How will flight bookings work?
We will work closely with you to select flights which are as cost-effective as possible for your client while getting the band on site with plenty of time for sound check and setup. We're very conscious of leaving enough allowance for flight delays, slow transfers or late-running production setup for sound check. We politely request that flights depart from London airports not before 9am (if the band are flying out on the day of the event), as a 9am flight = 5am wakeup so any earlier is too tiring. We strongly suggest that flight times and availablity are checked early on in the booking process, and definitely prior to contracting, to ensure that it’s possible to get the band on site at a suitable time with enough contingency built in.
Once we have confirmed the band for you (i.e. received your contract and deposit payment), we will send you through a spreadsheet of full band names and baggage requirements – for most bands this will be 1 checked bag for the majority and 2 for the rest – and passport scans. Once booked, please send us through booking confirmations for all passengers for us to check and save.
How will hotel bookings work?
Most LMI bands will need single-occupancy accommodation in a good-quality hotel (in Europe we advise this typically means 4* or higher / in MEA 5*) – please check with us if you’re unsure of your band’s requirements. We politely request double-sized beds (not single size), en suite bathrooms, air conditioned rooms, 24 hour reception, and 24 hour check-in and check-out (where possible). We recommend booking a hotel as close to your venue as possible to minimise transfer times. We can only agree to the band being divided between multiple hotels where no other option is possible.
Please double check your proposed hotel or hotels with us before booking by sending us a link to hotel website and a Tripadvisor / Booking.com review. Many thanks!
Choosing a local audio production supplier
If you don’t have a local audio production supplier in mind for PA and backline, there are various options we would suggest. It is likely that your venue will have one or more preferred suppliers they can recommend – it’s worth getting quotes from more than one, and letting them know you will be comparing quotations. It’s also worth checking with us whether we have worked in your area before and know of any good suppliers local to you. Lastly, we occasionally find for larger shows that it can be more cost-effective (believe it or not!) to drive all equipment from the UK booked through one of our heavily discounted preferred suppliers. If the quotes you’re receiving from local hire companies are looking prohibitive, please ask us about this option.
In order for your local supplier to produce an accurate quote they will need our Technical Rider (list of all technical equipment required) and Backline List (list of instruments and amplifiers required – see next section). Please ask us for these at whatever stage you’re ready to start sourcing production quotes.
Poor-quality or late-running local audio production suppliers are (by far) the main cause of issues for overseas bookings, so we politely recommend that if you haven’t worked with your supplier before, you let us know who you propose booking with before confirming them. We will put our technical advance coordinator Guilhem in touch with them to check that they can cater for our needs and that their quality will do justice to your band booking.
Which instruments will the band bring, and what needs to be hired for us locally?
Most airlines are increasingly restrictive about musicians carrying instruments as cabin luggage, with even medium-sized instruments sometimes refused boarding. Many instruments cannot safely travel in the hold due to (very real) risk of expensive damage. Therefore we ask that all instruments which can’t be guaranteed safe cabin luggage transit are booked for us locally. This will include all backline, i.e. drumkit, keyboard, guitars, amplifiers. We will send you a Backline Rider (i.e. instrument and amplifier list) together with the Technical Rider, which includes various either/or options.
How will catering work?
Unlike most agencies, we do not quote you a fixed catering rate per musician per day (i.e. a ‘per diem’), but instead only bill you for meals which are not already catered on site at the event venue, as this is much more cost-effective for you. To avoid effectively charging you twice for any meal, we quote a fixed amount per musician for each meal not provided for us on site (this varies slightly according to local restaurant costs in your area) with different rates for lunches, dinners, and meals coinciding with airport or flight times. Breakfast should always be pre-booked for us with the hotel.
Because final event schedules and band movements are often not known at the point of booking the band, we recommend waiting until these have been finalised before calculating your per diem cost – typically we will include these in your 50% remainder invoice, billed 3-4 weeks before your event. The band will then withdraw the correct amount in local currency in the UK, so that they can operate independently. This is simpler and less stressful than asking you or your event planner to arrange cash on our arrival.
Some LMI bands including most party bands will also have a dressing room rider – please see Will there be a dressing room rider?
Organising ground transfers
Ground transfers will typically be needed from the airport to the band’s hotel (or venue if they are going directly there), between the hotel and venue for getting to and from sound check and show, and from the hotel back to the airport the following day. We will work closely with you to put together an optimal ground transfers schedule allowing plenty of contingency for delays. Usually this will be done in the 3-4 weeks prior to an event, at which stage the final schedule for band movements will have taken shape.
Late-running (or non-arriving) transfers are a common cause of problems on overseas events, so it’s important that ground transfers are pre-booked for us through a reliable and trusted local car or bus company. We’ll ask you to share the company name and contact number with us, and for drivers to hold signs showing the band name for all collections. Where possible it’s helpful for drivers to be English-speaking. Please allow sufficient space in vehicles for instruments and luggage.
Bands can not travel by public transport or using self-drive vehicles.
Planning the sound check and show schedule
For Europe shows the band will often fly out on the day of the event, though it’s not uncommon for them to fly the day prior for shows at venues some distance from airports, or with restrictive sound check times. The crucial point to establish before contracting is whether there are flights available (departing London airports post 9am) which will get the band to the venue in time for sound check, with enough contingency built in for late running. First we recommend establishing the latest comfortable finish time for sound check, which will usually be when your guests arrive at the venue / in the band room. We will work backwards from there to determine arrival time at the venue for sound check, transfer time from the airport, and flight arrival time, building in plenty of contingency at every step. We’ll then check Skyscanner for available options and discuss with you to make sure you’re happy.
If flying the band out on the event day won’t get them on site in time for a comfortable sound check, we’ll discuss with you the option of flying some or all of the group out the day before, at a surcharge.
Depending on sound check time slot, it may make best sense for the band to travel directly to sound check on arrival, or otherwise to head to their hotel first. Certain bands require ample LMI crew set-up time on site before the band will be ready to sound check, so we may discuss with you transferring crew on site first followed by musicians.
It’s important for the band to maximise their resting time, particularly when they’ve been travelling from early morning, so where it’s possible to return to the hotel between sound check and performance this will usually be our preference. Ideally the band would return on site approximately 90 minutes before their performance if they are eating at their hotel, or earlier if meals are being served at the venue.
LMI tips: what to watch out for on overseas events (AKA what could go wrong?!)
It can feel like there is a lot to go wrong when flying a band overseas, but we have never yet failed to get a full band on site for a show abroad! Good advance planning and awareness of the likely issues mean we can work together to anticipate and eliminate problems before they arise.
Here’s our watch-list of the top 3 things we expect to go wrong…
1. Bad audio production or sound crew
This is a big one! Local sound companies very often have relaxed attitudes to quality of gear and punctual setup, meaning we’ll often arrive to find the keyboard’s completely different from the one we’ve agreed (so our pianist can’t use any of his special effects), or the PA hasn’t even arrived by the time we do (so we’ve only had one-third of a sound check by the time the guests arrive). It’s sometimes hard to find good production companies, particularly in rural areas, so please talk to us if you’re concerned and we’ll do our very best to help.
2. Transfers not turning up (or hiding from us!)
Believe it or not, we’ve sometimes spent nearly an hour waiting at the airport on arrival, with our sound check time ticking by, trying to find the driver who’s meant to be collecting us. We recommend you book a local hire company with a great reputation for punctuality, and send them just 1 version of the completed schedule, to avoid confusion. Please make sure they don’t forget the final transfer, collecting the band on time to return to the airport the following day.
3. Vegetarian / vegan options
We often struggle with our bands’ dietary requirements when performing overseas. Certain local cuisines in particular don’t have many good-quality vegetarian or vegan options, and many of our band members have these dietary requirements. Please speak with your caterers or check the hotel/restaurant menus well in advance to make sure that proper, full meals (not side dishes or salads) can be arranged. It’s very hard to perform on an empty stomach :o).