James Donnan

(07867) 508804




Frequently Asked Questions...

How much do you charge?
Have a look at the "How much?" page!
Whereabouts do you work?
I'm based in Cheshire in the UK.  I'm more than happy to travel, but obviously this adds to the cost, so the majority of my work is around the North West of England.
Why should we call you?
At the risk of sounding conceited, I like to think I do a good job!  Aside from that, I have full public liability insurance and all my equipment has regular electrical safety (PAT) tests - most function venues will insist on this and I can email copies over to them in advance.  I have also had an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check - more recently called a DBS check.
Can we see you working before we book you?
The majority of my work is for private functions such as weddings and birthday parties, and for obvious reasons I can't invite you along to these. But I do play in public venues occasionally; to find out when my next publicly-accessible gig is, please contact me.
How far in advance should we contact you?
I would recommend getting in touch as early as you can, as I'm booked up well in advance of many dates.  I'm happy to put a provisional date in the diary for you and you can confirm it once your other arrangements are in place. On the other hand, perhaps you've been let down elsewhere and you're looking for someone at short notice - you're welcome to give me a try.  If I'm already booked, I should hopefully be able to recommend someone else.
Will you work alongside other entertainment?
Definitely - I particularly love working with singers and bands, as I was musical director for a seven-piece function band for ten years. I've worked several times with a Manchester band called The Naked Covers (thenakedcovers.co.uk).  If you like George Michael and Wham!, I'm a big fan of Rob Lamberti, who is a brilliant GM tribute artist recently seen on BBC's Even Better Than The Real Thing (www.roblamberti.com). Finally, if you're on the lookout for wedding ceremony and / or reception music, check out a classical/Spanish guitarist, Richard Roberts (www.guitarmaestro.co.uk). Have a look at their websites if you're on the lookout for live music, and please tell them I sent you!
How do we book you?
Firstly I need to check my diary and make sure I'm available for you, and give you a price. You can contact me any way you like for me to do that. After that, I'll always ask you to send me an email or text message to confirm the booking. This minimises the possibility of any misunderstandings... but if something needs to change unexpectedly, I will do my best to help.
Can we give you a playlist?!
I love getting requests - they can be really useful. I always suggest choosing the songs that you feel are your "must-have" songs first. I'll definitely need to know things like your choice of first dance for a wedding reception, for example. After that, you can choose a second list as long as you like, and I'll pick as much from it as I can - and of course you and your guests can still come to me on the night and say "...please can you play this?!" Please discuss music choices with me before booking if you have any particular concerns / likes / dislikes!
Our chosen venue has a sound limiter; is this a problem?
Not to me. Sound limiters cut off the electrical supply if the maximum volume permitted by the venue's entertainment licence is exceeded.  Many entertainers refuse to work in venues with these devices, as they can be very unpredictable, and can damage our equipment.  All I ask is that you ensure that you're happy with the restriction before booking me, as this is completely out of my control. 
How long do you need to set up / take down your equipment?
I need 45-60 minutes to set up and 30-40 minutes to get out, but this can vary depending on the distance between the car parking and the function room. Please let me know in advance if timing is important - after a wedding breakfast, for example - and we can work out how best to do things. 
How and when do we pay you?
The majority of the time, I don't ask for deposits - I'll reserve the date in my diary, arrive at the venue that day, and set up all my equipment before you pay a penny. Once you've seen that I'm all ready to start, I ask that payment is made in cash before we begin. (The main reason for this is that I don't like to disturb customers at the end of an occasion, as they may still be busy talking to their guests.) If you wish to make alternative arrangements, this must be discussed and agreed at the time of booking.
Can you stay later if we're having fun?!
I normally assume that an evening function will finish around midnight, so if you're planning a later finish, please confirm this with me at the time of booking. But I am definitely not a "clock-watcher" who starts to pack up immediately a set time is reached, so feel free to ask me! Please bear in mind, though, that it is usually the venue management, not me, who decide what time the music has to stop.
How can we ask you another question and/or book you?
If you have any questions not answered here, or want to check my availability for a particular date, please get in touch - my contact details are on every page. I promise that I will reply to all emails and texts, or call you back if I miss your call and you leave me a message... even if I can't help you.  If you haven't had a response to your message within a day or two, it's likely that for some reason I didn't receive it. Please don't assume I just haven't bothered replying - try again!