DJ or band - which is best for your event or wedding?

One of the most common dilemmas event organises face when selecting their event entertainment is the decision between either a DJ or a live band. Often the decision is left up to one person or a small team of people, who are trying to juggle every facet of the event while also trying to ensure all stakeholders and attendees are happy. 
When deciding whether to book a DJ or a live band, we will always ask a few key questions that will help us understand the event you are organising. 
  • Where is the event? 
  • At what time? 
  • Do you have a theme? 
  • How many people? 
  • Who is attending? 

This information will assist us in not only making our recommendations, but it will also help us gain a better understanding of the event you are hosting. We can then work closely with you to find the perfect solution to match your event.
Several factors will come in to play when making a decision between a DJ or live band. For starters, sticking to the budget is generally a primary concern. Organiser’s also need to accommodate the tastes of all their guests, who will more often than not, be a variety of ages and have different tastes in music. 
Deciding between either a DJ or a live band for your event entertainment can be a big decision, so we’ve put together some points for you to consider, which we hope will make the whole process that little bit easier!


A DJ is undoubtedly cheaper than a live band. For a four to six hour-long event, a DJ will generally cost between $900 and $2,000, depending on experience and equipment. A band, however will generally be priced from around $3,000 up to $10,000, depending on size, quality and experience. If this is out of your price range, but you still want live music, a smaller act (solo to trio) will be more affordable, at around $1,500 to $2,500.


A standard covers band will generally have between 100 and 300 songs under their belts, while a DJ, armed with all the memory of their MacBook, may have in excess of 100,000!
However, is this really a huge advantage? Generally, a DJ will pull out the same ‘party favourites’ that the band will, with the remaining 99,900 songs being obscure tracks that are rarely requested. While the repertoire of a band is more limited, an experienced group should come prepared with a well-balanced selection of popular songs to accommodate all tastes, from Motown standards, to top 40 chart busters. 


When choosing your entertainment, it’s important you consider your venue. How big is the room your event is being held in? 
DJ’s take up relatively little floor-space, so if your venue is on the smaller side, a DJ won’t cramp up the dance-floor. Duos and trios are also very compact, so if you are concerned about space, a smaller band is still an option. If you are using a large venue for your function, a full band will look and sound fantastic. Not only will they produce enough sound to fill the entire room, but they will also add a visual element that will suit the larger space.


When it comes down to ‘wow’ factor, nothing beats a great live band. Not only are they visually spectacular, they also come with an infectious energy and emphasis on audience interaction that is guaranteed to keep your guests entertained and on the dance floor.
A DJ will not be able to pull off the ‘show’ element that comes with a band. As they are playing pre-recorded music, DJ’s aren’t able to generate the excitement that is generated from watching live performance.
The advantage of a DJ lies in their ability to play ‘nightclub’ favourites, which a live band can simply not pull off. Songs that rely heavily on electronic beats and computer-generated effects are generally not convincing when performed by a standard six-piece band.
If you’re still not sure which to choose speak to the experts, they will be able to work with you to help you determine what is the best choice for you!

Guest post by Gus Stephenson

Gus Stephenson is the founder and CEO of Funkified Entertainment, Sydney's leading boutique event entertainment provider. A graduate of Sydney Conservatorium jazz degree, Gus has a deep passion and great knowledge of music. Since launching his business, Funkified Entertainment have been involved in providing entertainment for over 1500 weddings and events.