Company Name: Alive Network
Interview With: Gemma Cater, Entertainment Coordinator
Location / Coverage: We’re based in Staffordshire, but our artists perform UK-wide and globally!
Who are Alive Network?
Alive Network is the UK’s biggest and best loved source of live wedding entertainment and wedding bands.
How many people work at Alive Network?
23 music-obsessed people work for Alive Network…
- Nine Entertainment Coordinators (the lovely voices at the end of the telephone).
- Four sound engineers and producers working in our in-house studios.
- Three in our Talent Team, scoping out and supporting the latest and greatest artists for our customers.
How did Alive Network get started and how long have you been going?
Dave Bevan founded Alive Network in 1999. Back then Dave was a full-time (curtain-haired!) professional guitarist with big ambitions. He wanted to give couples access to stylish, professional-calibre bands and artists, playing the kind of music that cool young couples loved, and similar to the chart bands they were fans of… rather than amateur fogeys playing tired hits from days of old!
As a musician himself, Dave knew there were artists out there who could do better, and that wedding guests would totally love (we all deserve a good party!). Coupled with that, he wanted to help talented musicians make a living from music (cue Dave’s *eureka!* moment!). And so began his quest in sourcing, developing and supporting the best of the UK’s musical and artistic talent. Hooking them up with promoters, event organisers and music fans (like you!), providing access to great live music.
Nearly two decades, 5,000+ artists and 100,000+ events later, Alive Network has its own in-house recording studio, supporting original artists in their pursuit of success in the wider music industry, while developing our catalogue of the UK’s best bands, musicians, DJs, entertainers and suppliers, so you can pick the cream of our crop, making amazing memories for your biggest day ever.
Dave has shorter hair, but still messes around on guitars, and still believes that live entertainment makes everything better. We’ve seen it. It really does.
Where do you cover?
Most of our artists perform all over the UK and internationally.
What services can Alive Network provide for a wedding?
Alive Network exists to help you find the perfect live wedding entertainment ideas for your most special wedding day moments, and we offer a range of cool services just for you, including…
Scouting the Best Talent
Founded and run by entertainment obsessives, Alive Network is dedicated to discovering and developing the finest new talent, all hand-picked for perfection so you can be sure your big day will be amazing. All you need to do is review the tracks and clips on their profile pages and choose your fave… Simon Cowell would be proud!
Helping You Find ‘The One’
Alive Network has the UK’s biggest and best collection of exciting party entertainers, musicians and wedding DJs. From pianists and photo booths to Motown bands, tribute bands and magicians, from acoustic wedding guitarists to gospel choirs… bubbleologists to big Ferris wheels… and everything in between!
Our website is crammed with ideas, inspiration and planning tips, and you can easily check the prices and availability for your favourite artists.
We know it’s hard to book a musician you’ve never heard before. That’s why we’re constantly adding live recorded samples of their work to their profile pages. There’s also videos, sound clips and photos, so you can see what you’re getting before you book.
Personal Shopper Service
While you can narrow down your search online, you can also book a consultation with one of our expert Entertainment Coordinators, at a time that suits you. They’re great listeners and can discuss your style and preferences, make suggestions and create a totally bespoke entertainment plan for you, removing all your entertainment wedstress.
Keeping You Safe (+ Insurance 24/7)
We’re honoured to provide live music and party entertainers for over 10,000 weddings every year, and have over 27,000 great reviews on our website to show for it (*blushing*). Our helpful team of music devotees have an average of 8 years’ experience, and genuinely love what they do.
On your wedding day you don’t need to stress about finding a new band at short notice if something goes wrong. You’re in safe hands with us. You’ll have 24/7 access to a dedicated contact, in case there is an entertainment emergency, so we can find you an awesome replacement from thousands of the UK’s best artists. Plus, booking with Alive Network means you’ll have access to exclusive, pre-vetted artists, expert advice and secure contracts. So go on – relax, savour every moment and enjoy yourselves!
What sets Alive Network apart from other wedding entertainment and live music agencies?
Alive Network is the original online entertainment agency, and we continue to raise the bar, scouting out and developing the finest new live entertainers so you’ve got the best to choose from for your wedding day. We’re the biggest and best-loved by you, with the widest choice of talented musicians, DJs and entertainers in the UK.
We pride ourselves in unparalleled customer service, unparalleled bands, and unparalleled talent. Here are our numerical creds:
- 8 years: average experience our team has in helping couples plan their perfect days
- 24/7: your emergency cover. We’ve got your back, always.
- 5k: amazing musicians, entertainers and suppliers for you to choose from
- 99% of you would recommend us to your best friends (shucks!)
- 5 stars: Your average review score
- 27k: number of positive reviews on our site
For the last two years Alive Network has been proud to partner with prestigious music school BIMM, the British & Irish Modern Music Institute. This means we can support exciting new musicians and give our clients access to the next big thing, before they become the new Beyoncé or Bruno Mars!
What type of music acts can you provide?
Alive Network provides a massive range of musical talent. Anything from gramophone DJs and gospel choirs to jazz orchestras, jive and swing bands, harpists, string quartets and ceilidh bands to steel bands, singer-guitarists and even surprise singing waiters!
Most of our artists also offer options to add members or musicians to their standard performance, so you can tailor their sets perfectly to your unique day.
As well as live music, can couples book DJs with you?
We’ve got some of the best party DJs in the UK. Many bands also provide DJ sets as part of their package. Your dedicated DJ can setup at the same time as the band, and kick-in once the band’s set is complete. You can check out our range of wedding DJ’s here.
What type of entertainer can Alive Network provide?
We have a wide range of wedding entertainers in our stable, including:
- Celebrity Lookalikes
- Children’s Entertainment
- Circus Performers
- Fairground Rides
- Funfair Stalls
- Food and Drink Suppliers
- Mix and Mingle Entertainers
- Mobile Cocktail Bars
If couples are looking for something a little different, what type of themed acts do you offer?
There’s a wide range of artists and suppliers you can choose from on Alive Network, but if you’d like to create a specific theme for your big day, we’ve put together a list of themed artist collections, such as:
- Country Garden
- The Crowd Surfing Bride Collection
- 1920’s Great Gatsby
- The Winter Wonderland Collection
- 1940’s Themed Collection
- 1950’s Rock n Roll Collection
- The Swinging ’60’s Collection
- 1970’s Themed Entertainment Collection
- and many more on our collections pages here
What have been Alive Network’s top music acts of 2017?
When it comes to filling the dance floor, our top ten are expert at rocking out. Your faves this year mainly consist of rock and pop function bands, but leading the way is master-mixer DJ Anthony Parella:
- Anthony Parella
- The Good Habits
- Happy Hour
- The Hot Shots
- The Royale
- Swamp Cats
What have been Alive Network’s top entertainment acts of 2017?
Magicians and caricaturists are ruling our entertainment roost in the last year, wowing wedding guests UK-wide with their mix of mayhem and masterpieces. Our top ten entertainment acts of 2017 are:
- Mathew Knight, magician
- Sam The Caricaturist
- Jake Monroe, magician
- Draw A Crowd Caricatures
- Keven Starl, magician
- Sam De Vere, magician
- Francesco Caricatures
- Mark Reeve, caricaturist
- MK Caricatures
- J Winter, magician
What do you think will be hot trends for wedding entertainment next year?
Couples are loving a real mix of styles when it comes to their big day entertainment. Hot trends we’re seeing are…
Vintage Wedding Entertainment
The love for all things vintage shows no sign of fading in 2018. Whether it’s ’40s swing and jive, victory rolls, polka dots and florals, the rock and roll of the ’50s, headscarves, Lindy Hopping, retro wedding cars, smooth crooning, and bright colours – it’s always fun!
Entertainment trends in this style include modern-vintage – fun, uber cool and unique artists, often performing contemporary hits with a retro or quirky spin. Epitomising this style are the likes of The Long Straws, gramophone DJs, retro vinyl jukeboxes, swing, jazz and vintage singers, like Billie Knowlson, as well as the ever-hot gin and cocktail bars, like the Campervan Cocktail Bar.
Folksy-Meets-Rustic Barn Dance Wedding Entertainment
Think banjos, hay bales, lanterns, drinking punch from a jars, jigs and reels, roaming musicians, ceilidh, bluegrass, and Mumford and Sons-style bands, like The Nameless Three. It’s simple, honest fun.
DIY Wedding Entertainment
Artisan, super personalised, and lovingly-handmade. From DIY-ing your own disco with a bespoke silent disco soundtrack, to including entertainment in the speeches, having special songs written (check out Will Herring’s talents), and having bespoke stationery created by their caricaturist.
The trend for gorgeous Gatsby-style glamour is still going strong. Elegant, chic and champagne-filled – what’s not to love? Think roaring twenties, Charleston, jazz, beaded dresses, feathers, beads, Absinthe, opulence and extravagance.
Hot entertainment trends include 1920’s jazz and swing bands that perform cool chart tracks in a swing retro style like Hot Harlem, The Bentley Brothers Inc., and Bella and The Bourbon Boys, along with entertainers like the Twin Charleston Dancers, and vintage-style photo booths such as Splendid Booths.
Country Garden Weddings and Village Fetes
Think bunting, lawn games, lively jazz bands like The Quartones, Pimm’s in the park and mobile cocktail bars, artisan ice cream, hot summer days, twinkling fairy lights, fireworks and dancing as the sun goes down. Bliss.
What’s your top tip for couples choosing their wedding entertainment?
Go with your heart. It’s easy to forget in all the crazy planning and spreadsheeting that your wedding is about you as a couple. It should reflect your personalities and celebrate the things you both love in life.
Look for artists who reflect your style and experiences as a couple (who can play your song or favourite film theme, or remind you of a favourite gig or festival you went to), and who seem the sort of folk you’d like to have at your wedding, helping you celebrate.
Finding your perfect entertainment will make your hearts sing – you’ll both know it when you hear it. And if you need help, that’s why we’re here!
What’s the best thing about your job?
The lovely couples, the artists, helping to make couples’ dreams come true – who doesn’t love a good party? There’s nothing more special than making a couple’s start together the best and most memorable it can be.
Random question… If you could provide entertainment for anyone’s wedding, whose would it be and what would you provide?
It’s got to be Queen Bey and Jay Z! They’re heading towards their 10-year anniversary in April 2018, so they could renew their vows with another ceremony and celebration – we’d love to do the entertainment if they did!
Their private and very intimate wedding at Jay-Z’s New York apartment was very spiritual and emotional. The pics make it look like a lavish winter wonderland, in a monochrome style, with branches festooned with icicles hanging from the ceiling, curtains of snow-white orchids, and hurricane lamps filled with candles.
So, to honour this, we’d like to throw them a 10-year anniversary vow renewal with the sparkle and fizz of a Gatsby glitter ball! It’s all about sizzling sophistication, endless extravagance and jaw-dropping opulence.
They’ve made their careers by melding past and present music styles, so it’s got to be modern vintage glamour for their 10-year vow renewals – glittering glam and super cool! As well as both being at the cutting edge of modern music, Jay-Z wrote the score for Baz Luhrman’s 2013 film The Great Gatsby, and Bey has always touted the musical strength of early soul singers, like Etta James and Aretha Franklin. In fact, Bey performed a version of ‘At Last’ at President Obama’s inauguration, a song that is synonymous with Etta James.
So, for the ceremony music, we’d choose a classical string quartet performing modern tracks. ‘At Last’ as Bey takes to the aisle, and John Legend’s ‘All Of Me’ for the signing of the register.
Bey’s elegant $5mil wedding rock epitomises the modern vintage bling and opulence of the Gatsby era. The word ‘bling’ just doesn’t do it justice – it’s a stunningly simple 18 karat symbol of their enduring love. Once Jay-Z has put a ring on it for the second time, it’s party time! Bey is a big Stevie Wonder fan, so the quartet could perform a jubilant version of ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ as she and ‘renewed’ hubby join hands and take to the aisle together after the ceremony. *cue the shoulder shimmying*
At their drinks reception, the celebratory Stevie Wonder theme could continue with a big brass band performing his classics, in a New Orleans jazz band style. BrassWerk would be perfect to raise the day to the next level.
Jay-Z’s own champagne, Ace of Spades, would launch the drinks reception, served up in style by Alive Network’s professional Mixology Bartenders – champagne cocktails, anyone? With champagne of that name, maybe he’d like a cheeky bit of rock? Rock and pop trio, Ride The Fire, could perform ‘Ace of Spades’ while the mixologists work their magic on his cherished bubbles!
A Bubbleologist could provide some bubbles for the kids, wowing wide-eyed kiddie-winks Blue Ivy, Rumi and Sir Carter, as well as the adults. Dare you not to chase their colourful, enchanting and larger-than-life bubble displays! *pop*
Keeping the modern vintage glamour and Gatsby style of the roaring twenties, there would have to be some ostentatious touches. Perhaps the Magical Snowdome, or aerialists spinning above guests’ heads at their wedding breakfast? Dramatic, high-energy and expertly-choreographed Aerial Silk Displays, for example.
For their evening party, the couple could have a vintage jazz band headlining, like Bella and The Bourbon Boys, with some accompanying flapper dancers for full on entertainment, like the Twin Charleston Dancers or the Chicago Dancers. Bella and the Boys perform some swinging versions of contemporary tracks – a bit of Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ would go down a storm!
A Gramophone DJ could perform a bespoke set of tracks from a collection of vintage vinyl from the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s, for that real retro vibe, mixed in with some East Coast hip hop, of course!
What’s your typical day like?
A typical day in the Alive Network office consists of working for clients and artists.
Between the Talent Team and the studio, they’re responsible for:
- Welcoming artists into the recording studio, recording, directing, mixing, filming, photographing for their profile pages, to ensure their promo is bang up-to-date.
- Gathering feedback from clients and ensuring everyone is on top of their game.
- Pulling their Simon Cowell trousers right up tight, and auditioning potential newbies.
Our Entertainment Coordinators are the friendly voices at the end of the telephone. They’re responsible for:
- Liaising with clients and artists, and helping to arrange their perfect days.
- Researching new acts and entertainment ideas.
- Familiarising themselves with venue set-ups (eg. access, where the performance areas are, volume restrictions/sound limiters) so they can best advise clients
Where can couples find out more about Alive Network?
- Website: www.alivenetwork.com/wedding-entertainment
- Twitter: @alivenetwork
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/alivenetwork
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/alivenetwork
- YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/alivenetworkltd
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.co.uk/alivenetwork
Images from Andrew Billington Photography