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re: Ales & Tales Bandleading 101 - A Guide for Beginners

So you want to be an Ales & Tales bandleader? Great!!! Here are some tips to get you started!

First of all.... relax! Ales & Tales is the perfect place to "get your feet wet" as a bandleader. It's a very relaxed atmosphere focused on fun, creativity and good times with friends.

Next.... keep in mind that every bandleader has their OWN style. What I'm going to do here is give some tips and some examples of how I handle bandleading to make it easy for me.... but anyone reading this should feel free to tweak this to their own needs. You can use part of it or none of it. It's just to give you some ideas of how it can be done.

Okay, I'm going to walk you through the steps of how I go about setting up for bandleading a night of Ales & Tales.


This first step is not necessary but helpful.... You can also do this with a pad and paper so don't panic if this sounds complicated... just move on to the next step. What I like to have is what I call a Working Set List.

If you have a Google Docs account this is easy...

    1. Go to Google Docs and add a new Spreadsheet. Name it Working Set List
    2. Go to the Setlist Template found here:
    3. Right click on the Setlist Template tab and choose "Copy to" this will bring up a window of your own Google Docs. Click your Working Set List file and then the Select button. Then click Okay. You now have your own copy of the sheet you will be using for your Ales & Tales Set.
    4. At this time it would probably be a good idea to duplicate the Setlist Template in the Google Doc that will be used for sign up. Just click the up arrow on the Setlist Template and then hit Duplicate. Move it one space to the left and rename it the date of your show and you're all set.


    5. Next, if you don't already have it, download and install The Last Homely Hobbit found here:
    6. Under Folders click on \LMB\ and check the box that says Include Subfolders.
    7. Find songs that add up to 30 minutes for the set. There will already be the Ales & Tales theme song which is 2:46 so you just need to make up the difference from there.
    8. Lost Homely Hobbit makes it easy to choose songs and set up your Setlist. All you have to do is scroll through, listen to see what you like... and when you find something you want to add to your Setlist, check the box next to it and then click the button on the bottom right that says Export Options. This will bring up a little window where you will
    tick Export to Clipboard and hit the button that says GO!
    9. Next go to your Google Doc (either your Working Setlist OR the actual sign-up sheet) and click in the Time column and then Paste. Your song and parts should show up in the correct columns. Double-check any fiddle and bassoon songs as they may not show the part number so you may need to add them.
    10. Keep going until you have 30 minutes of songs in the set.
    11. After you are all done with choosing your songs, you need to set them up so that you can prompt in Raid Chat. What I do to make it easy is I set it up in Notepad on my laptop first. I go to the Doc Sheet and select the column of songs (called File Names on the Doc) for the set and paste them putting /ra in front of each one. Once parts have been assigned I will select the parts for each one and add them. Sometimes I will do some kind of greeting or some kind of intro for a song, and then I usually try and give the names of the Old Winyards who played that night at the end.
    12. After parts are assigned and pasted into my Notepad doc and it is all ready to go, I then select the entire thing and paste it into Poetical in game.


Every bandleader has their own style and you are free to choose songs however you like, but if you're not sure where to start, this is what I do...

To make it easy for myself to start I always choose one or two LMB originals and then go from there until I am close to 15 minutes. But you might want to start the night off with a hard rock anthem or a country song..... feel free to create your own bandleading style and go with it!

Depending on the location of Ales & Tales, I will sometimes choose songs based on a theme. For instance, if we are in Thorin's Hall, you can bet I'm going to put the Song of Durin's Awakening on the list. I will probably try to find other dwarfy songs. If we are in Rivendell I will probably put in Elven Path. A Shire location I may add Hobbit Line Dancing and in Breeland, there is the Breeland Jig. It is helpful to familarize yourself with our lyrics posts as some of those songs are about subjects that may work especially well for a certain location. Of course this is just what I do... you can just ignore the location and create your own theme. Maybe you want the Shire to be country music night or Thorin's Hall to be heavy metal night.

It is always a good idea to have a Shortlist Setlist in case you don't get a lot of people signing up to play. What I do is after I make my setlist I look at the songs that have a lot of parts and then chose some songs with less parts that I can use as alternates if sign-ups are light. There is a space for alternates on the sheet.

I also try to have a variety of songs on most nights. I usually try to have some fast, some slow, rock, blues, big band, country, movies and showtunes to name a few..... there is SO much music in the LMB Playlist it is easy to find a variety so that there is something for everyone :)


    1. Go to Ales & Tales in the Forums under Kinship Events and post your sign up! Here is what I usually copy and paste but you can feel free to tweak to your liking:

SUBJECT LINE: Ales & Tales date??/?? @ location

Hail, friends! Join us for Ales & Tales this Monday evening, at INSERT LOCATION WITH COORDINATES !

Nibbles & Nobs starts at 7:30pm with open-stage, followed by the main show at 8:30pm (EDT, /servertime).

Help Out Backstage:
If you would like to help out with any backstage tasks, please sign up at:
Newcomers welcome! No experience necessary...we will train! We do appreciate any help you can give!

Play with Old Winyards:
Old Winyards always has room for folks to join the house band!
If you would like to play with us, be sure to have the latest LMBPlaylist 5.54 music file downloaded/updated. Latest release January 23rd, 2022:

You may sign up for playing with the band this week at [url]CLICK ON THE URL OF THE SIGN-UP SHEET YOU JUST MADE AND PASTE HERE[/url] on the left-hand side of the sheet. Or, just reply to this post.

If you are new, please indicate which instruments you play at the bottom of the sheet (and do bring them all with you).
Please be ready to rock by 8:00pm /servertime. Please wear burgundy... the color of wine!

Using Songbook to Sync music:
If you'd like to learn how to sync music with a band, Eilye has written a very informative guide explaining how to use the Songbook Plugin!

Share a song or tale!
We always need folks to entertain!
If you have a song or tale to share, please come along and sign up to share it in the main show, or participate in Nibbles & Nobs' open-mic!

We do hope you can join us!

    2. Once you post on the Forums, the waiting begins. What I do is as folks sign up on the sheet, I use my Working Setlist in my own Google Docs to assign parts. Once I have enough folks for all the parts, I finish assigning and post them on the actual Ales & Tales sheet. Since my sheet is duplicated I can just copy and paste each set section right into the document which makes it easy. THEN I go to my Notepad and add the part assignments so that is ready to paste into Poetical.

Be aware that there will often be last minute changes so just be flexible and roll with it. If someone ends up stuck in traffic or has to work late or loses their connection, you may have to switch parts around. If someone comes at the last minute, you can rearrange parts, double parts or what I often do is I just give them my own parts and then that frees me up to cover in case someone can't make it or goes link dead. I do always try to make it so anyone who wants to play gets the chance. We all have busy lives and if someone doesn't know until the last minute that they're available I will always try and fit them in somehow :) Of course, that is usually when I mix parts up or assign one person two parts in one song.... but the band always forgives me haha.... this is probably a good time to say DON'T WORRY about making a mistake as a bandleader. I have made them all already so they are used to it ;) They will not fire you lol...

Oh..... one more thing.... perhaps most importantly.... find a place of water to jump into after the encore.

And that's pretty much it! If anyone has questions or I forgot something, let me know and I will edit this to reflect that.

LMB Alts: Rubypie, Mirryth, Fallonyl, Tenleigh, Irisanne, Yonalin

Alt Kins:
Silvermoon Manor: alts-Sugarbell, Halliwyn, Callabeth, Jesstan, Orinhir, Audli, Candriell, Grif             
Silvermoon Vintners: alts-Darcyil, Jilanna, Esdell             
The Ravenhill Rovers: alts-Bekk, Draim, Nathrec

On Crickhollow: Tulenn & Cloverly (Old Winyards Kinship)
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