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Venue/Contract issues


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Here's something that has never really come up before:

 

Last weekend we played a gig where the contract we signed with the client and the contract they signed with the venue didn't match. Specifically, regarding access time. We stipulate we need 3 hours before the start of the event to set up. The client signed that contract with us and another one with the venue stating they only have access 1 hour prior.

 

Guess who won that little contract war? Not the band, of course!

 

This was at a popular wedding venue up here at the lake, and one we've never really enjoyed working with anyway. Obviously, they'd just as soon every wedding party hire a DJ as they always treat us like we're just a pain in the ass and this time was no exception. I show up to the venue and see there is still a wedding going on in the room we're supposed to be playing in. So obviously we aren't getting in early. So I ask to talk to the stick-up-her-ass event coordinator: "can we load our stuff up the elevator and set it nearby in this room here so we can start loading in as soon as this event is over?" "No. I have another wedding party coming through this room here, and I don't want them to see all your gear". "What if we set it on this outside area over here". "No, you can't do that either, because then THESE people will see it...."

 

"Well, what CAN we do? I'm just trying to make this work as best as possible as we're BOTH trying to please the same client." "There's nothing you can do except start loading in one hour ahead of time". :facepalm: Obviously she's got HER check, probably is never going to see these people again, and really couldn't care less how well their event goes off beyond the services she directly provides..."

 

So, we take a bit of a "better to ask forgiveness than permission" approach and realize she didn't say we COULDN'T move all of our stuff at least to right-next-to-the-elevator (we've got to load in through a narrow hallway through the kitchen) even though we're blocking up the downstairs bathroom area, so we just do that.

 

Luckily, her shift changed around the time we started doing this and next girl on the job wasn't nearly as un-accomodating. We got to get to the elevator and acutally move a few things upstairs.

 

The one hour load-in, set-up was a BITCH, but somehow we pulled it off. It helped that the room was so small and oddly shaped that we wouldn't have been able to use risers and the backlighting-truss and screen anyway, so that saved probably 30 minutes we didn't have. I got my keys set up outside just BARELY in time to start playing the background ceremony music as guests arrived, and although we didn't get a soundcheck, the new guy seemed to get stuff dialed in pretty quick. Luckily, even though it was his first gig with us, he is a roommate of one of our regular soundmen, and used the same Yamaha digital mixer, so he had most our settings preset. I love those digital boards--especially for these types of gigs. There would have been NOWHERE to set up our big analog mixer across the room with a snake, etc. So much better when these guys do the "mix with an iPad" deal.

 

Hectic and rushed to get set up, and then the usual wait for 2 hours while they have cocktails, eat dinner etc deal. A bit worried about how we'll be received because the father of the bride has been a bit of high-maintenence dude from the beginning. When things started running late (as they always do at these gigs) he started making comments about him not getting the full playing time from us that he paid for. (Hey, we don't control the flow of events or set the strict cut-off time.) And he had come to see us play live at a party we did a few weeks earlier where we played nothing but really old songs and he was worried we weren't going to be as much of a "party" band as we advertised.

 

No problem in the end. Once we started playing, we just did our thing and the crowd loved it. One nice thing was during the break, overhearing a girl on the phone telling somebody "hey, did you hire a band yet for that event in Vegas? If not, I've got the perfect band right here!" I doubt we'll be going to Vegas to play any gigs---lots of great bands down there that you don't have to pay travel fees for--but it was still nice to hear that.

 

I can't think of anyway to get around that "Conflicting contract" thing except maybe make sure that when we talk with the client we get a clearer picture of what they are negotiating with the venue. Nothing would have gotten us more time to load in unless they booked somewhere else. But at least we could have prepared a bit more.

 

Nice Gigmasters review from the dude comes in the next day:

Client Feedback

 

We hosted a wedding at Edgewood Club, South lake Tahoe NV. We had guests from the California Coast, Mid West and the East Coast. To a person all our guests said this band was THE BEST they had ever experienced at a wedding venue. The bride and I felt that JUMPSTART could not have been easier to work with. Stan Freeman, Amy and Tiffany were 100% accommodating, friendly, helpful and professional. Our music started a little later than we expected because of the Edgewood Club, but once the band started THEY NEVER STOPPED for 2-3 hours. From the very first song the dance floor stayed packed. Everyone had a blast including the band members. We could not have been happier

 

 

 

Customer Ratings

 

On a scale of 1 to 5 (1=lowest, 5=highest), how would you rate Jumpstart in terms of their professionalism? 5

 

On a scale of 1 to 5 (1=lowest, 5=highest), how would you rate Jumpstart in terms of their overall talent? 5

 

On a scale of 1 to 5 (1=lowest, 5=highest), how accommodating was Jumpstart in handling special requests for your event? 5

 

On a scale of 1 to 5 (1=lowest, 5=highest), how strongly would you recommend Jumpstart to a friend? 5

 

And finally, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1=lowest, 5=highest), how would you rate your overall satisfaction with Jumpstart? 5

 

 

[And then he sent this personal email as well:

Hi Jumpstart,

You were Fantastic. Shawn and I could not have been more pleased with a band.

Stan, Tiffany and Amy whom we had the constant contact with pre-event were so accommodating making sure Shawn's day was perfect. We can't thank all of you enough.

Our guests raved continually with extreme accolades and continued so at the breakfast table.

I hope I get a chance to recuperate before the next Reiter girl wedding but I will find you if the event is near here.

 

Best wishes and thanks to all again

Richard

 

As I've said before, THIS is one of the biggest joys I get out of doing this stuff. Knowing we've made people's events happen for them and really, really please them with our performances and work? That's how I measure "success" and how I know whether we're doing well or not.

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Our Performance Agreement has a similar clause regarding the access to the stage prior to the actual performance or event start time (we call out a 2 hour minimum) - and have run into the same problem on a couple of instances where the venue wouldn't allow us the agreed upon access (either because of events taking place in the room - or because the stage area was completely inaccessible (i.e., buffet tables, DJ gear from a previous event, etc.)

 

All you can do is point out to whoever hired you that you were there on time - and were unable to start setup due to whatever "outside of your control" issue is keeping you from the stage - and then do the best you can with whatever constraints are placed upon you. More often than not - we're playing "canned" music during the cocktail hour as well as during dinner ... so we'll toss up enough PA to get the "canned" music going and then complete the rest of our setup with the event going on around us. It tends to eliminate the idea of a sound check ... but being that the board settings are usually still in place from the previous gig - the individual channel gain settings are pretty close. We have a couple of tunes that we use as "soundcheck" tunes in situations like those - in which I forego playing keys and instead work on getting the sound dialed in.

 

So far, we've never been significantly late and I've never had anybody get pissy about us not being set up prior to "doors open" (which is always our goal!) when it's clearly been because of reasons outside of our control.

 

It is definitely a buzz crash though ... and virtually always means I'm starting the playing part of my evening feeling harried and more than a little bit stressed. To be honest, I can't start relaxing and getting into my "performance" mindset until the PA is up, confirmed to be working properly and at least a basic "tuning" completed. For me - the scariest moment is when I start actually powering things up. Despite the fact that I keep all of my gear (keyboard rig and PA) in good repair - I'm still petrified that one of these days I'm going to flip a power switch and something isn't going to light up! I try my damnedest to make sure that that "moment of truth" is an hour before we're scheduled to actually start so I've got a little time to react. I hate working without a net!!!!!

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All you can do is point out to whoever hired you that you were there on time - and were unable to start setup due to whatever "outside of your control" issue is keeping you from the stage - and then do the best you can with whatever constraints are placed upon you. More often than not - we're playing "canned" music during the cocktail hour as well as during dinner ... so we'll toss up enough PA to get the "canned" music going and then complete the rest of our setup with the event going on around us.

 

 

Yep. yep. We've done that before. Sometimes, if we know some of the other events are far enough away from the dancing, we'll specifically plan to set up while other stuff is going on. We certainly don't like to set up right in front of the guests while stuff is happening, but it might have come to that to some degree. Two problems we had with this particular event though: all the events were in the same small room. Even the ceremony was just-outside on the balcony. So making a lot of noise wasn't much of an option AND they wanted to do their 'special dances' just after the ceremony and before drinks/dinner. So we needed to be set up before all that. Had it come down to it, I suppose we'd have to have told them "move the dances to later because we have no choice but to set up during your dinner". Luckily we managed to avoid that.

 

Having IEMs and getting all our rigs as small as possible has really helped. I honestly never thought we'd be able to go up an elevator and set up and be gig-ready in under an hour.

.

 

 

It is definitely a buzz crash though ... and virtually always means I'm starting the playing part of my evening feeling harried and more than a little bit stressed. To be honest, I can't start relaxing and getting into my "performance" mindset until the PA is up, confirmed to be working properly and at least a basic "tuning" completed. For me - the scariest moment is when I start actually powering things up. Despite the fact that I keep all of my gear (keyboard rig
and
PA) in good repair - I'm still petrified that one of these days I'm going to flip a power switch and
something
isn't going to light up! I try my damnedest to make sure that that "moment of truth" is an hour before we're scheduled to actually start so I've got a little time to react. I hate working without a net!!!!!

 

 

I know EXACTLY how you feel. I'm pretty much the same way. At least the long dinner portions of these gigs give me a chance to wind down, go up and tinkle around on my keys and make sure everything is working properly, etc. And I'm always worried about the keys working as well.

 

A year or so ago, my old Motif did this thing a couple of times where it would act like someone pulled the midi-in plug out of it and the notes would stick on. (I don't run anything midi-in to that board). I switch patches, and it releases. I was thinking "Oh {censored}--time to replace this board" and then it stopped doing it. Then after a year, it did it twice again at this last gig. So...I've had that thing for 11 years now. Might be time to replace it.

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PA is up, confirmed to be working properly and at least a basic "tuning" completed. For me - the scariest moment is when I start actually powering things up. Despite the fact that I keep all of my gear (keyboard rig
and
PA) in good repair - I'm still petrified that one of these days I'm going to flip a power switch and
something
isn't going to light up! I try my damnedest to make sure that that "moment of truth" is an hour before we're scheduled to actually start so I've got a little time to react. I hate working without a net!!!!!

 

Backups backups backups. I always being an extra FOH & monitor power amp, and a small backup mixer that will get us through if something were to ever die on us.

 

:thu:

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Backups backups backups. I always being an extra FOH & monitor power amp, and a small backup mixer that will get us through if something were to ever die on us.


:thu:

 

Yeah, but backup keyboards isn't really a practical option. About all I can do with that is have enough redundancy within the rig itself (one reason I play 3 boards) so that if one goes down, I could get through the gig with the other two.

 

PA wise, we always have some extra powered speakers in the trailer (we often need them for small remote setups for "other" music at these events) so should we ever lose some FOH, we've got that. What we don't carry is any extra subs. If we ever lost one, we'd have just limp through the gig on the other one.

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Oof...

 

Reading the original story makes me get a little antsy about an out-of-town wedding reception gig we have in several weeks; it's to take place at a restored theatre that rents out for higher-end events (nice weddings, private corporate parties, etc.) and also books selected concert performances from well-respected jazz and blues acts in the region.

They have a fully installed house PA and light system appropriate for the room.

 

We WERE looking forward to being able to roll in, load and set-up backline only, and have an easier time being ready to play...

Nope.

Finally got contact information from the bride and connected with venue staff yesterday to advance the date and...house sytems are for concerts only; we'll have to provide full PA and lights.

 

Not a huge deal, as we're playing nearby the night before and will have our full rig along, but one more (big) thing to have to deal with.

Really hoping we can get in and set-up well ahead of time so we don't have to do the fire drill...

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Got to love weddings. I'm playing one on the 31st with the band I sub for. Apparently the bandleader is suppose to supply PA for the ceromony which usually isn't a huge deal. At this wedding the ceremony is taking place on a bridge over a small river. The brides side of the family will sit on one side and the grooms on the other. Need a generator and some LONG speaker cables to run a speaker on each side. To top it off the gig is a 120 miles away. The brides mom sent the BL an Email wanting to have him there the day before for the rehearsal.:facepalm: The bandleader had to take a job in Phoenix recently so he is already losing his ass on this gig flying back to play it.

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Backups backups backups. I always being an extra FOH & monitor power amp, and a small backup mixer that will get us through if something were to ever die on us.


:thu:

 

I don't carry alot in terms of backup hardware - but have put alot of thought into how we would work around and limp through a gig in the event any single piece of equipment were to fail. A total failure of our FOH mixer is about the only thing that would put me out of business. I carry spare fuses for the MixWiz for the obvious stuff ... and if push came to shove could support 4 vocal mics through my Samson SM10 line mixer.

 

For me it's the lack of time that really worries me. Even with replacement hardware in hand - rewiring anything takes some time (especially in a rig like mine where everything in the FOH is completely pre-wired in the slant rack in which it lives. Taking that all apart to be able to wire in a replacement or even to implement my "contingency" plans takes time.

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... The brides mom sent the BL an Email wanting to have him there the day before for the rehearsal.
:facepalm:
The bandleader had to take a job in Phoenix recently so he is already losing his ass on this gig flying back to play it.

 

Now THAT would be a first for me! In 30+ years of gigging - I've never been asked to be anywhere the day before a gig.

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Now THAT would be a first for me! In 30+ years of gigging - I've never been asked to be anywhere the day
before
a gig.

 

 

It gets better. I think the bride didn't even want a band. Her mother is the one that heard us and hired us. I'm just glad i'm hired help on this wedding.

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Got to love weddings. I'm playing one on the 31st with the band I sub for. Apparently the bandleader is suppose to supply PA for the ceromony which usually isn't a huge deal. At this wedding the ceremony is taking place on a bridge over a small river. The brides side of the family will sit on one side and the grooms on the other. Need a generator and some LONG speaker cables to run a speaker on each side. To top it off the gig is a 120 miles away. The brides mom sent the BL an Email wanting to have him there the day before for the rehearsal.
:facepalm:
The bandleader had to take a job in Phoenix recently so he is already losing his ass on this gig flying back to play it.

 

 

Crazy!!

 

 

Personally I'd see about renting a couple of powered speakers, and have one of those on each side. Then you would need a long XLR instead of a long speaker wire. I guess you would need 2 generators then.

 

 

Always fun.

 

The last wedding we did, we had the preacher and DJ patch into my rig, which I wasn't too crazy about. It wasn't worth making an issue about. it all worked out.

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Crazy!!



Personally I'd see about renting a couple of powered speakers, and have one of those on each side. Then you would need a long XLR instead of a long speaker wire. I guess you would need 2 generators then.



Always fun.


The last wedding we did, we had the preacher and DJ patch into my rig, which I wasn't too crazy about. It wasn't worth making an issue about. it all worked out.

 

 

I actually own 12 powered speakers and hundreds of feet of ext cord. We might wind up using some of my gear.

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This is just proof why young couples should elope, instead of having weddings.

 

 

Nah...the girl singers who fronted the band at my wedding went on to bigger and better gigs recording and touring with Neko Case and then Jakob Dylan in the past few years.

If not for performing at my wedding, I can only guess where they would have ended up...

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Our Performance Agreement has a similar clause regarding the access to the stage prior to the actual performance or event start time (we call out a 2 hour minimum) - and have run into the same problem on a couple of instances where the venue wouldn't allow us the agreed upon access (either because of events taking place in the room - or because the stage area was completely inaccessible (i.e., buffet tables, DJ gear from a previous event, etc.)


All you can do is point out to whoever hired you that you were there on time - and were unable to start setup due to whatever "outside of your control" issue is keeping you from the stage
- and then do the best you can with whatever constraints are placed upon you.

 

After having a lawyer friend look over our contract, he suggested adding in a "circumstances outside of the band's control" clause that addresses such issues.

 

That being said, I'm not sure that it addresses the specific issue of not being able to set up on time due to something like that. I might need to make ANOTHER adjustment to the contract. I think it will end up being 25 pages long by the time I cover everything! :facepalm:

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Not a huge deal, as we're playing nearby the night before and will have our full rig along, but one more (big) thing to have to deal with.

Really hoping we can get in and set-up well ahead of time so we don't have to do the fire drill...

 

 

Wouldn't hurt to call the venue and double check.

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Got to love weddings. I'm playing one on the 31st with the band I sub for. Apparently the bandleader is suppose to supply PA for the ceromony which usually isn't a huge deal. At this wedding the ceremony is taking place on a bridge over a small river. The brides side of the family will sit on one side and the grooms on the other. Need a generator and some LONG speaker cables to run a speaker on each side.

 

I've had a few like these. We carry a LOT of extension cords. I've been thinking about getting one of those little battery powered units, but they aren't cheap and it doesn't come up THAT often.

 

To top it off the gig is a 120 miles away. The brides mom sent the BL an Email wanting to have him there the day before for the rehearsal.
:facepalm:
The bandleader had to take a job in Phoenix recently so he is already losing his ass on this gig flying back to play it.

 

We get asked that quite a bit actually. They get antsy and think everybody needs to rehearse---including those of us that have done these things a zillion times. If it's a travel gig--no way. We're not coming a day early. If it's in town and they want somebody to drop by, then it's not usually a big deal. Once a lady insisted we go to the rehearsal which was 30 miles away around the other side of the lake. We told her we would but only if she gave us $50 extra for gas. She did. :idk:

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It gets better. I think the bride didn't even want a band. Her mother is the one that heard us and hired us. I'm just glad i'm hired help on this wedding.

 

This is one reason why we started really stepping in early during weddings and taking over as much of the details as we can. In those testimonials above you see the guy going on about us being accomodating and in constant contact. We are. Once the gig is booked, Amy steps in and gets together with the bride, the mother, the wedding coordinator and whoever else insists on running things and becomes a little mini wedding-coordinator. They think we're being super accomodating and helpful--and we are--but it's mostly about just making sure things go smoothly and the way we need them to go as much as possible. They THINK we're doing it for their benefit but it's really for ours. So there are as few surprises as possible when we get to the gig and as few "extras" as possible and as little work for us as possible.

 

When I get all this {censored} figured out (if I ever do) I think I'll write a Wedding 101 primer for bands. There really is a right way and wrong way to do most of this stuff and it really helps being organized and prepared. And puts extra money in your pocket. I'll let you know when I finally figure all that out though... :lol:

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Your client breached a term in your contract, David. If the client had failed to pay you due to "not playing the full amount of time" specified, a court would (probably) rule that the client's failure to fulfill his obligation (give you three hours to set up) would excuse your failure to perform as long as called for. In addition, if the venue booted you out before you could play the full show, that would excuse your need to play the entire time contemplated. (I assume that you would have been willing to stay longer; not just quit at the time specified). Since the client failed to secure the venue for enough time, the client should lose.

 

Of course, if you have to go to court to collect, you're losing even if you win the case.

 

I'm glad it worked out OK. Mark C.

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After having a lawyer friend look over our contract, he suggested adding in a "circumstances outside of the band's control" clause that addresses such issues.


That being said, I'm not sure that it addresses the specific issue of not being able to set up on time due to something like that. I might need to make ANOTHER adjustment to the contract. I think it will end up being 25 pages long by the time I cover everything!
:facepalm:

 

Hmmmm.... yes... contracts.

 

A couple of things to remember about contracts. They really only serve two purposes:

 

1) is to give you some sort of legal recourse in case the gig completely blows up. You play the gig and don't get paid? Here's the contract that says you're supposed to. You show up and there's some other band there? You're still getting paid. That sort of thing.

 

2) to convey to the client (and the client to you) as much of the necessary details of the event as possible and have them in writing. This is things like start time/stop time. How much time to load in. Size of stage needed. Necessary power. Etc. Problem is, even though you have (and want to have) all of these things written on a signed document, none of them are really going to be 'contract breakers' unless you insist on playing that sort of hardball. But do you really want to?

 

My case above for example: sure--our signed contract said "3 hour load in". Legally, we could have walked because the contract was broken. But is that what we want to do? No. We want to play, we want the client to have a good party, we want to get paid. So you forget that that was in the contract and make it work. Most details like that are "best case scenario" items. IF it's possible we'd LIKE to have this much time, this big a stage, 3 legs of power, etc etc. But gigs being what gigs are, we're not always going to get that. Rooms are small. Power supplies are inconsistant. Etc. It's mostly just about letting the client know they need to get us this stuff if at all possible.

 

So yeah. I'm all for getting as much stuff in writing as possible. Just be aware that you're probably not actually going to walk off the gig or take anyone to court over the fact that the stage was too small.

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Your client breached a term in your contract, David. If the client had failed to pay you due to "not playing the full amount of time" specified, a court would (probably) rule that the client's failure to fulfill his obligation (give you three hours to set up) would excuse your failure to perform as long as called for. In addition, if the venue booted you out before you could play the full show, that would excuse your need to play the entire time contemplated. (I assume that you would have been willing to stay longer; not just quit at the time specified). Since the client failed to secure the venue for enough time, the client should lose.


Of course, if you have to go to court to collect, you're losing even if you win the case.


I'm glad it worked out OK. Mark C.

 

Yeah. These sort of events always have strict cut-off times. So we're off the hook there. And this guy knew that. That's part of the contract between the client and the venue. It has nothing to do with us really. We've often TRIED to play beyond the allotted time only to have the lights turned on and our power cut.

 

Hey...maybe THAT'S what that lady doesn't like dealing with us so much.... :lol:

 

Actually, it was a little odd because our contract with him said we play until 11:30. We get ready to go on for the last set and just to make sure I ask the venue dude and he says "oh no. This thing is only going till 11." Cool. I understand. He's probably got 6-8 people on the clock he's gotta pay until the place is cleared out and cleaned up. I pull the guys back onstage quicker thinking we've only got 30 more minutes to play anyway. Into the 2nd song he comes up to me and says "go till 11:30". First time I've ever had a venue have us play LONGER. I guess maybe HE didn't read HIS contract carefully enough?? :idk:

 

One nice thing about these sort of events is they RARELY run on schedule, but the cutoff time is the cutoff time. I can't count how many times we've been scheduled to play 3-4 hours only to go on and do one 75 min set and be done.

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Wouldn't hurt to call the venue and double check.

 

 

 

Oh believe me, there will be a follow-up with the venue to clear more details: yesterday was first contact, and of course, the person I really needed to speak to wasn't there. I did get the number for their in house engineer as well, though, so he's getting a call as well.

 

 

And the fun continues...

Email from bride today to nix us doing their first dance, as they want to do that BEFORE we start (in her words, before they start drinking)...and there's also a string quartet playing before us...so logistics for load in, timing, access, etc. just got REAL important.

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Oh believe me, there will be a follow-up with the venue to clear more details: yesterday was first contact, and of course, the person I really needed to speak to wasn't there. I did get the number for their in house engineer as well, though, so he's getting a call as well.



And the fun continues...

Email from bride today to nix us doing their first dance, as they want to do that BEFORE we start (in her words, before they start drinking)...and there's also a string quartet playing before us...so logistics for load in, timing, access, etc. just got REAL important.

 

Yeah, weddings are their own beast for sure. They can get to involve quite a bit of bull{censored}. But the key is once you know how to deal with it, then charge them for it.

 

A typical wedding bid goes like this for us: we give them our fee. They respond with "wow. That's a lot. I've been talking to bands who will do it for half that or less."

 

We respond: "sure. You can get a really good band for $1500-2000. But what you're going to get is a really good bar band who is going to go in, play a couple sets of good music, and that's it. You might as well just take all your guests down to the corner pub. With us you get a band who knows how handle all the details of a wedding and do it right."

 

Which really is what we are charging for and what they are paying for. The band to show up and play for a couple of hours? That's a couple grand. The rest of it is for all the other bull{censored} they put us through. :lol:

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Guido... a challenging situation for sure and you guys handled it like pro's. We've hit snags like this before and it's terrible when a venue treats you this way, but you are in their house. A summer wedding we did 3 years ago in a rented Theater had the worst venue owner... who was also the banquet coordinator. He treated us like dog{censored} and had a long list of rules for how we were to act, behave and perform in their venue. The problem was the bride was a long time friend of the band and hired us specifically for this reason. We were actually invited guests as well as a vendor. When she heard later on about what went down she was livid (she had her own issues with the owner). She was actually the entertainment editor for the local paper must have had some conversation. We actually got an apology call from his wife. (she paid full price for plates for us at $175 per head and instead we were told to eat in the kitchen serving leftover food from another wedding).

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