Q&A with The Fontains
If you’re in need of a wedding band, you’ve come to the right place
How did you start out as a band? Were you all keen musicians growing up?
Phil and I took up guitar in school as a way to get out of lessons. We had various bands throughout the years, some decent but many not so. Peter’s dad plays drums in a tribute act that tours the country so it was only natural that he followed in his footsteps. The three of us met in 2010 through a mutual love of Indie music and decided to form a band for the fun of it more than anything else.
How did you get into performing at weddings?
After a few public gigs we got asked to play at weddings. We weren’t sure at first as we never saw ourselves as wedding band material but the couples insisted. After we played a few weddings it all made sense, the people that loved the music we did were now getting hitched and they wanted a band that played the songs they grew up with. After several successful weddings under our belt we decided that's what we wanted to do. It's not a hard choice to make between playing grotty pubs to boozed-up punters or at an amazing venue to appreciative crowds up for a dance. We still play the odd pub now as it’s good fun and with over 80 percent of our bookings coming from recommendations or people seeing us live, it’s important that we get out and get seen
What can people expect from a night with The Fontains?
While all weddings share similarities, no two are the same so we tailor it to what the couple want. Regardless of that you’ll always hear a great mix of songs – songs to dance to, anthems to sing along to and the odd slow song to smooch to. Our sound and light equipment is top-end stuff that is always being upgraded so you can expect a first-class performance.
Has your sound changed significantly since your first wedding gig?
Our sound hasn’t changed as I think that’s something we’ve had right from the start. What has changed is our set. We’ve come to realise that at most weddings you’re trying to get three generations up on the dancefloor so our set has become more diverse, covering a range of styles and eras.
What’s it like being part of a couple’s special day?
You only get one go at it so initially you feel a huge amount of pressure to perform and make the night a success but the reaction we get on the dance floor, the feedback we receive on the night and the testimonials that follow make it all worthwhile. The evening is a great time for all involved as the ceremony is done and everyone, especially the bride and groom, can finally let their hair down and just have a good time.
Are there any stand-out weddings that you’ve played over the years?
One that does stand out was a wedding at Ellingham Hall where the groom was a Royal Marine. Many of his guests were in their red mess uniforms but as the night wore on they started swopping outfits with the girls. Come the end of the night we had a dance floor full of girls in Marine uniforms and Marines in dresses. A few months later we got a phone call from an RAF pilot who had flown the Marines on an exercise. He was in the process of planning his wedding and overheard the Marines talking about how good the night was so he got our details, got in touch and the following summer we made a 400-mile round trip to play at his wedding. You never know where a booking will come from!
Your set list is a cocktail of classic songs from the past few decades. Do you have any favourites to perform or are they all well-loved by the band?
We genuinely love them all. I think you have to like the music you’re playing otherwise you’ll not enjoy it and that will come across in your performance. We could fill our set with the usual wedding band songs like Brown Eyed Girl or Mustang Sally in an effort to appeal to every couple under the sun, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not us.
Have you ever had any wedding-themed disasters?
We’ve seen a few but nothing we haven’t managed to work around yet. Quite often we’ll be the only three sober people in the room come the end of the night so you see all sorts. At a wedding in York the bride and groom thought a ghost trip would be a great way to entertain their guests while the room was turned around. Unfortunately the guests were quite well oiled after the meal and just wanted to carry on drinking. 50 guests set off but as the tour wound its way through York the numbers dwindled as they disappeared off into the city’s numerous pubs. At eight o’clock the only people to return were a handful of guests and a fraught-looking tour guide in need of a drink himself. Our start time was delayed by about two hours but needless to say the guests were all up for it when they did finally arrive back.
What is your most requested song for a couple’s first dance?
Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud has been by far the most popular first dance of this year knocking John Legend’s All of Me off the top spot.
Finally, what’s next for the band?
We’ve got bookings till 2017 so for the next two years we’ll keep doing what we’re doing but all the while improving our set, show and equipment. When we first started out we were one of only a handful of wedding bands of our style but this has certainly changed now and the competition is much more intense so it’s important we keep improving what we do and remain on top.
To keep up to date with The Fontains and listen to their amazing covers, head to the www.thefontains.com