SOLID STEEL: OUR ALL-EVENTS BAND

Steel band hire for corporate & other events

Apart from weddings and workshops our steel band is involved in numerous other events throughout a typical year that include:

  • Film & TV work (see us in a 2020 film here)
  • Caribbean-themed events
  • Private parties like birthdays & anniversaries
  • Indoor & outdoor corporate events
  • Sporting events
  • Seasonal events eg. Christmas & festivals

A steel band that plays all your Christmas favourites!

A steel band for all seasonal bookings

We do try to stay busy throughout the calendar year, so although we do get asked to perform with very little notice and are most often able to oblige, we suggest clients book as early as possible!

In the early months when there are fewer events being held in the UK, if we are not teaching, we prefer to either spend our time in the recording studio or tour and perform abroad. Over the years the band has played extensively in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, including Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Belgium, Capri, Djibouti, Dubai, France, Germany, Gran Canaria, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Monaco, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Syria, Tenerife and Tunisia. We love travelling and will discount our regular domestic rates to compensate for foreign clients’ expenses.
In the Spring and Summer months we’re kept busy with mostly outdoor events in the UK as an all-acoustic steel band, because the ‘reliable sound of sunshine’ of our steel band has long been considered as almost mandatory by UK bookers such as wedding planners, corporate entertainment organisers and sporting event organisers to supply beautiful Caribbean music for their weddings, company barbecues and corporate fun days for the staff and their families.

As summer turns to Autumn we also get a lot of interest in our steel band performing in the Black History month of October. These performances are often accompanied by workshops and often take place in schools, colleges and other educational establishments.

In early November during the Halloween / Guy Fawkes Bonfire / Diwali season we get to demonstrate that we can produce performances outside in cold weather, raising the spirits.
These sets may be shorter and we will most certainly be ‘wrapped up’ costume wise, but we don’t flinch at braving the elements!

Then, of course, in December we’re very busy with Christmas parties and Christmas Carol concerts.

Most companies organise a Christmas party for their staff and Christmas in the Caribbean is a popular theme. We’re proud to say we have been invited to play at a carol concert at the famous St Martin-in-the-Fields church by Trafalgar Square for twelve consecutive years and here you can find some video clips of our steel band playing Christmas carols and songs.

Read more

A steel band for parades, strolling & roaming

For many people steel bands are best enjoyed as part of a carnival parade. ‘Steel band’ and ‘carnival’ are inseparable concepts for them. A musical performance delivered by a band that’s mobile has potentially more impact and we are in high demand as a steel band who can be the surprise element at conferences, town parades, sporting events and the like.

Although we can play statically on a moving float we are more often requested to play with the steel pans hanging around our necks and strolling in a style called ‘pan roun’ neck’ (authentic Trinidadian term alert!).

The ‘pan roun’ neck’ method of playing the steel pan – with the pan suspended on a strap from the neck of the player – is the oldest, most authentic method and loved by all.
The original demands of pan-playing at Trinidad Carnival naturally led to the development of a mobile method that wasn’t restricted by an immovable pan stand. However, because the pans that professionals play today are generally larger and heavier than before, many modern pan players prefer to play on stands.
There is video publicity showing a Solid Steel trio mix and mingle at Royal Ascot- playing and strolling through an enthralled crowd. When we entertain in this way, the cameras come out and there’s a smile on everyone’s face!
The ‘pan roun’ neck style of steel pan performance was first introduced to the UK by the Russ Henderson Trio which included Max Cherrie and after him, Ralph Cherrie. Small wonder then that their sons Paul and Mark of Solid Steel would be so committed to keeping this art form alive. From balls to private parties to Notting Hill Carnival, pan roun’ neck was loved by everyone; especially when players did tricks such as extending a rope between the pans of two of the players with the other player limboing beneath the rope.
A ‘pan roun’ neck’ performance is a very niche performance nowadays. Only 1 in a 100 steel band players nowadays will have any experience of doing it. So, if you want a steel band that still offers a wow factor as a spectacle too, Solid Steel are one of only a handful of UK steel bands that can provide this.

Read more
Roaming & parading at Ascot Races

Our steel band roaming & parading at Ascot Races

With the source of Reggae Reggae, Levi Roots

A steel band for corporate events

Of course, it’s not just receptions at weddings where our steel band is hired. Our steel band has long been a popular choice as a reception band for corporate events organisers too.

Often the planners opt for the ‘unplugged’, acoustic variety of steel band of which Solid Steel excel in providing. We feel privileged to have been commissioned to have our steel band perform for some of the biggest companies in the world as well as possibly some of the smallest.

We have performed for numerous banking and law firms. Metro Bank used us to promote the opening of 6 of their branches and recently the band were asked to perform inside the branch of a Lloyd’s bank in business hours- a first for us. Whilst the demands of playing outside the Metro banks was to drum up business by grabbing the general public’s attention, playing inside Lloyd’s bank required that we play at a level that still enabled cashiers and customers to have a conversation. The sensitivity of our musicianship allowed us to be successful at both events.

More recently the demand for our steel band to be more interactive with its audience has only enhanced our popularity. We now often carry extra steel drums and operate workshops for both adults and children at these corporate events and our team building and workshop experience really helps to make this a success.

In all cases, the event organisers have recognised the importance of corporate hospitality and/or brand promotion and have entrusted us with enhancing their company’s good reputation.

Read more

A steel band to fill a dance floor!

Solid Steel’s musicians do like to show off their other instruments if it’s appropriate. As much as we love the acoustic steel trio line-up, it’s not always suitable. No other steel band and only a few wedding bands would offer greater flexibility in terms of size and format than us. Our clients can then enjoy the Caribbean steel band format that is best fit for purpose- which means that we are often hired to play sessions for dancing.

. 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 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. We would always advise our clients to take this option if their budget is suited to it. Then we’re sure to pack the dance floor!
Read more

Our steel combo at a charity event with Brian Lara

What Our Clients Say

Lorraine Barnes Burton, CEO, British Travel Awards, London

Solid Steel played at the British Travel Awards in front of an audience of the most senior professionals in the UK travel industry. They started the event with their upbeat music and dancers and really set the tone for what was a great night. A real success – thanks very much!

Kathy Jay of Burnham, Bucks

Dear Solid Steel Band, thank you so much for entertaining us at the party on Saturday. You were fantastic and everyone commented on how good you were.

Chelsea Parsons, Hatton Garden, London

Solid Steel Band played at our ‘Grey Matter Day’ agency evening event. We had a Caribbean themed evening and the music was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. The music was very uplifting and got everyone in the mood for dancing!

Mary Staddon, Banstead, Surrey

Been meaning to email you to say the band were brilliant- THANK YOU. Will come back to you again!

David Hawkins, Leighton Buzzard, Bucks

The only way to describe Solid Steel is “Caribbean in Sound”. You brought our evening alive on Saturday night, adding that mystery ingredient that makes everyone smile and carries them on a wave of sunshine to an exotic place. My personal thanks for a wonderful performance that fulfilled our brief perfectly! Please can we have more of the same next year?

Bernard Jayasundera, Wimbledon, London

Many thanks for sending your combo to provide the music at Nina’s 60th birthday celebration. Both of us, as well as our friends really enjoyed the music. It made those of us of a “certain age” feel young again. Even the younger generation enjoyed the music; stuff they’ve never listened to before on their iPods. I’m sure they also enjoyed watching their “elders and betters” make a fool of themselves, dancing. We hadn’t planned on dancing, but the music was too infectious.

Wendy Fleckney of Price Bailey Chartered Accountants, UK, Norwich

Thanks for your wonderful performance at our anniversary function last Saturday, which played a very large part in ensuring that the event was as successful as it was.

Joceline Wild of Teleadapt, UK, Watford, Herts

Just a quick note to let you know what a great job you and your band did at our above corporate event recently. I was very impressed, both with the quality of the music, and the professionalism of Solid Steel.

2nd Northolt Scout Group, Russell Road, Northolt, Middx

Fantastic music played by three friendly characters. Certainly recommend them regardless of the function. They entertained us throughout our 75th Anniversary Wood End Show for the 2nd Northolt Scout Troop and this was one of the times that we could say that the music was enjoyed by all ages. Don’t hesitate – book them, we will definitely book them and recommend them to play again, even the music they played in between the sets was brilliant – faultless performance guys.

Bruce Kettle, Cirencester, Glos

Booked Solid Steel for my wife’s birthday party at our local pub. Had some apprehension about whether they would be reliable and punctual but everything was fine, the music was great and people in the village still talk about the evening. I’d recommend the group to anyone.

Charlie Jamieson (Our Kid Brother), London

Solid Steel provided the warmth as the first touchpoint at the Alexandra Palace entrance, immersing the consumer in the Caribbean theme of the event as soon as they arrived. Paul was very helpful in the lead up to the event, providing all the information required promptly so the process was easy and efficient. On the night, the band were incredibly popular, cheerful and added a credible Caribbean vibe. We would definitely recommend and use them again.

Gordon G Mackenzie of Ramada Renaissance Hotel, UAE.

On behalf of the Ramada Renaissance Hotel, Doha, I would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for making the ‘Caribbean Nite BBQ’ a grand success.

See Our Band!

Learn More From Common FAQs

The ‘pan roun’ neck’ method of playing the steel pan – with the pan suspended on a strap from the neck of the player – is the oldest, most authentic method and loved by all. With the origins of pan-playing being to accompany the carnival in Trinidad, it was only natural for players to develop a mobile method of pan playing that wasn’t restricted by an immovable pan stand. Thus pan roun’ neck was born. Not only did this method allow players to follow the carnival but it also had the added bonus of more audience participation as players were able to interact with the crowd whilst playing.
Pan roun’ neck was also perfect for busking. A few UK players in the ‘60s and ‘70s would busk in the South of France during August and holiday with their families at the same time.

Because the pans that professionals play today are generally larger and heavier than before (because most are now chrome-plated and some weigh as much as 15kgs) many modern pan players prefer to play on stands. Solid Steel will always be a band that welcomes being hired as a mobile steel band that can parade or stroll, but for sound health and safety reasons keeps these sessions short. But sweet!

A carnival float is a wonderful moving stage by which thousands of onlooking bystanders will have their attention grabbed by our expert steel band very visibly playing some super lively popular music in a calypso style. Playing steel pans whilst being driven on a carnival float is great fun for us and for the audience of bystanders watching us. Our musicians always get a bit competitive with other floats and give lively performances whilst in a carnival procession! We also keep the tempo of the music high to raise that energy even more!
The bigger local amateur steel bands with 20 or more band members are the more obvious candidates for the big city carnivals like London’s Notting Hill or the carnivals in Leeds and Manchester. We often get booked for more provincial carnivals as a 4-piece or 5-piece steel band, but with a PA provided onboard the float to project our sound further.

A carnival parade in the UK doesn’t feel truly multicultural without a steel band in it!
Our steel band in appropriate numbers for the event can be the ideal band to lead a procession- be it the size of a wedding procession, a carnival procession or something in-between.
A marching Solid Steel band (and ‘marching’ is really what we call ‘chipping’- a controlled foot shuffle to the music’s tempo!) almost inevitably leads to an audience forming a conga line behind us!

When our steel band strolls with the pans around our necks we offer great versatility. We can weave our way through crowds and audiences providing the close-up experience that only mix and mingle entertainers can match whilst creating a carnival atmosphere. There is naturally more interaction with our audience, who may choose to form a conga line but are just as likely to start to dance or even start to limbo! So, generally speaking, our band can be even more entertaining.
Our steel band has a lot of experience of strolling as a trio in a small indoor environment like a restaurant and serenading diners- Mariachi-style. Because Solid Steel can sing as well as play we’re an even more suitable alternative to booking a Mariachi band than other strolling steel bands. We can serenade people dining- moving from table to table playing and singing lilting Caribbean ballads such as ‘Yellow Bird’ and ‘Island In The Sun’. We once gave this more intimate style of performance 6 nights a week for 3 months around the tables of the Tiki-style restaurant at the famous Sporting Club in Monte Carlo.
Street performances really look ‘street’ when a steel band is strolling or parading outside at street level. It looks like the authentic mix and mingle performance of street buskers and is ideal for high street performances to shoppers. And at sporting events we often play sets which rotate with those of a traditional jazz band.

The ‘surprise’ element of the arrival of Solid Steel with the steel pans around their necks has a big impact on an audience. Consequently, we’ve played at the presentation of the award of a free Caribbean holiday at many conferences in the past! Solid Steel will always be a band that welcomes being hired as a mobile steel band that can parade in short sets!

The versatility of instrumentation we can offer and the broad range of our repertoire.

Solid Steel is reliable- ‘the reliable sound of sunshine!’ is our band’s slogan
Solid Steel is black British- but is truly authentic with a heritage that goes back to 1952.
Solid Steel is traditional. An all-steel band that understands traditional calypso music.
Solid Steel is modern. Its ‘look’ is modern and we do cover modern pop songs too!
Solid Steel can feature a vocalist- unlike any other all-steel band we offer that choice.
Solid Steel is a professional musicians’ band (its players play another instrument as well) Solid Steel is not the cheapest- for good reason
Solid Steel will travel any and everywhere to perform.
Solid Steel is ideal for weddings at any stage- ceremony , receptions or wedding breakfast!
Solid Steel offers a range of workshop packages either with or without a performance option.
Solid Steel has recorded a CD which is available on Spotify.

Many of our past clients’ budgets for corporate entertainment will have been slashed following the pandemic of 2020. Some may see expenditure in this area ‘unnecessary’ or ‘unhelpful’ in terms of their company’s public image. They couldn’t be more wrong! Entertaining our clients’ clients with the uplifting happy tones of steel band music is the kind of mood-lifter this economy needs. We can provide the right background music to provide the ambience needed at a networking event for a company’s most valued employees and clients or create a party atmosphere that will grab everyone’s attention to a client’s brand at a launch event.

Over the last 10 years we have performed successful engagements for:-
1st Royal Anglian
4 Com Ltd
Allen & Overy
Allied Domecq
Amazon
American Express
Anglia Co-op
ANSA Elevators
Apex Conference & Events
Aramark Caterers
ASDA
Atkinson Bolton
Axell Wireless
Babcock & Brown
Bank of England
Barclays Global Investments
BBC Worldwide
Boon Edam
British Red Cross
Broadgate Estates
BSKYB
Butterfield Bank
Cadbury UK
Canary Wharf Management
Canon
Capita
Carphone Warehouse
Center Parcs
Charles Kendall Group
Charles Russell LLP
Charles Wells Ltd
City Airport
Condé Nast Publications
Credit Suisse
Cushman & Wakefield
Daiwa Securities
David Lloyd Leisure
Ernst & Young
Eurotunnel
Farrer & Co
Five Ten Group
GlaxoSmithKline
Glenlivet
Google
Grey Advertising Group
Guinness
Institute Of Actuaries
Investec
ITE Group
LDA Communications
LGN Wellbeing
Lloyds TSB
Malibu
Mazda Motors UK
Mercedes- Benz UK
Merlin Entertainments
Merrill Lynch
Metro Bank
Microsoft
MITIEG Group
Ogilvy & Mather
Pfizers
Pheonix Partners
Phoenix Equity Partners
Phyllis Court
Reuters
Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
Royal Thames Yacht Club
Saatchi & Saatchi
Schroders
Serco
Sheffield Haworth
Spirax-Sarco Ltd
Strutt & Parker
Toyota
Twitter
Unisonv

Virgin
Warner Bros

Nationwide, more and more wonderful venues have opened their doors to corporate hospitality business. As competition has become fiercer these venues have upped their game by offering excellent service alongside the unique characteristics and charms they offer. A great corporate event can now take place not just in a hotel or restaurant but in an art gallery, museum, roof garden and sports stadium, to name but a few. Sporting arenas aside (please see Parades), here are some of our favourite venues we’ve played in over the last 10 years:-
Anugraha Hotel, Egham
Birmingham NEC Arena
Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire
Cafe Royal, London
Celtic Manor, Wales
Chelsea Physic Garden, London
Chester Race Course, Cheshire
Claridge’s, London
Clearwell Castle, Gloucestershire
Coq d’Argent, London
Cowley Manor, Gloucestershire
Down Hall, Essex
Earls Court Arena, London
Gibson Hall, London
HAC, London
Highchere Castle, Berkshire
Kensington Palace, London
Kensington Roof Gardens, London
Kew Gardens, London
Knebworth House, Herts
Leeds Castle, Kent
London Zoo
Loseley Park, Surrey
Lowry Hotel, Manchester
Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire
Madame Tussaud’s, London
Millennium Dome, London
Natural History Museum, Londonv

Northbrook Park, Surrey
Orsett Hall, Essex
Painshill Park, Surrey
Queens Eyot, Windsor
Rhinefield House, Hants
Sea Life Aquarium, London
Sheraton Hotel, Damascus, Syria
Sheraton Skyline, Heathrow
Sporting Club, Monte Carlo
Stockbrook Manor, Essex
Stoke Park Club, Berkshire
Syon Park, Middlesex
The Brewery, London
The Dorchester, London
The Elvetham, Hampshire
The Mall of The Emirates, Dubai
Tythe Barn, Oxfordshire