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Playing backyard parties

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  • Playing backyard parties

    How do you guys feel about backyard parties? We got asked to do two. One is the bass players family member and we have one coming up for a friend. Logistically these all seem to be a pain in the ass. You end up on a driveway or uneven ground. You can’t drive near the back yard, not enough power, no stage and so forth. I feel people are split down the middle on this. Some members feel we should play if we are getting paid. Personally I think it cheapens the band and if someone finds out that you have done one cheap for a client than it can hurt you down the road. When you play regional festivals like we do to play at a back yard party where people don’t often give a **************** is a let down.
    "Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

  • #2
    It’s an exclusive private party. Tell them you’ll need the power plug for the range and there’s your 50A power.
    PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

    LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox


    • #3
      There is just something so "high school" about these type of events and some of the members feel that they don't want to be wall flower music.
      "Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"


      • #4
        I have played a few. Everyone should get paid for their time and their talents unless it is a charity gig. Make sure neighbors are cool with it, check the weather report, and have fun!
        Everybody is terminally ill.


        • #5
          First off playing for family/friends is more likely the issue, not that its a private party. They probably are looking for cheap "as a favour".

          We have done private parties both at peoples houses and at outside venues and get paid roughly what we make at a standard bar gig.

          The other thing is (and I hate using this word) but you do get exposure. We did a house party last July and ended up getting a private party for the Trailer Park Boys cast out of it in November. You never know who might be there. Just dont bargain price it too much, especially if its not something you'd want to make a habit of doing.
          Vocal Gear: Audix OM3xb, Boss VE-20 | Synth Gear: iPad running OnSong Korg iM1, Poison-202, Korg iMonoPoly, FM Player, Moog Model D, DM1 | Controllers: M-Audio Axiom Pro 61, Roland AX7 via Yamaha MD-BT01 Bluetooth


          • #6
            I do private parties as a solo, and in that respect, not an issue; I charge the same [sometimes a lot more for 'logistics issues-see below'] as I would a coffeehouse or small restaurant. But, a backyard party for a band? I have done them as a 'personal favor' to the band leader [who is still expected to pay me my sideman rate], but I would not book my bands for those because of the logistics...bare cement is a grounding issue, inadequate/hard to reach/dirty power, non elevated stage...and the assumption by the drunks in attendance that they can grab a mic or a guitar when we are on break...because it is a partay!

            If you are doing it as a 'favor'...then make sure you get a good look at the place before you go to set up, and the host knows how big a 'favor' you are doing; set the ground rules with the host in absolute terms, because their homeowners'/renters' policies most likely will not cover the band members, the gear, etc. Let's face it, most non-band players have absolutely no clue as to what it takes to set up a band.

            On the occasions I've done it as a sideman, the AC power-related issues alone were nightmarish. I recall one was a house so old that all the wall sockets were ungrounded 2 prong...another one where a GFI was faulty and kept tripping, shutting off the where [fortunatelyas I typically do] I tested the outlet and found it was wired backwards [I helped the owner rewire it, and let him use my tester, there were several miswired outlets in his house] Another issue is the actual set-up location; I remember one where we were supposed to set up on the patio, but the only door in/out of the house into the yard was there, meaning a constant stream of people walking right through the 'stage area'...and so on.
            "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

            Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting ', what a ride!'

            "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

            Solipsism is the new empiricism. -Alan Burdick


            • #7
              We’ve done the odd house party. Usually go in for half our rate. ($600 - $800) because we don’t need the light show etc.
              PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

              LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox


              • #8
                I've played at a few. The main issues are making sure (in advance) that you know where you'll be setting up, and what the AC situation is, etc.

                Another potentially big issue that I haven't seen mentioned yet: Noise complaints. Probably a good idea to remind the host that they should clear the event with all of their neighbors and make sure they know there will be a band playing. Other than that, watch your own SPLs and keep the volume under control. Your normal stage setup may be overkill for a backyard gig...

                "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
                - George Carlin

                "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
                - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
                - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter


                • daddymack
                  daddymack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  better to invite all teh neighbors...

              • #9
                We charge more for private parties. Bars we play at are our regular customers and most book us at least 3 or 4 gigs at a time. A party is a 1 time deal and there can be issues with power and set up, etc.

                I play a friend's block party every year with a pick up band of guys I jam with ( mostly Grateful Dead because she is a big Deadhead) and for that we pay the guys $100 each and I do it for free and for fun.