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Old 01-22-2018, 12:04 PM
Woolwich Woolwich is offline
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Default The Vagaries Of Gig Booking

I was reminded yet again last night of the difficulty and idiocy encountered when booking gigs for a band.
I’m in two bands, I’m gigging in one or the other almost every Saturday night this year and we’re all happy with that, however if a decent Friday or Sunday opportunity arises we’re chasing them up too as the cherry on the icing on the cake.
So yesterday, a Sunday, I saw an advert on Facebook for a local pub for that nights gig, the adverts photo was of the “foot on the monitor” variety and the list of bands that were being covered by the act included AC/DC, Guns n Roses, Gary Moore, Zeppelin, Scorpions and Metallica. So I fired off a message to the pub outlining what my bands do including the types of acts we cover (AC/DC, ZZ Top NOT Scorpions or Metallica) as well as th other stuff as we’re female fronted such as Blondie and Kim Wilde. The reply I got included the words “sorry but Heavy Metal bands don’t work in this pub”.
Absolutely incredible. Perhaps he’s genuinely clueless or perhaps he’s using an agency and wasn’t aware of the carnage that was to be inflicted within a couple of hours on his clientele.
And while I’m at it I may as well mention the pub who won’t book us because they only want “big hitters”, but who regularly fire a flare off on a Saturday looking for late replacement bands because of cancellations. There must be something happening there and in my experience not many “big hitters” are sitting around at 3pm on a Saturday waiting for a gig.
Or the pub manager who kept putting us off while simultaneously asking for favours of our PA and light supplying band members......who then found out how much beer we had been responsible for selling at the pub before his time and who suddenly changed his tune. Because it suited him.
Ah well, here’s to 2019.

Last edited by Woolwich; 01-22-2018 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 01-22-2018, 03:49 PM
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No Way Jose No Way Jose is offline
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Default Re: The Vagaries Of Gig Booking

Sometimes I think music is the worst business to be in.
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Old 01-22-2018, 06:24 PM
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mikyok mikyok is offline
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Default Re: The Vagaries Of Gig Booking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woolwich View Post
And while I’m at it I may as well mention the pub who won’t book us because they only want “big hitters”, but who regularly fire a flare off on a Saturday looking for late replacement bands because of cancellations. There must be something happening there and in my experience not many “big hitters” are sitting around at 3pm on a Saturday waiting for a gig..
Wow....define a top professional band that will do a pub gig for the pittance they pay.

We were offered an xmas eve gig one year at a pub who were willing to pay £175 for a 5 piece. Still chuckle at that now!

My band tried a similar thing a couple of years back. The Saturday weddings are a solid earner but we wanted some local gigs where we could play some stuff we enjoy and earn a few quid. We did a couple of 'shop windows' with all these duos and singers with backing tracks who are undercutting bands big style.

Some Scottish blokes who moved to Australia wrote this song called 'It's a long way to the top if ya wanna rock n roll.' Can't think of the band name but the song is quite prophetic!
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Old 01-22-2018, 06:54 PM
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PorkPieGuy PorkPieGuy is offline
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Default Re: The Vagaries Of Gig Booking

I. Hate. Booking.

Even though our band has some pretty cool stuff coming up, I've stopped pressuring myself to get us bookings. These days I have the attitude of "If we gig, we gig. If we don't, then we don't." Between getting gigs and working around everyone's schedule, it's next to impossible. We all enjoy it, but I'm done stressing about it. It's a real shame too. I'm playing with the nicest, most talented people I've ever played with...and there's absolutely nowhere to play.

I've had quite a shift in my attitude towards playing music over the past couple of years. Instead of focusing all of my energy on "would could be," I do my best to try to enjoy each practice and each gig, and I try to treat each one as if it were my last. I'm 43 years old, and I've been around this long enough to know that both groups I play with are only one or two bad decisions away from disbanding and never getting to do it again. I spent way too much of my time in my 20's worried about "getting signed" to a major record deal when instead I should have been simply tried to enjoy every little thing I got to do.

I'm much happier now.
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Old 01-22-2018, 07:28 PM
Woolwich Woolwich is offline
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Default Re: The Vagaries Of Gig Booking

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikyok View Post
Wow....define a top professional band that will do a pub gig for the pittance they pay.

We were offered an xmas eve gig one year at a pub who were willing to pay £175 for a 5 piece. Still chuckle at that now!

My band tried a similar thing a couple of years back. The Saturday weddings are a solid earner but we wanted some local gigs where we could play some stuff we enjoy and earn a few quid. We did a couple of 'shop windows' with all these duos and singers with backing tracks who are undercutting bands big style.

Some Scottish blokes who moved to Australia wrote this song called 'It's a long way to the top if ya wanna rock n roll.' Can't think of the band name but the song is quite prophetic!
I'm in the North East of England so broadly speaking in a similiar environment to yours mikyok. £175 is an insult. The guy in question who only wants what he calls "big hitters" offers £200 for a first gig and if it's a success (which in itself is a gamble if the weather's rubbish or you get your chance early in January when everyone is spent up) he'll pay more, top whack being probably £250 which is standard pub money in my neck of the woods. The thing is though, bands talk and we have an idea of what other bands get paid. Also by looking at a bands structure (& in some cases crew!!!! In pubs!!!!!) we can guesstimate what they're getting paid too. The upshot being that we often know when we're negotiating with pubs that we're being lied to about budgets.
On Saturday we filled a pub for the whole night. The last gig we got there was on a Sunday, the manager messed us around with start times but the upshot of that night was that the single member of bar staff he'd employed for the was in an almighty strop because he'd been rushed off his feet for the whole night. I didn't book Saturday's gig, but as our bass player collected the money for the night and the staff on duty were raving about the night and hoping we'd be back soon he quoted the money we will expect to be paid next time. Not a whole lot more but a matter of principle. If the pub manager doesn't match it then it's just a Saturday in 2019 that we'll have to find somewhere else to play.
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:03 PM
Lee-Bro Lee-Bro is online now
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Default Re: The Vagaries Of Gig Booking

When you guys say, "pub" what size of a place are we talking about, as in what's the crowd capacity?

The reason I ask is that here in my part of the U.S., the term "pub" usually indicates a small bar w/ a crowd capacity of around 75 (give or take a dozen or so either way).
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Old 01-22-2018, 09:52 PM
Woolwich Woolwich is offline
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Default Re: The Vagaries Of Gig Booking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee-Bro View Post
When you guys say, "pub" what size of a place are we talking about, as in what's the crowd capacity?

The reason I ask is that here in my part of the U.S., the term "pub" usually indicates a small bar w/ a crowd capacity of around 75 (give or take a dozen or so either way).
It varies but anywhere between 50 to 150ish so roughly on a par with what you mention.
The next step up in terms of audience numbers and pay is the Club circuit which is typically probably a couple of hundred upover. That scene is harder to break into and dominated by either very slickly presented groups or acts heavily reliant on backing tapes. A good circuit to get onto but there's more leeway to be had on the pub circuit.
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