SOLID STEEL-BAND HIRE HIGH WYCOMBE
Steel band hire for events in High Wycombe
Welcome to the world of Solid Steel, our professional steel band for hire for events in High Wycombe- and welcome to… the reliable sound of sunshine!
Please explore the exceptional work we do at events nationwide which include weddings, corporate & other events and music workshops.
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Common High Wycombe steel band hire FAQs
What is a ‘professional steel band’?
A professional steel band in High Wycombe
A ‘steel band’ online is also called a ‘steel drum band’ and a ‘steel pan band’ to distinguish it from what America calls what we would call a ‘steel ring’ that is worn on the finger. Although this may be true, the correct term is ‘steel band’ and it’s best defined as a group of musicians of which the majority play ‘steel pans’ (as named by the Caribbean folk of Trinidad where they were invented) or ‘steel drums’ as some others call them.
Furthermore, we are ‘professional’ because you can hire our steel band for High Wycombe and we are in the full-time business of providing clients all sorts of steel pan-playing performances and workshop experiences.
Finally, the founder of the band, Paul Cherrie, is a British professional musician of second generation Caribbean (specifically Trinidadian) heritage with 40 years of experience in leading bands and 35 years experience of the administration involved in managing their successful performance.
What is a ‘community steel band’?
A community steel band in High Wycombe
A community steel band is one which is open to all members of a local community regardless of whether that community has members who are of Caribbean heritage or not. It does not require an audition to join. Consequently, members of the general public can attend band rehearsals and receive instruction on the skills required to perform specific musical pieces on a specific steel band instrument.
The bands are largely funded by any combination of firstly, government grants, secondly, private sponsorship and thirdly, band membership subscriptions. Furthermore, some may also fund themselves by registering as charities. However, irrespective of how they are funded, all of them are duty-bound to serve their own communities with concert performances and workshops that are readily available.
It’s important to realise that community bands are very ‘branded’ visually, as they tend to wear their own band’s name and logo on their t-shirts and instruments eg. “Pantastic Steel Band High Wycombe”.
Unquestionably, they do wonderful work and the sound of as many as 50 people playing together is a wondrous thing.
Undeniably it is important to realise, however, that their business is not- nor should it be- to play at a private event for a professional fee. Despite some of Solid Steel’s players over the years becoming professional-level players having once played in community steel bands in High Wycombe, most are not. The reason for this is that a community steel band in High Wycombe- or anywhere else- is open to everyone regardless of their musical ability and playing music professionally should require exceptional talent.
Does your steel band include vocals?
A High Wycombe steel band that can include vocals
There may be perhaps as many as 90% of all clients who only want to hear steel bands in High Wycombe play instrumentally without vocals. Nonetheless, on request, you can hire our steel band including professional-level vocalists who sing whilst playing steel pans/drums and who carry equipment for that.
This equipment needs to be easily portable and these days Solid Steel’s amplification is mostly battery-powered, light and easy to set up- even in outside staging areas.
In conclusion, the option to include vocals with a steel band is a rare thing indeed in High Wycombe- but one we are very happy to provide!
Do you make your own steel pans/drums?
Steel pan makers and steel drum tuners for High Wycombe
We don’t make our own steel drums because there are specialist UK steel pan makers and steel pan tuners in who supply and maintain our steel band instruments for performances in High Wycombe.
Nonetheless, we can supply you with the pan making and pan tuning services we recommend as pan-playing professionals on request- for prices lower than you would be able to get from direct contact with these experts.
What events best suit Solid Steel?
Our steel band for all High Wycombe events
We travel all over the country and abroad with our steel band and not just in High Wycombe. We do this playing fully live at events with (but mostly without!) a tropical theme to audiences. These events include Caribbean nights, private parties, wedding receptions, corporate events, product and project launches etc.
Hence, we deliver to prestigious and not-so-prestigious venues as diverse as hotels, festivals, schools, tv and radio studios, village halls, shopping centres, pubs and restaurants.
Does Solid Steel play for virtual events?
A steel band for virtual events
Yes, we most certainly do play for virtual events!
It would be easy for musicians to get left behind, technologically-speaking, in this much-changed world that we find ourselves in since the start of the pandemic. On the contrary, in comparison with many other steel bands Solid Steel has always embraced changes in technology and endeavoured to make these changes work for our clients- and stay ahead of our field.
The notion of live virtual events is obviously a relatively new one but we believe that there can’t be many steel bands that have done this kind of work at such a high level as us. As an illustration, we have even delivered a highly successful livestream performance for Cisco on one of their WebEx events.
Just what size band should I book, ideally?
Steel drum background music in High Wycombe
We’re in high demand as an acoustic (unplugged!) steel band and particularly as a trio. This format was first established in London in the 1950s, so it’s very much a London invention pretty much in the way that Balti cooking is the invention of Asians in Birmingham. The Cherrie family were among the first to bring it to High Wycombe. Perhaps this helps to explain why our trio is so very natural, organic and beautifully undated with a timeless quality only other acoustic groups like string quartets can aspire to.
Another key point is that the Solid Steel trio, in particular, uses the best musicians playing the highest quality of steel band instruments to achieve the best sound and achieve the right balance of the key elements of music- melody, harmony, bass and percussion. Once this is achieved we then choose suitably melodic material such as traditional calypsos and Caribbean folk music with Latin and popular ‘standards’ fleshing out our repertoire.
Needless to say we don’t always play as a trio. Because as much as we love that particular line-up, it’s not always suitable.
Steel drum music for dancing in High Wycombe
It’s important to note that there are several steel bands advertised for hire in High Wycombe and throughout the UK. Even so, no other steel band and only a few function or wedding bands can offer greater flexibility in terms of size and format that Solid Steel offers. This is clearly apparent when you consider how we try and give our clients the Caribbean steel band that they want and freely advise them of the best options to take based on our vast experience in the business.
Sometimes we’re booked to play sessions for dancing because we are so versatile. There have been many times in the past when we’ve played as a steel trio, especially with vocals, when our audiences have danced to us. However, this is far from guaranteed and younger audiences especially find steel band trios too ‘light’ rhythmically and arguably often prefer us to work with a bass guitar and a drummer in a bigger steel band (if ‘steel band’ is still the right name for you- we prefer ‘steel combo’!) with a heavier rhythm. Nonetheless, we would always advise our clients to take this option only if their budget is suited to it. Under those circumstances, we’d be sure to pack the dance floor!
One final point to make is that we don’t always play as a band, because we also offer solo and duo options that can be either ‘unplugged’ and fully live or performances using backing tracks. All the same, these options are best suited to the smallest of events, the smallest of client budgets and virtual events.
What kind of music does Solid Steel play?
Caribbean music and beyond
It’s important to note that most traditional steel bands, especially first generation Caribbean steel bands like ‘The Cherry Pickers’, will principally play ‘Caribbean Folk’ music. This consists of calypso (the national folk music of Trinidad & Tobago) and Harry Belafonte-styled ‘island music’. They will in addition play some old Latin-American ‘standards’. Without reservation, we also still love these songs and when hired as a fully-instrumental and unplugged acoustic steel band really enjoy playing these wonderful melodies.
But, equally important, we also meet the modern demand for our steel band to play the pop and reggae in High Wycombe that is familiar to younger audiences and are the most requested genres these days. Luckily for us, because we offer vocals within the band itself, we’re more suited as a steel band to meet the demand for modern pop covers that might be unrecognisable if played just instrumentally on steel drums.
What does each band format sound like?
Steel band sound files and videos
We have an extensive library of sound files and videos online that feature our steel band performing ‘live’- sometimes in High Wycombe.
Although not all are of the high quality technically that we believe the quality of our playing deserves, they do fulfill our principle objective. This is to let you, as a prospective client, know what any particular band line-up is going to sound like at your event bar the acoustic environment of your staging.
Does your steel band play song requests?
Playing song requests
Most song requests are fairly easy to play on steel pans- with a few exceptions!
We tend to get requests mostly for songs that aren’t Caribbean- like pop songs. As a top professional steel band, we pride ourselves in being able to do this. Especially if you choose one that includes vocals, because not all pop melodies are very recognisable if just played instrumentally on the steel pans.
Unless we don’t know your tune and don’t consider it suitable to play on future engagements, we will freely add it to our already extensive repertoire.
Please be aware that as versatile an instrument as the steel pan is, we like to reference its folk roots too, so we will always include some Caribbean songs at your event.
We can send you a list of our entire repertoire, but what we will be able to play best is reliant on the line-up you book. Fundamentally, we will always try to play the right material for you at the right volume regardless of how many steel band musicians you have hired for your event in High Wycombe.
Can you provide music in your breaks?
A steel band for background music
We can provide recorded music in our breaks if you’ve booked us to play with amplification or to include vocals.
Additionally, we can also bring in extra equipment to accommodate you, even if you’ve only booked us to play ‘unplugged’ as an all-acoustic steel band, .
We would prefer if you play your own choice of music through our system using your phone, tablet or laptop if the music is only being played at a background level for the ambience of your event. However, if you want recorded music played that’s more prominent or requires more specialised knowledge of Caribbean music, we will be happy to DJ for you!
How loud will your steel band be?
Our steel band’s volume control
The band’s volume is partly dependent on the size of our band and whether it is using any amplification.
It is one of life’s great paradoxes that steel bands are often perceived to be much quieter than expected by people who had previously thought they might be too loud for their event and also perceived to be much louder than expected by people who had previously thought they might be too quiet for their event in High Wycombe.
Sensitive professional musicians like those in Solid Steel who respond to the needs of specific events are often to blame for this!
How much space will your band need?
A compact steel band for High Wycombe
Please provide a minimum of 1.5m x 1.5m for each steel pan player playing a single pan, on average- unless the band is socially distancing, of course.
Can we hire your steel band to stroll/roam?
Pan Roun’ Neck steel band in High Wycombe
Very few steel bands offer this roaming or strolling steel band format, but we do!
We use musicians who offer the ‘pan roun’ neck’ method of playing the steel pan – with the single pan suspended on a strap from the neck of each player. This ‘pan roun’ neck’ way of playing is the oldest, most authentic method of playing steel drums.
However, with our heavier modern steel instruments roaming is physically demanding, so we do place some restrictions on how long we can do this for and over what distance.
We still enjoy it, however, as for short impact performances and parades this is a real crowd-pleaser!
How does your steel band look and dress?
A Caribbean looking steel band for High Wycombe
In the eyes of many people the steel pan is principally a folk instrument. Consequently, there is an overwhelming demand for our professional Caribbean steel band to look ‘authentic’.
The stereotypical Caribbean person is dark and wears dreadlocks for many foreigners who have never been to that part of the world. But the real Caribbean look isn’t at all like the stereotype!
With minimal research you will find that in most of the Caribbean islands, and particularly in Trinidad, the real Caribbean look is ‘defined’ by a lot of mixed and intermixed ethnicities.
Trinidad is a real melting pot with East Indian principally, then African, Mixed, European, Chinese and Syrian ethnicities and Solid Steel’s musicians do tend to reflect this. We do look a lot like a cross-section of the very racially-mixed Trinidadian society- some older, some younger, some darker skinned, some lighter skinned. Disproportionately male we would have to admit- but we’re working on that!
At this moment, all of our players have some element of African ethnicity. But there are some outstanding white steel pan players in the UK and the next white musician in our band will be hired for his or her talent and not be discriminated against on the grounds of race. If he or she plays great calypso, Latin, reggae, jazz et al in an authentic style on a steel pan or any other of our band’s instruments – that’s what should matter most.
A professional looking steel band
In terms of costume, unless we are told otherwise, we will assume that you would prefer our band to be dressed suitably for a Caribbean theme. Some guidance from you on the basis of photos on this site, however, will help guide us specifically to any preferred choices.
Again, there is another European stereotype in play. Many people like steel bands to wear multi-coloured, loud, short sleeved shirts with figures of palm trees and hula dancers printed on them. But no-one walks down a street anywhere in the Caribbean wearing a Hawaiian-style shirt! Oh, hang on, I just remembered. Some of them do. And the locals have a name for them too. They’re called ‘tourists’.
So when people ask us to dress ‘authentically’, what they want 99% of the time is for us to dress like tourists who are holidaying in the Caribbean. However, if their event is Caribbean-themed, all of the guests will then be dressed just like us! We really don’t mind doing this and always will if we’re specifically asked to.
Left to our own devices, though, we often wear something that looks ‘stagey’, but also references our cultural heritage. Trinidad is the true home of steel band music, but there’s no national dress to speak of. So we like to take it back a little further to West Africa,.
Other than this option, we tend to go for a co-ordinated look with bright, and sometimes fluorescent colours or sometimes we’re asked to wear all white. Any of these looks great on us when you hire our steel band!
Can you run workshops at my event?
Steel Drum Teachers for High Wycombe
Solid Steel’s founder, Paul Cherrie, is a PGCE qualified teacher and guarantees the highest teaching standards are maintained whether you choose to hire our popular steel band workshops in schools, run a fun workshop at a hen night or contracted to manage steel band team building activities for our corporate clients.
Playing the steel pan is a lot of fun and we’re keen to share that experience! People of all ages and abilities always love having a go at hitting a drum, but given the opportunity to play a steel drum they take that enthusiasm up to another level.
We can provide the opportunity to be interactive with our range of fun, educational, and inexpensive team building and workshop services. These can be tailor-made to suit any group of people regardless of age or ability and indeed can prove to be particularly beneficial to those with disabilities and special needs.
When is Solid Steel available to perform?
All year round steel band performances
We’re not just a steel band that gets busy in the summer. We’re professionals and you can hire our steel band all year round. There are, however, times when we are busier than others and we tend to price our services accordingly.
In the summer we’re naturally very busy with weddings, company barbecues and other events where the ‘sunshine’ sound of steel bands has long been considered as almost mandatory by UK bookers such as wedding coordinators, corporate entertainment organisers, conference entertainment organisers and party planners.
We also get a lot of interest in our steel band performing in the Black History month of October and, of course, in December we’re very busy with Christmas parties and Christmas Carol concerts (we have a demo of Solid Steel exclusively playing Christmas favourites available on request).
We also often do some touring with our steel band, performing abroad in the Spring.
Where is your steel band based?
A steel band for High Wycombe
You can hire our steel band using musicians based nearest to High Wycombe. But we do also have associate steel pan players and other band members throughout the country. Several are based in London, Manchester, Brighton, Oxford, Leeds and Birmingham.
This helps us provide a truly UK-wide service with a reduced carbon footprint whilst we drive all over the country playing our super-green recycled oil drums.
Where does Solid Steel perform?
A truly mobile steel band nationwide
We perform anywhere and everywhere! We don’t only supply steel band hire to High Wycombe. Solid Steel is able to supply similar high quality steel drum musical performances throughout the country at affordable prices because our steel band has associate members throughout the UK.
The best illustration of that is to provide you with lists of all the UK bookings we can verify that the band were used for in 2019 as they happened:-
3-piece steel band bookings outside London
Firstly, The ICC in Birmingham hires our steel band.
Then Wentworth Golf Club in Surrey booked us, too.
Following that, one client in Southampton hired our steel drum musicians.
A 21st birthday party then hires our steel band in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
Subsequently, a bride in Bristol hires this steel band format.
In due time, The Aruba Bar & Restaurant in Bournemouth hired our steel band.
Then the Oatlands Park Hotel in Surrey hired our steel band.
Shortly after, our steel band hired out musicians for a River Cruise in Windsor.
Unsurprisingly, 3 of our musicians were hired out for England vs West Indies at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton.
Then a university in Kent hired our steel band.
Meanwhile a school in Surrey hires our steel band with a limbo dancer.
The Stourport Manor Hotel in Worcestershire hires one steel band.
Furthermore, a corporate event in Scotland hired our steel band incl. a PA & vocals.
Almost immediately our steel band was hired in Reading, Berkshire.
Shortly after, a school in Essex hired our steel band.
Chepstow Racecourse subsequently hired our steel band.
Meanwhile the steel band was also hired for a wedding in High Wycombe, Bucks.
Dreamland in Margate, Kent hired our steel band players.
Afterwards, a pub in Essex hired the Solid Steel Electric Band.
Additionally, a wedding client hired our steel band for Bucks.
Finally, one nursery in Slough, Berks hired our steel band.
3-piece steel band bookings in London
The Royal Academy of Arts in London hired our strolling steel band.
A corporate event in Docklands hired our Caribbean steel band.
A radio show hired our steel band to play in a studio in Clerkenwell, London.
One corporate party in Greenwich hired Solid Steel with the band’s gazebo.
Another venue where our steel band was hired was the Lee Valley Athletics Centre, London.
There was a hire of our steel band for the Victory Service Club, Central London.
The Verandah in Park Lane, Mayfair, London hired this steel band format.
The Google Summer Party agreed to hire our steel band.
A Bingo Hall in Cricklewood decided to hire our steel drummers.
A Department Store in Streatham, London decided to hire our steel band.
Our steel band hired out musicians for a corporate event at Bankside in London.
One Costa Coffee in London hired an alfresco steel band set.
The Arab Bankers Association hired our steel band for an event in Central London.
An outdoor venue in Wandsworth, London hired our steel drums.
The Natural History Museum was a venue where our steel band was hired for an event.
A Retail Park in Surrey Quays, London hired our steel band.
There was a corporate event at St Paul’s Cathedral for which our steel band was hired.
We hired out our steel band for a corporate event in Chiswick.
A Primary School in Hampstead hires our steel band musicians.
The Solid Steel Electric Trio was hired for the Chelsea Physic Garden.
The Electric Barge, Paddington, London hosted a party for which our steel band was hired.
A Ticketmaster corporate event in London decided to hire our steel band.
One venue, Neverland, in London had our steel band hired for a corporate client.
3-piece steel band bookings in Northern England
Firstly, a steel band hire was made for a wedding in Keswick, Cumbria.
Later, a Bar Mitzvah client in Manchester, Lancashire hires our steel band players with limbo dancers.
Eventually, an event in Yorkshire hired our steel band with vocals.
An International Cricket match at Headingley, Yorks hired our steel band.
One of our steel bands was hired for a wedding in Manchester, Lancashire in 2020.
Bookings for 2 steel drummers
One wedding client hired us as a steel drum duo in Beaconsfield, Bucks.
A hire of our all-acoustic steel band was made for a pub in Basingstoke, Hampshire.
Solid Steel hired out a band for a wedding in Ilkeston, Derbyshire.
An Academy hired two steel band tutors for Southampton, Hants.
A Cricket Club in Warnford, Hants hired our steel drum duo with vocals & a gazebo.
One steel band hire was for primary school workshops in Calverton, Notts.
Our band hired out a steel drum duo for John Lewis in Milton Keynes, Bucks.
Another primary school in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk hired our steel band players.
A primary school in Hatfield, Herts hired our steel band tutors.
The Royal Holloway University of London in Surrey hired our steel drummers.
A Prep School in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey hired our steel band teachers.
A corporate event organiser in Tadley, Hants thought fit to hire our steel band.
Solid Steel drummers were hired for a pub wedding reception in Addlestone, Surrey.
Stoll in Fulham, London hired two steel drummers.
One corporate event in Wickford, Essex hired musicians from our steel band.
An electric steel band was provided for a corporate event hire in Chelmsford, Essex.
Another corporate event in Chigwell, Essex hired our electric steel band’s players.
A hire of our steel drummers was made for a corporate event in Southampton, Hants.
A Junior School in Ilford, Essex hired 2 tutors from our steel band.
A community event at Sadlers Wells Theatre proceeded to hire our steel band players.
Mobile steel drummer soloists hired
One Steel Pan Soloist was hired for Destinology in Wilmslow, Cheshire.
A Primary School in Chislehurst, Kent decided to hire one steel band tutor.
Another Primary School in Crouch End, N. London decided to also hire 1 steel band teacher.
A Steel Pan Soloist was hired for St. Martin in the Fields Courtyard, Central London.
One steel drummer was hired for Potters Fields Park, London.
Another of our Steel Pan Soloists was hired for OPEN in Norwich, Norfolk.
A Primary School in Woolwich, London hired one of our steel band tutors.
Another Primary School in Greenwich, London hired another steel band tutor.
The National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham hired a steel drummer for a Travel Show.
Larger travelling steel bands and steel combos hired
Sir Steve McQueen hired our 10-piece steel band for a movie shoot in Notting Hill, London.
The Shrewsbury Flower Show, Shropshire hired our steel band for yet another year.
Warner Bros Studios in Herts hired five of our steel band for the 2021 ‘Tom & Jerry’ Movie.
Our 4-piece electric steel band incl a PA & vocals was hired in Leatherhead, Surrey.
A corporate event in the Gardens of Tower Of London saw fit to hire our 4-piece steel band.
Sir Steve McQueen hired 7 of our steel band for his 50th birthday party in London.
Sixt at the World Travel Market at ExCel, London hired our 4-piece steel band with our female singer.
The 4-piece steel combo (incl. drums & vocal PA) was hired for a wedding in Witney, Oxon.
The Atrium, London was the venue for a hire of our steel band musicians.
A private school in Finchley, London decided to hire our steel band players.
One hospital in Stanmore hired two members of our steel band.
A Junior School in Barnet, London hired our steel band for workshops.
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine hired our steel drum duo.
An Infants School in NW London hired our steel drummers for an International Day.
A school in Highgate, London hired our steel band’s musicians.
Our steel band’s players were hired to stroll at a recording studio party in Chelsea, London.
ITV’s Good Morning Britain hired our steel band to play live in their London studio.
A London Heathrow hotel hired our steel band for an event.
What other acts work well with Solid Steel?
A steel band with limbo and carnival dancers plus…!
Solid Steel is led by Paul Cherrie, as the flagship act of his management company, ‘Cherry Ripe Management’, which manages many other tropical themed performers that can be hired to complement your event. The most popular fun choices of these are Carnival Dancers and limbo dancers based near High Wycombe, but there are many more. Please explore some options at www.tropical-ents.co.uk.
We’re very experienced in all things Caribbean, naturally, and will always want to help you. We can even advise you on theming and catering if we’re asked!