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Performers fees (% or flat fee?)

GUEST,Andy 17 Feb 07 - 10:31 AM
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Subject: Performers fees (% or flat rate?)
From: GUEST,Andy
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 10:31 AM

What do other club organisers feel about performers asking for a guaranteed flat fee or a percentage of door takings, always meaning 'whichever is the higher'. As a club organiser, I have had this put to me recently, by the agents of two very well known performers, both of whom I would like the members to see. However this 'percentage' thing causes a problem. On our six-weekly guest nights I charge members a bare minimum entrance fee. Non-members, those who've only come to see that particular guest, pay a commercial rate. We're only a small club (55 max.seats) and members will occupy 40 of those, so a percentage of door proceeds will not be very high. We're not short of brass and in both cases I've explained my pricing policy to the agents and willingly offered the flat fee, but been turned down. One asked 'how much more could you offer'(above the guarantee) and the other was insistent that I charge everyone £10 for entry.
I can understand that performers will wish to maximise their earnings and charge more for a gig with an audience of 200, than for a small club of 50 folks. However, it sems to make a mockery of the 'guarantee' figure if the artists are not prepared to perform for that, particularly at small folk clubs, where most of them learned their craft. I've not experienced this before. I book good, nationally known artists who come for an agreed fee, with no conditions. Is it only the 'premier league' ones who operate in such a prescriptive manner? Also, such policies may obviously prevent some venues ever being able to book the folk 'stars'.(Unless you catch them on the way back down!)

Any comments from organisers, performers or others?

Regards
Andy


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 10:50 AM

Perhaps organisers who want to pay a performer a percentage of not very much because that are failing to run their venue on an economic basis and charge a realistic entrance fee could arrange for said artists to pay only a percentage of their mortgage or gas bill, or strike a bargain at the supermarket checkout because their earnings from playing such venues are insufficient to pay Mr Tesco.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 11:35 AM

I pay a fixed fee agreed with the performer. That gaurantees that the performer gets an agreed rate irrespective of how few might attend. Sometimes I lose money and sometimes I make a profit.

I do not ever pay % of the door, neither do I charge a fee at the door that the performer has dictated. Basically, as much as I might like somebody to appear at the club, I don't book them.

There are lots of good performers out there who are willing to agree flat fees and support grass roots.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 11:47 AM

people who attend folk clubs have mortgages to pay too, if every 3 weeks charges are so high it makes attendance unaffordable, then who's the winner? we charge generally £6.00 on the door in a small room, it just about cover's the act and the running costs accomodation for artistes, advertising and phone calls are covered by the small sums generated on singers nights- except they dont get covered. The average wage in East Yorkshire is £12000-£13000 and most club members are elderly or retired -no one's making profit off the back of performers here.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Sorcha
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 12:05 PM

If you want the Big Guns, remember that they spent years 'paying their dues', years of practice, little gigs, free gigs, etc. They are entitled to what they earn. Don't think the act should be allowed to set the door fee tho.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 12:10 PM

I don't run a club, but at a workshop by the best businesswoman I know in folk music (she books/agents/promotes for her band and also organizes several successful festivals a year), I learned what I am sure most performers know. And that is-- Performers and agents understand that there are venues they can hold up for high fees, and venues that will pay what they can.

A performer who can fill his/her schedule with only the former venues doesn't have to negotiate. I have yet to meet one! The rest of the working world of folk musicians understands that at best they will have a mix of opportunities, and that if they want to work fulltime in music, they bear the burden of filling their schedule with whatever they can get at the best terms they can negotiate.

The VENUES are in charge of those opportunities. YOU are the person that has to be courted, the person whose requirements and fee policies will have to be followed. If a given performer doesn't see your venue and your policies as a viable opportunity, they are free to look elsewhere.

If you balance this with what your audience is able and willing to pay-- ASK them from time to time if they want you to book people who will cost dearly, and how they will help meet the fee-- then you will be able to keep a schedule and an audience, and continue to be in a position to opportunities to performers.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: greg stephens
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 12:11 PM

I like to offer the band to a promoter for a flat fee. If the promoter feels they might not be able to afford it, I offer them the chance of a guarantee much smaller than our flat fee, and a percetage deal which means we'll get our proposed fee if the turnout is reasonable. This seems to be fair. I don't like agreeing to a very low flat fee, when the promoter says" We can't afford much", because I've had my fingers burnt too often. Some club organisers have cheerfully admitted to me(unaware of quite what they were saying) that the low fee my band has charged has enabled the club to use the profits to pay more expeensive guests. Well, I'm afraid I'm trying to make a living, and I don't see why a promoter should depress my (low) earnings, in order to raise another performer's(high) earnings.
   I think a guarantee and a percentage deal is an excellent way for a finacially cautious club to afford the guests they want. I can't see any possible objection to the practise. Obviously, it's not the only financial model for running things, but it is one of several possible options.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 12:26 PM

I think I agree with Greg here. And the initial posting on this thread seemed contradictory to me, unless I read it wrong. In my paragraph below the figures are not meant to be typical but for illustration.

AIUI Andy is saying he was offered a performer for a guaranteed fee against a percentage. Lets say for arguments sake you guarantee £150 against, say 90% of the door. So if you take less than £150 then you have to pay the £150 but if you take, say £200 on the door you pay the guest £180 (90%), club keeps 10% ie £20.

Now Andy is saying that at his club the door percentage would be low but he was willing to pay the flat guarantee. Well I'd suggest that, as Greg says, if a percentage is involved it usually means the guarantee has been lowered. If you want to pay flat fees then you need to come in slightly higher than the guarantee. Or maybe somewhere in between with a lower percentage, maybe say £170 against 80% in the above example. There is plenty of room for movement here it is a two way discussion, with a reduced guarantee against a percentage the artist is mostly taking the risk. With a flat fee the promoter is. Between the two you compromise.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: selby
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 12:26 PM

Try to deal direct with the artist, agents are unforgiving. Above all be honest with youself and the artist they are not daft.We had a very well known performer who did a spot at our club as a warm up the day before his national tour started, with a mutualy agreed fee our club was packed to the rafters an offer of more money was offered to the artist, who refused as the bed for the night a bit of expenses money the oppertunity to feel how is act was recieved was all he really wanted. We had tried to book him before through his agent and definetly could not afford him I was talking to him at a festival and a deal was struck at his request. Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 12:31 PM

I suppose it depends on how well off the club is financially.

At the Railway we've always had a fee or 80% of the door with the bigger 'names', but a flat fee for lesser-knowns. Our door prices vary according to the guest - some big names insist on a minimum door charge, too. We also run a raffle, but the takings from that are not included in the 'pot'... first prize is usually the guest's CD, so they still make something on it indirectly.

Greg's point is valid - we are talking about people's livelihood!

Too often people will moan about having to pay, say, seven pounds (UK) - approx 12 US dollars(?) - to see someone at a folk club in far more intimate surroundings than a big concert venue where they wouldn't hesitate to pay double!! And I'm talking about the SAME guest!!

Market forces will always prevail - and there is also the 'Law of Diminishing Returns' to consider, where putting up your prices to cover a shortfall merely increases that shortfall.

The bottom line is 'You can't please all of the people all of the time'!! Come on, Mrs. Lincoln, we're going to the theatre...


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 12:44 PM

The main problem is the agent ! The agent gets a percentage of the artists fee , so has a serious incentive to get the maximum payment .
SOME artists are too greedy , but most are perfectly willing to do a 'cut price' gig , IF it also includes B&B and is en route to the next gig ! Its better to earn a few quid , than pay out for a hotel room if you have a blank night on a tour ! You wont get a deal like that through most of the agencies I have had dealings with , though , only by cotacting the artist direct .


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 12:55 PM

Another thing to watch with the agents is their unrealistic demands - bowl of fresh fruit in the dressing room (erm... what dressing room?! Use the bog like anyone else!!) and so on. They also have a PA rider which is usually aimed at large venues, and is inappropriate for a folk club. If they come to the Railway they don't get monitors!! Nowhere to put them!! They don't really need PA, either!!

As Leadfingers said, contact the artiste direct - although most agents will still demand their 'cut', as that is the deal they have with the artiste.

High profile guests such as Martin Carthy are quite happy to kip down overnight at the organisers house, as they appreciate the way things are. Fact!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 01:19 PM

A 'high profile' guest may well be able to slot in an unofficial booking in a gap during or at the end of a tour at a reduced fee. They are, after all, better able to afford to do favours for old mates. They might even be glad of accommodation too though they will doubtless hope fervently that their 'profile' will spare them the experience of the dubious mattress and blanket on the floor of an unheated room that many a 'not-so-high-profile guest is expected to endure. And it is surely only common courtesy for an organiser to offer somewhere for their guests to change, to tune up or to eat before the performance.

.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 01:52 PM

Common courtesy perhaps, but impractical in a Pub!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 02:01 PM

They are your guests, after all. Unless you are viewing them as the hired hands. As for lack of adequate facilities at the venue, perhaps looking for a better one would be a good idea, rather than putting up with an inferior dive as 'good enough for f*lk'. Or at least warning the artists beforehand of the shortcomings and inviting them to your home first. However, don't forget to deduct a percentage from their fee to cover the cost of soap and water used and food consumed.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 02:09 PM

>>And it is surely only common courtesy for an organiser to offer somewhere for their guests to change, to tune up or to eat before the performance<<

That really depends on whether you have the facilities.

I think it goes without saying, that if you are paying a fixed fee and you fill the room to the rafters and make a good profit, then it is only polite to give as much extra as is possible to the performer after all expenses have been taken into account.

Having said that, if I lose a £100 on a night (and I have, ecluding expenses)and I have agreed a fixed fee for the performer, I wouldn't dream of paying less. I just have to take it on the chin.

At my club the door price is set as low as it can be, and a restriction on how many can come in so that people can enjoy the night in comfort, and as long as we don't lose too much then I am happy and the performer gets his or her agreed fee.

It does work two ways. If I can't afford them or they don't like the fee, it doesn't happen.

You have to realise that organisers normally put lots of effort in and bear costs themselves out of their own pocket to help keep the club afloat and don't get paid. Costs such as telephone calls, printiong, travel etc. Some of us don't even have a job.

Likewise the club wouldn't be there except for the regular support acts who play for the love of it (and they certainly do at Faldingworth Live and I am sure at any other club) and I can't thank them enough for that. Without their unselfish support, it just wouldn't have happened.

I don't know, I think some of you performers think some of us organisers and support acts make a mint out of it. We don't, we do it for love and devotion to folk music, pays for the backup funding when there is a loss.

Having said all of that - of course artists need to get paid and nobody would deny that, but some are beyond our reach.

I have to say that all the people I have booked in my time have all agreed a fee with me and I have never had any problems that I know of.

Occasionally I cock promises up including Greg Stephens who is as good as his word above.

At the end of the day, its up to the organiser and the performer to be realistic and open about how things are run at a club and set sensible fees.

I do think that most Agents create most of the problems for clubs, but not all.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 02:14 PM

Countess, you're being deliberately silly!

'Guests' who appear at the Railway know what to expect - Tom Paxton, Martin Carthy, Vin Garbutt, Martin Simpson, Dave Swarbrick, John Kirkpatrick, Harvey Andrews, Clive Gregson, the list goes on.

It isn't a concert venue, and doesn't pretend to be. Your cheap jibes about deductions make your 'argument' even less convincing!!

;o)

Seriously, though, it isn't an 'inferior dive', but someone else's home... and their business. We are using one room - and the same applies to practically every other folk club, I would suggest.

We could always put a tent in the back yard... oh, sorry, I forgot, we've tried that!! A great big one that held 200 people.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 02:18 PM

Les summed it up quite well.

All too often you get self-righteous sods who think folk club organisers are raking it in... which would be nice, of course, if it were true!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 02:44 PM

Although a regular here. I will remain a GUEST for this post, if that's OK.
Having never been a solo performer, but have always played in duos, trios, quartets, and more, it's a bit of a toughie. My current band (a UK trio), because of where we live. (Kent, Wiltshire, Leics) have the problem that, wherever we perform in the country, it involves (on average) a round trip, between us, of at least 1000 miles.
Last year, we were offered a one-off gig Newcastle way for £150. Wouldn't even cover the petrol.
Lovely people, probably would have been a great gig.
But financial suicide!! (and three days out of all our lives to boot)

A previous poster above, couldn't understand why people would pay a pittance to see their favourite artists in a pub (and be really pissed off if they were charged more), have a chat with them, etc, etc..(surely the best way to get involved), but would happily pay twice or sometimes three times as much to see the same perfomer 200 yards away, with a rubbish sound system, and no hope of meeting said "Star".

Sorry, the UK club scene is dying, because it's consisently failed to keep it's door pricing policy in line with inflation over the past two decades. (With a few wonderful exceptions).

For Gods sake, Mr Carthy for a fiver on the door in your local pub, and you can discuss guitar techniques with him in the interval? The South Bank would sting you for £20. (And overpriced rubbish lager)

Way back in the 1970's. John Kirkpatrick wrote a song called "What do you do in the day?" What do think that was about?

If you can find a copy of it, all you club organisers. LISTEN WELL TO IT.

Then put your door prices up.

As the countess says, as musicians, we don't get a reduction on our mortgages or at the till in Tescos.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 03:12 PM

JK's song title is also the title of his songbook containing that very song... I have a copy!

Let's now be realistic. The 'Folk Industry' doesn't pay very well for most people, like it or lump it. The few fortunate ones who manage to make a living at it do other things to supplement their income. Fact.

Many folk performers have 'day jobs'...

Typical example - Bernard Wrigley. He has an Equity card, and has appeared on 'Coronation Street' in numerous guises, and as the 'rocket scientist' on 'Emmerdale', amongst other things. Gary Aspey (of Gary and Very) has also appeared in 'Heartbeat' and other programmes.

I haven't 'gone pro', Stanley Accrington has a 'day job' once more... trying to tell folk clubs to make more money to pay the guests is fatuous. Sad, but true.

Ask Harvey Andrews - he often tells of the 60s and 70s when you could do two folk clubs in one evening if you wished, but festivals are dragging the rug from under the clubs.

Sme clubs do quite well - and I'm pleased to say I'm part of one such. But it's a very fine line - some clubs aren't so fortunate, and there seems to be no particular 'formula' to make a club work.

It's more down to good luck than good management, and screaming self-righteous crap won't make any difference!

Fact,,, the Railway is quite off the beaten track - no public transport. It does very well - even on a Singers Night we have more than fifty in the room. The Open Door (another club I help run) is on major bus and train routes, and struggles. On a good night we may even have twenty in the room - including the guest.

Our average door charge at the Railway is six quid. We daren't charge more than four quid at the Open Door.

Another club I'm involved with is 'Songs in the Snug'. We don't book guests, and we don't charge. We have between eight and fifteen people attending fortnightly... venue? The Railway...!

Nowt so queer as folk...


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 03:52 PM

>>If you can find a copy of it, all you club organisers. LISTEN WELL TO IT<<

>>as musicians, we don't get a reduction on our mortgages or at the till in Tescos<<

Neither do the organsisers and if you are like me, I don't work and I don't take money off the job centre either or the folk club - rather put it in.

So lets get real, we are all in the same boat, except I am not complaining, just getting on with it.

Do performers ever say to the organiser - hey matey - heres £20 for all you have done for me. Stick it in your back pocket. I think not and neither would I expect it.

As it is, at the end of the year, I won't be carrying on my position as club organiser for personal reasons. If somebody doesn't take over my responsibilities then you will lose another club.

For anybody reading this who is booked at the club for this year, don't worry, this year will go ahead. It will only affect next year.

Now all you performers who think you have a right, think on. You could be the reason for clubs folding. It would certainly not be the majority of very nice and decent performers who still are prepared to support grass roots.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 04:05 PM

Well said, Les. Sorry to hear you're stepping down - you've battled against the odds for a long while!

Maybe people aren't aware of it, but Westhoughton Folk Club, one of the North West's most successful concert clubs for over thirty years, closes its doors this year...

Unless someone else wants to take it over, that is...


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 04:07 PM

This is another example of how different our "business" is on both sides of the pond.

In the U.S. we do not have "clubs" in the same fashion that you do. However, there are folk clubs and societies that are involved in putting on concerts and evenings of music in small rooms. We also have a growing house concert circuit.

I am a booker for the Hurdy Gurdy Folk Music Club. We present monthly concerts at a church, using either a 100 seat room (a tight squeeze if we get that many!) and a 400 seat room (where attendance varies, peaking around 200 for "big" names.)

We pay a guarantee VERSUS a percentage of the gate, minus expenses. Our expenses are agreed upon before we sign the contract - a couple of hundred dollars to cover our rent and equipment costs. We then ageree upon a set fee. Our "members", who pay an annual fee, get a percentage discount of the ticket - if we sell a ticket for #25 they pay $22.

At the end of the evening we count up tickets sold, subtract our expenses, and then figure out the percentage. If the percentage is higher than the guarantee, the performer gets the higher figure.   It usually works out so that the performer is pleased and we do not lose money.

House concerts, which may be closer to the spirit if not the design of your folk clubs, usually have audiences of 25 to 30 people and the artist keeps all the door.   The host merely donates their home and time, and expenses are covered.

Basic rule of thumb- you get the performer you can afford and know that you can attract an audience for.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 04:09 PM

"Sorry, the UK club scene is dying, because it's consisently failed to keep its door pricing policy in line with inflation over the past two decades. (With a few wonderful exceptions)*."


I've spent the last 5 years of my life flogging the motorways playing clubs full time.

I've given it everything. Everything I've got. Gave up a well-paid job. Invested savings, effort, friendships, time, love, talent and all the skill I can squeeze from my throat, brain and my fingers (and, according to the reviews, I'm not half bad).

But. It has made me nearly bankrupt, and I can only go on one more year. Then there has to be some kind of break-through, or I'll have to stop. Or my wife will leave me.

Why? Because clubs can only afford to pay £100-150 for what averages out (when you take sales, admin, rehearsal, travel, CD prodution, website maintenance, depreciation on instruments and kit, AND performance into account) as an 18 hour day - and I can't play every day because there are no longer enough clubs even if I wanted to be a single man (which is what would happen if I did).

I did 67 clubs last year, and my accountant tells me I didn't even break even.

If audiences are not lying, then the thrill they get at my gigs is, for some, one of the high points of their year. But they only expect to pay, on average, £4 for the experience.

Yes. The clubs are dying - becuase the people who run them, and the people who visit them, are getting old. And they no longer notice how fast the world is turning, and what needs to be done to keep up.

Somwhere back there in the 80s or 90s they failed to see that they needed drastic action to involve younger people. And now it's too late.


* ageed!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 04:15 PM

Bernard, I am being deliberately realistic. Many organisers(not all - Kevin Sheils certainly excepted) are extremely silly and indeed selfish and short-sighted on this issue, even if they're not 'raking it in'. And no, I can well believe that you are not with such tinpot, slipshod, unprofessional attitudes. I'm not talking about has-been comedians who supplement their dole with bit parts in soaps but of serious, highly-skilled musicians scraping a precarious living while battling against the combined uncaring and unaware stance of certain unwittingly mean-spirted organisers and punters alike who are, quite frankly, exploiting them shamelessly but are unable to see it like like that. The growing circuit of alternative venues, decently accommodated and properly funded, are a glimmer of light in the doomed, hopeless morass that the UK 'f*lk scene' (whatever that is/was) is becoming. In short, find decent, properly run venues, charge realistic prices and pay artists accordingly.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 04:18 PM

Countess. When I'm suddenly single. Marry me!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 04:36 PM

It could well be that only singarounds and sessions are the only thing that survive as they cost very little to run. Likewise they tend to book less performers.

Festivals seem to be big business, but not sure if that is profitable for performers.

We as organsiers cannot help the way things are going. I have done my best to get youngsters involved, including my own daughters - but they don't like folk music, and when they go, its under sufference.

I have one resident performer who is 16 and the rest differ in age getting eventually up to my age of 62.

I think a lot of the problem in some ways is to do with people who refuse to try and get youngsters involved. As Guest says people are getting older and are also less prepared to pay enough to watch folk singers.

I have had quite a few youngsters on over the 4/5 years I have been running a club.

I do feel very sorry for professional performers who find they can't survive. Its not nice.

There is a lot of very good young talent out there, but are the old folkies prepared to listen to them - are they prepared to listen to you.

A lot of youngsters nowadays just want to do their spot and go. Life is so much different these days than in the 60's. Are us oldies able to step aside and let them take over and do their kind of music?

Having said that, the youngsters who have played at my club, do tend to stay on as long as possible. Can't complain.

I think the day of performers travelling long distances is going to die, as it is becoming too expensive for everyone and for bands, its even worse.

if there was only an answer.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 04:39 PM

>>Many organisers(not all - Kevin Sheils certainly excepted) are extremely silly and indeed selfish and short-sighted on this issue<<

Countess Richard go f*** yourself. You insulting person, and I don't give a toss who you are.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 04:39 PM

Odd, that, Ron! Folk Clubs often used to be run that way this side of the puddle... I think Westhoughton still is. Very few have a membership system now, though.

The house concert idea is something that has intrigued me for a while... I know of a few performers who do that over here - but driven by the performer rather than the householder, if you follow?

Sometimes you can attract a bigger audience by booking someone you cannot afford... but the risk of burnt fingers is high! If it works you look good, if it doesn't, no-one volunteers to pick up the bits.

I was in that situation in the mid 1980s - I was out of work at the time, running a modestly successful folk club. One performer (who shall remain nameless, but people who know me know who it was!) went back on his word. He had agreed to work for a percentage of the door, but demanded his full fee - in my absence.

Needless to say, we had nothing in writing, and as a result my young family had to suffer because of his greed. The club had to close, as I couldn't risk any more debt. I learned the hard way that people aren't always as trustworthy as they seem.

Before anyone takes me to task, I was much younger and more trusting (naive?) in thse days. He was a fellow club organiser, and knew the score. He'd asked me for the gig, and I'd told him we couldn't afford it. So he made the offer.

What was worse, he even went back on his word of offering me a reciprocal booking at his club, which says little for his integrity.

We'd had guests such as The Yetties (mates of mine - a special rate!), 'Big' Pete Rodger, Brian Osborne, Harry Boardman, John Howarth, Ted Edwards (just after his Sahara expedition!), Fiona Simpson and others I can't just recall... but folk audiences are notoriously fickle...

The club had grown from being a singaround to booking guests, and the regulars had a say in the guests we booked.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 04:49 PM

the best arrangement in my opinion is a flat fee.
the more people there are in a club the more chance in theory, of selling cds.
however many years ago I played at lowestoft folk club therewere 25 people in the club ,but I sold 20 vinyl lps.
The next night I sold 3 lps,there were sixty people in the club.
I love folk clubs ,and love performing,but I got tired of travelling up and down motorways.
I come to England twice a year,and really enjoy the clubs that I do,and would like to thank all the organisers who make it possible for me to earn money playing the music I love.
I sympathise with the guest before me,Isuffered a broken marriage through the pressures of trying to work as a duo with my partner,and then later, when I was away from home a lot playing solo gigs,because I was never there, we drifted apart.
earning a living as a musician has always been hard,but I knew that when I started andlike Edith Piaf Iregret nothinga href="http://www.dickmiles.com">http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 04:53 PM

I am consulting my agent on which of the two offers to pursue.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 04:54 PM

I believe Bernard you booked me, was this the railway at lymm.a href="http://www.dickmiles.com">http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 04:59 PM

well countess richard,I like your sense of humour.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 05:01 PM

Countess - greed is greed no matter how you try to disguise it.

You want to be realistic? Nobody forced these performers to 'go pro'. It was their choice, and they are at the mercy of market forces. They knew what they were getting into. They wanted to make money. Some are lucky enough to do so, but to suggest that maybe concert venues are the only answer is plain stupid. You're off your trolley!!

If you read my posts you will realise that I am not a club organiser, and have not been for over twenty years... being involved in their running is different. I maintain the websites and perform as a 'resident'.

As someone once said... 'I refuse to be drawn into a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed...'


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 05:07 PM

No, Dick, I haven't booked you. I don't book anyone, I'm a performer myself - you were booked by Pauline and John from the Open Door in Oldham.

Yes, Countess's humour creases me, too...


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 05:17 PM

Having given this matter a little sideways thought, I wonder what would happen if food producers took the Countess's advice...

Instead of little corner shops with their friendly service, we'd have great big sanitised hypermarkets who would grind the prices down as much as they could, putting everyone else out of business.

Good job that isn't going to happen...

Dum-di-dum-di-dum...


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 05:19 PM

I rarely work for anything other than a flat rate. I've never been a fan of percentages because it leaves the organizer with no incentive to promote. Having said that, if the numbers are too low on the night and it's clearly not their fault, I offer them a break and have often been given bonuses when the opposite was true.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 05:21 PM

to suggest that maybe concert venues are the only answer is plain stupid. You're off your trolley!!

Thanks,
But I said no such thing.
Whatever hapened to the Campaign To Get People To Read The Thread?
I said 'decent, properly run venues', which includes any of whatever type that are just that. And which pay the going rate, preferably without whingeing.

Why is it 'greedy' to expect the (not exactly huge) fee for the job? This shows a remarkable contempt for professional musicians.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Blowzabella
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 06:24 PM

I think that the idea of a % split is quite good in some circs eg:

A performer or band is well known ish, but not on the front page of every mag all the time. They are looking to raise their profile out of their normal area (geographically or venue type). The promoter is tempted but not convinced. The performers say - well - we would normally get £x but will give you a first visit for a guarantee of £y against a % split of a/b.

The promoter isn't taking too big a risk, but the performer, confident of their fan base, should do ok too - the bigger their fan base, the better they do. It also encourages the performers to be sure to do what they can themselves in terms of promoting etc. The hard work does not end with securing the gig. Whether they do it themselves or pay an agent to do it, getting the gig is just the start of it.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 06:26 PM

Jim Lad, percentages should give incentives if done properly - the idea is the flat fee is a minimum, and 80% of the door is a bonus on top of that for both artiste and organiser if more punters are attracted in.

Unfortunately, not all performers are diligent in exploiting their mailing lists - they should let people know they are about to appear in their area. Folk Club publicity is difficult, as local newspapers are notorious for printing the wrong information, if they print anything at all.

Local radio? Don't make me laugh! We had a perfectly good Folk programme on BBC GMR before they decided to change the station's name to 'Radio Manchester' and take everything Manchester off it!

Never mind, the programme is on Radio Britfolk now - but we can't do 'diary dates' because the programme is aimed at a wider audience, and recorded around two weeks in advance. We will be broadcasting on Oldham Community Radio from March - our old GMR Monday night slot - on 99.7 FM, and the diary dates will be back - albeit to a smaller catchment.

Posters in public libraries, shop windows and factory/office noticeboards are all very well, but not very effective.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 06:26 PM

Your words, Countess, are an insult to anyone who works hard for a living.

You said 'decent, properly run venues' in the context of your previous posts... 'lack of adequate facilities at the venue'.

As most pubs cannot offer the 'adequate facilities' you suggest, a reasonable extrapolation is that you want folk venues to move out of pubs into concert venues.

Very few pubs have a suitably sized room away from the noise of the jukebox and 'big screen sport' these days, so a school hall, church hall, village hall or theatre seems to be what you are advocating.

This may work for an occasional event, but on a week-to-week basis is very costly - financial suicide.

The suggestion that you could invite the guest to your home prior to a gig is often unreasonable, as the club organiser usually has a day job and rushes around like a mad thing to get home from work and out to the venue.

Stewart (Railway organiser) was on holiday for a few weeks, so I was running the club in his absence. I arrive home from work at about 6.30pm usually, and need to be at the Railway by 7.30 on a Guest Night. It's a half-hour drive from here... so I tended to go there straight from work. You did say 'realistic', didn't you? Just checking!

It's all very well up on that high horse, pontificating about ideals. We don't live in an ideal world!

In the ideal world, the folk club organiser would wave a magic wand and a 'suitable venue' would appear... sorry, does that sound ridiculous? It's not as far-fetched as your suggestion, my dear...

As a sound engineer by day (and sometimes by night, too), I often have to work in less than ideal conditions to complete a job. It goes with the territory. I'm skilled at what I do, but I can't say 'It's raining. I don't want to get wet putting up loudspeakers in a field'. The client expects the job to be done, and also expects that we take such things into consideration when planning the job.

Last week I was working in a prison doing the AV for a staff seminar. A comfy, cushy job for the most part... but I had to wait two hours before I could drive my car out of the 'sterile' area, as there had been an incident. It goes with the turf...

You seem to think these performers are gods... poor things, they mustn't be inconvenienced! They certainly are not, and should not expect to be treated as if they are!

'A fair day's pay for a fair day's work' is what we all hope for, but few of us ever feel we are given it.

Musicians and singers are no different. It's a job - okay, being paid for what you enjoy doing - and that, in itself, is a bonus.

If you wish to construe that as treating them like hired hands, then I'm sorry - they knew what they were getting into. How many postmen complain about having to be at work by 4.00am? Probably all of them...


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 07:10 PM

Back in the 'Good Old Days' (The late eighties) I was booking for Uxbridge Folk Club . We were fortunate in having members who could provide comfortable B & B for Booked Artists who neeeded overnight accomodation . We also had the advantage of a Pub with a reasonable room , good parking and a Bar Meals facility . For most of the five years I was Bookings Member , we were offering a Guaranteed Minimum
(Usually £40) against a percentage of the door take . We were confident of being able to cover the minimum from the Door , and took advantage of Touring Performers who were passing through the area .
The Club worked well , and Artists we had booked were telling their friends to try us if they were in the area and needed the gap filling ! This got us people like Tom McConville , who heard about us from Jez Lowe . Very seldom did an artist leave with only the £40 , and we had no difficulty in maintaining a good selection of varied music . The Artists were happy , because they knew that they were not going to have to book in to paid accomodation on their way to the next gig for at least that one night !


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 07:25 PM

Bernard

my dear...

Patronising git.
May you plug the wrong thing into the wrong socket (oo er missus) in a heavy shower . . . and fry.
Bloody sound engineers. Pah!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 07:27 PM

Bernard:
       Oh, I suppose if I was doing one or two gigs per year, I could get into promoting but that's not what I'm up to. Folk venues are limited, as are the funds available to both the organizers and entertainers. Folk is by comparison to other genres, not very lucrative.
Others have suggested that even professional folk singers have to find other jobs. For me, this means playing in the "Hospitality" industry.   i.e. Pubs & Restaurants where you have to accommodate the needs of the business as well as the patrons.
Over the years "Hospitality" has become the mainstay and true folk venues are a real treat when I can fit them in.
I have a great deal of respect for anyone who chooses to run a folk club or festival. They are not going to get rich doing it and I believe, get seriously gouged by many of the big names.
So I give them a break when I can but working for a percentage is pretty well out of the question, for the reason I stated earlier.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 07:38 PM

Leadfingers... despite what the Countess seems to want to believe, that's pretty much exactly what we still can offer at the Railway. The fee is somewhat larger, though...!

What's getting her ladyship's knickers in a twist is our lack of 'suitable facilities' - i.e. a dressing room. Big deal!

She'd be mortified if she'd seen the Witches of Elswick the other week - they got changed behind the upstairs bar! How disgraceful!!

Admittedly the bar isn't used on a club night, but it's hardly private. A bit like changing on the beach, really... when we use the sound system I run it from there (not that particular evening), and the club residents park their instruments, cases and stuff there, too.

Come to think of it, many festivals are singularly lacking in such 'adequate facilities'... a couple of years ago I was support for Fairport at Poynton Festival, and we were all crammed into a little back kitchen... very friendly...!

Most people aren't 'precious' about such things, y'know. A dressing room with a star on the door? In yer dreams...


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 09:50 PM

>>Many organisers(not all - Kevin Sheils certainly excepted) are extremely silly and indeed selfish and short-sighted on this issue<<

Countess Richard go f*** yourself. You insulting person, and I don't give a toss who you are.

V I am shocked!
Also think you are justified in that reaction if you took the comment personaly.
Now I happen to know Villan and love going to his well run friendly village hall /club.
I have played there and hope to again shortly.
He can advertise his events.
He can get good deals from great well know performers.
He is a true gent and has put a great deal of effort into providing a service both to the regular performers and to the audience.
But there is nothing further
he can do to make people want to come and listen.
The trouble is as stated further up the thread the diehard folkies.
The ones with a snotty attitiude.
The ones with the fixed opinions and tedious definitions.
Have managed to kill the interest of any young inovative new people into forming the new bedrock that the scene needs.
There are so few performers in their teens and twenties who see any fun or enjoyment in attending the museums of ancient music that you short sighted narrow minded officious prats have created.
I know most of you on here will have been doing what you do for fourty years or thirty years and probably about ready to jack it in after all that solid service to the cause.
It is a shame that you didnt tell these dead weight self satisfied boring and meaningless passengers where to get of while there was still time for the good ones among you to find the next generation of club goers.
It is all very well having the few on the telly or handpicked for stardom by the watersons or the Carthys or smooth ops etc.
But you needed to have a supply of new blood in the clubs to keep them going between the extra special visits of the near famous.
They are not there around these parts.Have you got them at your clubs?
IF you have try and keep em.
The trouble with selling any product is that someone must want to buy it.
reclaiming songs from the refuse bin of history is fine.
But dont forget they were dead and thrown away by the generations that knew them when they were traditional.
Now they are revitalised relics.
If you want them to live and be heard you need somewhere to play them and an audience to listen.
I know you may like the extra status you imagine you gain by knowing obscure and elite musical forms.
and maybe you only want to keep it for yourselves so it can be used for making you feel special.
But if it is truly folk it needs to be heard and the local folk clubs are the best way of acheiving that.
WHo will the customers be in thirty years?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 10:04 PM

"But you needed to have a supply of new blood in the clubs to keep them going between the extra special visits of the near famous."

We're not talking about English Cricket now are we?


:-P


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 02:06 AM

Most people aren't 'precious' about such things

Indeed. Anything's 'good enough for f*lk', innit?
The thread started out with someone seeking tips on how to screw artists.
Then continued with organisers swapping ideas on how to treat them like shit.
Haven't been to this Railway nor the Villan's dump, nor do I now want to.
Can't see why anyone would when they risk such 'precious' lack of consideration.
And I can't actually decide whether this is just an extension of the intrinsically English lack of respect for the tradarts, absent everywhere else I have been or if it is simply that you are nasty, blinkered, uncaring people, full stop.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 03:37 AM

>>The thread started out with someone seeking tips on how to screw artists<<

I dont think so countess. Just finding out what other clubs do.

>>Villan's dump<< How do you know that, you haven't been.

>>or if it is simply that you are nasty, blinkered, uncaring people<<

Well that certainly isn't me Countess. I treat all performers with the greatest respect when they come to Faldingworth Live and previously Market Rasen Folk Club. I will do anything I can to make all performers visits as pleasurable as possible and pay them what I can afford. My club is not in a main town, but very rural with just a few hundred inhabitants.

Finally - who are you Countess Richard ? Are you a performer who can't get the gigs becuase you are not good enough or a successful folk performer who is earning a lot of money. Why don't you tell us who you really are.

Incidentally, here is a link to my Gallery photo's of Faldingworth Live. Is it such a dump. I think not. Its a village hall out in the sticks with an ageing population. People come from other areas in Lincolnshire but very few from the village.http://www.faldingworthlive.co.uk/Gallery.htm


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: treewind
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 05:44 AM

If I read it correctly, the original poster (and I think I know who he is) runs a small club that has mostly singarounds which raise some of the money to pay a guest one week in six. There are many clubs that operate this way, and dealing on a percentage for the night is obviously impractical because the total door income from the guest night isn't enough to pay the performer's usual fee. It has to be subsidised by the singer's nights that precede it, and everybody cheerfully accepts that.

I'm quite happy with that arrangement - we've had some splendid evenings at clubs that operate this way, and it often involves excellent hospitality from the hosts too. But if I think a club is big enough to raise a lot more than our usual "opening negotiations" fee I'll ask for a percentage. That way we all share the bonus if the evening goes well audience wise.

By the way, there are well run and less well run clubs, and it's sometimes hard to know exactly why some are getting it right and others aren't, but instances of raking in money by deliberately ripping off anybody in this businesss are extremely rare and success in such ventures is likely to be short-lived.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,Andy
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 05:56 AM

Seeing that it was me who (innocently) started this thread, I suppose I need to respond to some of the interesting, (and vitriolic) comments. Firstly, may I enlighten people about my club. It's run every week, in very decent premises,small, but warm, clean and well furnished.
I book nationally known names and in the past 2 years have had the likes of John Kirkpatrick, The High Level Ranters, Toms Napper & Bliss, Pete Coe, Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher, Louis Killen, Brian Peters........the list goes on. All of these artists has come for a fixed fee, as everyone does at this club! Any guest who desires, can be accommodated at my home, not on the floor but in a well furnished, heated double room and will be sent away the next morning with a good breakfast inside them, all borne by my own pocket! I do not treat guests badly, either in attitude or material provision!
The club has a regular attendance of up to 30 people every week for singer's nights. Most will attend every week, only missing when they're away on holiday. On these nights we have an ahtray collection of £1 each, plus a fortnightly raffle of a good quality CD. My policy on guest nights (6 weekly) is to charge the least possible to these stalwarts and to date, members have not paid more than £2.50 to see any guest. I regard that as a bonus for them for their unfailing support and the fact that they each put around £45+ per year into the ashtray anyway.
With regard to Countess' comments about 'failing to run on an economic basis and charge a realistic entrance fee' may I state that this club has a 'surplus' of eleven hundred pounds and I could pay most of the coming years guests right now!! (don't all rush at once)
Like Villan, when a guest appears at my club, they know they will get the fee they asked for, irrespective of audience numbers. And yes, I lose money on guest nights but thats made up by the whip-rounds on singers nights. I never profit on guest nights, no problem.
Greg and Kevin suggest that if a percentage is involved, it usually means that the guarantee has been lowered and that in this scenario the artist is at risk. I don't want any artist to be at risk coming to my club, I want them to quote a realistic fee which they can comfortably operate on and drop all this percentage malarkey! I think it's a ploy by some performers to increase their payout if the club gets a large audience who're paying top dollar to see them.
To quote Villan again, 'there are lots of good performers out there who are willing to agree flat fees and support grass roots'. I agree entirely and am willing to pay these people what they ask without engaging in this percentage business.

Nuff rambling,

Regards

Andy


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:08 AM

A sensible balanced summary Anahata.

I think (as my name was mentioned earlier) that I should like to add that when Countess R wrote "many" organisers, perhaps the word "some" would have been more accurate and not have caused the flak that may have deflected from the discussion. Not that I would dream of telling CR what she meant to write of course ;-)

I'm flattered at being excluded from the "silly" group of organisers but for clarity, before artists start approaching me with negotiations, my club is not solely run by me we are a team and I don't do the bookings. I concentrate on running the evening and making sure that it's an enjoyable time. Someone else does the financial bits, I never fancied negotiating with friends!

Just before posting I see that Andy has commented again and said:

Greg and Kevin suggest that if a percentage is involved, it usually means that the guarantee has been lowered and that in this scenario the artist is at risk. I don't want any artist to be at risk coming to my club, I want them to quote a realistic fee which they can comfortably operate on and drop all this percentage malarkey! I think it's a ploy by some performers to increase their payout if the club gets a large audience who're paying top dollar to see them.

I'd say there is no such thing as a realistic fee for all scenarios. As you state yourself your club covers the guest nights with the singaround nights so percentages don't work sensibly for your situation - fair enough but in that scenario the flat fee may be different to the guarantee. But don't dismiss out of hand the benefit of other scenarios such as percentages where it works better for other clubs. If every artist just had "one" realistic fee then I guess we'd only have "one" type of venue. The diversity of venue types (and therefore "fees") makes the scene a lot mor vibrant IMHO of course.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:21 AM

>>But don't dismiss out of hand the benefit of other scenarios such as percentages where it works better for other clubs<<

I can understand that, and nothing wrong with percentage deal if a club thinks it works better for them. It doesn't for my club. The purpose of putting on somebody is to bring them to an area where normally there would not be any live music, becuase of it being so rural. Likewise it is run for a nice sized intimate audience, with a limit to how many can come in.

Andy's comments reflect pretty much my situation.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:28 AM

I have played at andys club, if its the one Iam thinking of[Many times in the past]and have always been treated well,.
I have played at thousands of clubs over the years,and with three exceptions have been treated well.
one was a club in kent ,that I agreed to do for 35 pounds,much less than my normal fee at the time,the organiser said to me the club is not doing well, that is what we are paying everyone.Imagine my anger when a confirmation was returned,the booking confirmation was for Jez Lowe,and was for 50 pounds,the organiser had returned the wrong confirmation.
this sort of thing destroys trust between performers and organisers.http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: English Jon
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:29 AM

Hello all -

I'm quite amazed at what I'm reading here! We seem to have got to a state of "us and them" and there's certainly a deal of polarised opinion.

If I may offer a suggestion?

1. It's bloody difficult to make a living in this country, whether you're a folk singer or a club organiser with a day job, or a folk club audience member.

2. Fees at clubs need to be affordable enough to ensure good attendance but we need to charge enough so that organisers are not out of pocket after putting in all their hard work and promoting the event etc.

3. There needs to be enough left over to keep booked performers in beer and sausages.

When I quit the day job a few years back, I never expected to be a rich man - I can't speak for other performers, but I honestly believe that most of the people working the circuit do it for the love of the music.

In that time, I've met some lovely people (including Countess Richard and The Villan, behave the pair of you! You'd get on really well if you ever met!) and I can count on the fingers of one hand the people who I've felt were "out to profit from this malarky" or whatever.

I think clubs are tremendously important and we should all be working together to ensure that the club scene continues to thrive. Anything anyone can do to help promote, advertise, encourage new people through the doors etc is a real service to folk music.

I guess what I'm saying is we're all in this together. Personally, I think the biggest killer we'll face in the next few years is the spiralling cost of fuel.

Cheers,
Jon Loomes


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,Peter Hood
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:37 AM

Hmm, couldn't resist getting involved.
Countess Richard- I don't believe you're a real folk performer. I've never met any performer as rude as you.
As for the rest, well, it's lot about nothing.
Pay the performer what they ask, it's easy.
If you think they ask for too much and you can't afford them. Don't book them.
Don't be rude, just say, " I'll get back to you on that."
I'd like to pay everyone double what they ask, but I can't.
Percentage or flat fee? So what? Take it or leave it, it doesn't matter.
Just enjoy the music and all the wonderful people you get to meet.
I never made any money out of folk music, but I've nothing against people who do.
Peter Hood Red Bull Stockport


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:38 AM

Well done Andy for running a well-organised and tight ship. I agree with everything you say, except for the antagonistic tone of the sentence "I think it's a ploy by some performers to increase their payout if the club gets a large audience who're paying top dollar to see them."

A performer must maximise income, according to opportunities presented, though always without hurting either the club booking him/her or the people coming to see him/her. He/she owes that to his/her family, for a start, so don't berate any performer for doing so. Some of them have raised children and put them through university, put food on the table and clothes on their backs, all on the income from their performances. Don't begrudge them the chance to do so; they enjoy what they do, but it is also a profession - for some, the only one.

At the same time, most performers I know are supportive of the folk club circuit and would adapt to the options offered by each club, variable as they are from one club to the next. Speaking for myself, I have appeared (and will appear again) at clubs for fees that will not even cover the petrol, let alone the 8 hours from my life spent on the motorway or the time and effort of the gig itself, purely and simply out of loyalty, because once they gave me my first gigs; or even for nothing, in the cases of new startups, or clubs that are in the doldrums, just to help them survive. Or even because I like the organiser and I know his/her heart is in the right place. I can afford to do that because I have a dayjob and my wife is a folkie herself who thinks along similar lines. And all along, I must be careful not to spoil the marketplace for those who depend 100% on performing income for their livelihood.

But as I said, every club operates on different fee systems, and the performer will in all likelihood not know the specific methods used by your club. So, when you ask them to quote a fee and they mention "guarantee versus percentage", please, please don't think thay are trying to rip you off. They are simply responding using the system that is familiar to a very large percentage (majority?) of clubs. It is a starting point, and most will arrive at a mutually acceptable fee approach and level.

I know you said "some" performers in your statement, and would probably readily exclude me from the list of the "baddies". But that is not the point. On behalf of the vast majority of decent people who tour the clubs and festivals as performers in order to entertain, keep traditions alive, etc, I have to protest and point out that there is no need for antagonism between organiser and performer, neither are performers and their "greed" (my words) to blame for the decline in folk clubs and club audiences, as some claimed further up the thread.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:41 AM

Hear, hear Jon!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: English Jon
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:45 AM

Cheers George!

Now here's a man EVERY club should book!

J


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:47 AM

Percentage in the post, Jon!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:51 AM


Countess Richard- I don't believe you're a real folk performer. I've never met any performer as rude as you


Never said I was. It's many a long year since I got up there for money and so I am free to make whatever comment I like on the parlous state of the industry. I have not, however, actually mey any organiser quite as rude, patronising and unaware as some of the stuff that's come out here. Not to my face, anyway.


Jon:

Oh bugger, and I thought it was you who was Guest No 2 and we were set to live happily ever after. How disappointing . . . (hehe).


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Fidjit
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 07:21 AM

WOW! Villan on the 20th of April see we get John Conolly as support artist just, and all for £3 !! Is anyone making any money? Just how much do you pay your plumber? Or Tesco's?

Perhaps not the same John Conolly??

No ones getting rich in this game. Just making ends meet.
Enough for expences, roof over the head, etc. And hopefully enjoying themselves. Spoke to Bob Fox about the same when he came over for our festival. Just making a living. He said.

Fixing fees is always debaitable. Have to come to an ageement. Then stick to it. Depends on the venue. Can they afford it?. Do you want to sing to drunks. Are they going to understand what your doing/sence of humour? Go elswhere or sell yourself short. Usually I go elswhere. Some places are just not for me. As Dick Miles said, better just a couple now and again. Retain your integrity.

As an artist, keeping an audience interested for, say, two 45 minute sets and more, takes a lot of B S & T. My hat is off to those that manage it. Usually though, they are lucky to be preaching to the already comfirmed. (Folkies attract folkies) In the wrong enviroment some would "Die on their arse."

I left England for Scandinavia in '68 with my bag of songs. When I came back for a visit mid 70's I talked money at one Student club in London. Place was packed 200'ish. When I said I could get £10 in Scandinavia I was told to go back there as they could only afford £5.
Seems it hasn't changed all that much. Only the noughts on the end with inflation. The time warp lives on.

There are loads of us busy bees buzzing around the hive. How many get to see the Queen? Have to make do with the Countess.

As for newcomers. (Floor singers)
Would be nice to see the old music hall style of club where you could throw rotten vegetables at the act you didn't like.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 07:32 AM

I've just re read the whole thread. Sorry I jumped in, you're all being very rude. It makes for an interesting thread though.
It's too much for a simple boy like me, you're all having such a good late night 12 pints of beer festival row that I'm off.
Peter


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,Black Hawk
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 07:33 AM

Countess richard - earlier you wrote 'They are your guests, after all. Unless you are viewing them as the hired hands'

Depends on what you mean by 'hired hands' (usually a derogatory term) but if they are working for pay then they are not guests but employees. Yes, treat them well, courteously etc. as you would a guest but you cannot have it both ways.

Also in this equation must be included the audience (you did forget them did you not?) I will attend a club and sing (free) to support it. If the paid guest is someone who's style, songs etc. are not to my taste I will still attend the club to support it. If the door fee is double (?) then I will stay away on those nights. Most other audience members, singers and organisers of other clubs act the same way. I know this because when a particular club does as you suggest, I find later that none of us attended. Thus, the club loses audience figures but not revenue. Unfortunately, without an audience the club will fold. Maybe you will attend and entertain yourself.
Also, the fact that someone practiced for years, gave up their day job to play music does NOT give them the right to tell me I MUST like them and pay for the privilege. I have been in constant employment in heavy engineering for 42yrs and still have to earn my pay, not expect it because I have tenure.
I have sat in 'fun' sessions & singarounds with various 'names' (Vin Garbutt, John Connelly, John Wilson, Pete Betts etc) because they enjoy the music. Most artistes I have met / booked / sang with in sessions etc are reasonable, nice people who understand how our 'world' operates. Do you?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: English Jon
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 07:47 AM

Maybe the problem is more one of audience development? I.E lets say I'm an artist (just for the sake of argument) demanding £1K for a gig - silly money, go with me on this.

Club needs to make more than £1K - ie, to break even, sell 100 tickets at £10.

Now, I reckon there's a lot of good acts you can book for a lot less than £1000.

Lets say you book me direct (don't go through the agent) and I'm dead generous and agree to play for £500 - suddenly at £10 a ticket you've made £500 profit (and can either book me again next week or pay your mortgage whichever seems more sensible)

I also reckon there's a lot of places where £10 a ticket is small beer - look at the gigs that kids go to - How much is it to see the kaiser chiefs? £10? £12? £28? I don't see rock venues in decline...

People pay, because they want to go.

Now, we all know folk music is (or at least, can be) excellent - so how do we communicate with potential punters?

We want to see folk music thriving in clubs, so how do we get the clubs to be full every night? Wouldn't it be nice to have to turn people away at the door - Then you might even find new clubs opening... They tell me it happened before, so how do we recreate the sense of excitement for the music that people felt in the 60's?

If we can crack it, then artists would start to make a living, even club organisers could make a living!

People buy what they they think is good, and they think what they're told to think.

Do WE think folk music is a commercially viable product?

>steps down off soapbox<

Cheers,
Jon


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Sooz
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 08:17 AM

Like Andy's club, Gainsborough Folk Club is run for the enjoyment and benefit of it's members. When we book a guest we expect to pay a reasonable fee which we cover by a modest door charge, made up from our funds from regular raffles. Where necessary, artists get a bed for the night (not a sofa or floor).
I also book artists to play at the school where I work. I have no budget but I do not have to pay to hire the premises. Artists who play here take 90% of the door takings (so it is partly up to them to draw in an audience). This seems to work very well - everyone has been happy with their cheque at the end of the night. The 10% we keep is spent on promotion and incidental expenses. This has helped us to attract bigger names and a wider community audience who would be frightened to go to the folk club. Through this concert series we have brought live music to a town where there would have otherwise been very little.
When we book artists for our folk festival, we pay what they ask, although we sometimes wonder why this is so much more than they ask for a club or concert booking (even though we do not exploit them to perform lots of sets during the day.) Perhaps that is a subject for another thread?

Andy's club is warm hearted and welcoming by the way - we go there when we can although it is a bit far for a school night!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 08:26 AM

Jon
I don't want to make a living being an organiser. It was to put live music on in a rural area. Community based.

Fidjit
yes the line up on Friday April 20th

Main Guest No Fixed Abode 2 x 30 mins

Support Acts
John Conolly (the real JC) 25 mins
Andrew Tiffany 25 mins
Cara 25 mins

What a night it should be. :-)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: melodeonboy
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 08:46 AM

Yes, English Jon, £10 is small beer for a ticket in most situations and your example of tickets for the Kaiser Chiefs is, to some extent, valid.

I supect, however, that most people who go to see the Kaiser Chiefs, or most other pop bands, for that matter, only go to a few gigs a year. I know people who've paid astronomical amounts of money to see the likes of Elton John and Robbie Williams, and who then don't go to another gig for months.

You say "I don't see rock venues in decline...":

Rock/pop venues have the whole media/showbiz machine behind them and there's a large enough segment of the population who'll shell out large sums of money to see artists who've been "validated" by radio exposure, television appearances and press coverage. (As you rightly say "People buy what they they think is good, and they think what they're told to think".) Folk clubs/artists don't have this support.

A lot of folk club members pay to see guest performers on a more regular (e.g. weekly or fortnightly) basis. Some clubs have four guest nights a month. At £10 a time, members of the audience could be paying £500 a year (significantly more than the occasional pop/rock ticket buyer). Is that too much? I suspect it might be for some people.

Sorry I haven't actually answered any of your questions directly, Jon. Like most people, I'm better at asking questions than finding answers!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: oggie
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 09:24 AM

Way back percentages against a guarentee were common when booking rock acts. The big difference back in the seventies was that the promoter was allowed to claim certain expenses against the gross eg Advertising, venue hire, in once inatance hiring a Grand Piano etc. In effect it was percentage against net (agreed) income. The ticket prices were also agreed and if it worked we all benefitted. The agents weren't thick, they wanted successful gigs and to do business with us again. If folk agents aren't thinking the same way then it's their business at risk.

Before we get too far into the poverty of folk audiences and how we must keep prices down consider both the amount of booze that seems to be consumed and also how many instruments keep being bought. As comparators also consider the price of a round of golf, a CD, gym club membership or the price of a meal out. Even at £10 for an evening's entertainment I think folk music is still one of the great bargains.

Again as a comparison, The Who, outdoors in Hull, £39.50 (inc £4.50 booking fee, now there's a dodge). That's standing, seats are more.

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: English Jon
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 09:30 AM

True enough!

A folk club audience is likely to be made of regular attendees - Having said that, I've spent loads on seeing Norma Waterson and then not been out for weeks afterwards. In my youthful days of going to see "bands" it was the same - I'd save up for ages to go and see whatever dreary goth combo I was into at the time and then not go out again for ages. However, among my peer group there was always someone who had just got hot tickets to go and see something. My point being, lets say a venue can seat 100 people - In commercial terms, it doesn't actually matter whether that's the same 100 people who came last week or not.

Now, it's true that "folk music" doesn't have the same media support as acts such as Robbie Williams, but there IS media interest. We could get into serious thread creep about whether the current media situation is sufficiently effective/particuarly desirable, but we do have Radio coverage on BBC2, BBC3, internet radio, TV coverage on BBC4, press companies like smooth operations etc. Even I've been on Radio 3 a bit (does that make me validated?! lol)

There is also starting to be a deal of crossover into mainstream music with your James Blunts on the one side and your Seth Lakemans (or is it Lakemen?) on the other.

People DO want to know, so what can WE do on a grass roots level?

Villan, I never meant to suggest that you "should" want to run Faldingworth for commercial gain, I was just suggesting that it would be nice to be able to _IF_ you wanted! ie, get to the point where audience attendance was so great that you could phone the club for tickets only to be told - sorry - sold out three months ago etc. It's a nice club and I'd love to see it stuffed to capacity. Didn't mean to offend.

I think it's all to do with attitude - When was the last time any of us said to someone - "you've got to come to such and such a gig - It's folk music, you'll love it - really excellent etc etc". Maybe we need a more Evangelical approach?

Am guilty of thread creep myself now. and ranting. sorry.
Cheers
Jon


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 09:45 AM

Do people really 'value' a top flight performer at only £2.50?? unbelievable!!!!
our door charge is variable to reflect the performers fee but never as insultingly low as £2.50!!
I book performers in a number of ways. Some at an agreed flat fee, some against the door take and some with a guaranteed fee against a door %. I doubt that all audience members realise this.
It is not unusual/unreasonable, in some instances, for the performers to be prepared to take some of the risks, especially if they are not well known in our area.
I expect to pay the whole of the door take /% in these cases, when agreed. I cover any losses on a long term basis on raffle take and nights when the club makes a profit.(it happens!)
Our folk club has its own bank account solely devoted to the clubs finances. When we started the club there was never any expectation of making a personal profit (I am a realist, unlike some of the other people posting here)
All performers, however paid, are promoted in exactly the same way. We have a web site with links to performers own web sites wherever possible. Dear performers, please check that the dates/info given on your web sites are correct!!
4 times a year we produce and send out a newsletter both by snail mail and email to people on our mailing list. This costs a fair bit in postage.
It is not unknown for us to actually pay more than the agreed contractual fee if the performer has drawn a greater than expected audience/revenue. I believe such a situation deserves rewarding and we all should benefit.
Thank you to all the performers and audiences who have visited our club and to all the people who help us to run things smoothly, and here's to many more good nights at our club in the pub, thanks to our wonderful landlord.
...now, if only the local theatres/art centres would keep off our patch!! there are lots of other nights when they could put on folk performers. It doesn't have to be the night when we run our folk club! and I'm sure this doesn't just affect us.... but thats another subject and I don't want to get into subsidies etc. maybe this deserves it's own thread........?

chris


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Alec
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 09:46 AM

In support of oggie's point, could I just point out that these days Fish & Chips for two leaves relatively little change out of a Tenner.
Most performances are at least as tasty and all of them last a damn sight longer.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 09:50 AM

The dark-hued bird of prey, master of non sequiturs and horny-handed, son-of-toil, heavy engineering shop steward (how many of THOSE did I have to swat down and have for breakfast when reporting from union conferences and the TUC?) assumes (wrongly as it happens) that I don't know who these 'oop north' types are that he played with once in a session and thus, furthermore, don't understand his offensively patronising, sexist 'world'.

News for him: it's a bygone world, as out-of-date as the cliquey 'f*lk club' in the filthy pub back room attended by a handful of bearded, sandalled old blokes/esses in tie-dyed frocks with tankards who disapprove of being anywhere near in tune or of parting with money to pay professionals. I didn't 'forget about' this type of audience but wish I could.

The 'audience' is not, however, my concern but it ought to be that of the organiser. If you take on event organisation, whether professionally or not, it is your responsibility to get the bums on seats and to treat artists with respect and pay them the rate for the job.. This means providing an up-to-scratch venue and charging a price which reflects the quality of what's on offer; not simply a matter of covering costs but of not undervaluing the artists. And not to give Kim Howells (and thence Steve Knightley) the excuse to perpetuate the image of 'three folk singers in a pub in Wells'.

My passion is English (mostly) trad music and dance and my concern is the viability of those who perform it. Your minor hobby is going down to the blokes' pub (with blokes}, bashing out a chord or two (any will do) and spending as little as possible while slagging off anyone or anything of which you don't approve or understand. Because of course, in your eyes, being a musician isn't a 'proper job', is it?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,Bardan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 10:00 AM

I may be a bit naive here, but it strikes me that so many aspects of the folk scene seem to spread by word of mouth that a venue that screws its performers or a performer who backs out of deals/ screws venues etc, would not as a general rule survive. People would soon hear about them and stop playing or booking.

In terms of not having the money for big names because you're a small club. Surely the advantage of a small club is you know most people in it. If the performer is worth their high fee, then you can negotiate a one-off higher door fee or whatever with the other club members. (If they don't justify their high fee, why are you booking them?)

Personally, for a genuinely good performer in an intimate venue, (and that doesn't mean so intimate I can't breathe and get beer spilled on me btw,)I'd be prepared to pay a lot more than £6 on the door or whatever it was. Maybe that's just proof I'm a spoiled, bourgeois [insert word], but I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,Black Hawk
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 10:26 AM

Countess Richard- Whew talk about ego!

Shop steward ? (can't stand 'em)
Think he/she didn't know these 'oop north types'? (wouldn't have mentioned names if I thought you didn't know them)
Played with ONCE in a session?
Sexist? How?

More assumptions than should be accommodated in one rant. None near the mark.

He/she may think he 'swatted 'em down' , wonder what they think.

You show your true colours when you say 'the audience is not your concern'. In this thread, the audience are involved as the organiser should know his club attendees and what they will pay / afford. If the club can't afford the 'big name', don't book them. Something to think on – maybe artistes (pro or not) should think about showing respect for the audience. Most do, but the person who thinks people should attend just because it is them appearing need to rethink. The very term 'punters' is quite often used in an insulting way when discussed between pro's. ie 'the punters won't notice'.

Most of my friends are professional musicians who perform internationally and do very nicely financially.
You do not know me so do not accuse me of being tight-fisted and only going to a pub to slag others off. The only posts I ever see from you are when you are slagging some-one off – mebbe you are too tight to go to a pub (or have no friends to sit with).

Your ego shows when you claim my interest is a 'minor hobby' but yours is a passion!

Patronising – you invented it!!!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 10:56 AM

Context is all.

The audience is not my concern IN THIS THREAD since I am neither the organiser nor the booked guest

The point of this thread is to discuss payment policy, in which regard I stand firmly on the side of the performer, despite having worn many industry hats on both sides of the fence and on it.

What is POINTLESS, however, is to attempt a debate with a butterfly mind unable to concentrate on, or even grasp the implication of selfishly refusing to pay the due door price.

Attempts at blustering and bullying about entirely extraneous, non-contextual side issues would be ruled out of order in a union meeting. Little wonder you don't get on with shop stewards.

By far the worst type of patronising git is the one whose mind is so tightly clamped shut that he can't even see it is so.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 11:15 AM

if an organiser charges 10 pounds on the door and has fifteen people turn up I get 150 pounds,and my fee is covered,if he/ she charges 2 .50pounds and 60 people turn up,I get 150 pounds and my fee is covered,now i would rather play to 60 people than 15,plus statistically I am likely to sell four times as many cds,the organiser is likely to raise another 60 pounds on the raffle,the publican is likely to sell four times more drinks,everyone is happier.
as long I am working for a flat fee,I dont care how the organiser raises the money,it might be by having a guest one week out of four,It might be by charging 2 50 on the door and getting on average another pound on the raffle.
a good CLUB in my opinion,should be full regardless of the guest,the punters should have sufficient faith in the organiser, that they will turn up every week because it is their club.clubs are clubs not mini concerts.in different parts of england the average wage willvary so will the average cost of a pint of beer.
I would not expect the same entrance fee to be paid in a disadvantaged area as in the home counties,and ithink it perfectly reasonable that students, unemployed ,nurses and old age pensioners should get reductions.
It should be left to the organiser to decide what his local audience can afford,A stockbroker in Surreycan well afford 10 pounds,an out of work ex miner in wales or south yorkshire probably cant,
I have played thousands of folk clubs,and have only had an argument over the fee twice,99 per cent of folk club organisers are trustworthy,and are doing it because they love the music,and ithank them for their dedication,particuarly Ted and Ivy poole who have been running Swindon folk club for 46 years.http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,Black Hawk
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 11:21 AM

Well said Captain.

Some people can only resort to insults when their views aren't shared by all. (Didn't realise it was a mudcat union meeting Countess - sorry, I shall withdraw)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 11:29 AM

Bloody hell Captain Birdseye you have said exactly what I try to achieve.


I agree. What the hell does it matter to you, as long as you get a fee that is acceptable to you.

Likewise so much better to have 60 people in than 15. And of course if you sell more CD's great.

There is also no arguing over how many people are in the place.

The best post so far CB


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 12:29 PM

As I said at the outset (in #2):

Perhaps organisers who want to pay a performer a percentage of not very much because they are failing to run their venue on an economic basis and charge a realistic entrance fee could arrange for said artists to pay only a percentage of their mortgage or gas bill, or strike a bargain at the supermarket checkout because their earnings from playing such venues are insufficient to pay Mr Tesco.

The non-white scavenging bird deems such performers to be 'employees' and not 'Guests'. I certainly do not share his view that they are thus not even entitled to the legal minimum wage (which is what a major, headlining band were just about scrape once all tour expenses are deducted). If there were to be a Mudcat trade union meeting, perhaps this is what could top the agenda.

I have not (yet) 'insulted' those organisers who don't consider it necessary to pay a decent fee, nor this newly flown-in bystander who backs their short-sighted stinginess. I do, however, criticise all of them sharply for failing to recognise the long-term damage their myopic, laissez-faire (I suppose they translate this as 'traditional', ha!), good-enough-for-f*lk sloppy (lack of) thinking is doing to the music. And for how insulting this is to the musicians.

But it is not solely a question of the organiser paying the artists the rate for the job but also that an appropriate atmosphere is created at the venue by getting sufficient numbers in (regardless of door price). It is equally insulting to the artist to expect them to play in front of a mere dozen Usual Suspects, even each has paid £50 and thus covered costs. It's even worse when an organiser with more spare cash than ability and initiative routinely makes up a shortfall.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 12:38 PM

Give it a break Countess Richard. Do you still play the fiddle? or is that to impress people on myspace?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 12:56 PM

I wasn't talking to you.
To me, Lincolnshire is what you pass through to get to Yorkshire.
Haven't seen your place so cannot comment.

PS Are you actually villa-i- nous (which might be interesting), or is it just that you cannot spell?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 01:02 PM

. . . and I play violin, guitar, English concertina and keyboards.
Why do you want to know?
I'm not dropping by for a floorspot.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Black Hawk
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 01:09 PM

Dont think I'll bother after this.

Countess Richard!
I live in the UK where the minimum wage is approx. £5/hr depending on age/hrs of works & other variables. Whichever country you live in is paying quite well if the minimum wage (taking Captains figures in the last post)is £75/hr (2hrs at £150).Wish I was in your Union.
I realise this doesn't take in gear, travelling, learning etc. but neither does any other trade.

You not only insult individuals but whole sections of the folk community. Just because you dont like a way of life dont insult those who enjoy it.

Captain - I regularly perform in a club which recently 'employed' you (booked you as guest and a great night it was too). This club has floor singers 3 weeks and a guest night on the 4th. Everyone puts into the club funds, buys raffle tickets etc. and on a guest night the door fee is raised SLIGHTLY. Thus the guest gets his/her fee and nobody has to dig deep now and again for an act some will not want to see. Thus, a regular attendance figure is practically guaranteed.
This club has been running for nearly 40yrs so the organiser must have a fair idea of how to balance fees. I agree with you that it is better to sing to 100 than a 'select' 10 when the fee is the same.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 01:10 PM

the ultimate test of this would be for clubs to stop booking acts and only have singers and musicians nights for a couple of quid and see if the club folds or to up the door fees to pay acts a higher percentage/flat fee to see if the audience count drops and for the club to fold ... seems pointless really, book acts who's terms you are happy with whether a fee or a percentage and if the terms don't suit either then it's so long been nice to know you. Life is too short to trade insults. when i recently took over our club I sent out a questionnaire, the result of which was that people would probably pay more but come less to guest nights -who wins then? Rural clubs in particuar are only going to get a limited audience regardless of the amount of advertising and marketing.

Countess Richard, villan's club is not a dump, it is full of people who enjoy live music in a rural location. we have performed there many times. You owe him an apology. you are also creating an environment of'us' and 'them' whic does not exist and does a disservice to the industry. I am sure your oomments are not meant to offend-but as a club organiser who spends hours advertising making posters listening to promos, speaking to acts and turning up each week when I could quite easily not bother, well I am offended. I love our club and our people and the acts are just a small part of it, they are not our raison d'etre. So less high horse and more positive suggestions -for example, a club of 35-40 people what would you charge for a guest?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 01:17 PM

>>You not only insult individuals but whole sections of the folk community. Just because you dont like a way of life dont insult those who enjoy it.
<<

Agree with that, and it has now become an insult to people living in Lincolnshire.

I am Villan which has to do with Aston Villa My name is Les Worrall is yours ....... Well I actually know your name D.E., but I won't post it.

You are an insult to the folk scene


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 01:32 PM

Others in this thread have mentioned 18-hour days while on the road. This is work, every minute of it. It also equates with a wage of under £100 a day at minimum wage rates. This is far worse than unimpressive. It is slave labour.

To count the two hours spent on stage as the only work done in the day is stunningly idiotic. John Kirkpatrick was trying to be ironic. I must try and remember to tell him how completely his song passes by those 'real' men who believe 'work' only occurs in factories and, presumably, on nightshift. What do THEY do in the daytime, I wonder?

Your middle one-liner paragraph is utter crap, incomprehensible in its sheer obtuseness:

What is 'the folk community'?
What 'way of life'?
Who 'enjoys' it?
In what way is anyone, least of all me, 'insulting' anyone (apart from those who persist in insulting musicians by not seeing the need to pay them properly, obviously?)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 01:39 PM

I've never been to sodding Lincolnshire so have had no opportunity to 'insult' it.
It's 90 miles of boredom on the train.
It's probably very nice.
Though Percy Grainger was more than a bit odd.
And Joseph Taylor was a strange sort of singer.
But I haven't BEEN THERE, least of all to Les Worrall's venue.
Jon Loomes says we should meet each other. And like each other.
Can't imagine why.
I don't even like Aston Villa.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 01:43 PM

I don't think your last thread is doing much to support your argument.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 01:49 PM

My 'argument' is that performers should be properly paid.
Which I've stuck to throughout the thread while 'poor, downtrodden organisers whinged about how no-one ever thanked them for doing not a lot.

It's not ME that took the thread (during which I've been proposed to and told to fuck off) off-topic. It's a topic and I can keep on for ever and bore for England about.

And will . . .


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: oggie
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 01:57 PM

The £150 quoted is not for 2 hours work, in effect it's for a day's work, it may even be for 2 days work depending on how the gigs work out. It could even be most of a week's work. If you read one of Vin Garbutt's article he reckons 3 nights a week is the max hw can do. Ok so Vin gets more but even so it's not a fortune. Dick Gaughan reckons he earns, over the year, not much more than national minimum wage. You can't work every night or even every week.

The labourer is worthy of their hire. If you can do it by running singers' nights at £2.50 and a guest every 4th week then great, your punters are getting a class act for approx £10 plus a lot of bonus music. Doesn't always work like that. Especially in urban areas where there are free sessions and lots of choice, club nights can be poorly attended and as more pubs are putting on free music (often with bands)it's a lot of competition Some places have to work differently, good luck to them as well BUT the artist has a life to finance and a limited number of occassions a year when they can do it, you cannot blame them or their agent for trying to ensure the best deal for them. If you can't agree terms then ce la vie, it's a shame that your customers won't see them at your club but it happens. If the economics don't stack up it can't be done on either side.

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 01:57 PM

organisers were actually expressing a point of view Countess, it is allowed, even if it is different from yours. Downtrodden and whingeing or not, the are still unpaid and devote hours to arranging and supporting clubs throughout the country, do not toss them or their views aside. Your concerns are well meaning I am sure, but we are not Tesco's there is no cartel to keep fees low-we pay what we can afford.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 02:08 PM

I have read this thread from the start. I join in having had a weekend away.

I believe folk artists should be paid a decent wage, and I believe that club organisers should charge appropriately.

We get our folk music on the cheap and it is treated contemptuously by the mainstream media - at least in part as a consequence. I remember many many years ago a BBC producer being given the chance to give the Watersons a spot on a show. They were at that time one third of the price of the Spinners. "They can't be much good" he opined and promptly booked the Spinners.

I doubt if things have changed much.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Black Hawk
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 02:12 PM

I dont think anybody, organiser or not, has suggested an artist should not be paid a fair fee. The question was how it should be arrived at. I certainly do not see how any performer can insist upon the admission fee being £??. Surely that is for the organiser to decide and, as has been said, if agreement cannot be reached dont book them.

My comments on hours worked were slightly sarcastic BUT it is not unique to folk singers. If I have a task in Scotland I am paid from when I arrive at site to when I leave the site. Travelling, preparation etc. is my problem and expense. If I dont want to do it they will get somebody else. Same with singers, plumbers, electricians etc.
Ever watch a wood-carver carve a full, detailed chess set? Many hours of work but can only be sold for a certain figure, after that no-one will buy ! £/hr is laffable ..........


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 02:15 PM

that's not the basis on which we book at our club FolkieDave.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 02:22 PM

Linda, forgive me for having to tell you this, but this is what comes of NOT READING THE THREAD.

My entire rationale is that I do not have a 'point of view' here, as I am no longer either performer or organiser (and I have been both, as well as music journalist). This renders me entitled to speak out where others cannot. The only interest I declare in this context (here read thread title), is that I am firmly on the side of the performer because it is their livelihood we are talking about, whereas in the case of the amateur organiser, it is not. It is merely a spare-time activity. This is not to denigrate the hard work they put in, but to question whether, in this day and age, this section of the industry should still be struggling on in such a ramshackle, outdated way. This is not 'insulting' anyone but criticising how it is done. Some of the venues still being used are disgusting and unsuitable. This is unprofessional, unfair to performers and punters alike, damaging to the music's image, and thus a contributor to depressing the artists' earnings. It is unacceptable for organisers to whinge about what they 'cannot afford' and think up ways of paying less. Organisers have to organise their events better and some are already doing this by imaginative and innovative ventures and programming. Others need to catch up and quickly.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 02:37 PM

hear hear Anahata - thank you, a realist - you've put it in a nutshell!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 03:38 PM

Hey countess, I have to admire you for sticking to your principles. It won't change my viewpoint, but there you go. Life is too short. lets all go out there and enjoy what we can whilst we can and do whatever we personally can in our own ways to forward the folk scene.

I am producing a CD for charity for clic SARGENT http://www.clicsargent.org.uk/Home

It will be called Yellowbellies 2 (being the second Cd for charity). It will contain songs from many fine performers based in Lincolnshire who have kindly donated a song to the CD.

Can I count on you being one of the first people to buy the CD ?

You can see the review of the first CD here Yellowbellies It made about £1500 and I am hoping we can make a bit more this time.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 03:50 PM

Hey, Les, you do what you do. If I were doing something similar I wouldn't be able to adhere to the principles I have because the perspective would be different.

The CD would be worth the money for the tracks by Brian Dawson and Liam Robinson alone. Both brill.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 03:58 PM

Well they will be on. As well as John Conolly, Bill & Dave Fletcher, Stitherum, John Blanks, Dave & Julie Evardson, Old Parrot Band,Byards Leap, Ploughmans Bunch, Winter Wilson, Martin Browne & Elizabeth Padgett, Pigeon English, Higgledy Piggledy Band, Gwenda & Terry Cater, Helian Keys, Cara, Da Capo, Paul Dickinson & Angela King and maybe some more if there is room.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 03:58 PM

Just realised i did 100 :-)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: oggie
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 04:14 PM

In my other incarnation I am a fretworker, I make puzzles, toys, bookmarks etc. Been doing it over twenty years. Nearly went bankrupt. Used to make a lovely name jigsaw, half inch thick, each letter individually painted, gorgeous, pound a letter. Rest of stock had similar attention to detail. As I said, nearly went bust. Like Black Hawks' woodcarver, the market only stands so much.

I still make name jigsaws, only now they're quarter inch thick, painted generic rainbow colours one side only, I can make them two at a time and even though I charge a bit less I make a lot more money for my time.

Yes, they're not as nice as before BUT I can make a living at it. At the end of the day the organisers may be doing it for love, altruism or whatever but the full-time performer has to pay their bills. Agents have to make a living or they become ex-agents very quickly.

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 04:15 PM

trust me I have been reading this thread, and then I've been trying to think of any folk club that I have visited in my area that was poorly run, filthy and disgusting -and I cannot so I must be lucky. Then I tried to think of any that I would say were poorly run or where the organiser did not put any effort into it-again I cannot. But I can think of a few people who work full time, organise folk clubs and try their hardest to sustain it with no financial backing other than door charges. who have had to move premises at the drop of a hat when no suitable alternatives can be found because there is a music ban or a wide screen sport tv installed and whos membership is dwindling because people are getting older or working later and later. Its a tough profession on that we both agree, but you have individually attacked people here, and laid the charge that organiser are so inept that they are cutting off the livelihoods of performers. I think that is out of order and frankly not true in my experience.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 04:17 PM

I agree Linda


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 04:22 PM

I believe folk artists should be paid a decent wage, and I believe that club organisers should charge appropriately.

reply........

That's not the basis on which we book at our club FolkieDave.

I suspect that in your desire to be succinct you may have missed something out.

If you haven't then which bit do you disagree with? That folk artists should not be paid a decent wage?

Or you do believe they should be paid a decent wage and you shouldn't charge accordingly? For, IMHO that is a recipe for disaster for someone!!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: oggie
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 04:32 PM

Concerning "Yellowbellies". Brian Dawson is to me one of the greats of traditional music. He is knowledgable, scholarly,friendly and brilliant at what he does which is sing Lincolnshire Folksong with an authority no-one else IMHO comes near to. He also plays a mean accordian and fiddle!

Age 16 with a copy of "O'Neills 1001" in my hand, Brian sat down and went through the whole book ticking the important tunes I should know for sessions. I still have that book 30 odd years later.

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 04:40 PM

you have individually attacked people

I have not.

Two different organisers from venues where I have never been and could therefore comment neither one way not the other (Lymm and Market Rasen) chose quite wrongly to take my comments personally. The only venue I alluded to (and which Kevin Sheils quite correctly identified) was Walthamstow of which I do have personal experience and no criticism.

SOME organisers (as Kevin corrected me, not MANY) are incompetent/intransigent and the result of their ineptitude/greed/bungling have had the effect you describe on performers. I have not named them, not even obliquely, in the manner that one organiser attempted to malign a certain performer who may have behaved not entirely ethically. But the fact remains that MANY organisers are living in the past (circa 1979) and muddle along in premises and with practices which are entirely outdated and inappropriate.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 04:45 PM

circa 1979

No, a decade earlier. I think I was aiming to type 1970. By 1979 things were already changing drastically. In fact I left the country to escape Thatcherism and was trying to wean the Germans off Irish.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 04:47 PM

Name them then and what about buying the Cd when it comes out Countess.

Steve next time I see him I will pass on your comments. I am sure he will appreciate that.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 04:52 PM

(1) No, its better to just let them fade away into oblivion
(2) Might do


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 04:57 PM

Only might :-)

I have to say one thing about Cottingham Live. One of the nicest places I have been to see folk music. Also brilliant becuase Real Time were on. Good modern club is that.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 05:30 PM

Methinks the lady protesteth too much...

I find it incongruous that someone can make so many vitriolic comments aimed directly or indirectly at so many people, yet expect people to accept that it has not happened.

Or is everyone else out of step?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 05:34 PM

'In what way is anyone, least of all me, 'insulting' anyone'

Well, how about :-

silly and indeed selfish and short-sighted …….

mean-spirted organisers and punters alike who are, quite frankly, exploiting them shamelessly……

Bernard - Patronising git.- May you plug the wrong thing into the wrong socket (oo er missus) in a heavy shower . . . and fry. Bloody sound engineers. Pah!

Haven't been to this Railway nor the Villan's dump, nor do I now want to.

or if it is simply that you are nasty, blinkered, uncaring people, full stop.

offensively patronising, sexist 'world'.

as out-of-date as the cliquey 'f*lk club' in the filthy pub back room attended by a handful of bearded, sandalled old blokes/esses in tie-dyed frocks with tankards who disapprove of being anywhere near in tune or of parting with money to pay professionals. I didn't 'forget about' this type of audience but wish I could.

a butterfly mind unable to concentrate on, or even grasp the implication of selfishly refusing to pay the due door price.

Lincolnshire is what you pass through to get to Yorkshire.
>
>
>
Thank goodness you aren't insulting us .......

I always remember a remark from Kendall - fire ants bother me, pissants never !


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 05:38 PM

Actually FolkieDave I was referring to your other paragraph-no-one has ever accused me of being succinct!! We book artistes on what we think the audience will enjoy, and use no other criteria. We therefore use performers who we either know or who we think will have the right rapport and then agree a cost. We are not a concert club, we do great singing, have great musicians, and if a guest can come and join us and enhance our pleasure great we'll pay a fair price based on what we can afford not on any profit we can make. We have fantastic premises, but we've had to move twice in recent years so God is definitely looking after us. I have just taken over because the person who frankly did a better job than ever I am gonna do, needed to have a break from it. We've done charity CD's, workshops, run a folk orchestra, hold charity events to raise money for projects in Africa, (none of which I can take credit for). but I am working really hard at it, and I really hope I don't become one of those inept or intransegent types. Anyway, I refuse to fall out with anyone, so Countess next time your in east yorkshire come and you will be very welcome!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 05:52 PM

Linda it sounds good to me.

But don't I get an invite too?

I used to drink in the Duke of Cumberland was it? - a long time ago....


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 05:53 PM

Thank you, Guest 05.34 PM - you saved me the trouble!!

;o>


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 05:56 PM

A pleasure Bernard.

Been trying to send that post for an hour - do not know why it did not take.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:02 PM

A pleasant Guest :-)

Maybe Countess had a bad day :-)

I like Linda extend a warm welcome to Faldingworth Live, if you ever dare set foot in the place Countess :-)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:14 PM

GUEST - Mudcat can be like that. It's like the rest of us... temperamental... 50% temper, 50% mental!

But we persevere!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:15 PM

LOL


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: vectis
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 07:22 PM

I did have a performer who asked for 80% of the door take once. Had to say no. He had to make do with 100% of the take just like everybody else.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,Anon
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 07:31 PM

Countess - What is your problem ? If a club books an artist and they agree a payment , and that payment is made , wether it be percentage
or flat fee both are happy . Are you really suggesting that an outside agent should be able to tell a club organiser how much he should charge his audience ? Or do you think all Folk Performers should only do gigs in clubs that can get a couple of hundred bums on seats every week ?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: jiva
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 07:32 PM

Phew!

We run a folk club, and we also perform (not as full-time professionals, but we do occasionally get paid).

The club doesn't have many paid, professional guests (maybe only 2 or 3 per year) - we run the club mainly as a platform where people can come along and do a floor spot or maybe an extended set and hone their performing skills. The club meets twice per month and what we take on the door and from the raffle goes towards maintaining the club (PA equipment, website, publicity, raffle prizes, etc) as well as building up a kitty to pay for guests. www.ashingtonfolkclub.co.uk

We don't haggle/negotiate with guests - if we book them, we pay them what they ask. Some ask for a flat fee, some a guarantee against a percentage of the door... either way is OK.

As performers we play many floor spots at as many venues as we can get to. If we are booked as guests we may ask for a flat fee (usually it will barely cover expenses for the gig), or we're equally happy to take a cut of the door money (last time we suggested 50% - with no guarantee - from a small local club, and the organiser insisted on 100%).

Jimmy & Val (jiva)
www.jiva.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 08:00 PM

I wonder why it continues to amaze me how some people draw an example from their own extremely limited experience and present it as a universal truth that couldn't possibly exist in a variant or contradictory form.

Take venues: they know the one in their immediate vicinity which they perhaps help run, and another a few miles down the road where their second cousin does the door - and that's it. They know thus every aspect of event management and pronouce that they're all the same: well-run and squeaky clean. Bad experiences and rippings off just never happen. They couldn't, could they? Not among 'f*lkies' (yuk how I despise that condescending term). They're all 'nice'. No, they're not. In this thread alone, they range from those who want to marry me to those who order me to go and fuck myself.

If these 'know-it-alls' would just take themselves off for a change (I wish) and travel the length and breadth of the land (as I have though always rapidly through Lincolnshire), they'd discover that venues actually range from the civilised country hotel where you're given a room maybe even with a shower if you're really lucky, to the extremely nasty inner city pub where you're mistaken upon arrival for the strip act booked for the other bar. (I'm assuming that's what happened when the Witches got told to get changed behind the bar).

Where you sleep (if offered at all) might be OK but can be (and usually is) horrendous, and not much option about who with. As for getting paid, once in a blue moon it might be handed over willingly and exceed the contract fee, though I cannot recall such a happening. Far more often, a lot of wrangling, shouting and threats have to occur before often not all of it materialises.

Then you could get stuck in the beer-soaked, smelly, gloomy bar with the tedious, slimy sound engineer (not that they all are but this one was) who insists on describing every last detail of his boring working life, Then someone overhears you telling him to plug his things in the wrong way round (please, just DO it and disappear in a puff of smoke) and repeats what you said entirely out of context. They don't, of course, remember all the shit that's been hurled at you first . . .

Oh yes, life on the road is ever so jolly and such a doddle. Why, you only work for two hours a day and not every day at that. And of course you don't have living expenses like the smug, stay-at-home citizens who hand over their hard-earned . . . ooh £3, £4 or even FIVE pounds at the door. Be bloody grateful and shut the fuck up. You're only the hired employee paid to entertain. So do it.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 08:06 PM

Has the real discussion started yet? I jumped in a couple of times but some were into something other than exchanging opinions. It's an interesting topic and I'd really like to hear other's points of view.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 08:06 PM

Guest Anon:
Read the thread title and the initial reply I made at #2.
No, it's not me that's advocating agents, necessarily.
Nor 'concert' clubs.
Yes, I'm against the concept of percentage payment designed to screw the artist.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 08:07 PM

Oh well. Guess not.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:24 AM

Countess, I thought you had stopped ranting and raving!!!! Its not good for your health. :-)

Are you going to buy the Yellowbellies 2 CD?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave Earl
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:33 AM

"Countess, I thought you had stopped ranting and raving!!!! "

If only she would.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 03:42 AM

No chance.

As long as there is so much wrong in the musbiz as so many sitting on their arses saying 'but the status quo is fine we've always done things like this', I won't be shutting up.

Get used to it, or better still, do something to up the profile of English music and its exponents yourselves.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 04:53 AM

Countess...

Why is everybody else wrong and not you?

"I wonder why it continues to amaze me how some people draw an example from their own extremely limited experience and present it as a universal truth that couldn't possibly exist in a variant or contradictory form."

Has it escaped your notice that everyone, organisers and artistes alike (I'm speaking as an artiste who sees the running of clubs first hand, yet you persistently fail to acknowledge that!), seem to be saying much the same thing - which indicates that the example they draw is from similar experiences to everyone else?

Why has this thred become yet another example of Countess Richard slagging everyone else off who disagrees with her?

I'm not anally-retentive enough to be bothered going through your postings to cite such threads, but they are well into double figures.

Nobody wants to screw the artistes (erm... that came out rather unfortunately... I can thinks of some... hee hee!), but we all seem to agree that the artistes wouild be well-screwed if there was nowhere for them to perform...!

Rant away, but I will no longer be baited by someone who is a master at it...


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 05:38 AM

The argument is not that if folk clubs disappear there will be nowhere for people to perform.

Let's take that rising young star - Seth Lakeman. Whatever we think about his music and his success - hands up those that have seen him in a folk club. Ok I know there will be some and especially in his early years - but not much over the last five years. But he has an excellent folk background.

I was lucky enough to see Kate Rusby in a folk club - not many have. But I live locally to her.

There are all sorts of festivals these days at various levels and most people can get to them. It may mean the end of a lot of professional performers and whilst I would hate to see that - if the people who love this music want it cheaply then that is what happens.

50 people in a folk club at £6.00 each = £300.00. After expenses just about a living for a solo singer, but not much for a duo and very little for three.

I happen to think that folk clubs are a dying breed and at the moment good ones are few and far between.

It is not going to improve.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,John Robinson
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 05:43 AM

Just to throw another spanner in the works ...

Outside of the folk world, the indie/rock/americana/et al scene is populated by venues offering "the door less £amount", where £amount varies between £60 to £100. If you take less than that on the door, you pay them the balance.

The worst deal I've seen is at a Scottish hotel that has established itself as a "proper venue". The deal? The hotel takes the first £100 through the door and 30% of the rest. Being a hotel they of course offer artists accomodation ... at a discounted rate!

And to think I gave up the day job to do this ......


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,Black Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:12 AM

John Robinson.

They ARE rip-offs !

If artistes dont accept bookings those venues will either fold (rightly) or change their ways.

Again, as has been repeated in this thread, its mutual agreement and if the two parties concerned are satisfied who are we to disagree?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,John Robinson
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:22 AM

One of my hobby horses is telling young bands not to do these deals but, to be honest, even old hands accept them and if a young band wants to play live they often don't have a choice.

That said, because I have done a lot of work on audience development for my main artist we have done door charge splits where we've given the venue more than £100. You could argue that "door less £100" would be better in those circumstances but in my experience guaranteeing a minimum income to the venue leaves them with no reason to promote. I'd rather give them a bigger piece of the pie in return for more work and comittment.

As you say, it's up to the two parties to reach a deal that they both feel happy with.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,John Robinson
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:24 AM

Hey Black Hawk, did we just have a discussion without yelling at each other?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,Black Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:28 AM

Yeah John,

this forum is supposed to be about sharing views, not trading insults and I'm sorry I ever get to that stage, but some people .....


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,John Robinson
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:34 AM

Sorry BH - that was meant to be a jokey comment not a "pop" at an earlier post. Just goes to show how easy it is to be misunderstood!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,Black Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:42 AM

O.K. John - didn't take it as a 'pop'!

Read it the way intended but it does prove your last statement - easily misunderstood.

peace


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: jonm
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:08 AM

I'm not going to offer any opinions - too many people have done that already - merely some information.

I tried to stage a non-folk gig recently where I knew I could guarantee about 50 people, plus what we could get through advertising. Not all of these have decent incomes and the event would not be of such significance that they could afford huge ticket prices, as they might with a "name" band. Any surplus made would go to charity.

Most of the venues I approached commented on legislation and its impact on their prices:

Pub one, £40 for an upstairs room with stage and its own toilets, plus another £30 if we wanted the bar in the room open.

Pub two, £35 for a room, no additional facilities (bar, loos etc. in the main pub).

Village hall one, £130 for a large room and a small room (which could be a changing room), plus toilet and kitchen facilities. No bar or licence, the cheapest we could get a local pub to provide a bar was £60.

Village hall two, £220 for large room with stage, plus kitchen and loos. Bar and staff available at extra cost.

Arts Centre, £650 for hall with stage, dressing rooms, loos, kitchen and bar facilities all in.

Hotel, £1000 for large room with bar and loo facilities. Discounted rates on accommodation rooms for changing or overnight.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:39 AM

sorry to hear you're packing it in, Les.

i've just read through the thread - can't make owt out of the arguments.

the whole point about the folk movement is that you start working from where you find yourself. whether an artist, or an audience member or a club orgaiser - you either do what is pragmatic or you don't stay in the business very long.

You may not comprehend why someone does something, but if it works for him or her - well you should be supportive because they are staying afloat on a what can be a quite treacherous sea of circumstance.

I think its this inability to be tolerant and mutually supportive that has holed our movement below the waterline time and time again.

I don't suppose what I'm saying will make any difference and these same characters will clawing each others eyes out on another thread within the week - saying that so and so isn't 'real' folk music, not like wot I do!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:52 AM

We'll drown em in the bath :-)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:57 AM

No, Dave, I agree... the 'argument' (discussion?) here was initially about pricing structures in folk clubs.

People who depend upon the existence of folk clubs for a proportion of their income are feeling the pinch as the existence of such clubs continues to dwindle. For this reason a number of highly esteemed performers have had to revert to 'day jobs' to eke out their income.

It's also true that some have done this for different reasons - Steve Turner, for example, just got fed up of touring some 15 or so years ago, and concentrated his efforts on his musical instrument business. Fortunately for us he started touring again, albeit on a smaller scale, a couple of years ago.

However, we have to accept that what suits one person will not suit another. Folk clubs are a fact which cannot be ignored, and will probably continue to exist in some form or other, albeit in smaller numbers.

Perhaps we could substitute the term 'Concert Club' for 'Folk Club' in the context of this thread, as the two are different in many ways.

A concert club (I think!) is typically one where 'residents' do a 'warm up' before the main performer, and 'floor singers' are rarely, if ever, allowed to perform.

A folk club, on the other hand, uses floor singers as the warm-up, and may well not have any designated residents.

A singaround is irrelevant in this context, as a guest artiste would not be booked, but I include the term for the sake of completeness.
(It's quite bizarre that I am actively involved in the running of clubs which fit all three of the above 'categories'... though I must stress that I'm not in any way financially responsible, nor do I have any particular influence in the booking of guests.)
Festivals and other concert venues are typically 'one-off' concerts as opposed to regular venues, and it's highly likely that the 'gap' between the two will continue to widen.

Some performers will rarely be seen in folk clubs, which may or may not be a bad thing - it is insensitive to dismiss something you do not care for just on that basis, as other may care for it a lot.

I don't care for jazz music or jazz clubs, but I accept that others live for such things, and good luck to them!

Perhaps what I have just said would be more appropriately covered in a new thread - or maybe there is already an existing thread on the subject, I dont know.

However, I'm the type of performer who prefers the atmosphere of a 'folk club', or folk club style concert venue... and there are quite a few still thriving.

Some people in this thread, sadly, cannot live and let live, it seems. They would like to deprive people who they disparage from their main source of enjoyment.

If I, as an atheist, were to suggest all churches should be closed, I would rightly expect to have members of those churches taking me to task...

Each to their own...


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:58 AM

Sorry, WLD - our posts crossed.

You've summed it up quite succinctly...!

;o)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:59 AM

our movement

. . . as seen through rose coloured specs.

It's an INDUSTRY. In which the 'workers', the performers, are being treated shabbily as a direct result of not recognising that but pretending that we're still living in the collecting days of the 19th century or the Revival of the mid 20th.

I draw your attention to #66 by Tom Bliss here on the BBC Message Board which, though not on this subject, impinges upon it.

What I don't comprehend is why some are so keen to defend their outdated corner and refuse to admit how times are so vastly changed, or to recognise that trying to dwell in the past under no longer acceptable conditions damages both artists and the music itself.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Girl Friday
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 08:53 AM

My club is both physically, (around 60 max) and actually, (12 -20 bums on seats) small. I need to negotiate with the performers themselves to get an affordable fee. Sometimes I can do that with agents, but that is rare. To this end, I always offer a minimum fee against the door. I can't be doing with the hassle of percentages.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 10:03 AM

>>What I don't comprehend is why some are so keen to defend their outdated corner<<

Who would that be then ? and what do you mean by outdated corner ?

And please, no more ranting and raving. Just very simply explain what you mean without insulting anybody. :-)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 10:07 AM

Incidentally Countess, I don't think you have come back and suggested what to you is a valid fee for a performer.I need to get my head round that one, becuase by the sounds of it, most oganisers do seem to pay the rate that the performer agrees on, not the other way round.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,Ex-semi pro.
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 10:13 AM

I used to make a useful supplemental wage as a musician, often playing pubs where conditions ranged from the fairly good to the downright appalling. I've been there, done it etc.

Two things occur to me on reading this thread.
Firstly that the English folk club scene is probably doomed. The sort of piddling sums of money that people seem to be prepared to pay to watch quality entertainment is derisory in some cases. You, and you know who you are, value the experience at less than the price of a pint, two hour's parking in any town centre, a video rental, a Chinese takeaway and so on. It's time to wake up to the fact that we're in 2007 and not 1807 and, as is said in Yorkshire "tha nivver gets owt for nowt". I reckon that many folk club members have little or no perception of the costs involved in being a travelling musician. So my advice would be, be be prepared to dig deeper in your pockets and recognise the superb talent that is out there, otherwise you may find that the 'scene' that you value so little will disappear.

Did I say two things? I've forgotten what the second one was.

By the way I do recognise that there are organisers out there who are doing a splendid job at grass roots level.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 10:22 AM

Dear Countess (and I speak here as someone whose cousin once got mistaken for Lord Lucan)

I'm sure there is much nobility in your desire to see folksingers get paid a decent screw. However if you had engaged in the nuts and bolts that hold the live music scene together in England, I think maybe you would have a more generous of view of people you have been talking to, and their motives.

The folk music scene is a movement. The places in the movement occupied by professionals - music instrument makers, performers, journalists - still leave a lot of room for other people - shall we call them enthusiasts.

Many of the enthusiasts are quite as accomplished as the professionals, but they don't want to live the life of self employed small businessman - which is basically what we are, when we decide to make this our pricipal source of revenue.

the bigger the movement, the more all embracing - the more chance of artistic sucess, because there will be more chance of attaining or re-establishing a living folk culture. Even if you don't like an aspect of the folk revival - try not to seek its diminishment.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 10:24 AM

Oh, you mean like not telling anyone to go and fuck themselves, as you did to me?

By 'outdated corner' I mean that it is no longer the early revival when anyone (including me) who thought they could perform went out and did it for fun, very little money and no business sense. Today, music IS a business, artists' careers and livelihoods are at stake and it is wholly anachronistic and misguided to muddle on in an amateurish way in unsuitable venues, insufficiently thought out means of funding and unprofessional or non-existent promotion. 'F*lk clubs' as we knew them are finished.

For anyone who takes this critical analysis as a 'personal insult', it may be that 'cap' and fit' may apply. As for your venue, Les Worrall, I haven't a clue whether it may or not because I haven't seen it. Now go and fuck yourself. It will do less damage than screwing artists.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Scrump
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 10:29 AM

I haven't had time to read and digest all of this thread, which seems to have appeared over the weekend.

But it seems that some clubs only charge £2.50 on guest nights, which seems to me remarkably good value for the punters, at being around the price of a pint of ale. Hats off to the organisers if they are able to do it at that price and still pay the performers what they want.

The clubs I go to usually charge considerably more than that (typically £8 or £10, but sometimes even more for really big name acts).

But I can see the problem, if people are used to paying so little, to get them in every week at higher prices. I admit I've recently missed a couple of nights at one club I belong to, through a combination of cash-flow problems (OK, I was skint!), and the acts not being of great interest to me; whereas I normally go every week, unless it's an unavoidable absence. So I can appreciate the balancing act between getting regular attendees at a lower price and a less frequent attendance at a higher price.

I wouldn't presume to tell anyone how to run their clubs, but to charge such a low fee in this day and age seems going a bit too far. Are these people really so impoverished that a fiver a week (roughly two pints of beer) would be too much for a whole evening's entertainment?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 10:34 AM

What would you have Ex-semi pro

Your fee covered with an audinec in excess of 50, but paying the cost of a pint to get in

or

Your fee covered with an audience of say 20 who have paid say £10 each to get in.

I would rather have 50 people watching a performer than 20, and I would imagine most performers would prefer that as well.

I think the whole point here, is, are you as a performer getting what you think is an acceptable fee. Surely thats what you should be interested in.

How the organsier gets those 50 odd people in is their responsibilty.

Maybe the best bet, is if a performer knows they are good enough, that they hire the venue and do the publicity and take all the profit.

There are a lot of performers that should ask themselves if they are good enough to handle the last paragraph.

As a test, I am willing to help any performer who thinks they can pull in an audience based on their name at Faldingworth Live, providing they bear all the costs and the loss if that happens. They can also state the door price. They would take all income, less costs.
As long as there is no liability on my part. Ticket sales would be handled through the performer or performers agent.

OK any takers ?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 10:38 AM

May I add, I would be very grateful and proud to have top performers at my club, if teher wasn't the slightest risk on my part.

pm me if you don't want to go public.

I will ring you and have a chat.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,Ex-semi pro
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 11:12 AM

Villan,
Perhaps I didn't make myself clear - I am not a performer these days. I am therefore in the same position as the Countess, with no vested interest, other than an empathy with performers.

I'd like to see you have a full house paying at least a fiver a head - that way you could think about having more than one guest, a larger combo or possibly a Big Name.

On the other hand, as someone else has said, if you can satisfy your members and the musicians at £2.50 a head good luck to you, although I think that's a short term position.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 11:24 AM

For concerts which are held on a Saturday evening I charge £5 and just occasionally (once) I have charged £7. I generally book single performers for that like Allan Taylor, Bob Fox, Martyn Whyndham-Read, Derek Brimstone, Pete Coe and soforth. I never book an A Capella singer and won't (at least I am honest about that).

For my normal Friday, variety evening I charge £3.

I get more people on the Friday evening from the Village than Saturday. The village people wouldn't know any of the performers on a Saturday night, including Vin Garbutt :-)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 11:35 AM

OK, leaving invective and insults aside, and having danced around what I believe to be the real issue, I think the thread has at last begun to touch on it: Numbers of punters. Bums on seats. And the "folk club scene as we know it" and the undoubted changes taking place trust me on this, they are, and I don't even know the half of it myself.

Because the problem is not about fees for artists versus club survival. Neither is it as simple a choice between 20 people at £10 or 50 people at £4 or 80 people at £2.50 - this implies a straight and exclusive correlation between entry cost and number of people, which we know it isn't true. How do we know it? I can name clubs within 15 miles of each other where one has consistently 70-80 people (and sometimes 100 or more) at £10 and the other struggles to bring in 15 punters at £2.50. Clearly there are other factors involved also.

Behind the bristling and the language, I believe countess richard has actually a very decent grasp of what is happening and the forces at play - she is well-placed to know that through her numerous contacts and her experience in the folk scene as a reviewer and researcher. One may argue that she may throw shit around higgledy-piggledy sometimes, but she does not talk crap (and I am not being condescending, countess, hand on heart I just want people to pay attention to some of your points that I believe to be very valid).

So what are those other factors? And what are the changes to the folk scene that are taking place? Some time ago I started a thread on this, called The Future of Folk Clubs or something like that, but it inevitably lost its way amidst people's backs getting rubbed up the wrong way and people's wish to simply state what they know from their 30 mile-radius experience. What is needed is some thinking, putting facts together rather than comparing them to each other, in an attempt to identify the patterns. And then each club, organiser and artist can make up their own minds as to where in this new scene they wish to play a part.

Anyway, this thread is not the right one for the discussion I haqve in mind. I will start another one, titled "UK folk scene - do clubs have a future, and how to secure it". Bit it will have a LONG preamble, so gimme a little time to compose it.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 11:41 AM

Just noticed WLD's post to me above.
The thread is about professional performers and how that are remunerated.
So I'm at a loss to understand your concern about what I think (or what you think I might think) about these people you call 'enthusiasts'.
Except that if they are 'enthusiastic' about a performance why assume they are not so keen on paying for it accordingly?
Or is it your assumption that the performer can extract tokens from an applause meter and use these as currency at Tesco?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,HW
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 12:00 PM

If this has been said earlier in the tread, I apologise, but reading the last few entries, then it's been lost in the discussion.

I don't think performers should have a problem with a low entry fee for a particular night if the club can still pay the fee they ask for, be that £100, £200 or £500. The term 'club' implies an organisation with members and if those members care to pay for three singers nights to one guest night (or however the ratio works out), then that should be their choice. Not all club members feel that being able to have more, or more expensive, guests would be an advantage, and the existence of a bigger, concert style club nearby does not mean that the small club should follow their example. For a start, the audience may be totally different and followers of one type may not care for the format of the other. It is a free country, after all, and there is nothing wrong with enjoying the company of your friends, and the pleasure of making music yourself rather than the different pleasure of listening to othe performers. And I'm sure many people like both types of club, but maybe value each and wish to have the option of attending each on separate occasions.

Where I do agree with Countess Richard (but would not choose to use her language to express the point) is that Performers should be paid a fair fee. That may mean clubs that are principally singers clubs having less frequent guests, or increasing fees a little for guest nights, or by raising money in other ways. But I don't think it is up to the performer to dictate anything other than the fee they are prepared to accept. Clubs can make their own minds up how to raise the fee.

The inevitable conclusion for me, therefore, is that Flat fees is the best arrangement. Everyone knows where they are. Performers can accept a lower fee if it fills a hole in their schedule or they particularly like the venue. Clubs can choose not to book that artist, or save up for a bit longer, or increase entry charges to cover the fee if they want. Go down the percentage path and the performer can (with good reason) resent a badly publicised venue, or a club which promises and audience of 100 and provides 20, and organisers can feel either embarrassed if their club night coincides with the world cup final, or intimidated if they are forced into charging ticket prices beyond their club members pockets.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dreadnought
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 12:03 PM

I know I'll probably regret sticking my nose into this particular bun fight but I do think the discussion has overlooked a few things that seem quite obvious to me.

When booking for or club my thinking is as follows:

We aren't in this to make money and out venue doesn't charge so all we need to do is cover the artists costs plus a few extra quid to cover additional costs like publicity and making sure we have at least some liquidity to cover unexpected problems.

So when negotiating with an artist I'll try to guarantee them about what I judge the door will cover for their fans plus our regulars. I absolutely reject the notion that it's the promoters job to get the punters in. That may well be the case in a commercial setting but absolutely not in the context of a folk club.

I reckon that even a semi-pro or amateur artist has much more time and motivation to do additional publicity than I do as an amateur club booker with a day job so if the artist is more popular than I realised or does extra work publicising themselves then it's only right and fair that they should reap the benefits so they get the 80% or 90% extra. We get more too so everyone is happy. But unless they are really big names there are some days when for whatever reason the punters just don't want to know and we end up taking a hit. Nothing wrong with that but that's why we need to be realistic about pricing so we have the funds to cover it when it happens.

I really detest the fact that I have to haggle over a few quid with people who have dedicated their lives to making such wonderful music when often their starting price is less than I would get out of bed for but unless there is a dramatic upsurge of interest in the music I don't have an alternative. At least they have a minimum idea of what they can budget towards. And if they want more they have every opportunity to generate it themselves.

There has to be some level of risk on the clubs side but if the club is viable it should be easy enough to offset this over the medium term. If interest drops you can always pitch in a few big names to stoke up interest and generate some funds if necessary. People like Martin Carthy and Martin Simpson are godsends in this situation since they appreciate the cultural value of the club scene and will cut a deal accordingly. I agree with the comments earlier that it would be good if some of the new generation big names would take a leaf from their books.

We actually only have a very few regulars who will come every week and week in and week out and we can have problems when a less well known artist wants to use the club to get exposure for themselves where I am thinking in terms of how many people they think they will bring. In these cases we may well agree on a straight 90% deal and it's then the artists responsibility to drum up as much interest as they can beyond the usual channels we provide.

Nobody has perfect knowledge – big names can draw unexpectedly small gates and a local newbie can fill the place out (we've had both instances this year) It's not great but this side of the revolution I think it's a reasonably strong model from the artists point of view.

One point that I think should be made is that in my experience folk club audiences are very sensitive to admissions fees. I'm afraid I think this is largely to do with the aging profile of most club audiences. Fifty pence is neither here nor there to me but a price rise by that amount will put our prices (currently £6) out of some of our audiences reach.

Do folk clubs have a future? George, we could relocate to the Albert Hall every week if I could only find a way to convert the vast amounts of hot air expanded on the subject on forums like this into people who actually get off their arses and come to support the resource.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 12:08 PM

here is another angle,folk festivals in my own experience always pay a flat fee,so why should folk clubs be any different.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 12:09 PM

Yes, George. The number attending is a strange one... I honestly don't believe there is a formula, answer or whatever.

As I mentioned before, the Railway Folk Club has regular attendances in excess of forty, often double. Yet 'Songs in the Snug' in the same building, but on a different night, rarely attracts more than a dozen - one of whom is none other than Ted Edwards, writer of such songs as 'Coal Hole Cavalry', 'The Coal and Albert Berry' and many others).

RFC charges on the door - a pound on a Singers Night, and varying amounts on Guest Nights. There is no door charge (or need for one) for SitS.

It's very odd.

Memberships schemes are not as prevalent as they used to be. Neither the Railway nor the Open Door use one, but Northwich and Westhoughton both do. There was a thread about just this a month or so ago... the original post on this thread was from a club organiser with a membership scheme that seems, with respect, to be working against him.

Completely off thread, but somehow related...

When people find that I work with computers as part of my job, they seem to think I should fix their computer for free when I'm a visitor in their house.

Comments?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 12:28 PM

So when negotiating with an artist I'll try to guarantee them about what I judge the door will cover for their fans plus our regulars. I absolutely reject the notion that it's the promoters job to get the punters in. That may well be the case in a commercial setting but absolutely not in the context of a folk club.

Good luck to you I do hope it works.

It answers all the questions that the countess richard has been banging on about for the whole of this thread.

And it tells George what's wrong with folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dreadnought
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 12:37 PM

We're doing fine so far, thanks.

We work as hard as we can to provide a nice space, decent sound, a varied line up and as much publicity as we can. So what more am I supposed to do without a decent promotions budget and a secretary?

I'll say it again - the artist is in a much stronger position to promote themselves beyond that than I am as hobbiest booker.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 12:45 PM

Dear countess
I've been around a long time. I just know that the smaller and more rationalised the scene gets, the less chance there is for the small time guys like myself, who will never win an award from anywhere, get a major album review in any of the 'FOLK' world proper, get a track played on folk radio.

The larger the more diverse the scene, the more interstices there are for us to crawl into, screw a living from the dull earth. the more reflective it is of society, the more chance of this music raising itself above the level of being a load of middle class hooey.

the world you are advocating seems to be what they have in the states already, and just read mudcat and you will soon see how envious they are of our folk club scene - even though, god knows its a very sad remnant of the legacy the 1960's handed on.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dreadnought
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 12:45 PM

Actually I realise I didn't put that very clearly. I meant that comment to be in the context of maximizing payments to artists.

Obviously we want as many people as possible to come to the club and we do our best to spread the word as much as we can but at the end of the day if that still leads to artist being paid insultingly low fees there is a limit on how much we can do about it and remain viable as a club.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 12:48 PM

That's all very well, Al, and you may or may not be right.
It's just that it has sod all to do with the topic.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:03 PM

Once again it seems to be a matter of the folk world not having enough words to go round.

Just as the word 'tradition' is used in various often very different ways - causing confusion and stress (as we've seen over the awards issue), so the word 'club' does too.

It's applied to everything frm places like the Red Lion in Brum - which only has top main and support acts, to the singaroundy sessiony thingy that I went to in Leeds last night.

And yet, and yet.. there is so much that is the same, and yet more that is completely different! And of course 'clubs' exist in every shade and hue between the two.

Some Clubs really ARE clubs (whether technically or not doesn't matter). At such places I'm happy to be welcomed in, and as long as we've agreed a figure I can live with (large or small, percentage or fee) I'll be content. Others are run almost like a theatre (though I think the number of promoters who make any money from folk music is miniscule) and there I'd expect to share any 'profit' with the promoter - who is effectively my partner in a business venture.

In the former case I would not expect the club to do any real promotion (though it helps if they remember to put up a poster and mention me in the previous perish notices)! In the latter I'd be pretty miffed if the gig had not been in the paper and on the local radio etc. etc.

Our problem is that we don't usually know with which type of event we are dealing. The extremes we can spot, but the middle ground is just suck it and see.

So forgive us if we ask for a percentage when that's not appropriate - or make any other faux pas!

The one thing I can say is that if you do want to book someone who is doing it for a living (and many don't and that's fine) it helps if people do understand how many hours go into getting us to that point where we walk on and say hi - and what the real costs are. Not necessarily to pay more money - that's up to us to accept or not - but just so that our job can find parity with other people's.

I think most folk acts are worth two drinks frm anybody's mug.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:10 PM

But the artist doesn't have your local knowledge and contacts. The responsibility for promoting suely lies with promoters and artists. If the promoter is going to say "not my job, mate" they can't moan ehen nobody turns up.

Let me share my experience of a folk club promoter:

For our festival, we wanted to work with a local folk club. We offered to subsidise a gig for them, so they could aim a bit higher than normal and take on an artist they couldn't normally afford.

Well, after lots of umming and aahing, the organisers decided who they wanted, an artist that would cost around £500. Because of the complexity of ticketing, we decided to pay for the whole gig for them. We were also putting the artist up. There was never any offer from the club to pass on any money they might make from the raffle or the few tickets they might sell on the night (a tiny amount, I'm sure, but it is the principle of the thing) to the festival.

Now, this was supposed to be a partnership. So I asked if we could send out our leaflets in their next newsletter. Yes, came the answer - if we payed for the postage. So we ended up stickering their envelopes and franking their whole mailout.

Next came the phone call loftily demanding six free full weekend tickets for the festival. What for? What on earth had they done to deserve them? Still wanting the partnership to develop, we offered them 2 free tickets, and suggested their other friends/club helpers might want to steward. They grudgingly accepted the free tickets, but their friends were not the stewarding type, apparently.

After the festival, we got an earful about how we hadn't tried hard enough to promote their gig as it wasn't absolutely heaving. Well, it was in our festival programme, as was a map and directions to their club. It was on the website and in all of the flyers. Surely they bore some responsibility for promotion, too?

The arrogance, meanness and lack of professionalism we experienced made us reluctant to repeat the experience. I don't know how common our experience was, but I confess I did think at the time, "If this is what the promoters are like, no wonder the club network is in trouble."


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:19 PM

Really, it seemed to me , it did.

the folkscene is great when it works.
it can be pretty damn good when it only nearly works.
its still worth having a go, when it only works to the satisfaction of a few people.
I've had pretty decent nights in places, when it really wasn't working on any level.

if you reduce the folk scene to the bits that work like a well oiled machine - you will do for the folkscene, what Mrs Thatcher did for the coal and steel industry.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:21 PM

Tom, the 'tradition' I can deal with, I've already defined it and, unusually, most peeps agreed with me. But of those words which need urgent expunging from vocabulary, top priority goes to 'f*lk' and 'club'.

Put the two together and its the most disastrous no-no turnoff in the biz. Call the venue what you like except a 'f*lk cl*b'. They've had their day, their purpose has long since been served, they're bad old news. Get a decent venue. Run it professionally. Put on good music. Just don't tell your punters it's 'f*lk' till after they've realised they like it.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:23 PM

Right, the other thread is up. If you want to talk about artist's fees, stay here - for the rest, go here.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:25 PM

. . . and, Al, pay the performers the rate for the job. That's what this thread is about, not the entire ethic of who plays what where, and why.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:26 PM

countess, w.l.d ,s comments are relevant.
I suspect you would like to see large concert venues only,charging high door fees.
the trouble with this is, it rules out people on low incomes.
I would like to see flourishing folk clubs[that are clubs]coexisting with larger art centre type venues.
performers like Martin Carthy have in the past played both types of venue,long may that continue.http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:38 PM

No I bloody wouldn't Dick. You're the second person that's accused me of being an advocate of concert clubs and I never said any such thing. I'm merely pointing out that WLD is off-topic for this thread and George has kindly provided another where Al's remarks would be more apposite.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:49 PM

it's time the countess shut up - as it says, it's no longer a performer, nor an organiser.
leave it to the experts - the performers and the organisers who negotiate acceptable deals each week - based on a knowledge of how many the performer might draw, and what the local audience(s) will accommodate.

does the countess really want folk clubs to disappear?
perhaps the countess is involved in working for one of the theatres or arts centres? and thinks that audiences will turn to that type of venue if folk clubs do not exist?

by the way, festivals may pay a flat fee........ but how do the artists enjoy those flat fees? i've heard too many artists comments about the miserable fees paid at one major festival.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:54 PM

>>Call the venue what you like except a 'f*lk cl*b'. They've had their day, their purpose has long since been served, they're bad old news. Get a decent venue. Run it professionally. Put on good music. Just don't tell your punters it's 'f*lk' till after they've realised they like it<<

Now there I have to agree. We changed the name of Market Rasen Folk Club to Faldingworth Live and we hope that the locals will decide to turn up in bigger numbers. :-)

Seemingly, if the word Folk was mentioned to the villagers, it was a big turn off. So we will have to see what happens now.

Incidentally Falidingworth Live is concert style and I think that it complements other clubs who are singaround such as Gainsborough Folk Club.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:59 PM

it's time the countess shut up

It's never time for stupid guests to tell anyone what to do.

does the countess really want folk clubs to disappear?

The crap ones that haven't a clue what they're doing in the current industry climate and thus prejudice artists' livelihoods, yes.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:04 PM

my words were I suspect,That is not an accusation.
I suspect you have good intentions[I dont know]
let me tell a story of good intentions.
My old friend Nick Pickett used to regularly play as a support at the Marquee Club in London,The Musicians Union in their wisdom,decided the support acts were not getting enough money.
so they turned round to the management [without thinking it through]and complained
the management said yes we agree with you,so well stopthe support acts.
Nick Pickett was rightly pissed off,hed lost a good gig with good publicity, the musicians union had not asked NICK his views,as far as he was concerned it was not helpful.Your suggestion of increasing door charges ,regardless of local factors is not helpful either


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:29 PM

"perhaps the countess is involved in working for one of the theatres or arts centres? and thinks that audiences will turn to that type of venue if folk clubs do not exist?"

Do you really think people who are profesional arts managers can be arsed to try and run folk clubs out of town so they can get their hands on 30 or 40 punters who turn up once a month? Personally, I've got a 500 seat venue to fill - I'm not in competition with the folk clubs. Not to mention that many folk club attenders attend plenty of venue concerts as well. It's not some sort of political choice.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave of Mawkin
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:30 PM

I think what the Countess is trying to say, is that Folk Clubs need to find a decent venue, make the evening a pleasurable experience for all- performer, audience and organiser, and charge relative to what it costs and what the audience are willing to pay. Find a niche, find a market, do market research, even if it isnt a non-profit folk club, treat it like a business.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:31 PM

but the artist doesn't have your local knowledge and contacts. The responsibility for promoting surely lies with promoters and artists. If the promoter is going to say "not my job, mate" they can't moan when nobody turns up.

That's what I would have said.

You make a a number of contacts with local radio and newspapers. Past experience leads me to believe that most local newspapers and especially free sheets will give you loads of copy. The artist will send you material so you don't need a secretary. But the artist does not have the local contacts you have. And if they don't do it automatically, tell them you want it. Many of them will send you posters in advance - all you need is to put the name of your pub/room on and stick them up - or give them someone else to put up in return for free admission.

After the first week or two the thing will run itself.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:37 PM

good folk club organisers aren't born. most of them run a few crap clubs to start off with.

'the current industry climate' - that slight twitch you felt inside Countess, was the internal bollocksmeter going into buffalo's nadgers mode - warp factor 10, detecting the presence of a verbal infelicity energy field.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:45 PM

Here's a thought...

About a month before an Open Door Extravaganza weekend, one of the booked and advertised artistes pulled out. This is a fairly 'big name' who shall remain nameless.

What was the reason? The offer of a festival gig elsewhere with more 'kudos'.

The fee did not come into question... and this artiste is not short of publicity.


Here's another thought...

Do you know which club offered Spiers and Boden their first ever festival gig?

The Open Door - June 2nd 2002.

They even did another 'Extravaganza' for the same fee to say 'thank you' - March 22nd 2003.

I know whose integrity I respect...

The guest list at the Open Door is of the best calibre. We've had Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick, Harvey Andrews, George Papavgeris, Debra Cowan, Sara Grey, Kieron Means, Brian Peters... and me!

Small but attentive audiences. But we pay the going rate.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:49 PM

and there's this internet thing too. We have dedicated promoter sections on our web site, for each act (solo duo and band), with separate dedicated pages for clubs, festivals and theatres, each with downloadable copy, and posters PA specs etc.

So it's reasonably easy for organisers to pull down whatever they need to help promote a gig. We don't badger our mailing lists all the time though. It's too blunt an instrument for individual gigs and would annoy people after a short while. We do promote tours and specials though.

One problem I've noticed is that there's often a different person doing the bookings and the website. I put up a link to a club site (assuming they have one) the day the deal's done, but it's quite common to find, in the week of the gig, that there's nothing linking back to ours to tell people who we are, and let them listen to us and decide if they want to come along.

Not eveyone uses the web this way, of course, so websites can only reach a percentage of potential people, but it can help.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST, Tom Again
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:52 PM

and I'm looking forward to Opening that Door again myself this year Bernard!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:54 PM

I still maintain that artistes have an obligation to make use of their mailing lists.

Emails only cost a little time.

Most clubs have a nucleus of regulars, but depend upon the 'casual visitors' to pump up the numbers.

A few months ago we had Boo Hewardine at the Railway. I reckon we had less than 25% of the audience who could be classed as 'regulars' - but the event sold out before the night.

The week before was also a sell-out - the John Wright Band. But he attracted mainly regulars.

The week after was my old mate John Kirkpatrick. Full, but not sold out before the event.

Make of that what you will...


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:55 PM

top priority goes to 'f*lk' and 'club'.

Hear hear, and as a test for the efficiency of a name, hands up anyone who thinks "Glasgow Folk Festival" would have been as successful as "Celtic Connections".

Young people tend to go dancing in the same way that we went singing in the 60's.

Whenever I go to festivals and it must be the same for others there are loads of young people. Ever tried asking them why they don't go to folk clubs?

Let me say again as I have on numerous other threads. Sheffield one of Britain's largest city's struggles to keep a folk club in the traditional sense going in the city centre. But it has a vibrant folk scene with loads of young people taking part also in the city centre. Great for the music - not much use to the professional artist I am afraid.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:56 PM

As a full time pro I work on the percentage basis against a fair set fee. Generally I break the percentage, sometimes I don't, mainly in the smaller folk clubs I'm still happy to work in. But what hasn't been mentioned here is the amount of work I (and many of my fellow pros)put in on our mailing list. By just asking my audience I conclude that the money I get extra as a percentage over and above my fixed fee comes from people I have personally attracted to a venue they often had no idea existed. Hopefully they will return for other artists. We all put in out effort, but I have to say that over the years the ones who have taken out the least are the organisers who have booked me. My whole working life has been down to their goodwill and hard work. Yes, there are some prats, yes there ae those who will never let me near their audience, but If an artist wastes time feeling bitter about them he'll have a heart attack.
What is saddening is seeing Westhoughton closing. I think this is a template for the future unfortunately. What is needed is for a younger group to come in as residents. Here's a chance to take on a venue with a great audience. If that doesn't happen then it's obvious the clubs will die within the next five years as the organisers enter their retirement and old age, and as road pricing forces the musicians off the road.
I find myself mostly agreeing with Countess Richard although that pains me as I know she wouldn't leave a rat infested cellar to see me perform. However, a fair rate for a fair job. Having just
travelled over 400 miles to do a gig and return home I feel justified on banking the percentage I was paid for a full house in an excellent venue organised by a hard working enthusiast.
Pity it's another week to the next one. However, the bills are covered, the tax is set aside, the books are made up for the accountant, the E mails and letters for the next month's audiences are on their way, the service for the car is booked, the new set of strings is waiting, the agent's percentage is safely stowed, and the Vocalzones ready. Now I need to answer my website feedback E mails.
Be seeing you!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:59 PM

Big Al LOL I love your comments.

Tom B
I agree with you. I do the bookings and update the website with links back to each performers website if they have one. It is very important and often overlooked.
Very good point
Les


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 03:01 PM

Sorry, Tom - missed your name off that list!

One of the gigs played by Slide, too (28th March 2004)!!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 03:15 PM

Good point, Les...

We have to acknowledge that a website is sometimes the first thing people see.

I try to keep ours as up to date as I can - including photographs.

As a result, my own website tends to be far from up to date!!

Hah! Didn't notice our Guest 02:56 PM posting... I'm pleased to see someone who agrees with me...!!

Yes, the potential demise of Westhoughton is a worry. Ironically, there are also people who will take a sick delight in seeing it go.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 03:22 PM

Ah, Dave (of Mawkin) and Ruth (of a R4 soap).
If only you were running the industry . . .
A trad venue in a recycled cowshed.
And a greenfield festival site across the rolling Ambridge collective farms.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 04:01 PM

she wouldn't leave a rat infested cellar to see me perform

Oh well, whoever you are you're certainly not alone as there's quite a list that might apply to. But even if I were to be dragged from said cellar and forced into sticking pins in my eyes and ears rather than witness (ha! is that a clue?) your performance, I'd still uphold your right to be paid properly for the gig.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Surreysinger
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 04:07 PM

Doesn't sound like the sort of festival that would attract me Countess !! Greenfield - no way - I like my comforts, and would pay more for them usually! ...grins, hoping that that brings it back to topic slightly....


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 04:13 PM

But we'd be staying at Grey Gables (or B&B at The Bull). And as Ruth & Dave are running it, all musicians (with the possible exception of the Tommy Croker Band) would be on MU rates . . . which brings it right back on topic. Phew.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 04:26 PM

I notice (Just for a change) that too many people are ignoring whats already been said ! No Body seems to be in favour of a simple percentage of the door , and a lot of people are not sure about the flat fee , whereas , even posters claiming to be Pros (as in Guest02.56 are quite happy with the Guaranteed fee / Percentage that I always used . At least that way the Artist knows what they are walking away with if its a crap turnout .


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 04:40 PM

Yes, Leadfingers... just what I keep saying! The percentage agreement is a bonus, not a way of screwing the price down.

As for MU rates... I'm not so sure some of the 'big names' would be happy with that.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 05:24 PM

Well finally! A discussion broke out right in the middle of a fight.

Ex semi-pro hit the nail right on the head, I'm afraid. I have been a friend of folk societies for so long and have always been fond of the fact that their prices are so "Reasonable" that it never really occurred to me that the price should be upped!
My philosophy: You, the organizers put the bums in the seats and I'll entertain them. Promotion is not what I do. I am very easy to negotiate with and also know how to step out of the negotiations, without hurting any one's feelings.
I give as much of a break as I can afford and know that anything extra goes in the can for a bigger name.
But wait a minute! Why have we been keeping the price down for so many years and (as I think Scrump suggested) hurting the performers in the process? Why are folk audiences so reluctant to spend? I've seen more than the odd tea bag or flask of whisky snuck into the folk venues, over the years.
Are we not just telling ourselves that we're not worth all that much?
If you as a "Folk Venue" find yourself operating a floundering business, I'll accommodate you to the best of my ability and think no less of you. I've played for less than twenty people (more times than I care to admit) and had a grand time doing it but if someone wants me to do the promoting... sorry, It's your venue. If you don't have the patrons then you really don't have a venue. That's just a sad reality.
If you still really think that it is incumbent upon the performer to provide the audience then I would have to go with The Villan's advice: (although not with regards to football)....
"Maybe the best bet, is if a performer knows they are good enough, that they hire the venue and do the publicity and take all the profit."
Bernard: Thank you for the e-mail. You will find me easily enough on the SHAMELESS PROMOTION thread.
Kind Regards to All
Hoping for a meaningful discussion
Jim


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 05:39 PM

>>although not with regards to football<<

he he can't blame you there Jim

Les


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 05:43 PM

Les - you made 100 and 200... tain't fair!!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 05:54 PM

Ah! So you've heard of Celtic then.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:04 PM

and Rangers, who I used to watch when I lived in Scotland :-)

Blimey Bernard I didn't realise I had posted the 200th post. Never done that before.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:24 PM

I know of one club local to me that USED to get press releases in the local papers - But they had one of the local rag Journalists as a regular singer ! I wish I had a shilling in the bank for every bit of nice legible print ready paper I sent to MY three local rags and never got a print !! Its VERY easy to say 'Do This , Do That' but when you are presupposing a sensible response from external people it does change things ! The Five Years I was booking Uxbridge , I dont think we EVER only paid out the minimum , and a lot of artists shifted a lot of product as well !


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dreadnought
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:43 PM

We've tried getting stuff in the local rag without much success. But to be honest I'm not sure many actually people look in the local paper for gigs - not in London at any rate.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST, foke bloke
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:48 PM

I've been waiting ten years for this this debate.

Tried to get it started a few times on mudcat and failed.

At last we may be getting somewhere!

Door prices, door prices door prices!! Am I gettng thorugh?

Too many organisers have inherited a great club, from a good fixer (who retired), and have been too afraid of loosing the gang to notice the price of fish.

Or fuel


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:10 PM

Decent press releases always get used.

How do you think I got on Feedback talking about TWH?

Radio Sheffield talking about the Licensing Act?

Yorkshire TV talking about the Sheffield Giants?

Etc...etc...etc........And yes I am a media tart......


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 08:24 PM

"too many people are ignoring whats already been said ! "


Ah, another "Write Only" thread!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 09:51 PM

Sorry Foolestroupe: Was a bit scary in here, earlier. Can't really blame anyone for stepping over that stuff!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 03:01 AM

Yep, Well-WORN...

Write Only, Read Never...


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 05:17 AM

just a thought, I was a pro, now a semi-pro(due to finances) singer I have been on local and national radio and regional tv in several areas. All to do with singing I hasten to add, however as I am not a "Big Name" I have organisers contact me and ask me to travel (one time) over two hundred miles to perform at their club and they say £75 is the going rate. I'll let you do the maths (Travelling alone 3hrs there 3hrs back). If they said a guaranteed £75 against a percentage of the door it could add up to something worth travelling for. I would like to point out that most organisers do a "Professional" job even though they may be "Amateurs"
and it has been my pleasure to make friends with many of the organisers I have come into contact with

As a footnote: you can imagine the dismay when you have performed at a club for less than £100 pounds because it's the going rate, the audience X door price easily amounted to much more. and then the next guest night they have a "Big Name" who certainly don't do it for less than £100 and you know that the club has made a loss on them. Is this a type of subsidy.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST, Tourer
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 05:50 AM

Organisers have suggested above that performers are happy if they get their rate. But bear in mind that we've been trained to expect not much. That doesn't mean we're happy about it. Resigned, maybe. We're often told what clubs feel they can afford, so we set our prices to suit. But what the club can afford is based on what they've trained their audience to pay, which may be as little a £2. I know some excellent, well-attended membership-type clubs, in less well off areas, where people happily pay £6-8, week in, week out. So it can be done - but maybe it's too late for those low door price places, because a hike would kill them off. Another funny thing: The more people have paid on the door, the more responsive they are - and that's pretty much a constant - probably because they want a return on their investment and so put more of themselves into the evening. And the more fun they have, the more CDs they buy. (I sell more CDs at expensive clubs than at cheap ones).


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: oggie
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 06:00 AM

Concerning Guest's post of 05.17AM. Was a time when it was the other way round. A club I was involved with survived because the profit we made on the Carthys and Garbutts (at the fee they asked for and which was agreed and when we could get them) allowed us to book (again at the asked fee) less popular guests on whom we often made a small loss first time round.

Personal opinion is that if a "big name" can't cover their fee then either they are wrong for the club or the club is wrong for them and Either way they shouldn't be booked there. Using a big name as a loss leader, paid for by less well paid guests I certainly think shouldn't happen, affording through raffles and singers' nights is, of course, a different issue but even there I'm not sure.

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 07:16 AM

Oggie's right. Having left a profit at almost all my gigs on the % basis I have happily subsidised less well known guests. I get angry though when I hear an organiser tell me that some other act has come to the club promising to do all the mail shot work to their extensive list etc only for them to turn up having done nothing because the fee is fixed and playing to a handful of people before taking all the profit I left the week or month before. And believe me it has happened a few times. Interestingly it appears to be the younger bands or artists who do this.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 07:27 AM

I think an organiser should know their market and how to promote the club, first and foremost.
If you are paying a lot of money, then its in the organisers interests to promote.
Just what is the point of running a music venue, putting all the hard work in, if you sit back and don't promote like hell.

My methods of publicising are

Web sites
Forums
Local Newspapers
Local Radio
Posters
Diaries that are updated regularly so people can take away with them and even pass some on to other people.
Performers appearing on a particular night having it on their own websites.

All of the above doesn't guarantee people turning up, but I do know over time, that all of the methods above have brought additional people in.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 09:22 AM

Is it not possible to have a £2.50 floor singer/local artist club AND a £10 national artist venue? Why do I get the impresion that some people seem to be reacting as if the two are mutualy exclusive?

What should happen, and sometimes does in my experience, is that the two should be symbiotic. The small local club books the little known artist for a reasonable fee (We always pay 100% of the door takings and, more often than not, any profits from a raffle btw) When the artist becomes better known and/or professional they get the booking at the big expnsive venues. Conversely when the artist, now of national status, visits the big venue, they can, occasionaly, call in to the local club where they made their name and give a little of their time to helping the new comers to the scene by supporting the local club. Am I making any sense?

Having said all that the 'folk club scene' (whatever that may be!) is not all about artists or organisers. It should be primarily about the audience. In this market led economy what should be paid to the artists is dictated by what the audience wants to see and is willing to pay isn't it?

Now, if we want to open up a whole new can of worms, what about subsidies? What would be wrong with the Arts council, or another such body, funding smaller clubs so they can pay the nationals a decent rate and still charge the poorer members of the audience an afordable fee? You never know - we may even encourage pubs to go back to live entertainment for free if we expanded that. As long as it wasn't karaoke it would get my vote anyway...:-)

Incidentaly - we do usualy pay the % I mentioned earlier but when excess funds from singers nights or fund raisers get to a reasonable level we will always consider booking someone famous and subsidising their fee with club funds, ensuring that the club is completely non-profit making.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 09:57 AM

"What would be wrong with the Arts council, or another such body, funding smaller clubs so they can pay the nationals a decent rate and still charge the poorer members of the audience an afordable fee?"

you gotta be kidding...have you any idea the sorts of terms and conditions that come with subsidy and funding? They'd want to know how your marketing was going to be carried out, how the club was going to actively try and attract new members, who those members were and whether they represented an appropriate social and cultural mix, how the subsidy represented value for money, what sorts of performance indicators you were going to use to evaluate the success or failure of the venture...the list goes on.

there are club promoters here who have said they don't even think that promoting their own gigs is their job! ACE would laugh them out of the room...


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 10:16 AM

I have actualy, Ruth. We have had funding from both North West Arts and the local council.

So, no, I'm not kidding. If I can do it anyone can!

:D


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 10:24 AM

Someone I know used to evaluate community arts applications for ACE funding. He designed forms which were simple to understand and gave as much help as possible (short of actually completing them for the applicants) on how to compile a budget and list priority aims, objectives and indicators. Guess which ones failed miserably every time to meet criteria and displayed not a scrap of understanding of how to cost, or recognition of who the project was aimed at, why it merited funding from the public purse, how it would benefit the community or how it might eventually become self-financing? Yeah, right, the local f*lkie luninaries.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 11:02 AM

Not sure what you mean, countess. Is it that every folkie who applied failed or that the only failed applications were from folkies?

D.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Scrump
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 11:18 AM

f*lkie luninaries

A Freudian typo? :-)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 11:18 AM

Arts Council? Good grief. It's my business. If I can't make enough from Folk Venues then I have to find other ways. That's why I play Pubs & Clubs. Not interested at all in Government handouts and besides; the money goes to those who know how to shuffle papers and few of them are actually performers. From what I've seen so far, the paper shufflers and promo experts should, in many cases, have spent more time honing their skills. Do that and the business will take care of itself.
The ones who lose are the folk venues who cannot come up with the funds and the performers who would love to play for them but cannot accommodate the lower paying venues.
I'll play for folk clubs when I can but I have to make a living.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 01:37 PM

"I have actualy, Ruth. We have had funding from both North West Arts and the local council."

you're telling me the Arts Council subsidises your folk club? I'm genuinely intrigued. Do tell us more.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 02:18 PM

Quite easy really, Ruth. We run both a weekly folk club and an annual folk festival. The local council has supported both with direct funding. North West Arts as was (now given the unfortunate name 'Arts About North West by some wag at a marketing company!) have given us funding for the folk festival. As we use lots of the folk festival artists at the club as well it is possible by clever dealing with the artists concerened to subsidise folk club artists with festival funding from the Arts council.

The best we have ever done was around 5 years ago when we received around £2000, enabling us to book, amongst others, an African Storyteller and Ukrainian dancers as part of the festival as well as getting 'deals' from major artists to do both the festival and the club. Even outside that we have been given the opportunity to apply for funding for the weekly club as part of a small club incentive some time ago. It was aimed mainly at Jazz clubs but was equaly applicable to any music club with small audiences. We did not apply in this instance because we were advised we would have a better chance of receiving our regular festival grant.

It is very important to understand that you need to apply for something that you cannot normaly achieve without funding AND that the funding is being used for the benefit of both the local community and the art form concerned. Hope this helps and if you need any further help or advice please feel free to PM me.

Cheers

D.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 02:28 PM

for many years I ran a folk club in Bury St Edmunds,Imanaged to get funding from eastern arts,which enabled me to book Maccoll /sEEGER
Carthy/Swarbrick., Cyril Tawney and many others.
Countess, I have never failed miserably at anything.,apart from physics.
since your a concertina player well have to play a few tunes sometime,keep squeezing.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,ian
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 02:33 PM

Back to original thread,i am not sure a lot of the so called best acts in folk are THE BEST.Folk has always been littered,like most other styles,with a lot of of self importance.The elite should still play the large and small places alike.As posted earlier,a lot of the gigs are attended by elderly people,They have seen a lot more of the folk scene through the years than many of us.Working on a basis of playing the gig to get a return booking is a sign of how good the so called Best are.I hope the organisers stick to a policy and get their heads together nationally to benifit artists and listeners.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 02:43 PM

see also
musicians in residence


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 03:19 PM

Fair play to you - you're playing the game, and more people in the grass roots of folk need to become more switched on to such opportunities, IMHO. Most of them wouldn't want to, I reckon: the aforementioned criteria, stipulations and evaluations required would be alienating to many people.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 03:39 PM

I don't think that 'most of them wouldn't want to', Ruth. I just think that most organisers have a full time job, quite often a family and many other commitments as well as running the folk club. It is a question of priorities. I am quite lucky in that I am a, occasionaly, a good time manager. In those more lucid moments, when I am not running round like a blue arsed fly with all the above mentioned responsibilities, I can get quite a lot done. I don't find forms of any sort particularly daunting and even the most officious staff rarely suceed in putting me off! Maybe I could get a well paid job as a folk club fundraiser? Any offers? :-)

Cheers

D.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,ian
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 07:12 PM

Any ideas to bring music to the locals rather than the locals traveling long distances is fine by me.i think most local areas do enough to promote and teach music in general.There are loads of us out there willing to pass on our skills and help raise the standards of local music.If any scheme helps promote good acts visiting or creating teaching then i am with them.Bit pie in the sky,but not beyond reality.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Blowzabella
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 03:41 AM

There is the National Rural Touring Forum
They cover pretty much the whole country, I think - there is a separate, slightly different scheme for Wales. Often have a number of folky acts included.

The way it tends to work - the regional administrator complies a 'menu' for the season from acts she has selected, from all those who have approached the scheme. The local promoters then select who / what etc they want to put on. Usually village hall gigs with lovely people, who do their best to make everyone have a good time - including the band.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 03:59 AM

As far as grant applications - many things are possible.

I know of a sword dance team who got a grant for kit of £10,000. They used the expertise of a retired local government officer to make the application. Ask around - you might find a retired local government officer (or someone with that sort of expertise) in your audience.

Yorkshire Garland group got £25,000+ for setting up the Yorkshire Archive. But be quick. Most grant money from the lottery (which is where all this came from) will go to the Olympics.

Eddie Upton of Folk South-West used to have a brochure to show how to apply for grants and what grants were available. I don't know if he has up-dated this but it might be worth asking.

There will be a regional Arts Council and possibly a Folk Arts Network near to you.

Get them to help. That is what they are there for.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 04:22 AM

All good advice, Dave. But the problems for an existing folk club applying for funding are obvious.

Firstly, the Arts Council won't fund you to do what you already do. So you'd have to demonstrate that the money is funding "new activity" on some level. This can be interpreted creatively, of course, but it means that a folk club can't simply ask for money to fund what already does.

Secondly, this sort of funding is usually for a fixed period. Once it finishes, you have to figure out how you're going to replace it. So you're constantly chasing new sources of funding.

Thirdly, there is the issue I've mentioned previously of evaluation. More work for the applicant, but it has to be done if the money is going to be released - the process doesn't finish when you get the money.

As has been pointed out, the poeple who run folk clubs are usually doing it in their spare time and have lots of other commitments. Chasing funding is time-consuming and can be stressful, and not everyone considers it a leisure activity (like I do).


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 04:58 AM

So true Ruth. I think using such money to try and build up an audience who become regulars, rather than constantly chasing, ie as capital expenditure if you like rather than revenue.

And you consider applying for funding as a leisure activity? No wonder Sam the Cowman proved such an attraction. Go get a grant for the Massey - there must be one available somewhere............think how much Daaayyyyyyyyvid would love you.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 05:05 AM

Well, I seem to be applying for funding in my leisure time at the moment - so it's just as well I enjoy it!

Re the Massey...I'm thinking Heritage Lottery. A decent application and another bottle of cheap chablis and Deyyyyyvid'll be furtling in my pooks of hay in no time...


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 05:18 AM

I tried to get funding for my club to put on performers to educate the community and hopefully to convert non folkies.

I spent a lot of time building up the info, checking and agreeing fees with performers if I got the grant.

All was going well until I was advised to run my proposals through the local council art/music department.

They said that I needed to support other areas such as putting on a couple of concerts for local schools. (I had already included workshops etc for schools). However this was to get involved with a couple of projects working with the people that were running those projects.

Being at that time the jack of all trades becuase I was the only person running the club in its entirety (without a committee, but classed as an organiser), I just buckled.

I was only just coping with running the folk club, so taking on other committments was just not on, so I had to regretfully shelve it.

The awards council before that were very enthusiastic about it and couldn't see much wrong with my original ideas.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 05:28 AM

Les, there is no doubt about it, it is a thankless task, even to the dedicated.

As for Ruth - bloody typical of a small town farm girl....cheap chablis.
Go for champagne - or at least cava.

Dave
Wine writer on Spanish wines and second hand folk book supplier to the itinerant folk singer and others.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,ian
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 03:30 PM

May i just say i think all the organisers do a fantastic job and we the support artists and audience thank them very much.Is just a pity some places are not supported as they should be around the country.Many reasons i guess for main acts wanting more than club can afford.It boils down to their commitment to perform in a job they are lucky to do full time.The commitment of the oganisers who like to give and recieve to and from the acts.Also the commitment of the audience who turn out rain,hail or snow.
Give me and others the chance to do that job full time of performing/writing and they would jump at it.Be grateful all you performers and just think,you would do it as a choice coz it is in you anyway.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 04:17 PM

"May i just say i think all the organisers do a fantastic job and we the support artists and audience thank them very much" .....
Goes for me too. (except i'd go upper case on the "i"s )


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Blowzabella
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 05:06 PM

Dear Guest ian - I was tempted to reply to you, but I think I will leave it to the countess - she will do so much better than me. Try driving a few hundred miles or so in their situation (it won't take long - it is well known that professional musicians spend more time driving than performing) and then see how grateful you are.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Blowzabella
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 05:38 PM

PS Guest ian - what is stopping you from doing 'that job' of writing / performing full time? The crap money? The lack of marketing skills? The fact that there are loads of other people out there trying to make a living in a limited market? The fact that your family wouldn't be happy if you spent so much time away from home? The desire to know where you are going to sleep after your dys work? Perhaps you have health problems and being self-employed would mean that you wouldn't qualify for benefits if off work - you would just be without income.

Such an attractive lifestyle - what's on earth is stopping you????


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 05:45 PM

"The desire to know where you are going to sleep after your dys work?"
Funny that one. They always give you the room for the night you play. I could use it the night before. Rest all day. Get cleaned up, set up. After the gig, I need to get on the road. (even if it is four in the morning)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 06:05 PM

Blowzabella
Don't start having a go at Ian, or I will really get stuck in. He is a very nice bloke who has a very good voice.
He has just made a comment and I am sure he would like to be in a position where he could be a pro going round doing a job that he enjoys doing and that is singing.
As it is, he isn't professional, but that doesn't stop him fancying that.
Ian together with Rockhen are one of my resident performers that go out in the name of Helian Keys. They are very nice people and have supported me at Faldingworth Live. They always do a very nice floor spot and may I say, sometimes better than some of the supposed professional performers.

From everything that has been said in this thread, most professionals get the fee that they ask for, which may not be what they desire. However, it takes 2 to tango. If the organiser can't afford it, they don't get booked. if the performer doesn't get what they think is a reasonable fee, they don't take it.

One thing for sure in this day and age, nobody has the right to demand that they should be booked just because they are a professional singer. They earn that right. No organiser books a professional performer, unless they have earned that right. And may I add, nobody tells me as the organiser what price to charge at the door at my club, because they don't get booked, in that situation.

What Ian does in his private life has nowt to do with you.

Les Worrall
Faldingworth Live
http://www.faldingworthlive.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 06:09 PM

Blowzabella. I think Guest Ian is only joining the 'pro organiser' lobby like you are putting the pro artist point. It is unfortunately these polarized opinions that are driving a wedge between artists and organisers. Neither is more important than the other and like I said before the people that realy matter are the audience. Artists and promotors alike should be working towards getting people into folk clubs. It is only that that will ensure the continued sucess of folk music and give a good working infrastructure for professional artists to earn a living wage.

A converse question to your last one could be "Such an un-attractive lifestyle - what's on earth is making you do it????" Rhetorical of course. The woes of being an organiser have also been well documented but I do it all the same. Why? Because I am a folk music fan, without talent enough to be a professional artist, but still want to do my bit!

How about everyone stop being so defensive and get together to figure out how we can all benefit?

Cheers

D.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 06:35 PM

Guest Ian should apply his opinion to his own job, or the job of his friends. He will soon see how faulty it is. We all work to live and to make the best out of our work. Being a pro singer is no different to being a pro dentist or a pro newsagent. It pays the bills. if I do the job right the audience enjoys it. My enjoyment is nothing to do with it. My job is to give them a good night, not me. Job done, I've earned my wage.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 06:37 PM

The woes of being an organiser have also been well documented but I do it all the same. Why? Because I am a folk music fan, without talent enough to be a professional artist, but still want to do my bit!

Precisely the reason I did it too.........


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: eddie1
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 06:47 PM

Applications for grants can be a minefield but most local councils have a "Grants Information Officer", part of whose job is to help you. There is a computer programme called "Grantfinder" which they can use to tell you what bodies you can apply to then they can help you with the application forms.
Maybe I'm just lucky. I live in Reading UK and our local grant information office has been very helpful.

Eddie


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 06:48 PM

Les, Dave, three and a half days ago, in my first post on this thread, I said: "...there is no need for antagonism between organiser and performer". So, to be told now "Be grateful all you performers and just think,you would do it as a choice coz it is in you anyway", is at least patronising. In other words, because I love what I am doing, and yes, I am lucky to have been given the chance and the support to do it (for which I have always been grateful and have said so many times), for those reasons I should then "be grateful" and shut up? roll over to be tickled? what?

I accept that GUEST,ian did not mean the message to have the overtones that put Blowzabella's back up. I am sure he is a good guy and would love to harmonise with him (ian, that is). But cut Blowzabella some slack too, he feels attacked - and reading the text above, I can see why.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 06:50 PM

>>How about everyone stop being so defensive and get together to figure out how we can all benefit?<<

I agree there Dave, but when you see some of the crap posted about organisers by certain people, thats the time to stand up and be counted.

It really is this simple.

I book a performer because I want them at my club. I don't book a performer because they want a gig a my club.

I look at what is on offer on the market and then decide if the performer suits the style of the club, and hopefully will enhance the prestige of the club. Will my audience want to see them. Do they even know who the performer is. At the end of the day, that is my judgement, but not before I have done a lot of homework on each performer. That means finding out off other people what they think of them, looking at their websites and reviews on them. Listening to their music.

One thing I never do is take their word for it. if necessary and if possible, I try to get to see them live.

Once I am happy that a performer is who i want, I then get in touch with them and chat about the club and its style and ask if it is possible for them to perform at the club and how much they would charge. If it is too much, i explain that and the reasons. Negotiation takes place and if at the end of the day, we are both happy, we do the booking. If it isn't possible, then no problem, shame, but time to move on and find somebody else.

Once booked, I try to do everything in my power to get as many people on seats and try to do everything possible to ensure the performer gets the best experience possible when visiting the club.

Once that is done, i don't think it has anything to do with anybody else.

I have to say that i can only praise all performers that have appeared at Faldingworth Live.

I also evaluate the night from audience and performer point of view and wherever possible try to make changes. Not always possible.

I just wish some of you would stop telling us organisers what to do, its got nowt to do with you, and whats more it doesn't help the professional whatsoever. It only inflames the situation.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Blowzabella
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 06:54 PM

As I am neither a folk club organiser or a professional musician, but understnad the problems both face, I feel that I can perfectly legitimately put the point of view of either across - and I will - if someone's post seems to trigger a response - as Ian's did. I did not have a go at him - or in any way comment on his ability as a performer. I just don't think he has a handle on what it is to be a professional musician, trying to make a living in a difficult genre. I would be equally likely to comment on a post by a pro musician who made comments about how folk club organisers don't work hard. Cos I knnow they do - but - you will notice that no professional musicians have done this.

Like many people who only see half of a job, would-be professional anythings only see the good half - or, in the case of being a professional musician - the good 10%. Many people think I have a job they would enjoy - I doubt if they would.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Blowzabella
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 07:02 PM

PS - George - I'm a girl .....


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 07:05 PM

...and a very nice one too, I am sure!
Sorry Blowzabella.
I wish I could say that I am a boy.
I was though - once.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 07:06 PM

Heck, I still am - it's just not visible


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 07:14 PM

a small point but important..

If you run a club in a town you are 'holding' that town for folk music - because there probably isn't room for two clubs, so you're unlikely to have any competition. It's an honour and a responsibility. Like owning land. You need to think how you will leave it for future generations. So just doing what feels right to you and your members may not in fact be enough.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 07:35 PM

Apologies Blowzabella, but I know Ian and I wouldn't say he was a flamer by any means. A very nice man in fact and I dare say you are a very nice "girl".

Lets get back to the original post from Guest Andy

>What do other club organisers feel about performers asking for a guaranteed flat fee or a percentage of door takings, always meaning 'whichever is the higher'<<

As an organiser I prefer a flat fee.

George, you are a a boy at heart :-) and may I say somebody who I have a lot of respect for (makker) :-)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Greg B
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 08:32 PM

Don't underestimate the hospitality bit. From the time the performer
comes into town until the time he or she leaves, they ought to feel
as if they're in a 5-star.

Now that means different things to different people, but when I've
hosted performers for a local folk club it's always been a nice
dinner (on me) at the local pub (bar and grill). Followed by
really nice guest-room accomodations with private bath. And up
early in the AM so they are awakened by the odor of a lavish
breakfast before getting on their way.

At Festivals, it means nice (and fun if possible) accomodations.
Like the days at Mystic when the Mystic Whaler was performer's
accomodations, at the back of the main concert site, with ample
ale snacks and all.

That and rides to and from public transport with reliable and
sympathetic people.

And hungry at 1AM? Well, no worries, the hosts will get you
to an all-night eatery.

Fees aside, it ought to be a great experience. And profitable.
But also fun.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: oggie
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 08:51 PM

This post sort of runs across both this and the any future for folk threads.

I spent 14 years as a full-time professional on the "Craft Circuit". I've done craft fairs, folk festivals, shopping centres, country shows, the lot. As a demonstrating craftsman then like a musician I'm in the entertainment business, honestly. A couple of thoughts. One - I could have had a similar discussion over the years on the craft circuit about the merits of different organisers/venues/door fees etc. Two - we all disagreed, it depended on what we did and if we were pro/semi-pro or subsidising a pension. Three - it is only now when I do a lot of things that aren't immediately Craft Shows (Schools, workshops, heritage/traditional working events) that I'm making a bit of money again. For the latter my pricing is flexible - a straight demo/workshop is a flat fee which is negotiable depending on what they want, If I can trade then I reduce the fee and either split my take with the organiser or I can reduce my prices so their punters have a bonus on their entry. Sometimes we don't agree, I have only so many days I can earn a living and, yes, it's competetive and I can't do a Sunday before Christmas for £100 because it's a prime time on the markets.

I deal with professional organisers (good and bad), amateur organisers (ditto), publis bodies (ditto). The bottom line is I have to make a living and the organiser has to balance their books. If we both understand that then we can usually work something out, like Villan says above (congrats on a lot of commonsense). Both sides have to listen to the other party but remember, please, if you are a full-time performer, craftsman or whatever your income, house, car whatever depends on the quality of your gigs and as an organiser I think you have a responsibility not to jeopardise that either.

All the best

Steve Ogden

PS at least a folk artist gets a fee, for the most part I have had to pay for the privilege of trading and that's when the quality of the organiser really kicks in - Folk Festival Craft organisers please note :)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 07:50 AM

Mmmmm - posted this before but I can't see it now - I'll put it down to Gremlins or operator error:-) May not be exact bit along the lines off -

I would agree entirely with Blowzabella that no professional artist has had a go at club organisers but conversely no professional organiser has had a go at artists either:-) There has been rather unprofessional comments from parties on both sides if you look back over the thread though. Rather than get stuck on this point though can we get on with the business of sorting out between us what to do about it?

I am quite fortunate in that the landlord at the club I run is kind enough to let has have the room for another night. I hope I am doing my bit to redress the balance by having concerts where the artist does have more input over the door charge and format, as well as the standard night, where we do the 100% of the door at standard charge. It worked very well with the Boat Band (I hope! Greg Stephens should be able to confirm that) I will start a new thread to see if we get any takers for future ones - Hope George will take us up on it eventualy.

Lets get on with fixing things instead of blaming other people for breaking them!

Cheers

D.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,ian
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 06:04 PM

Great to see i stirred a few people.Yes i will use capital I if you want me to and yes i will use my opinion.
If you are the organiser or performer in any form,ie Support or main performer,it is all a labour of love.You seem to think i have never travelled long distances to play for free,WRONG.You also think you know my daytime job and a little about me,WRONG.
Yes i do think people who do any job that is regarded as a pass time by many is lucky.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 07:13 PM

I don't know any job done by anyone else that I consider a pastime. It's their job. If they're not good enough they don't succeed. I don't want the pressure of being a pro footballer thank you, but I can enjoy a kick around with my mates on the park. Same applies to music. If you can get up there and make your living, then do it. It's very different to having a session with some mates in a pub.
All jobs that pay bills are pressure not pastime!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Anne Lister
Date: 23 Feb 07 - 04:41 AM

Just been catching up after a break and reading this thread with a degree of puzzlement.

First of all, the only times I have been offered the % or flat fee choice is in situations where the % would represent more than the flat fee, so it's hardly a hardship. It does mean that the club would get to make a slight profit on the door take, but as I judge whether or not to take the gig on the basis of the flat fee (in case it all goes pear-shaped because of another competing event in the same area or a sudden epidemic of 'flu) I have no problem at all with the club making that profit. It's not at my expense. I do my best for all gigs I play by using my mailing list (not just emails, but postcards to street addresses) because it's always in my best interest to have the biggest audience possible.

I can choose whether or not to take the lower paying gigs, just as a club can choose whether or not to pay my usual fee. I don't worry about the price at the door. The only time I've been seriously annoyed is when I agreed to do a gig for the door take and found that they passed a beer mug around half way through the night and suggested a donation of £1 - which represented less than the cost of a pint which I considered insulting.   The room on that occasion was packed, the audience very appreciative, so why on earth the organiser thought £1 was appropriate is a mystery to me. Luckily I sold a good quantity of CDs, but money from CD sales tends to go straight into the fund to make the next one so it's not the same as a fee in my accounting system.

As to this business of "fair pay" we're in very murky territory. Because I'm fairly useless at self promotion I do a number of different things to make ends meet and pay the bills, and I'm aware of how many people in "real" life work incredibly hard for remarkably little money, often travelling long distances, doing a lot of research in their own time and having had plenty of unpaid training. So I do still consider it a privilege to be able to earn any part of my living by doing something I love. I'm also constantly impressed by how hard the club organisers work and how much of an effort they make to ensure their club survives, when for them it's on top of a day job and for non-commercial rewards. My own experience over the past decade at least is that I've almost always had excellent accommodation offered to me and wonderful hospitality (I have some other tales to tell from the eighties, but that's a long time ago now).

There are other comparisons to be made: I have had long chats with people involved in the comedy circuit and the jazz circuit, both of which tend to run on similar lines to the folk clubs. Folk performers seem to get a better deal, from all I've heard, mostly because of the sense of community that we've built up over the years. And my husband is an actor working in the historical interpretation field - again, my normal fee is better than his, even though for his work there's considerably more job-specific research to do and longer hours to work after the travelling and preparation times.

Of course I'd love to have more gigs, earn more at each one and sell loads of albums. I'd also love to rate a feature in fRoots, be on Women's Hour, adopted by Smooth Ops and all the rest. If there's anyone on this thread who can help me with any of these aspirations, please let me know! In the meantime, I'm only worried that most clubs and most organisers are past their first flush of youth, so I'll check out George's other thread to see how we can improve matters in that direction.

Anne
http://www.annelister.com


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,ian
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 11:12 AM

So,you don't know any Angler and golfers who would not work on his passtime full time ?I think the hours they spend with rod and club in hand says different.Their other half would say it is more of a job to them than their real jobs.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Blowzabella
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 11:58 AM

I'm sorry but I am going to refrain from making comments about men who spend hours with their rods in their hands - whether they do it professionally or just aspire to spending more time doing it.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,ian
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 02:11 PM

guess i managed to end yet another thread,but at least i did it without smut lol.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 02:35 PM

No, far worse than that you managed to show a complete disregard for the importance of music, to denigrate the vocation of professional musicians by referring to their art as a 'pastime' and be utterly and inappropriately sexist in seaside 'comic' postcard stylee about the way in which you imagine some women fail to relate to men's work.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 02:54 PM

Ow, come on countess, ian's finishing in a conciliatory vein; no need to kick him in the "i"s. It's Saturday night, let's crack open a bottle, put Steeleye Span on and think of nice things.

OK, Steeleye was a joke.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 03:06 PM

Equating professional musicians with hobbyists who just got lucky or with cruel bloodsportspersons who torture fish for fun or hit balls mindlessly around a gold course is hardly 'conciliatory'. Nor is calling Blowzabella 'smutty'.

Let him be condemned to listening to Steeleye as punishment. The whole lot, omitting Please To See The King and Storm Force 10.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 03:32 PM

Steeleye Span - thats not punishment - thats pleasure :-)

String him up by the scrotum and burn him at the stakes LOL :-)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: oggie
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 04:31 PM

Real jobs (being it singing, fishing, or working in an office) equals real money to pay real bills. That's the difference between the hobbyist, the semi-pro (who makes a bit extra) and the pro who if they don't make money can't pay the bills with all that that entails. Different field but been there, done that, ain't nice.

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 05:30 PM

I guess anyone doing a job for real deserves more respect than those who just review or criticise. I will therefore refrain from commenting on anyones chosen occupation or performance. I will however head for bed wondering why some people are not happy unless they are involved in argument and confrontation.

I'll try and get back into fixing rather than fighting when the current spate of sabre rattling and nonsensical rhetoric is over.

Good night.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:44 AM

Here is    something that does annoy me.
The different pricing for different guests,that implies that one guest is better than another,when it may be that one guest is more expensive because he has an agent to pay.
Following on from this, tickets only for some guests,but not for others,again because one guest, may have an agent to pay,and so is more expensive,but the impression the punter gets is that the act that is having tickets sold is better,which is often not the case.
I know I said earlier that ,I didnt care how much was charged at the door providing I got my fees,I should have added providing all guests appear at that club for the same door price.
now I know there is nothing I can do about it,and in the end its up to the organiser, how they price their door[butPricing differently for different artists, I think sends out the wrong message about quality].


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:49 AM

the next thing that happens is the promoter spends more effort promoting the more expensive guest,[if he doesnt hasve arts funding]because the money 300[hypothetically]as against 150, comes out of his own pocket so he promotes twice as hard .


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 06:04 AM

Well I can say that I promote every performer in the same way.

I have only put the price up once, becuase I needed to ensure recovery of costs and a limit of 70 people.

Once the price gets above a certain amount, then I do need to do that.

If you put a band on you would expect to pay more money and if you don't have funding, then you need to recover the cost.

My ticket prices for Saturday concerts are normally £5 Only if the fees go above a certain threshold, do I have to consider the ticket price increase.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 06:36 AM

How do we get round that though, Dick? If we book you and you are quite happy to turn up for, for instance, £100, we can charge 40 people £2.50 each. This is quite significant because 40 is round about the maximum we can get in our folk club room. OK? Next week we book Show of hands. We charge, as you suggest, the same on the door. So Phil and Steve get £50 each - Making you twice as good as either of them individualy? Next week we book


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 06:44 AM

whoops - slipped a buuton there - Next week we book the Battlefield Band. 4 performers have to come all the way from Scotland for £25 each. Doesn't seem right to me.

OK the above examples may be a bit exteme but, as an artist, Dick, tell me how I can charge the same door fee for artists who charge diferent prices when I know the most I can get in our room is 40 people. As it happens we do charge the same on the door every Monday apart from the free or very cheap singers nights. It does sort of pan out becaue we know that the better the artist the bigger than pull and the more people turm up. Apart from when we got 6 people in to see Johnny Silvo :-( But that is the contrary folk audience for you!

It is not a rhetorical question btw - I really DO want to know how other people address this issue!

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 07:19 AM

"Here is something that does annoy me.
The different pricing for different guests,that implies that one guest is better than another,"

Why, Dick? Concerts at every level charge different amounts for different performers. I had Park Bench Social Club a couple of weeks ago. Young, fresh, exciting musucians - £8 on the door. I have Ralph McTell in a couple of months. Tickets are £16.50. It's not a value judgement. It's about what the market will take, based on many different factors, not least of which is the artist's fee.

Are you suggesting that every artist should receive the exact same fee, regardless of longevity of career, size of fanbase, etc?

And if people will pay more in a venue to see some artists than others, why not in a folk club?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 07:48 AM

I agree ,it may not be a value judgement by you Ruth,but punters may see it differently,.
and as I pointed out THE PROMOTER may have to pay more because there is an agent involved.,and the more expensive guest may not necessarily attract more people.
I should have also made clear that I was talking about folk clubs.
Now at folk festivals this doesnt happen[people may be getting paid different rates] but there is an overall festival ticket price.
clubs are clubs,not in my opinion concerts,the best sort of clubs in my opinion are those where,people will go every week., regardless of the guest and having faith in the organiser, in so far that whoever he books, will be what they want to hear.
to Dave Polshaw, I have to come all the way from Ireland,YESyouare doing the right thing Dave, by charging the same price on the door.
and there is an alternative,if you think your going to have more people, find a bigger venue for specific nights[I realise that may not be easy].,but with forward planning it may be possible,although your regular audience may not want to come to the different venue.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 09:51 AM

the first folk club I went to,in 1966, was the Downe folk club,I was 15 years old and still at school.
The entrance fee was two shillings for members and two shillings and sixpence for non members.among the guests I saw there were Don Shepherd,Ralph May[mctell],pete Stanley and wizz jones,Downes and Beer,Joe Stead,GerryLockran,Cliff Aungier,a bluegrass group called the red clay ramblers,Dave Bryant,DavePlane,the price was the same on the door whether the group was a solo artist or a group.
as a schoolboy I could afford this,and was bitten by the bug,and later went on to record lps, cds, and play many clubs myself,if the entrance price had been more, I couldnt have afforded it,everybody who talks about encouraging young people into clubs should bear this in mind.
folk music should not become an entertainment that only the wealthy can afford.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 10:34 AM

We have only booked you when you have been in the UK anyway, Dick - As in at the Lancaster Maritime festival. But seeing as we got the dates you were booked wrong we are better steering clear of that;-)

A larger venue IS an alternative but we need to look at the sums and logistics very carefuly. Yes - we can book the 466 seat theatre at the Lowry for £800. 466 x £2.50 = £1165. Less £800 for the room hire means the artists gets £365. If we only get 50 people there we are well stuffed:-(

We are no longer a folk club in that case though we are a concert. How many people do you think we can have in the ausience and still call it a folk club? Can we move from a venue we have been at for 25 years and say it is the same folk club? Don't want to sound like I am purposely finding fault but these are all issue that I, as an organiser need to consider.

From reading this thread it is getting harder and harder to do all the time we need to -

Pay the Artist a living wage
Charge a reasonable fee on the door to make folk accesible to all
Charge the same on the door regardless of what the artist charges
Make sure the artist is well looked after
Make sure the audience is catered to
Move from venue to venue to ensure the audience can fit
Ensure the folk club is part of the community and enhances that area

The list seems endless! Maybe I should just pack it all in!

Dave

PS - You know I won't;-)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: greg stephens
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 10:36 AM

I can confirm(re an earlier post) that Dave Polshaw runs a great club, friendly, a joy to play in, and very high quality floor-singers. I was there with the Boat band, and we'd go back any time. Now, the relevant point about that visit is I can't remember whether we played for a flat fee or door money. I could look it up, but I'm not going to bother. basically, what I mean is, it doesn't actually matter that much. Sometimes a promoter wants one thing, sometimes anotjher. A deal can always be struck. Certainly not a topic to shout at anybody about. It;'s not as if we are discussing the meaning of "folk" or the relative merits of football teams.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 11:41 AM

Thanks, Greg - I'm all embraced now...

It was a % BTW. 100% of the door as we always do plus the raffle to which you kindly donated an album. The only difference was because it was not a 'standard' folk club night - Ie a Friday rather than a Monday we let you set the door fee and the format of the night. If I remember rightly it was £6 and you played for most of the night with a couple of our residents doing a warm up.

I think it worked very well and we now have a series of extra nights lined up for Fridays - A regular last Friday of the month with club residents doing extended concert spots and others I am keeping for such as yourselves, George and any wandering acts we may be able to
book at reasonably short notice (Ie < 3 months.) It must be made quite clear that this is NOT for regular club artists who make their annual visit but for acts we would not normaly have on for one reason or another.

I will start a new thread on that, honest, but I have a lot going on at the moment that will become apparant in the new thread later this week.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 11:42 AM

yes I have played Daves folk club,and it was enjoyable,.I played for a flat fee,
normally I play for a flat fee or if the organiser is happy with it ,a flat fee against 80 per cent of the door, whichever is greater.
I remarked that I found it annoying,different prices for different guests at the same folk club,because it can give a wrong impression about the quality of the artists,and what the punter may be paying for is the extra agents fees.
I have been performing for 35 years,and have never found it necessary to use an agent,as far as i,m concerned they are parasites.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 11:46 AM

I agree, Dick. We never book through agents. The difference in price is what the artists charge us NOT agents fees.

D.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,ian
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 12:23 PM

BOO HOO


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 12:58 PM

Agents are not parasites - that's just purile. Like performers they do a day's work for an day's pay. Full time artists are often unable or unwilling to book gigs because they don't have the skills, the contacts or - once they get busy - the time. Remember, agents work for artists, not the other way round. If we didn't need them they could not survive. And prices are NOT hiked to pay agents. The reason is this: Only artists who can command higher fees can afford to hire an agent.

Market forces set the price. Get used to it.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 01:20 PM

peurile equals childish,you may have a different opinion to me but that doesnt make my opinion childish .
sorry your talking rot,when I was running a folk club I booked both Ewan Maccoll and peggy seeger ,Martin Carthy. Artists of the highest calibre,and booked all of them without the use of an agent,in fact Martin used to be booked regularly and I never used an agent.
if a performer normally charges 150 or 200 the agents commission is going to be an extra,if the agent is working on a percentage basis,its in his interest to make the fee as high as possible,that way he gets more.
now we have the internet ,and promotion is nearly free,lets hope agents become redundant.
And then we had the agents who used to pretend that therewas a years waiting list for certain artists when there wasnt,thats just dishonest.,it may be good business but its dishonest and has no place on the folk scene.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,guest2
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 02:00 PM

Captain, your 2/6 in 1966 is now £4.50p
I have an agent, and I've always had an agent. I pay the agent to take all the rejections, the "Can't stand him" comments, the shit that all people looking for bookings have to take. All I get from the agent is the GOOD news. This is worth money to me which I am happy to pay my agent. If I worked without an agent I would charge exactly the same fee. I pay my agent out of MY pocket. All the people I work for have no problem with this. If I had to chase around after my own gigs I'd have worn myself out years ago.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 02:03 PM

I know lots of lovely agents.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 02:23 PM

not agent provacateurs, I hope.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: greg stephens
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 02:45 PM

A huge number of venues book virtually all their acts through agents. So, if you're a performer and want the work from those promoters, you need an agent. That's the way it works. Yes it costs you money, but it will extend the work you do, and shield you from a certain amount of hassle.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:07 PM

but it has nothing to do with folk music,it belongs in the world of the Don Ardens and pop music,its all about money,and commercialism.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:16 PM

Take a look at the types of wages you've been discussing here and tell us what's in it for an agent. How much would you be willing to give for an agents services?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: greg stephens
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:19 PM

Cap'n: don't knock all agents. My very wonderful Irish agent brought the Boat Band to gigs in Ballydehob, Skull, Ahakista, Bantry, Kilcrohane, Skibbereen, Baltimore, Cape Clear, Shirkin, Clonakilty, Durrus, Castletownsend etc etc etc. Now, isn't that a lovely thing? Well, it was for me anyway.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,guest 2
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:32 PM

Captain, I recently did a gig where I broke the percentage and earned £300. I paid my agent £45. He has to book a lot of gigs to make a living! It's not about the Don Ardens. Agents for folk artists are just as nice people as club organisers and the club audience. We're all doing our best to keep alive something we treasure. it's bitter people like yourself that don't help us.
Chill out man!! ( as we used to say)


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:36 PM

I saw part of your gig in Ballydehob,.
MAY 4 5 6 2007,Ballydehob JAZZ FESTIVAL www.ballydehobjazzfestival.com
no agents involved,and also ballydehob trad festival,april 20 21 22.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,guest 2
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:36 PM

And I should add captain, that by breaking the percentage I left the club a nice profit. What's wrong with that for God's sake?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 04:26 AM

the folkscene has no room for dishonesty,the agent who used to pretend to folk club organisers,that two well known performers had a years waiting list, when they didnt, was being dishonest.
I am not bitter, neither do I need to chillout,I have a different opinion to you.,So can you be polite please.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 04:46 AM

There are dishonest agents, unprofessional performers and crap organisers. I agree captain that there is no room for the such, but hey, they exist - that's life. It doesn't make all agents, performers or organisers bad. Rules need not cater for the exceptions, and any generalisation is bound to contain risk.
Thankfully there are very few of them, the majority striving honestly to variously make a living/further the cause of folk, and having (and giving) fun in the process.

It is not the mechanism used to calculate the artist's fee that is the issue, IMHO; I have at different times been paid using just about every possible permutation, and I am always happy to accept whichever mechanism the club booking me feels most comfortable with (and I would bet pound to a dollar that this holds true for the majority of performers).

No, the issue I believe is whether the booking is successful in leaving both parties happy at the end. It is both a commercial and a social transaction, and both elements should be treated satisfactorily, for it to be successful. And it is hard to complete a successful transaction if one party approaches the other with suspicion and antagonism.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 08:00 AM

I agree ,and out of the thousands of gigs I have done,I find it difficult to recall bad gigs,.I see nothing wrong with flat fee against 80 per cent whichever the higher ,providing both parties are agreeable,and that the 20 percent allows for the promoters expenses, room hire, etc.
since the definition of a parasite is one who lives on another,perhaps its the performer with the agent who is the parasite.anyway I agree there must be good agents as well as bad.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 08:00 AM

300


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,guest 2
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 08:35 AM

Once again Birdseye, I have to point something out to you. The percentage only kicks in when the organiser has taken out all the costs of the gig ie PA if one is hired, room hire etc. Therefore when we leave the 20% if we've broken the % deal, it is ALL profit.
What is galling is that sometimes a "big" name group or artist will not agree a fair basic against a %, will demand a high guarantee that is not covered by the door charge, and waltz of with the 20% the more accomodating artist has left.
But that's life as George says. Nothing is perfect. I hope this thread has enabled you and others to see that there is always another side to things.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 11:34 AM

guest2 I am well aware of both sides of the problem having been both sides of the fence.

you rose to the bait,and produced a very good argument,as I thought someone would.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST, Exhausted
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 01:48 PM

One thing that does annoy me is the 10% of club organisers who never answer the phone, return calls, or answer emails. They plainly screen out people they don't already know - but we poor artists have to go on and on trying, because there are now so few clubs around that we need to bottom out every potential gig if we're to create viable trips. With many clubs closing, or stopping booking guests, or no longer meeting weekly, gigs on consecutive nights an acceptable distance apart are getting harder and harder to find.

Even when you ask politley about a particualr date, these people remain silent - but you can't move on to the next (less well-placed) gig until you know for sure. They may just be on holiday. I'm like a terrier me, and, usually, eventually I'll get through, get the gig and the audience love me (well, I can hope!) - but just think how many good artists must be just giving up, and how many new members these might have brought to the club, and how much fun everyone could have had.

Not answering is not only rude and unfair on artists (it pushes the average hunting time per gig up from about one hour to over two) but it's also an abuse of what is effectively a little monopoly, an incumbency of a town/club. People who treat a club like their own private property, and don't look to the future of folk music and the survival or the tradition are really being dogs in a manger, because no-one else can set up in competition else both clubs will fail.

How long does it take to say 'thanks but no thanks?'


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,guest 2
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 02:15 PM

A very good post that shows why artists need agents.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 02:45 PM

I can spend one week on the telephone and pretty well lay out a year's work. I don't enjoy it but I can do it. Those who have difficulty finding work this way should probably be trying some other method. Snail mail, e-mail, use a friend or hire an agent.
Some venues don't talk to agents and some only talk to agents. Whichever choice you make will be the right choice for yourself.
Having said that:- I'm sure the telephone company gave the agents the exact same book as they gave me.

Wee Tip: When you're in another state/province/country, it's not a bad idea to bring their phone books home with you.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 02:56 PM

Guest Exhuasted

>>Not answering is not only rude and unfair on artists <<

Spamming and harrassing an organiser is rude and un-invited, so you deserve what you get.
We don't owe you a living. You have to be good enough to get the living.

maybe you are not good enough.

I normally answer all requests, even if I won't book the artist. I ometimes forget.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST, Knackered
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 03:21 PM

Villan you are SO wrong dear boy - lol! You know me well and you think I'm very good (well you always say so)! And you are of course like 90% of organisers; a perfect Gent / Lady (well, just the first in your case :-).

I'm taking about the 10% who you don't know about. There are some who only ever use an answering machine. Now you could say that if you've not had a response in say three weeks then you're not wanted. But it aint that simple. For a start the business of planning tours needs a quicker dialogue, as I said. But also it often turns out that they DO want you, but were away (many bookers are retired and retire to hotter climes at times). Some of these Silent Few I've even played for in the past, and have been promised another gig. People move, get divorced, change their numbers. It's hard to tell who is awol and who is a Silent Phew.

I am in fact a pretty well known artist who headlines festivals and gets played on the radio. I don't expect every club to want or like me, of course, but many do. I've been at it a good while now, but there are still quite a few clubs I've never even managed to speak to. I can pretty much guarantee that the audience will be happy I was booked when I am - but I can't get booked if they don't answer the phone! It's not spamming to try to find out if you're up for a gig this year or not, or to try to find out if the word has spread yet to some cub you've not yet managed to play. If you knew my name you would be surprised that there are still a lot of clubs who have never heard of me - or others working at my level. Because they don't get out much.

These things need to be discussed. We're fighting a rearguard action here fellas.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 03:27 PM

"I can spend one week on the telephone and pretty well lay out a year's work."

That's incredible. Do you do play uk clubs for a living?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 03:39 PM

No. Given the Geography, the U.K. would be easy.
The point was, I can do it. Some can't, so rthey should do it some other way.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 03:44 PM

of course,there will always be the clubs,where you should get booked[you do the sort of material that the regulars like] but dont, members of the club have come up to me and said, why dont you do our club.,
in my particular case its LEIGH ON SEA.,in the end I regard it as their loss not mine,.
and like the previous guest there are one or two that promised me gigs [they know who they are], but not being a hastler,I cant be bothered,.
i,d rather go out and busk,and be appreciated purely for my music.
or play the clubs where people like me.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 03:59 PM

He he Guest Exhausted, i think i know who you are, but I wont embarress myself by possibily being wrong. There aren't many like you LOL. see you soon


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST, Not complaining
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 03:31 AM

Jim Lad - you plainly know nothing about UK clubs - or geography! Most of the time when I'm not on the road playing is taken up with arranging bookings. It's two to three hours most evenings I'm not gigging, and three to five hours at the weekend. (Plus the email, letter and website work in the daytimes). It's a constant, never-ending struggle, even for well-known people, because there are way too many acts (many of whom are not doing it for a living, so don't need a working wage, but are still very good and have just as much right to the gig as me, for whatever fee they fancy) and nothing like enough clubs to keep us all occupied at a viable rate. So not only is it hard to find gigs, even the keen ones are in a buyers market. THEY can organise a years work, with top names, in an evening - and still be unable to fit in most of the people they really wanted to book. So woe betide any artist who misses that window. Fail to get through at the right moment and suddenly the door's shut till next year. Spend a month on tour, miss the AGM season, and woops, you've got an empty diary.

But the gigs do come in - of course, or we couldn't do it at all (and my diary is nicely full thankyou, thanks to many wonderful, courteous and efficient and kind organisers, like Mr Villan)!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Teribus
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 05:26 AM

What a marvellous thread, it is absolutely wonderful to hear about so many well run Clubs.

On the punter side of things, regarding folk clubs in England, I have mainly encountered clubs on "locals" nights where they have a whip round (£1) and/or a raffle. Now being an ex-sailor, my "universal" currency is the "POAP" (Price Of A Pint), everything is guaged, no matter where in the world, to this cost. I go to a hitherto unknown (By me) Folk Club, I most certainly would not begrudge buying my Host (The Club Funds/Kitty) a drink (1POAP) to enjoy the company and entertainment of the place, after all I am there for a couple of reasons, to enjoy myself and also possibly pick up new material (Some of my favourite songs have been collected this way).

On the performing side of things, the band I am part of is lucky enough to have a Resident Spot that guarantees two gigs per week, often more, over the course of each year. We do take on "outside" gigs and due to the country, the following terms apply:
- Travel is paid
- Set up and sound check on arrival
- A meal is provided before the performance
- Refreshments are either provided or supplied at a discounted rate
- The gig is played for a flat fee.

The standard for these outside gigs works out about £150 per musician, at full strength we can be as many as six. The really well known bands always play for % as they know they are going to stack them to the rafters. As a band we have never played in a Folk Club although we only play what you would term as being "traditional folk". We use what we earn here to subsidise our trips to play at Festivals (Trans Atlantic/UK/Europe/Scandinavia). The renumeration we get from the various festivals that we have played very rarely covers costs, but we feel that the exposure we get is worth the investment, and the whole experience is normally considered as a sort of holiday. We also, as a group get to meet some fantastic people.

Villain's Club sounds marvellous, but if memory serves me correctly from another thread, he tends to favour singer/songwriters, and while we do write some of our own material, we mainly perform the "traditional" stuff, so it would probably be in the guise of the punter that I would visit.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: The Villan
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 05:42 AM

Teribus
I wouldn't be able to afford you band at £150 a person x 6 = £900.

Normally have a limit of 70 people.

The band would have to be the tops, if I was charging lets say £14 a ticket.

I do book traditional performers (or I think I do). What I don't book is A Capella performers.

AS the club is a platform club in concert style, its inevitable that a lot of singer/songwriters appear at the club.

Basically, if I think the style of the performer will suit the club and I like what the act does, then I will try to book them at some point.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Teribus
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 07:07 AM

Thanks for clearing up that misconception I had regarding your Club Villain.

With regard to fees paid, where we play they are fairly well regulated and standardised, having said that our fees for the resident gigs we play in "our Pub" work out at about half that, the Pub has provided us with a home (for years) and a constant outlet for our talents so we feel it only fair, our costs being low as we are on home ground so to speak. There is no cover charge, there is no surcharge on drink served (as I have seen done in some pubs in Holland if a live band is playing). The owner of the pub only makes his money on the increase in custom over the bar on the occasions when we play (typically £4000 over the four hour period of the gig - unfortunately most of that he gets from us!).

As I said we have never, as a band, played a Folk Club, we normally play Pubs and Festivals, and have also played with Choirs hosting some type of "Themed" Concert (Scottish/Irish).

This year we are sticking very much to Europe as in 2008 we hope to organise a "proper" tour in Australia/New Zealand, where hopefully we can get invited to play at some festivals and folk clubs. This will most likely mean that we will have to use the services of an agent, which again will be a first, as up to now they have proved to be unnecessary.

Good luck and the best of fortune with your club.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 08:57 AM

Not complaining: Yes you are! Start enjoying the competition. Embrace them wholeheartedly. They're keeping you in a job no matter how much or how little they charge or how good/bad you may think they are.
I stand by my previous post. "I can spend one week on the telephone and pretty well lay out a year's work." & "Given the Geography, the U.K. would be easy."
Sorry; That's Just the way it is. The fact is that when I'm going at it full time, scheduling time off becomes a problem.
If you're looking for new places all of the time, your going to run into difficulties. Be more of a farmer than a hunter.
As for not knowing the U.K. ..... You're joking. Right?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 09:02 AM

Teribus: Be very careful if you intend heading out to Europe with the help from an agent. Double check everything he/she books.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST, Not complaining
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 12:05 PM

Obviously I don't only play clubs or I'd have starved long ago. Just did a little count up:

Total clubs on my database: 368 - which breaks down as...

40 Clubs where I have future bookings (done many of these 2,3 or even 4 times)
77 clubs I've played in the last 4 years (many 2,3 or even 4 times) and expect to go back.
53 Clubs where I've not yet secured a booking but who say they want me soon.
51 Clubs I've not got that far with yet (some I've not speaken to yet, eg Scotland)
23 Clubs that have said no thankyou (23? Good grief!)
28 Clubs that never book guests (probably many more because I don't log all these)
66 Clubs that have closed in the past 4 years

Now is that interesting or very very boring?

Um..


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 12:11 PM

What is interesting is that you are keeping track. That's a good thing. Hopefully, you do branch out to other types of venues.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 12:30 PM

Festivals (lots), village halls (not enough but they pay well), arts centres and theatres. No pubs, schools, hospitals or busking. I'm still alive. Just.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 12:35 PM

No pubs?


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 12:41 PM

The point being, I suppose, is that there are 181 clubs I need to speak to reasonably frequently because when I do catch them at the right moment (not often) there may be work in anything from 2 to 18 months time. Some clubs have a 3 year cycle, some have work annually. Som don't have a system, just book the next person who calls when they feel like it. People are often out listening to or playing music, or shopping or whatever. So that means multiple phone calls to catch them in. I only ever leave messages with people who I know will be happy to have them. Not many. And you can't do a sales pitch to an ansafone anyway - you need to ask questions before you present what you do. Also many organisers are chums and like a chat, as do I. Then there are the clubs who have changed the booker - so you have to start again. Others where the number I have is wrong, or I have no number, so I have to google or ring someone who might know. Then there's the follow-up emails, updating the database with the state of play at each club (new emails, new websites - some people seem to change these all the time), updating my own website with bookings etc etc. I really AM Not Complaining, but I just thought is would be useful for people to people know this is what it takes to play folk music full time. An agent would be wonderful but al the ones I've tried have not worked as hard as I'm prepared to. I envy you Jim. A year's work in a week. You lucky man!


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 12:43 PM

Pubs are too noisy for what I do. Needs a silent attentive audience with no distractions.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 12:55 PM

Well I've been playing in Canada for 27 years. One phone call can get me 4 months work for 6 days a week. Another can give me 2 months at six days a week. If you choose an environment where the audience changes daily, i.e. tourist driven, you can accomplish this. Doesn't sound like you need an agent. Sounds like you're doing just fine actually.
Point to note with the Hospitality trade. When you get a long standing gig, try to get them to take you on as an employee. Drop your wage depending on how many days a week you work and you're now paying into pension plans, employment insurance and so on. In the right venue you can easily live off your sales.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 01:12 PM

Ah I see - nice one.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 01:24 PM

Guest: If you go to my web-site and take a look at the guest book entries, you will see a number of entries from people I met at the Yellow Cello. It's just a 60 seat Pizza place where I had such a deal for five summers. This sixty seat restaurant pushed 250 customers per night and 3 or 4 years later, I still receive mail from customers on a weekly basis.
If those opportunities don't exist in the U.K. then it's never been easier to travel to Europe. In most Tourist spots the average stay in any given hotel is one and a half nights. It's not such a hard sell if you choose the right spot.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 03:28 PM

This thread has given me much food for thought and I have to say that as soon as we start discussing percentages versus flat rates, whether we all agree or not; we are admitting one thing. There is a cash flow problem. I don't think it was always this way but I am wondering how we can solve it.


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Subject: RE: Performers fees (% or flat fee?)
From: GUEST,George
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 05:17 PM

Hmm I agree


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