Only in the same way that a car is a car is a car, there are choices for all pockets. Some will work down to a price, others concentrate on providing you with the best show they can, without compromising on gear.
Good musicians tend to have better and more reliable instruments and equipment. A cheap concertina may be fine for a hobby, but a serious performer will know that it is a false economy which will always limit their playing. 'Quality will be remembered long after price is forgotten'. This applies to bands, as well as instruments!
It is also true for equipment. It may be possible to postpone a dance because the amplifier has blown up, but how would you feel if it happened at your event? It is unlikely that you will be either fooled, or satisfied by a group trying to get away with a second-rate sound system. There is no need for a 'Spinal Tap' sized PA, just something that gives a clean and clear sound. Cutting corners is not an option, and these systems do have a shelf life, no matter how attached you get to them.
A group with a professional attitude will have third party liability insurance and know that the Health and Safety, and Electricity at Work regulations require that ALL mains powered electrical equipment that has been tested to comply with 'P.A.T' standards.
Some groups don't bother, claiming that the regulations don't apply to them - or else just assure you that everything is in order. There should be a schedule of testing, and equipment will have green and white stickers giving the dates when the last inspection was carried out, and the next one due. This includes amplifiers, mixing desks, mains leads and multi-sockets, transformers and lighting – anything with a three pin plug MUST be inspected and tested.
Bands tend to know what they are worth, and charge accordingly. As with most things in life, you pays your money and takes your choice. But there are ways to make your money go further, to have a great dance without having to cut corners.
We have options ranging from a solo caller working with recordings of the band, and can often provide other entertainment using the same performers. For example, two of our musicians are also DJ's so we can use the same sound systems for both parts of the evening. It's quicker to set up, as well, and very flexible on the change over.
If you are thinking about having a fund raising event, see our suggestions on saving and making money on that page.