Do high school dances still have live bands?

When I was in high school, every single dance I ever went to had a DJ playing shitty rap and pop music. I never saw a live band. But every movie about high school that I ever see, set in the 80s or earlier, makes it seem like there’s a live rock band at every high school dance. Maybe my high school was just really uncultured and backwards. God knows, they could afford it if they wanted to - they had a renovation to their atrium that cost two million dollars - but whoever was in charge of the dances apparently never got the idea to have a live performance.

Did you have live bands in high school? Does anyone still have them today?

In the mid-80’s we had live bands. Lousy live bands.

If that practice hasn’t already died out, it will, thanks to the much greater ease with which a single individual can carry around and broadcast large amounts of music these days.

At my year 12 ball in 2005, there was indeed a live band. They sucked.

We had live bands at some events (not all), but they were always bands made up of students. We didn’t care, we liked 'em.

Heck, we liked 'em so much they played at our 20 year reunion a couple years ago. Several of them were still very active in the music business, and they were surprisingly good.

No live bands at the high school I teach at, though we do usually hire a professional (or semi-professional) DJ. I suspect we will keep doing that, if only to avoid fights over the music. Better to have a neutral party decide!

I went to high school in the early 1980s, during the peak of John Hughes and Brat Pack movies. We never had a live band at a high school dance, homecoming or prom. I thought the prevalence of bands in movies was either just a movie-ism, or something that might have been typical in the very affluent Chicago North Shore suburbs where most 1980s coming-of-age films seemed to take place. Maybe some of the Chicago-area Dopers that attended New Trier High School in the 1980s can enlighten us; did you have bands at your dances, homecomings and proms? Were they cover bands, or did you really have groups like Simple Minds perform at the prom?

FWIW, I’ve never been to a bar mitzvah that had a live band, either. In the movies and on television shows, bar mitzhahs also seem to be depicted as having live bands.

Way easier to have a DJ these days. For one thing, they an play more types of music than any band can.

Plus, I fear that live bands are just for old fogies anymore, unless it’s choreographed and lip-synched.

We never had live bands, except one time when a couple of kids got up and did a song or two. I always figured that was a Movieland thing, like Rachel’s apartment.

I also went to highschool in the 80s. At “regular” dances we had DJs. There were live bands at Homecoming and Prom, but only if the senior class that year did enough fundraising for it. Some classes were not motivated enough.

The bands we did have were decent, but none of them went on to international fame and fortune (at least under the names they used at our school). They were selected by the class officers (and those of us who had cars and could drive the class officers) to local “battle of the bands” type events.

For whatever it’s worth, I grew up in a suburb of NYC, but not the toniest suburb. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Rye and Scarsdale High Schools did have SONY recording artists performing live at their dances.

I graduated from HS in 2002 and we would have live bands on occassion. However, we never had a live band as the only entertainment for the evening. Everyone now and then, a student band would relieve the DJ for a few songs and play. At my 9th grade semi-formal, there was a live band in the Cafetorium and a DJ in the Gym. Everyone moved between the two areas and it was a really good time. My brother, who graduated in '91, saw fewer live bands at school dances then I did.

In case region is a factor we both went to HS in suburban NJ.

My wife is a teacher. They had been using DJs, but just had a dance using an ipod playlist.

In the mid-70’s, we had live bands in high school; I played in one. They were, of course, local bands, and so were just OK*. In college I played in a band that did a few high school gigs; that was about when DJ’s were starting to catch on.

*Once they brought Nils Lofgren’s band in but that was more of a concert than a dance. It was about 10 years before he joined Springsteen’s E Street Band.

Sometimes; I think the prom at my school had one last year. I agree, though that live bands suck. But then again DJs suck too. All school dance music sucks, espcially the current tendency to play rap music the whole time, with maybe the Macarena or something similar.


Vox Imperatoris

I’ve never seen a live band at any of my HS (88-92) dances, or at my prom. I’ve rarely seen it at weddings either, except for one large Jewish one (my friend was actually in the Jewish event band business and I got the impression it’s more prevalent at Jewish events) and a classical style band during a ceremony. I always found the use of it in movies and tv as being odd. Even at bars/clubs where I have seen bands, they were either original material or a ‘cover band’ that only did the songs of one famous group. Never really encountered a band that does popular music from a wide range of artists.

Highschool in the mid-70s. Only had live bands. All were good – most had records heard on the radio.

I finished high school in 1971. In our last year we had an inter-school sports carnival against Cronulla High. I was overwhelmed to hear that they had had The Easybeats do their Farewell.

High school in the mid-'90s. My first date was to our school’s very last Valentine’s dance ever. The administration decided to get fancy and hire a DJ with a screen - he played music videos along with the music. So, yes; it was mostly rap and lousy pop with expensive videos and no substance.

Some friends and I asked for good classic '70s rock songs and the DJ gave us a dirty look and said “they didn’t really make videos back then”.

We never had to deal with the stupid video screen again, but we had only the holiday formal and prom dances after that. In fact, the rat bastards cut our senior prom a half hour short because some people signed up for some sort of nightlong boat trip.