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What if only a few people show or bad weather?


jeff42

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So I get an email from a fairly new place in my area. They have been after us for the last few months and we decided to give them one date to try them out.

 

I got this email today:

I got the ok to book There and Back Again. I would prefer if you play until 1:30 for that price. You can set up at 9:30 but I cant have you do it any sooner because of people having dinner. I would charge a cover charge at the door. What are the agreements if only a few people show or bad weather? With all my other entertainments I pay them half. March 10th works for me. Let me know.

 

 

Now with bad weather I say the the establishment calls it. If the say come and play during a snowstorm and we do we better get paid.

 

I will be calling this lady back and asking her what she does she mean by a few people? I can never guarantee even one person walking through their door. How could I? This is the first time they will be having a full band in their place and it is a very nice bar/ restaurant but isn't known for live music. My advice is PROMOTE the HELL out of this!

 

Its always a risk but how much of that risk should be put on me and my band?

 

just some afternoon discussion I figured I'd pass on.

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So I get an email from a fairly new place in my area. They have been after us for the last few months and we decided to give them one date to try them out.


I got this email today:

I got the ok to book There and Back Again. I would prefer if you play until 1:30 for that price. You can set up at 9:30 but I cant have you do it any sooner because of people having dinner. I would charge a cover charge at the door. What are the agreements if only a few people show or bad weather? With all my other entertainments I pay them half. March 10th works for me. Let me know.



Now with bad weather I say the the establishment calls it. If the say come and play during a snowstorm and we do we better get paid.


I will be calling this lady back and asking her what she does she mean by a few people? I can never guarantee even one person walking through their door. How could I? This is the first time they will be having a full band in their place and it is a very nice bar/ restaurant but isn't known for live music. My advice is PROMOTE the HELL out of this!


Its always a risk but how much of that risk should be put on me and my band?


just some afternoon discussion I figured I'd pass on.

 

 

I would not go there , because it leaves the door open for her to make a determination that its a bad night and pay you half. What i would do is ,, say .. tell you what ,, why dont you make the call on the day of the gig. by that time you will know if the weather is going to be an issue. Give me a call in the afternoon and if you think its gonna be bad weather and you will not come out on the deal ,, call the show off and we will re book the date. You dont want to play to a dead room anyway.

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Tell her she's got until such-and-such a time on the day of the gig to cancel due to bad weather. And if you DO show up and play you get paid 100% regardless of weather or turn-out. At least that's what I would do and always have done.

 

Guess it depends on how badly you want to get your foot in the door at this place to accomodate her in such a fashion.

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sure if its weather, they make the call and that's that.- but how I read this was... what if only a few people show? meaning we are playing to 15-20 people, they can give us HALF of our asking price. to me that is not how we run things. Especially in our hometown, 9 years into this band thing. I am not big on playing a whole night and then at the manager's discretion saying "well we didn't have a good night" and trying to pay us half. With rooms that have been with us for years YES I will give them a break at the end of the night if it's bad but HALF? I don't know bout THAT.

 

this place has zero rep as a music venue so the crowd we bring would be our own.

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IDK... it doesn't seem like your band is desperate for the gig or anything... if that is the case I would say "If we play, we get our full rate" - however you want to word it. Otherwise you are just opening yourselves up for more hassle than it's worth, imo, since there's a real good chance that attendance will be sparse, and in that case an argument will be sure to follow.

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sure if its weather, they make the call and that's that.- but how I read this was... what if only a few people show? meaning we are playing to 15-20 people, they can give us HALF of our asking price. to me that is not how we run things. Especially in our hometown, 9 years into this band thing. I am not big on playing a whole night and then at the manager's discretion saying "well we didn't have a good night" and trying to pay us half. With rooms that have been with us for years YES I will give them a break at the end of the night if it's bad but HALF? I don't know bout THAT.


this place has zero rep as a music venue so the crowd we bring would be our own.

 

I think you are being set up to fail here, and to be honest it seems like you already know this. The earlier advice is all solid, either get some guarantee or just walk. Otherwise there is a very good chance your next post about this place will be along the lines of "We got burned!" :D

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If they declare a state of emergency due to weather and only a handful of people show up, ok, maybe you cut them a break. As for them being worried about a poor turnout, sounds like they should ramp up their marketing. The best way to ensure a good crowd is to market the venue and "oh, by the way, we also have a band."

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I think you are being set up to fail here, and to be honest it seems like you already know this. The earlier advice is all solid, either get some guarantee or just walk. Otherwise there is a very good chance your next post about this place will be along the lines of "We got burned!"
:D

 

Totally agree. Just wanted to toss this out there for some advice on how to word it for my email and phone call back to her. We'll take the gig but our price is a set rate. If they want to compete with the other live music venues in town promote the HELL out of this.

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How far does the band have to travel? (Miles and time?) I would say that if you get called by a fixed time (6:30?) that it is cancelled due to weather, no charge and just reschedule. After the cut-off time, you get 50% for showing up with your gear ready to start the load-in. Once you have loaded in and set up, you are entitled to your full fee, however.

 

That brings up the issue of written contracts and deposits/when do you get paid. If you are worried about getting stiffed (as per another recent thread), you could insist as part of the negotiations that you get at least part of the money (50%) when you show up for load-in. Whether that is feasible in your neck of the woods is another story. At least if she tries to bail on you once you have driven there in crappy weather, you'll be entitled to something without busting your butts all night and ending up with half pay AND the drive thru hell to get home. Mark C.

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If I was in your shoes, I would flat out pass on this gig. Should bad weather happen, will she be paying her staff 1/2 wages that night? Will she take a 50% cut in her pay for the day?

 

 

Well, considering her staff probably works largely for tips and if she's the owner and only makes money from the profits, then the answer to those questions is "yes".

 

But that still doesn't mean the band should play without a guarantee.

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What are the agreements if only a few people show or bad weather? With all my other entertainments I pay them half. .

 

 

I would respond as politely and professionally as possible to let her know that if she wants you to play, the 'agreements' are:

 

1) Venue has ability to call the show due to inclement weather with a planned re-schedule, date to YOUR satisfaction, up to 'X' time on day of. Once you arrive with gear, 50% of pay, once you load in, 100%.

 

2) Your band will make every effort to promote the show to the level that you deem appropriate, and the venue should do the same (and then some). If only a few people show, that's unfortunate for both of you, but once the band has committed the date and loaded gear in, you get paid 100%.

 

Sounds maybe like they don't know what they are doing in terms of promoting the place as a venue...perhaps offer some pro advice free of charge; be the hero. It also sounds like she's implying that the cover charge is what's planned on to pay the band...

 

I would proceed with caution, honestly.

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Well, considering her staff probably works largely for tips and if she's the owner and only makes money from the profits, then the answer to those questions is "yes".


But that still doesn't mean the band should play without a guarantee.

 

 

Since she had to get permission to book, chances are pretty good she isn't the owner.

 

Tips are a non-issue as this isn't money the given by the establishment to the employee for a service.

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Since she had to get permission to book, chances are pretty good she isn't the owner.


Tips are a non-issue as this isn't money the given by the establishment to the employee for a service.

 

 

In the vast majority of states, workers in occupations where tips are customary are allowed to be paid a sub-minimum wage ($2.45/hr, IIRC) so long as the worker's hourly rate ( with tips) is at least the minimum wage. Mark C.

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Yes, but having a reasonable expectation of what they can make with tips is part of the reason they work for the money she DOES pay. Kinda like bands that work for the door.

 

 

And where does this change the validity of my question? If the bar is making less money then was hoped for due to bad weather or poor turn out, is the manager going to cut pay by 50% that night?

 

The answer is no, she isn't (Legally she can't, but that is another subject). So why should the band be the sole entity taking it in the shorts to help the bars bottom line that night? The answer is, if it was for circumstances beyond the bands control, they shouldn't be.

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And where does this change the validity of my question? If the bar is making less money then was hoped for due to bad weather or poor turn out, is the manager going to cut pay by 50% that night?


The answer is no, she isn't (Legally she can't, but that is another subject). So why should the band be the sole entity taking it in the shorts to help the bars bottom line that night? The answer is, if it was for circumstances beyond the bands control, they shouldn't be.

 

 

I agree the band should play for a guarantee. I said that from the beginning.

 

Bars have fixed costs and variable costs. They aren't going to buy as much beer next week if last week was slow, for example. Obviously, they'd love to put as many costs as possible into the 'variable' column on slow nights.

 

The problem is they seem to never know which column to put the music. And part of that is our fault. We've let them think we can be a variable cost because so many bands do things like play-for-the-door.

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The "if only a few people show up OR the weather" is the key point for me. If weather isn't a factor and nobody shows up, tough {censored}. Full pay. Promotion on yours and their part...like any other gig...figure that out ahead of time.

 

If there's a snowstorm and nobody shows up but the weather wasn't enough for the venue to outright cancel the gig earlier in the day, negotiate a deal, but you have to get something in return. Our typical "policy" is if we pack up and leave at midnight we usually agree to take a small paycut. If we go past midnight, full pay. There's room to make a deal. We've never been asked to negotiate down to half though. We've settled for 2/3 and 3/4 pay a couple times over the past few years on the deal that we ended the night considerably early.

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To be perfectly honest, I think she got off on the wrong foot with you as soon as she wrote "I would prefer if you play until 1:30 for that price," along with the comment that they will have a cover charge. It's already implied that they think you are too expensive.

 

Contract. Guaranteed amount as long as you show up and play. You're doing your job and have been doing it well for 9 years. Treat it professionally, yet be firm on price. Tell them this is what you are getting for your money.

 

Bars that expect bands to "help them out" bug me. Are they helping you out when you are playing elsewhere? It's their risk if they want to book a band when there could be a snowstorm.

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My response to lady....

 

"Say I paid you $100 for a blowjob. Say at the end of said blowjob I didn't get off as much as usual, so I only want to pay you $50. How would that work for you?"

 

Sorry, I'd make it COMPLETELY clear that if we show up we get paid our agreed upon amount. If she has any issues with that, I'd balk. Basically she's giving you a "really you play for the door, but we disguise it as a guarantee".

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Half is reasonable if weather is clearly keeping people away.

 

 

I disagree. If we get there setup and are ready to play we get paid in full. If the weather is keeping people away that is an act of God and not the fault of the bar or the band. If the band wants to offer a break that is fine but the band is honoring their agreement. It just seems like this can set the bar up to cut the band's pay if the bar expected 100 and only 75 show up. That is a bad precedence.

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