Rock Your Celebration – Tips for Choosing Your Event Entertainment at USSB

USSB Showcase

March 1, 2024

When it comes to planning your dream celebration, securing the right entertainment is like hitting the perfect power chord—it sets the tone for an unforgettable event.

Whether opting for a live band, DJ, or other forms of entertainment, several factors need careful consideration to ensure a memorable and seamless experience for everyone involved. We interviewed 5 Professional Music Vendors from USSB’s Preferred Vendor List to create the ultimate guide for choosing the right entertainment for your celebration at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara (USSB), spiced up with insights from the pros themselves!

1. Venue Compatibility:

Stage Presence!

Make the most of the proscenium stage in Parish Hall if you’re considering a live band. Ensure the performers have plenty of space to set up and perform comfortably, making the most of the venue’s acoustics. Keep in mind that all performers are responsible for bringing their own equipment, including speakers. While DJs can also use the stage, there are a few reasons to pause and think:

   – Using the stage for DJ setups can sometimes draw attention away from the celebrants and the dance floor action.

   – Plus, asking guests to navigate steep stairs for song requests might not be the best idea, especially with a little liquid courage flowing! Our recommended spot for DJs year-round is in the corner, stage left near the double doors. This strategic location allows DJs to easily set up a speaker in the courtyard for outdoor festivities and toasts, then transition seamlessly indoors for the dancing portion of the evening.

Indoor-Outdoor Acoustics

Given the capability to transmit music from the hall to the adjacent courtyard, consider the volume and type of entertainment to prevent disturbance to neighboring areas. A well-calibrated speaker system can help maintain a pleasant ambiance without exceeding noise regulations.

*Vendor Commentary: DJ Flamezz assures a seamless experience at USSB, offering exceptional DJ services, photo booths, and programmable up-lighting, transforming the venue into an extraordinary setting.

2. Time Constraints:

Curfew Restrictions

With the amplified music curfew at 10 PM in Santa Barbara, plan the entertainment schedule accordingly. Coordinate with the performers to ensure the event stays within the designated time frame while still allowing for a vibrant celebration.

*Vendor Commentary: Gavin Roy, a seasoned expert, points out that an experienced MC (Master of Ceremony) and DJ are crucial for a well-oiled event. They navigate the timeline, ensuring no one misses those key moments of celebration.

3. Noise Management:

Respectful Volume Levels:

Harness the power of indoor-outdoor acoustics at USSB. Prioritize being considerate neighbors by keeping courtyard music at a respectable level. Communicate expectations clearly with the entertainment provider to maintain an appropriate volume that complements the celebration without causing disruption. Preferred vendors know the magic of calibrated speaker systems to keep the celebratory vibe alive without disturbing the neighbors.

*Venue Commentary: As Joanie Bear, Facility & Event Manager at USSB attests, “These professionals know the space and restrictions inside out. Trust their expertise!”

4. Music Selection:

Diverse Repertoire

Whether opting for a live band or DJ, choose performers capable of catering to diverse musical preferences and age groups. A versatile playlist can keep guests engaged and ensure everyone finds something to enjoy throughout the celebration.

*Vendor Commentary: DJ Darla Bea, an eight-time “Best Event DJ” award winner, loves the seamless setup USSB offers. She curates soundtracks to reflect the unique personalities of celebrants, making each song count for a memorable experience.

5. Professionalism and Reliability:

Vendor Experience

Select entertainment professionals with a proven track record of reliability and professionalism. Research reviews, seek recommendations, and inquire about their experience performing at similar venues to ensure a seamless execution on your celebration day.

*Vendor Commentary: from DJ JAS, Justin Stern:” Professionalism and reliability are key elements that contribute to the success of your celebration. Choosing an entertainment professional with a commitment to providing a seamless experience will undoubtedly elevate the overall enjoyment of your special day.”

6. Communication and Coordination:

Venue Liaison

Maintain open communication between the entertainment provider and the venue management team to address any logistical concerns or technical requirements. Clarify expectations regarding setup, soundcheck timings, and equipment specifications to avoid last-minute issues.

Master of Ceremony Role

Consider hiring a DJ or band with a front person who can also act as a Master of Ceremony. This individual can help maintain the schedule of the celebration, ensuring smooth transitions between different events and keeping the timing on track.

Communication is Key

Maintain open communication between your entertainment provider and the venue. A skilled MC can act as the liaison, ensuring smooth transitions and keeping the schedule on track.

*Vendor Commentary: Bonnie Hope of Music by Bonnie says, “We make all announcements and act as your Emcee, so the reception runs smoothly. If you ask a friend or family member to take on that duty, how much experience do they have with public speaking? Will they be sober? Do they understand how weddings flow? Do you really want them to work your wedding?”

7. Budget Considerations:

Value for Investment

While budget is a significant factor, prioritize value and quality when selecting event entertainment. Evaluate packages, consider any additional equipment or services required, and negotiate transparently to secure a suitable arrangement that aligns with your budgetary constraints.

*Vendor Commentary: Bonnie Hope again wisely advises, when choosing entertainment, ensure they specialize in celebrations, provide references, and don’t fall for prices that seem too good to be true. DJ setups take less space, offer a wider music variety, and control volume better than live performances.

8. Vendor Verdicts:

We think USSB is a prime location for having your concert or dance party. Here are some pro tips highlights from 5 of USSB’s Preferred Music Providers:

Musician Tony Ybarra praises USSB’s beautiful space for live music, with majestic acoustics in the sanctuary and a fantastic atmosphere in the hall and courtyard.

DJ Jas, with his sleek DJ booth and unique song transitions, emphasizes the ease and elegance USSB provides for a ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and reception—all in one spot.

DJ Darla Bea emphasizes the importance of expert MC’ing, announcing names with a personal touch, and crafting a unique and carefully curated soundtrack for each celebration.

Gavin Roy highlights USSB’s versatility, offering both indoor and outdoor spaces for ceremonies, cocktail hours, and dancing, ensuring a seamless transition between events.

DJ Flamezz guarantees an unforgettable experience at USSB, with well-organized events, pristine spaces, and enchanting string lighting adding a touch of magic.


Choosing the right entertainment for your celebration involves a combination of careful planning, venue awareness, and clear communication. By considering the unique specifications of your venue at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara and adhering to local regulations, you can curate a memorable and enjoyable experience for you, your guests, and the surrounding community. From the selection of performers to the management of sound levels, each decision plays a vital role in creating a harmonious and unforgettable celebration of life and unity.

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