A tribute band is a band that plays covers of a particular famous group or band. Usually, tribute bands are formed after the real group has stopped performing, but some long-running bands do have tribute bands that are named after them and that perform while the real group are still active. For example, the heavy metal group Iron Maiden has a well known tribute band called Maiden England that performs Iron Maiden songs.
Tribute bands usually copy the look, sound and even logo and visual style of the band they are named after. Look, for example, at these acts from the A1 entertainment agency.
Tribute bands often go on tour, and even tour nationally – offering an affordable way for people to enjoy live music and an experience which is familiar and a lot like that of the band that they love. There are covers concerts and tribute-focused festivals which bring together tribute bands from specific genres.
Tribute bands sometimes pay homage to bands that have split up, or to ones with deceased performers, but they are often for groups that are still in existence. They sometimes even get the blessing of the bands that they are based on. Many groups have performers that have enough range to allow them to cover not just their main artists’ songs, but other songs by similar groups.
Sometimes people use being in a tribute band to get the skills and experience they need to launch their own musical career, before going on to perform elsewhere in other kinds of band. This isn’t always the case, though. Some tribute band performers are purely recreational and do not have aspirations of getting into the music industry at a higher level.
In the UK, many tribute bands use their passion to raise money for charity. There are local tribute band performances that are run with a view to raising money for services such as the air ambulance in rural areas. The original artists are often quite enthusiastic about supporting the tribute artists when they know that the money that the artists raise for performing their songs is not going to go into their pockets, but rather will go towards a good cause. The legality of performing tribute songs is different to that of releasing CDs, where the music is pre-recorded, and this is something that can be a source of confusion for people who are not well versed in fair use and other copyright issues.