How will flight bookings work?
We'll work closely with you to choose 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 availability 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've confirmed the band (i.e. received your contract and deposit payment), we'll 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 of our 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 - 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. It's 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 quotes. It’s also worth checking with us whether we've 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.
To produce an accurate quote your supplier 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 most common 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'll 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, and booking seats for instruments will usually cost you more than hiring them locally for a day. We therefore 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 only bill you for meals which are not already catered on site at the event venue. This is much more cost-effective for you. We quote a fixed amount per musician for each meal not provided for us on site (this varies slightly between countries/areas) - please ask for costs for your booking. Breakfast should always be pre-booked for us with the hotel.
Because event schedules and band movements are often not known at the point of booking, we recommend waiting until these have been finalised before calculating your per diem cost. We therefore usually bill PDs alongside your 50% remainder invoice so we have them available for meals during travel time and on 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 sound check and show, and from the hotel back to the airport the following day. We will work closely with you to pu;; together an optimal ground transfers schedule allowing plenty of contingency for delays.
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 plenty of space in vehicles for instruments and luggage.
Bands can not travel by public transport or using self-drive vehicles, or by non-prebooked airport or local taxis.
Planning the sound check and show schedule
For Europe shows, bands will either fly out on the day of the event (if there's plenty of sound check time during the day), or the day prior for shows a long way from the nearest airport or with restrictive sound check times. We’ll discuss with you and then send you the most cost-effective option(s) on Skyscanner for you to approve and book.
For on-the-day flyouts, it's important to check pre-contract that flights are available departing London airports post-9am which will get the band to the venue in time for sound check with enough contingency built in. We recommend working backwards from sound check noise-making end time to determine latest flight departure times. The band may go direct to sound check from the airport or otherwise head to their hotel first depending on your schedule. Ideally our crew will set up on site before the band arrive, so we may discuss with you transferring them first, or flying crew out the previous day.
For previous-day flyouts, flights should depart not before midday and arrive in time for evening meals.
It’s important for the band to maximise their resting time, particularly when they’ve been travelling from early morning, so they'll almost always need to return to the hotel between sound check and show.
Our tips: what could go wrong?!
Flying a band overseas can feel daunting, but we've never yet failed to get a full band on site for a show abroad! We'll work with you to anticipate and eliminate problems before they arise; meanwhile, here's our watchlist of stumbling blocks…
1. Bad audio production or sound crew
The biggie! Local suppliers may take a relaxed approach to gear quality and punctuality, meaning we’ll often arrive to find unexpected or absent backline or sound checks running 2 hours late... sadly we're not joking! It’s sometimes hard to find good local 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 our driver, who's turned up to a different terminal or is holding a sign with the wrong name. 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 overseas. Many of our band members are vegetarian or vegan, so 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.