Awful Gig Offers

Quai34

Junior Member
Anytime I've been asked to play for free, I said yes but you pay for the travel and "shipping and handling"... They say yes, I say ok, at 50$ per hour half of what your plumber will ask just to check your pipes, one hour to tear down my gear from home, 1 hour drinking, 1 hour setting up and the opposite... 6 hours shift, 300$... If I get CBC for exposure, I will do it for 250$.... Of they say no, I say, would you agree of your boss will tell you to come and work for nothing on a Sunday night? Usually they stop asking...
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
Kind of related.
The other weekend a drunken person came to me after the gig, they hadn’t seen the gig because they arrived late to drink at a very late licence bar, and asked me what we played and could they book us for New Years Eve. I politely pointed out that really she would need to know what a band played before booking them but we wouldn’t be playing on New Years Eve. She genuinely couldn’t get her head around why a semi amateur band would pick spending time with their respective families on New Years Eve instead of missing all the festivities to be able to come home with £50 in their hands.
Earlier this year we played a gig that went stormingly well at a pub. The manageress nabbed us outside afterwards and asked us if we could play a specific date this October. I stepped up and said that the band couldn’t because me and my wife and son were planning our family holiday over that date. She was disappointed and said if there was any change could I tell her. That night my wife said she could switch dates at work if we really wanted to do the gig so I got in touch with the manageress by replying to her original messages over Facebook Messenger to tell her. She never answered. After a day or two I asked one of the lads to contact her privately over Facebook to tell her I’d changed our plans to suit her and was the gig still available. A few days later it was all confirmed. I was a bit miffed that as far as she knew I’d moved heaven and earth for her and to be frank she was acting like she couldn’t care less. For the record I hadn’t moved heaven and earth because nothing had been firmed up yet but it was still an inconvenience and I’d booked gigs for both of my bands keeping that as free week. Anyway, yesterday a message came through on her Facebook Messenger thread. Could we rearrange and come in September instead. Unfortunately one of the other lads saw the message and answered before I could. “Sorry we can’t, our drummer goes on holiday that day!”. You couldn’t make it up, and even though I’m not annoyed by it I still think it’s incredibly selfish of her not to have read the message bubble just above the one she wrote the other day in which I say “Hi it’s the drummer, just to let you know that I’ve rearranged our family holiday so we can do the gig for you on October ......”
 
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PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Where DOES he get these great clips?

In response to your excellent response....who's the smarter business person here, the DJ who gets 3500, or a band who splits 3500?

Gotta give that to the bastards.
Yup, I was one of these bastards when I was playing hammered dulcimer at weddings all of the time. I priced competitively, but I also made it well worth my time. I also told the wedding planning people, in so many words, that if they can find a hammered dulcimer player who can do what I do AND do it cheaper, go hire them, not me. They could hire string quartet for $1000 to play the wedding march or they could hire me for half that. They went with me a lot of the time, and I didn't have to split the money with anyone.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
My daughter is getting married next year, and I recently had the “pleasure” of slapping down a $600 deposit for the pleasure of reserving the right to pay a DJ $3500 for his services (including a photo booth 😂 )
DJ vs. Live Band at a wedding reception:

Any type of music vs. the band’s type of music​
Dude at a desk, placed anywhere in the venue vs. 3–7 people on a stage taking up floor space​
Dude can MC the reception, easily cutting into the middle of a tune if need be vs. a Lead Singer.​
The list goes on . . .
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
In response to your excellent response....who's the smarter business person here, the DJ who gets 3500, or a band who splits 3500?

Gotta give that to the bastards.
Mr DJ has laughed all the way to the bank whilst destroying live music at the same time.

They don't even have to cue records anymore either! I stand in awe that people pay them. Cheaper to hire a PA and some lights and plug your phone in which is essentially all DJs do!

Guaranteed 99% of weddings are the bride going "I want that" and a husband to be or father of the bride just agreeing and handing over cash. Nobody wants to incur the wrath of Bridezilla and I've seen it!

I'm struggling to comprehend how this DJ walks with balls big enough to command $3500 with a $600 deposit to play a spotify playlist for the night.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
DJ vs. Live Band at a wedding reception:

Any type of music vs. the band’s type of music​
Dude at a desk, placed anywhere in the venue vs. 3–7 people on a stage taking up floor space​
Dude can MC the reception, easily cutting into the middle of a tune if need be vs. a Lead Singer.​
The list goes on . . .
Band vs. DJ at a wedding reception:

Real horns playing real horn charts (and not just what's on the record).​
Update and re-energize classic songs that older guests will recognize (with a DJ, old songs alienate the young, and young songs alienate the old).​
Invite talented guests to sit in.​
Jam, be musical (quote other songs within songs, pass solos around the band).​
Visually more interesting than one person wearing headphones.​
Expose people to the unique joy of music played live. Many people may have never even heard a trombone before.​
Many band members can visually encourage crowd participation (one person can only be so engaging).​
$3500 is about the lowest you can get a 5 piece wedding band around here. Photobooth is usually $600, DJ is usually $1000, unless the DJ is a known performer with a significant following.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
What I want to know is how do DJ's command the money they get. I can't believe people shell out that kind of dough for a service that can be provided FREE with an Ipod. If they can command it, musicians certainly should be able to command it as well. I mean 3500 dollars would go a long way towards a memorable honeymoon. No, instead, let's give it to a person to push some buttons for 4 hours. That's insane.

Musicians settle for playing practically for free. That's our problem in a nutshell. If anything the DJ should be getting 100 each a night and bands should be much higher paid. How things got like this is completely understandable and probably irreversible.
 
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cbphoto

Gold Member
Band vs. DJ at a wedding reception:

Real horns playing real horn charts (and not just what's on the record).​
Update and re-energize classic songs that older guests will recognize (with a DJ, old songs alienate the young, and young songs alienate the old).​
Invite talented guests to sit in.​
Jam, be musical (quote other songs within songs, pass solos around the band).​
Visually more interesting than one person wearing headphones.​
Expose people to the unique joy of music played live. Many people may have never even heard a trombone before.​
Many band members can visually encourage crowd participation (one person can only be so engaging).​
$3500 is about the lowest you can get a 5 piece wedding band around here. Photobooth is usually $600, DJ is usually $1000, unless the DJ is a known performer with a significant following.
I don’t disagree.

But, I guess, to most people a DJ is an easier solution to the “reception entertainment” conundrum.

It’s been years since I played a reception. The women I know/knew getting married wanted:
Variety​
Not too loud​
Ability to choose any song they wanted at any time​
The entertainment to fit in a small corner of the hotel’s small-ish party room.​
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I don’t disagree.

But, I guess, to most people a DJ is an easier solution to the “reception entertainment” conundrum.

It’s been years since I played a reception. The women I know/knew getting married wanted:
Variety​
Not too loud​
Ability to choose any song they wanted at any time​
The entertainment to fit in a small corner of the hotel’s small-ish party room.​
Variety shouldn't be an issue for a wedding band; musicians should be able to learn songs. Any that can't be learned, can be DJ'd on the break.

Volume should be easy enough to control, for professional musicians, even in a small room. None of the qualities I mentioned depend on volume.

Choosing songs at any time is not the feature it seems to be. The song the bride or groom wants to hear right now may be exactly the wrong song for all the other guests. There's a difference between being the party, and throwing one.

A DJ is going to take up less room, but space is rarely a concern in wedding venues. If necessary, just clear out some tables after dinner.
 

picodon

Silver Member
It's not a matter of taking up space or anything like that.
The fact of the matter is, playing in a band is fun and many amateur bands will play for free for fun.
Being a DJ is not fun and nobody will do it for free.
Now how DJ's can still exist, being more expensive and less fun than a live band, is one of those anomalies.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
It's not a matter of taking up space or anything like that.
The fact of the matter is, playing in a band is fun and many amateur bands will play for free for fun.
Being a DJ is not fun and nobody will do it for free.
Now how DJ's can still exist, being more expensive and less fun than a live band, is one of those anomalies.
A band that is willing to play for very little, or for free, is interested in self-expression, or gaining experience, or fame, or social interaction. The wishes and desires of a wedding client are a distant afterthought. And among professionals that perform at weddings regularly, DJ's will be cheaper than bands.

Let's not pretend that every band you see in a bar, club, or festival, can kill it at a wedding.
 

trickg

Silver Member
A band that is willing to play for very little, or for free, is interested in self-expression, or gaining experience, or fame, or social interaction. The wishes and desires of a wedding client are a distant afterthought. And among professionals that perform at weddings regularly, DJ's will be cheaper than bands.

Let's not pretend that every band you see in a bar, club, or festival, can kill it at a wedding.
You hit the nail on the head there. The wedding band I play with doesn't roll out the door for less than $3500 - that's pretty much our bottom dollar, and we typically negotiate between $3500 and $5000, depending on what the client wants. And we have the ability to give it to them, complete with a 1000+ tune song list, real horns, and a band where all 8 of us on stage sing lead, so we have a lot of versatility in both sound and material.

One of the problems we face as a band is being lumped in with the general reputation many bands have - particularly the cheaper bands. Some common issues of those other groups:

bad sound
drinking on the gig
Leaving a mess after the gig
Limited song list
Limited musical ability (Let's face it - not everyone in a band is killing it on their particular instrument)

Generally speaking, bands that do well in a bar setting are not really the bands you want playing at a wedding - a wedding is a whole other animal.
 

trickg

Silver Member
To add a bit to my post above, for most of the weddings we play, the cost of the band is a side note to everything else - in most cases, they spend far more on flowers than they spend on the band, although for some reason the clients (often the father of the bride) still wants to nickel-and-dime this and that regarding the band, which is funny because ultimately we're the ones who keep the party going - it's certainly not the flowers.

I've played weddings where the venue the reception was in was $15,000 by itself, never mind any of the other expenses. I've played weddings where there were cases and cases of wine that were there for the sole purpose of being giveaway party favors, and that wine probably cost more than the band. That was the wedding where the bride and groom left the reception on a helicopter that landed on the lawn. Some of these receptions, by the time you factor in venue, catering, flowers, the band, the open bar, limo, and any other incidental expenses, have got to be hitting $100,000+

This is the kind of gig where the band has to be killing it musically, but we also have to look the part - clean-cut, tuxedos for the men and evening gowns for the ladies, VERY professional demeanor - that kind of thing.
 

Jbravo

Senior Member
I’m my case the demand (more request) was from my daughter, for her wedding, and who we would do almost anything within our ability to make happy. 😊

If I owned a club it would be no DJ’s allowed. Ever....but I’d never own a club! (Then you have to deal with all those troublesome musicians 😂)
 

Jbravo

Senior Member
Band vs. DJ at a wedding reception:

Real horns playing real horn charts (and not just what's on the record).​
Update and re-energize classic songs that older guests will recognize (with a DJ, old songs alienate the young, and young songs alienate the old).​
Invite talented guests to sit in.​
Jam, be musical (quote other songs within songs, pass solos around the band).​
Visually more interesting than one person wearing headphones.​
Expose people to the unique joy of music played live. Many people may have never even heard a trombone before.​
Many band members can visually encourage crowd participation (one person can only be so engaging).​
$3500 is about the lowest you can get a 5 piece wedding band around here. Photobooth is usually $600, DJ is usually $1000, unless the DJ is a known performer with a significant following.
I’ve been playing off and on for more than 40 years, mostly in bar bands.

One constant is the bickering between Bar, wedding, and praise bands about whose job requires more talent and more skill. There’s not all that much room at the top of the game, and there are a lot of really talented musicians that decided not to choose music as their way of making a living.

With all the arguments, it’s nice that we can all agree DJ’s suck!😉
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I’ve been playing off and on for more than 40 years, mostly in bar bands.

One constant is the bickering between Bar, wedding, and praise bands about whose job requires more talent and more skill. There’s not all that much room at the top of the game, and there are a lot of really talented musicians that decided not to choose music as their way of making a living.

With all the arguments, it’s nice that we can all agree DJ’s suck!😉
I’m my case the demand (more request) was from my daughter, for her wedding, and who we would do almost anything within our ability to make happy. 😊
Of course. I do think the price of your DJ is very steep, but it's possible there's a good reason for this.

Not all DJ's are the same. A little more than 10 years ago, when my sister married her audio engineer husband in LA, he hired his friend, who was a big name on the techno scene at the time, to DJ the reception. I have never heard/seen a more perfect execution of the craft than on that night. Every song faded smoothly, and cleverly, into the next. Drum breaks became platforms for elements of other songs. Songs seemed to change about 3 seconds before I got bored of listening. Any song that had more than 3 or 4 people start to leave the floor, was swiftly replaced by a better choice. They say nobody dances at weddings in LA, but everyone did.

I walked up to the booth, and my jaw dropped. He had done it ALL on vinyl. Two turntables, a mixer, and few crates of LPs. No CDs, or iPods.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
This is the kind of gig where the band has to be killing it musically, but we also have to look the part - clean-cut, tuxedos for the men and evening gowns for the ladies, VERY professional demeanor - that kind of thing.
Really? Looks like weddings are out for me. ☹
 
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