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Performers; invited, or by application?

GUEST,Gerry 08 Apr 13 - 09:49 PM
GUEST,Peter 09 Apr 13 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Lavengro 09 Apr 13 - 10:19 AM
Richard Bridge 09 Apr 13 - 12:11 PM
JohnInKansas 09 Apr 13 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,Peter 09 Apr 13 - 05:07 PM
breezy 09 Apr 13 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,Gerry 09 Apr 13 - 08:56 PM
Phil Cooper 09 Apr 13 - 11:29 PM
GUEST,JohnB 10 Apr 13 - 12:43 AM
GUEST,Stim 10 Apr 13 - 10:04 AM
GUEST 11 Apr 13 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 11 Apr 13 - 07:33 AM
nickp 11 Apr 13 - 08:59 AM
WindhoverWeaver 11 Apr 13 - 09:41 AM
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Subject: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 08 Apr 13 - 09:49 PM

A local music festival (not a folk music festival) has gone from application to perform being open to all, to performers by invitation only. An organizer tells me, "We are following a model that many Festivals around Australia and abroad use for programming."

As a (mostly) non-performer, I have no feeling for how common the invitation model is, as opposed to the open application model, in Australia or elsewhere. How is it done at the festivals with which you are familiar?

My apologies if this topic has already been extensively discussed at Mudcat. Just point me to the relevant thread(s), and I'll go away.

Gerry Myerson


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 09:27 AM

Well I have only had occasional and peripheral involvement in running folk festivals but in those cases any performer who was on the programme was there by invitation. Of course agents and managers will have been soliciting those invitations, that's their job.

I don't have experience of other genres.


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: GUEST,Lavengro
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 10:19 AM

UK wise I have only "applied" to play at one festy (Circus tent @ Glastonbury). Been invited to play at all the others. All small affairs 300-600 in. Smaller gigs (pubs etc.) bizarrely are the other way around in my experience.


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 12:11 PM

I somehow think it is more seemly for a performer to wait to be asked and I would not generally go in for self-promotion. OTOH there are the "invitations" that go "We love your stuff, please do a free support slot and then we'll give you a paid gig". You do the free support slot and no gig follows. I think that is rude.


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 01:29 PM

The largest festival held regularly in our area apparently makes firm contracts with the featured performers, arranged long in advance. Most of those performers will have agents, and nobody except the ones who sign the contracts would be likely to know who opened the negotiations. So far as is known all the "star performers" are paid, and nearly all are expected to do multiple performances during the festival (there are 3 different stages where they rotate, and most do one performance on each stage on different days). There are other stages for the no-name few who may get some exposure (and two or three "campground stages" not officially associated with the festival).

Something of a "gimmick" that an organizer might consider is holding "contests" similar to what's done at those fests. Of course in the case of a contest the contestants would have to "enter" (apply) and if it's a popular thing a limit on number of contestants likely would be a good idea. It's pretty much necessary to have a separate stage/auditorium for the contests as well and competent judges are highly recommended along with written and enforced rules on how things are run.

In the local case contestants pay an entry fee and aren't paid for their performance, but there are prizes for winners. If the contests get a "reputation" like ours, the top prizes generally are instruments donated by builders with "established standings in luthiery" and most are pretty high dollar stuff. Winners of course are expected to do an unpaid performance on one of the main stages (and the prize donors hope they'll show off their new "prize" instruments, although it's not mandatory).

An additional opportunity for "exposure" is in the form of group "classes" usually conducted by someone with some reputation related to what they offer to teach. (A Songwriting class, with Beginner and Advanced sections is popular here, along with classes of both kinds for several standard instruments.)

Those who take the classes generally pay a nominal fee that the "instructor" can keep (if there's anything left after the teach provides whatever handouts are used). "Instructors" can be from the performers/contestants or other local talent and are advertised as being "volunteers" although it appears they may be "volunteered under duress" in some cases. Most of the classes in the local case are scheduled the day or two before the "official" first day of the festival.

Not all of these possibilities may be applicable to many venues, since here about half those who attend camp at the festival. A "Lineup" begins a week before a "Landrush" when people are allowed to rush into the campgrounds to secure their preferred sites, followed by a week for "setting up camps and getting acquainted" before the three day festival officially begins. Most regulars assume they'll be there for "about a month" which allows time for a lot more variety than would be possible at other kinds of festivals.

John


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 05:07 PM

This thread made me curious so I spent a few minutes with google.

The top two results for "festival performer application" found a folk festival and a comedy festival both in Australia both of which solicited applications to perform which would get successful applicants a slot in the programme.


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: breezy
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 06:48 PM

Those sort of festivals dont pay and they attract freebie acts.
They want it on the cheap.
Real festivals engage artistes which is the pro way to go about building up a reputable event.
Australia dont pay according to this thread
But its hit harder times recently, thats how England win and Aussies swim successes have declined.


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 08:56 PM

I appreciate the replies people have posted.

Perhaps I should supply more information about the National Folk Festival in Australia. There are a number of "big name" performers every year, many from overseas, and I'm sure that what JohnInKansas wrote, "The largest festival held regularly in our area apparently makes firm contracts with the featured performers, arranged long in advance. Most of those performers will have agents, and nobody except the ones who sign the contracts would be likely to know who opened the negotiations...." applies to the big names at the National.

The National also has dozens of other performers, ranging from pretty well known around Australia to totally unknown outside their immediate families, who get in by applying. They don't have agents or managers. These other performers get free admission to the festival (which is not cheap) and they do get paid. Some of the "no-names" turn out to be excellent performers, and there is no way the festival organizers would have known to invite them.

The local music festival that prompted me to start this thread is an altogether smaller affair. Previously, when it had both performers-by-invitation and performers-by-application, I think both were paid, although I can't say for sure.


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 11:29 PM

It's been my experience in the states, that if you don't ask about playing a festival, you don't get invited. Figure in most festivals, over two days if there's 24 stage slots, there's probably a couple hundred people asking about getting one. If the director doesn't know you're interested, or anything else about you, there's no way you'll be invited. It can be a very frustrating experience asking as well, but that's a different topic.


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 12:43 AM

I know a couple of Artistic Director types who get many CD's sent their way with applications to play at their festivals. They may or may not choose performers on that basis. I would think that BIG NAMES are relatively well known and are hired for their pull (and have agents)
Word of mouth or having seen someone perform previously is another obvious way to get booked. If you snooze you lose, so get your name and music out there.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 10:04 AM

When music festivals are just starting out, they often have to scramble to fill stage spots, and will allow anyone to play because anyone is better than no one.

As the event becomes better known,there tend to be more performers than stage spots, and the organizers start being selective. If you were one of the early participants, you can get bumped for "better known performers"--don't ask how I know this...;-)


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 06:55 AM

I know a couple of Artistic Director types who get many CD's sent their way with applications to play at their festivals.
That's just normal marketing on the part of artists or their agents. I think the OP was referring to festivals that have an official process for applying to play.


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 07:33 AM

Is anybody experiencing the following on their screen:?

There are certain words highlighted on some posts (e.g., "slot" on Richard`s post and "paid for" and "prizes" on JohnInKansas) and even on our band`s website. When selected they show advertisments that have nothing to do with the points under discussion. What is going on?


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: nickp
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 08:59 AM

No, I don't have any problems with highlights. That's on I.E. Strange.


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Subject: RE: Performers; invited, or by application?
From: WindhoverWeaver
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 09:41 AM

John, sounds like you have an infected computer (may be a "helper" app you have installed, perhaps unwittingly) that is monitoring pages and inserting the highlights.

On the theme of the thread: We go (not as performers) to a wonderful small Festival here in the UK (Moira Furnace). I noticed that a couple of years ago they had a longish session on one of the small stages where people could perform for consideration to be guests the next year. Couldn't make it, unfortunately, so don't know how it went, but it didn't happen last year so either they have enough people to consider, or it didn't work. Perhaps someone who was involved can tell us?


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