Pub Music: The Pros & Cons of Having a Band Residency

Can hiring a band for a residency offer a time and money saving solution?

Any seasoned publican knows that booking live music is time consuming and therefore costly. But they also know that having bar entertainment is important. Can hiring a band for a residency offer a time and money saving solution?

The answer is possibly Yes. And maybe No! Confused? Like all solutions, there are pros and cons. Here we look at five of each, so you can decide for yourself whether or not a live band residency is worth trying for your pub.


  • You Know What You’re Getting: When regularly changing acts, there is always a chance that you’ll get a dud musician or band. This doesn’t happen with your resident band.
  • Lower Costs: Where you are guaranteeing a band regular work, you are more likely to secure a reduced fee with them.
  • Easier to Promote: It’s easier to big up a band when you’re saying the same great things about them over and over again, and especially when you know that you can fully stand over what you’re saying.
  • Builds a Following: Over time, a good house band will build a strong and loyal following, thus guaranteeing bums on seats and money in the tills.
  • Still Offer Variety: Even with a residency, you can have multiple bands by rotating different ones every fortnight or three weeks.


  • It Can Go Flat: The ability to play a varying set-list and keep the same audience engaged week in, week out, takes a very special type of performer. So, while many singers and bands will jump at the chance of playing a residency, few can properly pull it off.
  • Time Consuming: A good resident band can save you time in the long run, but you must find the right one first. Finding the “right” one can take a lot of time and effort – see point above!
  • Over Familiarity: Over time as a band becomes more familiar with your bar and everyone in it, their standards can start to slip. Arrival, starting, break and finishing times can all gravitate towards the band’s wants rather than your needs.
  • Can Cause Conflict: Getting a strong understanding between both parties in advance is essential. Otherwise you could soon find yourselves fighting over rates for special occasions, pay rises, and a whole lot more besides. But we’ll deal with all of that in another article.
  • The Band can be Poached: Not the lightly boiled “poached”, although that’s what you might want to do to them! If you build up a band residency, your competition will soon come sniffing around and looking for a piece of your hard won success. Without a suitable agreement in place between you and the Act, you could find your time and effort wasted as they jump ship to another pub, bringing their audience with them.

If you think that hiring a live band or musician for a residency is for you, then go for it. But do your homework first, and put in the time and effort required to make it a success. So, find the right Act, consistently do your Facebook and social media posts, put up your monthly “What’s On” posters, and most importantly, stick with it through the good and the bad nights!

And what if a residency isn’t for you? Go to and see how easy we make it for you to book, manage and promote your bar’s live entertainment. You can find your residency band there too.


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