Ben Hammond

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Musical Style

What's a Song Builder?
I often augment my performance by incorporating live-looping, vocal percussion, and various effects. The result is a fun, improvised, multi-layered orchestration including percussion, bass, rhythm and lead guitars, and vocal harmonies, custom built every time. I am also a composer and arranger of music, and my family has operated Maine lumber mills for generations.
So you use backing tracks? Or drum machines?
Nope. Each song starts as a blank slate, and every sound you hear originates from my guitar or my microphone. View a list of gear I use.
Do you play with a band?
Yes! I love performing with other musicians! By utilizing the above-mentioned performance techniques, I'm able to assemble smaller format (and less expensive) bands that can include instrumentation usually reserved for larger bands (such as horns, hand percussion, cello). See some common band options.
Are you a DJ?
No, I perform live music. However, I'm happy to offer DJ-style playback during breaks, and to keep the party going after live music concludes. These options are available on most of my packages. Also, like a DJ, I am able to construct on-the-fly "mashups" and extended mixes, transitioning between multiple songs to keep the music flowing.
So is this like karaoke?
What styles/genres of music do you play?
I have an extensive repertoire of nearly one thousand songs, encompassing popular music from the last 70 years. The bulk of those are Top 40 songs from the 70s through today, with a focus on pop and rock. Whether it's a relaxed setting or a wild dance party, the music will groove and all generations of your guests will too!
How do you choose which songs you'll play?
I read and interact with the audience, and adjust to the energy level they bring, keeping in mind the flow of the entire evening.
Can we select the playlist for our event?
For events, clients provide basic "PLEASE PLAY / PLEASE AVOID" lists (this includes all DJ sets during breaks).
For weddings, I work with the Bride and Groom to select specific songs (Processional, First Dance, etc). Most of my wedding packages include special requests that might not already be in my repertoire.
Where can we see you perform live ?
During quarantine, I've been live-streaming every Friday night at 7:30pm mdt on my personal facebook profile. The online audience regularly includes quite a few of my past wedding clients, which I consider a giant compliment! Tune in, say hi, and ask them their thoughts!
I post upcoming performances on my shows page. Please note: the majority of these gigs are solo, and will range in the overall vibe / danciness. Feel free to reach out and I'll help you find a good show to check out.

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Booking Process

Can you play for my upcoming event?
Probably! Please email me with any info you have (date, style of event, rough guest count, etc) or fill in my event form. Either way, I will respond ASAP.
How much will it cost?
Rates range widely based on timing and date of the event, size of the band, location, and number of add-ons required to make your custom event package perfect. Please email me or fill in my event form.
How do we pay you? Do you require a deposit and contract?
Once we finalize packages for your event, I'll send over a contract and an invoice. The contract is easily signed online (no printing, scanning or licking stamps!). I require 50% as deposit retainer to validate the contract. The remainder will be due one month before your event.
Do you accept credit cards? Personal checks? Online services like Paypal?
Yep!
Can you hold a date with no deposit?
No; I do need a signed contract and deposit to hold a date. If you want to wait on picking specific packages, I am happy to lock in with a minimum solo booking, and then proceed with adding more coverage at a later date if needed.
Do you do wedding ceremonies?
Yes! Typically solo, or as a duo with my incredible cellist. However, I have a wide range of options available. Most wedding packages also include wireless mics (lapel and/or handheld).
Do you perform at cocktail hours?
Yes!!
Do you play at wedding receptions? With lots of dancing?
Yes!!! With a vast repertoire of upbeat, energetic songs I can get everyone grooving all night, whether it's with a band or as a soloist using live-looping and vocal percussion. Check out some of the options.
We already have a DJ, but we love your style and want to incorporate you somehow... any ideas?
Of course! For similar situations I've provided live music for welcome / rehearsal dinners, and farewell brunches the morning after. Depending on your DJ booking, there's the option to have me for ceremony and cocktail only, and then seamlessly transition to them for reception.
Will you be our MC (Master of Ceremonies)?
I am happy to speak throughout the night, including announcing the wedding party, last call etc. I tend to be more on the conversational, friendly side and I'm decidedly not an over the top, in-character announcer. My speaking style mirrors my music: high-energy and low-stress.
Do you have experience with LGBTQ+ weddings?
Yes!
Do you have experience with Jewish weddings and traditions?
Yes!
Do you travel?
Yes! I have been flown as far as New Zealand for private events, so there's a good chance I can travel for yours. Additional travel fees and lodging may apply to events more than 2 hours from Denver. Email me for a custom quote.
Do we need to tip you and any band members?
No, tipping is not required. Many clients do, many clients do not. My prices are set to not rely on tips, however they are of course always appreciated. It's also convenient to tip via credit card if that's how you choose to pay.
Are there any other hidden fees?
Not really. As mentioned above, if you require various add-ons like additional special request songs, longer coverage, or other items not explicitly included in your purchased packages there may be additional charges. Also, you may be responsible for any non-standard costs incurred while performing at your event beyond driving (including paid parking, access permits, renting generators, etc).
What is your refund policy?
In general, the deposit retainer is non-refundable. I will have to turn down other opportunities to keep your date available, and I will also spend time preparing, communicating and rehearsing prior to your actual event. However, in extenuating circumstances or if I'm able to secure a replacement event on your date, I may be able to refund all or part of your deposit. Please email me with more specific questions; my goal is to make sure every client is happy and is treated fairly.

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Setup and Performance

What time will you arrive to setup your equipment / sound check?
I will personally arrive up to 3hrs before an event, and at least 45 minutes before the performance. The time I need to setup is based on the event size, instrumentation, and complexity. If the venue has restrictions on vendor arrival, please let me know.
We rarely need a full "sound check" and can easily setup silently when needed.
If you require all band members to be setup more than one hour before showtime, there may be additional hourly fees.
Do you provide your own sound equipment (PA system, speakers, backup equipment, microphones, etc?)
Yes!
Do you provide extensive lighting and other visual effects?
No, but I can provide 2 LED PAR cans to illuminate the band and/or a small portion of the dance floor. For extensive "club" lighting you would have to contract a separate vendor.
Do you require a stage?
No, most of my performances are not on a stage; the closer to the dance floor the better! I thrive on audience participation and an intimate connection with the listeners; I honestly find a giant stage can take away from that connection. However, we do require an finished surface to set up on, so depending on the venue a small stage might be a great fit.
Can you perform outside?
Yes, but some important caveats: all musicians will need complete protection from direct sun and from precipitation. We also may not be able to perform in extremely cold weather; having a backup indoor performance space is always recommended, particularly in Colorado's unpredictable environment.
Will you put up a sign, banner, CDs for sale, etc?
Never at weddings; rarely and only with client permission at other select events.
Do you take breaks? How are they scheduled?
Yes. For 3hr gigs, generally two 15 minute breaks or one 30 minute break. We are quite flexible, and can schedule any breaks to coordinate with the event timeline. There will be DJ music playing during breaks, to keep the energy flowing throughout the event.
Do you provide a wireless microphone for speeches, toasts and announcements?
Yes!
Can clients or guests request songs during the event?
Yes!
What if we are having a blast, can you play later?
It's possible, for an extra cost. However, the later we stay, the longer the cleanup crew has to wait. We will not play later than the alloted venue time, and will do our best to respect the time of everyone involved.
I've started offering late-night DJ sets, where we can keep music going after the band finishes. Cheaper than extending with the whole band, this can also cue your crowd that the night is winding down, while still keeping the dance floor pumping.

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Contingency and Planning

Do you need to visit our venue ahead of time?
No, I can perform pretty much anywhere.
Will you be attending our ceremony rehearsal?
No, there is a good chance I'll be performing at another event. All details will be discussed ahead of time, and confirmed with your officiant directly before the ceremony.
Do you carry insurance?
My vehicle carries a $1,000,000 commercial liability policy, which is required by Vail Resorts and others for on-mountain access. When required, I obtain a one-day certificate of liability insurance specific to the configuration needed (solo vs. band, etc).
What is the backup plan in case of performer illness?
In over 15 years I have cancelled precisely zero weddings due to illness. However, I have a strong and supportive network of professional musicians nationwide whom I trust to fill in on short notice. I also work closely with several event DJs who would be able to provide top-notch musical entertainment when needed. In any case, your balance would be adjusted accordingly, and the show would go on!
COVID STATEMENT
Though my deposit retainers are contractually non-refundable, I have offered to fully refund all 2020 events impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as needed. Many clients are choosing to elope or have intimate ceremonies this year, and are rescheduling their full party for 2021. I am very supportive of this, and recommend impacted couples choose a backup date NOW. I also recommend people considering a 2021 event start booking their vendors ASAP, as the season will fill-up quickly.

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Available for weddings, private events, holiday parties, outdoor festivals, sessions at your local watering hole, and now *virtual private concerts*.

Artist Entertainer