Could the hidden talents of your customers add something extra to your live music events?

For years karaoke has been the go-to choice of entertainment when it comes to giving customers the opportunity to take centre stage.

And while it may occasionally unearth a true voice that has been hidden under a bushel, it can also endanger your glassware and clear out those in for a quiet chat.

But there are other ways of putting your customers in the spotlight that could prove more entertaining and memorable for the rest of your guests.


Jam nights

How does Bob Marley like his doughnuts?

Wi' jam in.

Thank you for that, Peter Kay. And while your customers may not quite possess the timing of Bolton's finest funnyman, we bet there are a few who could show off a lick or two on a jam night.

Just up the road in Burnley, Justine Lorriman (below) runs a series of music-inspired events at her pub The Royal Dyche, including a jam night.



She explains: "We set up drums, bass and a guitar and get people in for a jam night every Wednesday. We get all sorts coming in to play. The standard is really good, there's a lot of talent in Burnley.

"There's one person looking after it to make sure nobody hogs the instruments and that everybody gets to have a go. You never know who is going to come in and we have had some real talent."

Some of the performers who have played on jam nights have even been subsequently booked to play in the paid live music slots that the freehouse runs at other times during the week.

Justine, who occasionally gets on the drums herself, bought the instruments with cash she raised by hiring out an upstairs room at the pub as a rehearsal space for bands.

"That works well too," she says, "because sometimes we do a deal where they practise there and pay by playing a gig for us." As well as the jam session, the pub also holds an Open Deck Night, so aspiring DJs can try out new sets.

Alongside sport – the pub is a short walk from Burnley's Turf Moor stadium and recently changed its name to honour the Clarets' boss Sean Dyche – live music is a huge part of the offer. As well as regular live performances the pub held its first mini-festival last year.

Justine adds: "Alongside the football it is a really important part of what we do. There's a vibrant live music scene in Burnley and while we get regulars who come in for both sport and music, it also attracts new people in for us."



Bandeoke can help your customers live out their rock and pop fantasies on stage.

Instead of singing along to a backing track a la karaoke, this gives would-be performers the chance to get on stage with a live band, albeit still with the lyrics on screen to help them out.

Ross Elliott founded The Bandeoke Experience a few years ago. He is a professional musician who started out by performing on the pub circuit.

He now takes The Bandeoke Experience across the country and beyond. They primarily play corporate sets but also perform at pubs and events such as weddings and private parties.



Ross says: "We have 200 to 300 songs from the 1940s up to now that people can pick from. It covers so many genres, including soul, rock n roll, blues, heavy rock, pop and psychedelic. We would normally do a two-hour set with 20-plus performance slots but more than one person can get up on stage at a time."

The price of a band such Ross's varies but they start at around £700. This would be for a three-piece band, but with a bigger budget they can add a keyboard player (along with drummer, guitarist and bassist) to increase the musical repertoire.

Ross continues: "It's great fun and we have had some great singers – not that I've employed any yet. It's all about the audience and just having fun."

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Open mic nights

Not too big a leap from jam nights such as those at the Royal Dyche, but for these you don't even need to provide the instruments.

You could attract more than musicians to this one with open mic slots also popular with comedians, poets and any other type of performer looking to get some exposure.

They also give you the chance to dip your toe into live music at the cost of little more than a microphone and some promotion to make sure you get performers and an audience.