DJ Live or Live Band? Picking the right band for your event.

Music is the heart and soul of any big event. You want your guests to be entertained and dancing the night away, and you also want to ensure the type of music reflects the mood your party and you as hosts. The two most popular options for function bands right now are a DJ live or a traditional Live Band, but how do you know which one you should go for? Read on for the insider’s guide to picking your function band…

Live Band

This is your most traditional option and, we think, if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it. Your live band as a standard must include; guitar, bass, drums, keys, sax and three vocalists. Usually this means your band is an 8 piece but, venue and budget depending, you can make this up to be as large as you want (we don’t recommend going out a 20-piece band for private functions).


The beauty of a live band is that they can react to your guests and the mood of the party. This means when your guests are demanding yet another round of ‘Hey Jude’, your band are there to keep it going. A live band being able to change the tempo, pause and restart songs means that the crowd are in control, and the party is as bespoke and individual as it can be, and we all know that there’s nothing more memorable than audience participation


When you choose a live band there are a few things that you need to consider about your event. Firstly, where will they go? If your venue doesn’t have a stage, you will need to build one suitable for the size band you’re having. Second is the production of the event and venue. The production cost for an event is a big consideration and will go up depending on your venue and the size of band you are having. Don’t worry about this just yet though, our team at TOTEM Entertainment can do all of this for you, so just leave the technical stuff to us.

If you’re wary of choosing a live band as you’re concerned about the style of music their able to play, we’re here to set your mind at ease. Our talented team are the best in the business and can play absolutely anything you request. From old favourites such as the Rat Pack to Avicii, we’ve got it all covered.


A DJ Live set does as it says on the tin. The DJ provides all music for the function with some added instruments to turn the DJ set into a live act. As well as a DJ, this act includes 2 vocalists, a saxophonist, percussionist and a guitar or violinist. The instruments are added extras that complement the music rather than play it themselves.


This is the perfect function band for you if you’re looking for a club-style atmosphere from the get-go. It’s a more popular option for younger parties such as Bar Mitzvahs and 18th birthdays, but has also been added to bigger functions as an extra for afterparties following a live band.


The worry of what your band can play is also not a problem when you opt for a DJ Live as they will be playing the exact track you hear on the radio or over Spotify. Of course, as this is being played directly from a DJ there is no opportunity to stop and start, but the set is sure to keep your guests dancing from start to finish.

The staging of a DJ Live set is also much less space consuming than an 8-piece band. The DJ will naturally need his own space but how you use the musicians is up to you. Many people set up a stage to give the musicians their own space, or we can set up separate podiums or immersed in between tables and the dancefloor to interact with your guests.

Spoilt for choice? Our in-house experts can help you pick the perfect band to complement your function and make it a night to remember. To book TOTEM as your function band get in touch on 020 8207 4794 or visit