Hi there, I play in a band, and I have a large, ugly bone to pick with venue owners in South Africa. Before I get started, let me clarify: this isn’t directed at any one venue owner in particular, but rather as a general warning to the state of the industry in SA – sparked by a number of incidents that I have heard of in the past. Okay, so lets get started.
- First things first: if you want a DJ, hire a DJ. If you want a band, hire a band. If you want both, hire both; but don’t – for the love of God – hire a band and expect them to supply in-between set ambience. That’s the venue’s issue. Do you hire a DJ and ask them to play in a band as well? No. If you’re confused as to the difference between a band and a DJ, then you shouldn’t be running a venue in the first place. Go back to fishing.
- Don’t try underpay us. We don’t care if the bar didn’t make enough money; that isn’t our problem. The bar is yours, the band is ours. If you hire a band at a fixed rate, be prepared to pay it. If you’re going to tell us afterwards that we are only getting half-pay, you are being completely unreasonable. If you tell us during our set, know that we will only play half a set.
- Following from the previous point, if you are going to undercut us at the end of the night, we’d rather have a door deal, where we get paid according to money made from entrance charges. That way, if we don’t attract enough people to your venue, we don’t get paid. But don’t negotiate a set fee, and then tell us that there weren’t enough people attending. That’s not our problem.
- Yes, playing music is a passion and a hobby, but for some/most of us it’s a job too. Don’t act like you’re doing us a favour by “letting” us play at your venue. We are like any other working professional; maybe we don’t have degrees or qualifications (some of us do) to prove it, but what we do requires dedication, hard work and, possibly the most tedious job in the world: dealing with you.
- Don’t hire two acoustic guitarists if you’re expecting a trance party. It’s Tuesday night for God’s sake.
- No matter how many times you tell us I don’t want to be unfair / I’m not using you guys / I’m not trying to be a bad guy, the bottom line is, if you are not upholding the initial agreement – YOU ARE BEING A BASTARD.
- Contrary to popular belief, we are not stupid. We may not be rocket scientists but we can perform basic addition, multiplication, subtraction and division. Translation: we know if you’re undercutting us.
- Don’t be skimp; we have expenses. We don’t just evaporate out of your venue when we’ve finished, only to apparate back a week later, all smiles and pansies. We carry large, heavy equipment, deal with advanced electronics and are kept awake until all hours of the night in an effort to entertain YOU and YOUR guests.
To the bands out there. Don’t be fools. Use a contract. A simple booking agreement contract will prevent these things from ever happening to you. Without one, you will be left enraged, powerless… and broke. If you want a booking agreement template and don’t know where to find one, you can download the template I use HERE. Go well, and thanks for listening.