As a local production provider, I'm geared up to service local and regional level acts, because that's the diminished point of return on gear and employee capability level. Generally a 24 channel board is more than sufficent, as are 4 monitor mixes, 24 can lighting rig, 50A power distro, 10KW FOH system, lots of '58's and one D6 and a couple dozen other speciality mics, one "good hand" and a couple of flakyier maybes possibly in reserve, etc... Your basic $50K gear investment local level sound and lighting business endevour.
Ok... so I (tenatively) have an annual festival gig coming up in-about a month... and it's the same old crap that always seems to happen at a local level when the festival has been a success for a few years: The ever-changing CIC (committee-in-charge) has grown a head that won't fit through a standard door... And befitting to their new hat size: they booked (signed the contract) on a national level act (to perform for 40 minuets of the 2 day festival)... committee aspirations to make this festival a "national level event" (in a town of 10K population).
The LIC of the CIC booked her favorite band. That's cool except for the fact that the contract rider calls for what I'd estimate to be approx. $10K - $15K of production... that's likely unavailable even regionally this late in the game... I suspect the closest available production company that's available and could field the rider specs is 1,200 - 1,500 miles away. Meeting the rider specs is orders of magnitude beyond my capabilities (we usually charge approx $1,500 to service the whole two day event... a reasonable price for what we do).
We've made it clear in the past: Please get us stage plots and input list... getting us those items from your booked performers will greatly assist us in making your event better. However, BEFORE you book a band that has a technical rider with their contract, forward us that rider so we can review it and let you know if we can service that act. Of-course, they didn't... they just booked the band and signed the contract and then forwarded us the technical rider. Of-course, the first thing when we pointed out the problem... the LIC (and subsiquently the CIC) forwarded us the contact info for the band... so "we could work it out". I knew the pointlessness in that... of-course the band management won't return calls... they know what's up with that: some dink-pot town in the middle of nowhere hired us, and their dink-pot local production company ain't got... not the band's problem. So the communication has been hit & miss (as generally is the case with situations like this) over the past 6 months since the band was booked by the LIC (with the approval of the CIC)... but the noise floor has finally raisen to the point of the LIC pulling her head out of the sand long enough to take a bit of a stab at the situation she's created by e-mailing: "I'll work on getting the band's management with you so they can help you identify what additional equipment you'll supply."
Fortunately, I haven't signed a contract yet... and I'm not going to unless what I sign to, I know I can deliver.
I've been in this position quite a few times in the past... usually it results in me not doing the event ever again (although I paved the street that many are driving on)... 90% of the time the reason I'm not involved in the event after the "incident" is because the otherwise very successful annual event implodes, and the other 9% of the time it's because they actually do rise to being a national level event and require continuing national level production for their national level acts and event. Maybe 1% of the time they (the CIC) comes to grip with the situation (what the event is and what's the diminished point of return), and what I supply the do the job for the acts they subsiquently book is suitable for the situation... and life is good... cause if nobody is going to pay $100/ ticket to take in a national level act... it's doubtful the local chamber of commerce is going to sponsor an event to the level of $100 per attendee two years in a row.
Anybody here got any words of advice to offer?