FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How can I book you?

Please or fill in the form on the contact page of this website or email marcus@marcuspike.com. Or feel free to give me a call / text / WhatsApp on 07471188827. Please let me know the date, location, nature and approximate timings of your event and we can go from there.

What kind of functions do you play?

Weddings, parties, proposals, pubs, clubs, restaurants, festivals, residencies, other private or corporate functions - I'm open to just about anything, try me!

How long do you typically play for?

Usually 2x45 minutes or 3x45 minutes - but it's entirely up to you. I frequently play much shorter sets too, and sometimes longer. My current repertoire can fill over 6 hours, and I will happily consider any length of set.

 

What are your prices?

My wedding prices are laid out on the pricing page. For all other enquiries, prices will be similar, but please enquire with as much information as possible and I will provide you with a quote.

 

How far are you prepared to travel?

I am based in East London, and a large proportion of my bookings are in the South East of England, but I frequently venture to the West Country, Midlands and East Anglia. I am happy to drive just about anywhere in England and Wales. Travelling abroad is also an option (see below).

Do you charge extra for travel?

Not usually. My standard rates apply to anything in the South East of England. If your event is outside of this area, I will typically add extra into to the overall quote to account for travel cost and time. If you would like a breakdown of how the travel costs have been factored in to the quote, I'm always happy to provide it.

My wedding is abroad - do you travel outside Great Britain?

I have done weddings in France and Northern Ireland before, and I'd always welcome the opportunity to travel abroad if the timing is right!  I would typically ask that travel, accommodation and other expenses are paid for - just let me know your plans and I'll see what I can do.

 

What is the booking process?

1. Contact me to tell me about your event!

2. We will have a discussion by email / phone / video to establish your requirements, and my availability, and allow you to ask any questions.

3. When you are happy you would like to go ahead and book, I will create a contract and invoice, and the booking will be confirmed once the contract is signed.

4. You will then pay a deposit, which is typically £100.

5. I provide a one month cooling off period in case you change your mind.

What is your cancellation policy?

From one month after the booking has been finalised, I reserve the right to retain the £100 deposit in the case of cancellations, with the exception of Covid 19 (see below).

However, I have a policy of trying to be as reasonable as possible, so if the cancellation doesn't impact on my ability to book another gig, I will always aim to return the full deposit.

What is your COVID policy?

As mentioned in every contract I issue, I will always offer a full refund (including deposit) if there is major disruption to your event as a direct result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately it does not include you or any of your guests becoming infected, but I am always open to exercising discretion and sympathy as much as possible in such situations.

I, like much of the population, have now stopped regularly COVID testing, but I will always test myself before your event if you or the venue requests it.

Needless to say, if I am experiencing any symptoms I will immediately take a test and inform you as soon as possible.

Can we meet up with you before the event?

I'm always happy to discuss your event with you at length before the day. The most important thing is that you feel completely comfortable with every stage of the process.

 

I usually find that a Zoom call is more than adequate to cover everything. However, we can definitely arrange a meeting in person if you think this is the way forward.

Is there anywhere we can watch you playing live before we book?

My focus is very much on private events, but I do also play a few pub gigs in and around London. You would be more than welcome to come along and watch! Just ask and I can send you a list of my upcoming public events.

I haven't even proposed yet! Can you provide live music for the proposal as well?

Most certainly! I have done something like 15-20 of these now. These tend to be in and around London, but as always I am happy to travel further afield. Just get in touch with any ideas you may have.

Usually it's just 1-3 songs on an acoustic guitar, and I can of course learn a special song for the occasion if needed.

If it's easy for me to get to, I don't charge more than around £150 for proposals.

Various locations along the Thames and in London parks have proven popular over the years. If you're not sure about location, I can definitely give you some recommendations for lovely spots

_

The Kyoto Garden at Holland Park, where I have done 3 proposals

Can you provide a DJ set?

Yes! I am now equipped with a full pro-level DJ sound system and lighting.

You will see from my pricing page that I typically offer a 4 hour DJ set as an add on for just an extra £150. I believe this can make an excellent low-cost substitute for hiring a separate DJ (who may be charging several hundred pounds).

 

Not that I'm trying to put any of the excellent DJs who I have witnessed over the years out of work! If you want absolute top quality, always hire a specialised professional.

I don't have decks / clever mixes / 50 different types of lighting / a mountain of vinyl - I use nothing more than good old Spotify, so expect the songs to more or less be played one after another without any fancy transitions. But the sound quality and levels will be the same as a pro DJ can offer, and my lights can create a great dance floor atmosphere.

If you just want to dance the night away to some straightforward classics, this could be a good option.

What equipment do you use?

Good question.

 

I have three different sound systems, which I believe cover all bases when it comes to indoor and outdoor events.

  • Small - Roland Street Cube busking amp - which I usually use for wedding ceremonies, and sometimes for outdoor wedding receptions. It's battery powered, so I can take it anywhere where there isn't a power source - very useful for outdoor settings.​​

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Roland Street Cube being used for a wedding reception

  • Medium - Bose L1 Pro8 - my go to for most wedding receptions and smaller private events. Produces a gorgeous tone.

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Medium sound system set up for a wedding reception

  • Large  - EV ZLX-15 x2 - full sound system with two 15 inch drivers and mixing console, used for larger events and DJ sets. Lights and DJ table for the full dance floor experience.

99% of the time I play my Taylor 210ce electro-acoustic guitar, which I think sounds absolutely beautiful.

I am always more than happy to use the venue's sound system if this is more appropriate - we will discuss this before the day.

I'm also capable of playing unplugged where necessary (see below).

Do you only play acoustic guitar or can I request other instruments?

Glad you asked. I have also been known to play the following at weddings and other events on occasion:

Piano - I am also a pianist, and have a Yamaha P-120 stage piano, which is always lovely at weddings, especially ceremonies. The cost for preparing material on piano is likely to be higher - please let me know your requirements and I'll see what I can do.

Piano version of Simple Plan's Perfectly Perfect, commissioned for a wedding ceremony in 2022

 

Ukulele - I've used this to great effect in a few wedding ceremonies. It's easy to learn songs on and produces an inimitable vibe!

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's Somewhere Over the Rainbow on ukulele

Electric guitar - I would usually recommend acoustic guitar because it provides the most versatile sound. But If you're really looking a more mellow jazzy tone, I can play my Telecaster or Gold Top Les Paul copy.

Basically, anything is possible (well OK not quite anything).... just ask.

My venue won't allow amplification - can you play acoustically?

If at all possible, I almost always prefer to use some kind of amplification. Unplugged music can get lost REALLY quickly in a situation where there are lots of guests talking.

However, I'm more than happy to play unplugged if:

a) You would prefer it for any reason, or

b) The venue has restrictions in place which prohibit amplification in some way.

 

In some cases, the venue will not allow amplification outdoors due to licensing arrangements. This can be annoying when the weather is great and everyone is outside, but in these cases the venue is almost always happy for me to place my amp just inside a doorway so it is still very audible outside. I can quite often even stand outside as well as long as my amp is inside, which kind of makes a mockery of the licensing restriction!

Sometimes a venue has a complete ban on amplified music (usually due to complaints from neighbours), in which case all music will have to be unplugged.

In any case, we will check all of this thoroughly before the day to make sure there are no surprises.

On occasion, it's more appropriate to play unplugged in small wedding ceremonies, if the acoustics are good (small chapels, for example). I can make these kind of judgements when I arrive on the day.

Do you need a power point?

In most cases, yes. I have a 15m extension lead so it doesn't need to be right beside me. On occasions where there is no power source available, my small amp is battery powered, so I can still use amplification. This makes my setup very versatile and I've never encountered a problem powering my equipment.

My venue has sound level restrictions - would your performance trigger a sound limiter?

Please do not worry about this - these things are designed with bands / DJs in mind, and when it's just me and a guitar it won't get anywhere near the limit!

When I am using loud backing tracks or doing a DJ set, this is of course a consideration, but it won't be any louder than a band.

My venue requires Public Liability Insurance / PAT testing certificates - can you provide these?

 

Yes - I am insured for up to £10 million in public liability, and all my equipment is PAT tested at regular intervals.

What music would you usually recommend for a wedding ceremony?

Having done around 50 wedding ceremonies now, I have a good idea of what works and what doesn't work. I honestly think you can't beat live music in a wedding ceremony.

If you're going to have live music in the ceremony, I would strongly recommend the following:

  • A few songs before the bridal party arrives, as guests are seated. This usually comes out at around 15-20 minutes, but of course if the bride is late (fun fact - they always are so don't worry) I will continue playing for as long as I need to.

  • Walking down the aisle song - this is usually something special and personal to you. I will adapt the length of the song to fit however long it takes for the bridal party to walk down the aisle. Popular examples: Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran), A Thousand Years (Christina Perri), Stand By Me (Ben E King), All Of Me (John Legend).

  • 2-3 songs as you sign the register (if applicable). This is just background music really, and should be something pleasant and unintrusive. You can choose these songs as well. This can be just instrumental if you wish.

  • Exit song - as you both walk out - almost always something happy and upbeat. Usually over in a flash, but I will typically keep playing until all guests have left the room, so as to provide the smoothest possible transition.

Having said all of that, it is 100% up to you what works for your own special moment, and I will always do whatever I possibly can to help realise your personal vision for the ceremony.

Can I request a song that isn't in your repertoire?

Absolutely! This is common for wedding ceremonies and first dances.

I usually offer to learn up to two new songs for all events - so just let me know what you have in mind.

I will just need a month's notice to learn any new songs before the event.

I am thinking of a having a specific song for my ceremony / first dance, but I'm not sure how it will sound played by you - is there a way of hearing your version of it in advance?

Yes indeed - if it is in my repertoire already, let me know and I will either direct you to an existing recording of my version of the song, or do a quick iPhone recording on guitar and vocals to give you an idea.

If it is a song that isn't in my repertoire and I will have to learn it, I will strive to do the above wherever possible. However some songs with complex guitar parts / melodies do take a long time to learn - so I may have to request an additional £30 payment to demo the song for you. If you choose to go ahead with my version of the song on the day, this will be deducted from your final balance, so it won't end up costing you any extra.

Can my audience request songs on the day?

Yes! I have a copy of my full song list which I pass round (when appropriate) to guests at events, allowing them to request songs.

I am also always happy to take random requests from the audience - in fact, they often don't need my permission to ask! Whether I will be able to do the song off the cuff live will really depend on whether I am actually familiar with how the song goes, and if I can pull of the guitar part on the spot with no preparation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but it's usually good fun.

Can I or one of my friends sing a song?

 

At some events, I do have people ask if they can get on the mic and do a duet with me, or even sometimes play a full song with my guitar on their own. As you can probably imagine, such requests range from very drunk people who can barely stand up let along sing, to people who are actually seriously talented - and everything in between.

 

I'm not too precious about my equipment and I'm usually happy to allow this, BUT please rest assured that I always exercise maximum discretion in such situations and will only ever allow anything that I am certain is appropriate to an event and that I think the client will be OK with.

What do you wear when performing?

I will always discuss this with you beforehand and take your direction on dress code. Typically it is either:

  • White shirt with smart trousers and smart shoes, or

  • Black T-shirt with smart trousers and smart shoes.

Sometimes, events are themed and I do my best to match the theme. Or occasionally I do this:

What is your background?

I come from near Reading, and mostly grew up in that area. I achieved grade 7 in piano, but am entirely self taught on guitar and vocals. I've been playing and recording music in some capacity for at least two decades now.

It is now six years and counting since I became a full time wedding/events musician - and I've had so many incredible experiences.

 

I am constantly excited about expanding my business. As well as several projects which I am developing outside of music, I am currently seeking to grow the recording side of it (both for my own music and other people's). I am also interested in mentoring people aged 15-22 who are looking to get involved in the music industry.

 

I have no intention of ever having a "real job" again ;)