how much do you charge for gigs


Senior Member
times are getting hard so the pubs are telling us. We are being asked to cut our prices back.. so how much are other band charging? we are a basic modern rock covers band(no stones, blues,police etc) we dont bring a crowd. We would not play for nothing. we have recently accepted a lot less than last year--what is every body else doing about charges/


Junior Member
We've been gently pushing our charges up for the last five years mainly because we have yet to find a decent drummer who will play for peanuts. Ha ha.
But seriously we have to make money as most of us can't have proper jobs and commit to the kind of gig schedule we have. approx 100 gigs a year from North Yorkshire to North West France.
This year has been very hard but broadly speaking we are making more per gig on average than we did last year, mostly by giving up on some of our worst venues and trawling the internet for good new venues, networking at gigs and all the other stuff you do.

I'm for ever explaining to landlords and promoters that we don't charge for playing. We only charge for loading up the van, driving to the gig, unloading, setting up and then doing it all again in reverse at the end. It takes about 6-8 hours of hard work to play a gig whether its a short 2 hours or an extended four hour set. Either way we should get at least minimum wage each after expenses which means charging around £500 minimum.
I am hoping to push that up to £800 over the next couple of years so I can at last call myself a professional musician without having to qualify it.

keep it simple

Platinum Member
The tribute bands tend to get more as they bring in a specific crowd and the venue is often able to charge an entrance fee. The pub scene is different. I'm just starting to do local pub gigs with my band and we're doing rock covers plus a few originals. We don't need a wage from this and travelling expenses are almost nil. We charge between £200 & £300 a gig initially then intend to bump that up according to the number of punters we bring in. Most local acts get £120 to £200 according to how good they are. I must stress these are small pub gigs so of limited earning capacity for the venue. We're doing a private party next month at a bigger pub and we're charging £600 plus we have some uni & festival gigs booked in for next year at between £800 and £2,000. As you can see, it depends on the venue earning capacity and, of course, how good the band is. At the end of the day, it's bums on seats that counts. Luckily, we're not reliant on gigs to live, just to pay for studio time & gear so we only plan on gigging about once a month.


Senior Member
Same up here in Newcastle (England).

£250-£250 for a pub gig, with a few beers usually thrown in.

Luckily, we play just for pleasure and £200 covers expenses.

I'd hate to be trying to make a living out of it, though!

Interestingly although pubs across Britain are closing down every day, certainly there are a fare few in the North East surving because they're putting live music on.

More pubs seems to be putting bands on as a way of pulling in customers....


Junior Member
"Supermac" is right there.
There are more and more pubs doing live music despite many pubs closing down.
Some of the music ones are going too but the nett result is more venues for everyone.

"Keep it simple" makes a good point, of course pubs that can't or won't charge on the door can only pay a small amount. £100 - £300 being typical.
On the other hand getting out there and playing is vital in order to get those private functions.
The bad side of private gigs is that you may have to bend a little on the music policy, drop some of the ore obscure heavy rock stuff and bring in the soft rock and pop instead.
Its a thin line between love and work.

I am just starting to promote live music in a local venue and I have to face the unpleasant truth that I can't even afford to book my own band until I can be sure of getting enough paying punters.


when i work as a freelancer i get between 100-200$. if i am playing with my own band (only orginals) i am lucky to get 50-70$ :)


Senior Member
Here in the US we are pulling between $1000 and $1200 per night. We also do the covers gig and definalty started two years ago at about $350 a gig. As the demand for you rises, so does your price. Starting in 2010, we raised our rates to $1000 for the first time in a new venue (without providing our own sound) and $1200 for a return date.

Now this is for the MD/DC VA area and this area is great for cover bands and has great venues that have a lot of money to spend on live music.


Platinum Member
If you profess that you don't draw a crowd, chances are the place will not want to hire you. You might want to *downplay* that little fact when advertising yourself to pubs.

The fact that "times are tough" is counter-acted by the fact that during those times, bars/pubs usually see an increase in business. People are more likely to go out and drink and listen to a bar band when they're trying to distract themselves from their financial woes. I've seen no decrease in wages from bars/venues during this recession, just a decrease in the number of private gigs. Oh, and the decrease in wedding gigs due to the rapidly rising number of DJs in Portland.

Ask yourself, "How much is each of us willing to work for?" Or, rather, "Below what amount is it ridiculous for us to even consider leaving our houses for?" Then, you know your bottom line, and it's all about trying to keep your wages above that. Some people are good business-talkers, and can basically talk a venue owner into hiring their band for their full price. If you have somebody who is very persuasive and intriguing in your band, have them do the talking...


Silver Member
I won't play a gig for less than $100 a man unless it is a benefit for a good cause.
Most of my weekend gigs are $250 a man for 4 hour gigs. festivals are similar in pay sometimes more for less work, and alot more cd/t-shirt sales.

I think we are going to start asking for raises at certain bars. One pub in particular raised all their drink prices in the new year and it's gotten ridiculous. $5 for a 12 oz. shiner longneck, strongbows went from the big can to a 12 oz. bottle and the price stayed the same $6.50. It's $7 for a pint of miller lite. Its actually sad to me to see our fans coming out and spending $120 bucks for two people and they aren't even drunk at the end of the night. but as long as the bar is raising their prices I don't see why we shouldn't be getting paid more too.

I will always tell a bar this is the price, but if you ever have a bad night or don't feel like you got your moneys worth we can renegotiate. There is no point in killing a bar unless you don't want to go back. They usually never try to negotiate the price down anyways.

If your trying to break into a new bar let them know what your price is and if they won't go for it tell them you can come in for a discount and show them what your all about.


Senior Member
times are getting hard so the pubs are telling us. We are being asked to cut our prices back.. so how much are other band charging? we are a basic modern rock covers band(no stones, blues,police etc) we dont bring a crowd. We would not play for nothing. we have recently accepted a lot less than last year--what is every body else doing about charges/
Marketing. Don't buy it. The tougher things get the more we drink! Q:-O

It's like Orange Juice. Whenever they have crops freeze the price of OJ goes up because they say they have less to sell. Well, that is true, but what they don't tell you is that usually the frozen oranges are sold to the guys who make concentrate and they make more off their crops than when they normally sell their oranges.

The Savannah Georgia area basically pays $100/person/gig. Some places are only paying $75


Gold Member
Seems to be the going rate is about $100 a gig per person. We generally charge $500 a show ($600 if we are supplying the PA) Not every place will pay it, so we turn down quite a few places. I am pretty sure that with gas, sticks, and heads I am still paying to play, but the $100 in the pocket feels pretty good.


here in athens, ga its so over saturated you cannot make any money. we played for free many times, as well as "benefits" left and right. I am all for a benefit but not when 10 shows out of 15 last december were benefit shows. ugh! I need to make some money. $100 in my pocket at every gig, that would be nice (and I have been playing for 29 years)

when I was giggin in Denver, $500/show. Athens, if you are lucky, $100/show (both of those numbers are for the WHOLE band BTW). something has to give, I cant afford to play live at this rate

in saying all that, if I am subbing, my minimum is $100/show -cash only, or I wont even load my gear


none, I'm not currently in a band and when I was (4 years ago) we rarely got paid (but when we did it went towards 'the band'...i'm not making that mistake again)