We were told about a brand new idea recently, an idea that may well help bands get paid for gigs, instead of them having to play for nothing, or even ‘Pay to Play’.
The idea is called ‘Con£ribute’ and is the brainchild of local promoter John Knowles. John explains his ideas below and we at Pierless Music would like to know what you think about them. We think this has the potential to be a great idea, but what do you think?
Incidentally, the first local Con£ribute gig is being held at The Roomz, St Leonards on Sunday, 27th April and features ‘Dead Belgian’, playing the songs of Jacques Brel.
Imagine the scene, the gig has been great, everyone loved the band and encores have been played, the bar looks at the takings and gives up the 10% it promised to the band and low and behold it’s a staggering £30… which as the band has come down from Liverpool via a gig in London, is something of a slap in the face. So doing my promoter bit, I go round and shake the bucket and watch as people drop in silver coins, no notes and then a handful of copper coins… Really! That’s it? Copper coins for a band you’ve just made do an encore, whilst you hug your pint of ‘nadgers old peculiar’.
It won’t be the first or last time that despite having paid for the posters and offering bed and board and food to the band, that I’ll also be chipping in with my own cash to make the offering a little less embarrassing and it won’t be the last time that I take out the copper coins so at least the band doesn’t see the shameful offering, but it shouldn’t be like this, should it.
Why is it when we go to a gig, in this, one of the most musical towns in the UK, do we expect to pay the band nothing, or as good as, why are the musicians who have entertained you for the night worth less than the price of a pint. Why don’t we / you Con£ribute.
Many venues do of course pay the bands and whilst those of us on both sides would like the fee’s to be better, we respect that it’s a tough environment for publicans and compromise is the middle man. But for many venues, paying a decent amount for a band, an amount we know would be fair, is just not a working possibility. For many bands and promoters we’d rather be out there playing than doing what we love than not. But there has to be a better way, a fairer way, a way in which the band gets more than a pint and a derisory hand full of coins.
Con£ribute is an idea, a simple way to signal that the gig you are at needs your support. It says this venue loves live music and supports bands, but can’t give them more than 10% from the till, it says, if you like the music you heard then Con£ribute.
Con£ribute is not a get out for venues to pay nothing, it’s a support for hard working bands and musicians and a help to venues and promoters who are genuinely trying to do their best by the musicians. So when you see the sign in the window CON£RIBUTE, it means when the bucket comes round put in the price of a pint £2.50 / £3.00, it doesn’t mean pull out a handful of copper coins.
CON£RIBUTE is an idea and we welcome your views; is it workable, do you think it’s fair, as a punter would you honestly put in a fair amount or would you be tempted to just shrug your shoulders, lets start a small revolution, pay the piper the price of a pint?
Con£tribute is an idea from Fetch, a local company specialising in live events:
Contact them via: firstname.lastname@example.org
So, what do you think? Please let us know.