. Later that day, I put “mattress city annandale” into the Google Search bar, and found the shop’s website. I rang up, but seriously… what can someone tell you about mattresses over the phone? The shop owner’s advice made sense, “Come into the shop and try lying on them”.

The next problem I encountered was to convince my wife that it was worth our while to drive to Annandale to check out this shop. “What do we need to go to Annandale for? Can’t we just buy it ‘on-line’ “?

Buying a mattress is something you only do every ten years or so.  While buying on-line was definitely an option, I didn’t feel confident in making the right choice by looking at websites. In addition, if my choice was poor, it’s difficult to return for a refund or replacement.

I managed to get my wife to come out to Annandale, but when she saw the shop from the outside she baulked and had a meltdown because she didn’t like the appearance of the shop. The shop looked a bit dingy and was cramped with mattresses. It was definitely no “Ikea”. This shop was old school, like going into a shop back in the 70’s before professional marketers transformed our lives into the world of Westfield. We are now so conditioned by the model set up for us by mass market retail chains with demographically specific music chosen to suit the shoppers at different times of the day, and not too many choices in products. Getting her into the shop was like trying to pull a cat by a lead into a swimming pool, but I eventually talked her into the store.

The shop is owned and run by George. This is a classic, school one man show. He answers the phone, does the selling, orders the stock and even delivered our mattress (but more on that later). And George knows EVERYTHING there is to know about mattress. His knowledge and expertise was mind blowing. His frankness and honesty was totally refreshing. His level of service puts most retailers to shame. But best of all, his price was better than we could have got anywhere else. It truly saddens me that the “George’s” of our world are a dying breed. Everything in retail has been taken over by franchises run by people with no passion for what they are selling. They’re just products with  dollar signs attached.

George personally delivered our new mattress. He was concerned about our narrow and steep staircase and didn’t want to take a risk that his regular delivery guy may bend the new mattress in the wrong way. This exemplifies his level of passion, care and service – unequaled.

So… when it comes to hiring a band for you once in ten year party or function, wouldn’t you like to get that same level of passion, care and service?

Buying a Bed and Hiring a Band Buying a Bed and Hiring a Band

Wedding at Gunners Barracks

We played at David and Danielle’s wedding reception at The Gunners Barracks, Georges Heights on Friday, 16th January.

The Gunners Barracks is always a great venue for us. The quirky nature of the different spaces makes it an ideal place for us to show all the different facets of what we do.

David and Danielle chose to have a cocktail style wedding. I am personally a huge fan of this style of event. It means that guests don’t get stuck at a table between two people for two to three hours.

We spent the first two hours playing acoustically out on the terrace, and then we played with amplification in the main room.

hire a band

Bride and groom, Danielle and David

hire a band

Selfie with guests out on terrace

blake keep

Blake playing his saxophone