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Support your local scene. Because without them you wouldn’t have your favorite bands.

You will pay $30 to $50 to go see a band play one song you heard on the radio…. but you won’t pay $5 to $7 to see local bands? Hmmm, this disturbs me, terribly. It bothers me

because these bands have to make a living somehow.

The reason why venues pay cover charges is because they want the bands to be the DIY person and bring the crowd to the bar.  However, there are some that do a “NO COVER CHARGE” and provide bands guarantees. So let’s look at the pros and cons and see if we can’t come to a resolution…

Warren Jeffrey Motter of warrenjeffreymotter.com states “ I believe that a minimum guarantee (with additional finds above and beyond for x number of attendees) is the best solution.”

Timothy J Bednarz, Gundacker Project : “No band should be given a guarantee. The cover needs to be fair and the bands need to be paid fairly. Proof of performance should decide wage”

Greg Shaffer of The Factory Underground states “From a venue stand point, we definitely prefer paying our acts off of cover charges. It would be wonderful to be able to give every group a guarantee but in today’s competitive music environment it would be difficult to stay in business if we payed every band that simply brings their girlfriends a large lump sum.”

Ok, so we have the band standpoint, the management company standpoint, and of course the venue standpoint.  So let’s take to the fans because of course the bands want a guarantee ( and please don’t take this the wrong way) because they don’t believe in the pay to play it’s more of PROMOTE TO PLAY. You then have the management company who states that they should also have a guarantee and I get that. But honestly I don’t see a guarantee being of value unless the band comes to a happy medium as well.  On the other side you have the venue that prefers cover charges. I know that there are some venues that will pay extra if the venue makes out very well, but not all venues are like that.

So here is what the fans have to say…..

CJ Marsicano of Hazleton, PA “I have a bit of a nightmare situation insofar as cover versions from when I was in my last-ever cover band. In at least two different places we were playing for the door, which would have been at least okay if it weren’t for one complication. In the two places in question, the band would be in one part of the building where you’d have to get a charge to come in, and there was another section (just a bar area) where one could see but not hear the band – and not have to pay a cover charge to get into the bar. Guess where most of the people were! Thankfully, karma intervened on both of these places, neither of which are operating anymore.  So my advice would be, if you’re playing for the door (cover charge), beware of places where there’s a cover charge in one part of the building but not another!”

 Francine L. Davis of Grand Rapids, MI and of Supporting Music World Wide  “That’s good thing to know .. which is why I  go to places early if they have a cover charge cause some times I get lucky and don’t have to pay it.  Going to a place early has 3 advantages to it; 1) to get a good seat, 2) weather  and 3) if they are a venue that serves food. ”

Kenny of  New Jersey states “ I’d pay a cover if the band was good… I always have.  I would pay a 10 or 20 cover to see good original bands… because tix for concerts these days are through the roof on price… 10 or 20 is a bargain.”

Jaspa of Heads Up Rock Show (UK)  “Out here we call them Entrance Fee and its the best way of support”

Thomas Jenney Barberton Ohio:  I am of two minds when it comes to cover charges versus guarantees. Having been an “art for art’s sake” leaning on my “artistic integrity” and unwillingness to compromise, and coming from an extremely rough market to play in. I also was a music venue owner for ten years, and was probably the antithesis of my peers because I booked bands based on my quirky outre’ musical tastes, unconcerned about what we took in. I had food and beverage revenue for that. But everyone needs paid. This is a heartless business. Nightclub owners would put a wind up monkey playing cymbals on a chair and sells tickets if people showed up. And one I dealt with judged a “good” band strictly by receipts at the end of the night. I am one of the best guitarists you will ever meet in your life.This is an irrefutable fact. I’ve dealt with it. However, I have no personal guarantee to offer a club owner that every single seat will be full and they will drink your kegs dry. Not in this economy. The strippers are complaining they can’t make it. One of the absolute worst rock bottom bands I ever saw had a huge biker following, played poorly executed Metallica and Lynyrd Skynyrd covers, and lined the curb with bikes whose owner’s drank the bar completely out of beer and liquor so he had to have an emergency booze delivery to open Saturday. The club owner was in bliss and raved what a wonderful band that made them. You will meet many dishonest, incompetent, ruthless, and damaged people in this racket. Cover your ass with both hands.  Correction: I owned my restaurant for 3 years, not ten. multi-tasking and typing.

So I think the bottom line here, or the moral of the story is this. Whether you are given a guarantee, or you are given a cover charge or entrance fee in the UK… please support your local music scene because they are the hardest working people I have come across because some of them are surviving off of this in order to live. I think we can all put ourselves there when we are in that kind of a predicament. Ya’ know?

Until Next Time

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