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How Far would you drive to a Gig ?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Doley50, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Doley50


    Sep 4, 2005
    I am in a Rock/Pop Cover band, your basic bar band. Although We do work pretty steady. ( Well I think ? ) 2 shows a week on average.
    The guy who does our bookings , booked us a gig that is a 2.5-3 hour drive!
    From my perspective it comes down to pay and maybe I am wrong, but with all the expenses subtracted we will be lucky to clear 100.00 apiece. Which is less then our usual pay.
    So I am curious what your throughts are about this. While I have made it a pledge to never argue about money, when I think about putting in almost a 12 hour day for less then 100.00 it kind of makes me kind of sad. lol !
  2. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    This is nuts and your booking agent is no different than others I've encountered. He gets his money no matter where you guys play ... down the street or in the next state. Time to have a talk with the band and the booking agent. Personally, I'd turn it down and let 'em get a sub. But I wouldn't be in this spot in the first place.
  3. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    It's the drive back that'll get ya!!! You may have to get a room depending on your situation and there goes your $100. The pay would have to increase drastically for me to drive that long.
  4. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    You want me to go for a 6 hour drive (hundreds of miles on my car I assume) to work 4 hours for under $100. I would tell your agent flat out "get fudged" because you are not going to earn more than $25 after the whole day is done and all expenses are figured in. You could get a job building Squiers for Samick that pays better than that.
  5. I would do it- I used to do it for less than $100. But let the booking agent know that the pay has to go up soon or the gig isn't worth it. A 3-hour one-way drive was our limit for regular bookings, although we did do some work that was 5 to 6 hour one-way drive, we spent the night in a hotel. Pay was terrible for those gigs, but the festival was fun to play at.
  6. I only take road gigs that pay mileage, and cover a hotel if it's over 150 miles one way.

    But these days, I don't do road gigs at all.
  7. 12hrs for $100?

    Never - Absolutely Not!!
  8. Heheh, people are pretty adamant about this. Come to think of it, I did quit that band that was making me travel so much.
  9. wmheilma


    Jan 5, 2010
    Can your whole band take one vehicle? That might help you get more for the low pay. Also is this a venue where you can sell merchandise our win new fans? Maybe it's worth it...
  10. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    I have no problem traveling 3-5 hours for a gig, but the pay needs to reflect the extra time commitment. I typically get 300-350 for anything over two hours and most times an option for a free room if I want to stay over night rather then drive home.

    Let your agent know that it's not cool. We have a good one. You can find a good one too if your current agent can't get you what you want/need. (I play in a covers band. Rock and country mix. Most road trips are for good paying weddings or small town festivals.)

    Good luck!
  11. I do 1 hour drive / 50 mile maximum for 100 bucks minimum. Beyond that, I want some extra coin. As always, there are exceptions.
  12. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    6 hours one way is my limit, and if the gig ends after 7pm there should be a hotel thrown into the package as well.
  13. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Screw that. I just gave my two months' notice to my group which has been doing alternating weekend out-of-town shows since September (I subbed out half of them), and wanted me to commit to doing it every 3 to 4 weeks long term.

    As far as the booking agent goes, he can make more money on for travel shows, but his commission doesn't include any expenses (fuel, food, lodging, per diems) and then all the costs that are impossible to measure, chiefly of time away from family. In my case, making $150 or $200 on a gig wasn't worth being away from them for the weekend. Even larger national touring acts are having a hard time being profitable with high fuel costs and other expenses and a number are just barely eking out of the red. It's all about what's worth it to you.

  14. xUptheIronsx

    xUptheIronsx Conform or Be Cast Out....

    Feb 6, 2010
    C-ville, Col, Ohio
    I would never drive more than 4 hours to play a gig. If there was a desirable show further, I would try to make a "mini-tour" out of it. Find a place half way, play that the night before, stay overnight somewhere, and play the main gig the next day. Possibly play on the way back, or just make the drive back after the main gig.

    Since I always play in original bands, most of the away gigs like this are to gain footholds in other markets, so the immediate pay off is small, other than fun and making connections, but the long term is (usually) better
  15. Insane. There is no good reason to take the gig.
  16. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Any competent booking agent would understand about time & expenses because they've done this before. They would have asked the band up front, before signing an agency contract, what their limits are for distance vs. pay. Many bands don't think of such things up front, & some people get so excited about just "working" that they don't care what they have to do for a gig. This is something that really needs to be considered before it happens.

    Sit down with a map & figure out some "zones" around your local area based on approximate drive time. Don't feel that your zone boundaries need to be precise - if there's a sizable town with lots of gig opportunities just outside a nominal zone boundary, go ahead & stretch the zone to included it.

    Figure out a rough guess of what it's likely to cost you to haul people & gear to & from a gig in each zone & share this information with your agent so that he can price those gigs accordingly. For example, you might have an inner "local" zone, where you can get there or back in an hour or less. Another zone might be up to 3 hours away, while a 3rd zone might be 5 hours away. Set up some basic rules for gigs in each area. In Zone 1, for example, you might instruct your agent that they can take any gig that pays $XXX or more. Zone 2 might be your base plus something for travel time & gas. Zone 3 might be base + mileage + overnight lodging + food.

    Also, consider setting a minimum number of consecutive nights within a certain distance of each other for gigs in certain zones. Maybe allow less for travel if sound, lights, backline, food, lodging, etc. are provided. For anything outside of your local zone, your agent should have to call first for your approval before committing the band.

    I always like to say, "The music is free - it's what we like to do, anyway. What you're paying for is loading, transporting, setting up, & operating the gear!" If you think about it that way, you can set up a "travel surcharge" system that's similar to what a freight/delivery company might use.
  17. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Funny this thread came up. I have a gig this weekend in SC (I live in VA). BL has rented a 15 passenger van and trailer for the gear. We also have hotel accomodations. So no money coming out my pocket. I'll be clearing $200 for this one. BL is only doing this one as an exposure thing. Would be more money but we don't have our own sound so we have to rent. So that's about $400-$500 right there that would have been divided by 9 (aprox. an extra $50 per).

    For a gig where I'd have to drive that far...........nah....unless I'm getting gas and hotel money!
  18. Doley50


    Sep 4, 2005
    I realized that my post was a little misleading because of the way I worded it. This show was not booked by an agent, but rather the guitarist who does all the bookings. Also I have to admit that I dropped the ball, When I was first told about the show, I through it was an hour an a half away, and now the guitarist is talking about renting a Van and going down together. Either way, I am going to have to chalk this up to a learning experience.
  19. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Depends on the ambitions of your band. If you want to be building up a fanbase outside of your local area, you're going to have to travel; but I would assume that would be more in the interests of an originals band trying to "make it," not a local bar band. Do I understand that the $100 would be NET, after paying for your gas and food etc.? I don't know, that's pretty slim pay for the time you're putting in, but I might do it if it was a fun gig and I had no other demands on my time.

    I have also heard stories about booking agents that you have to "pay your dues" with doing things like this. If you show them that you can play a gig in Rhode Island TONIGHT because someone cancelled, you get a gold star and they give you the plum gigs next time. If you turn it down, you sink to the bottom of their priorities. But that's just what I've heard, not sure I would accept such a deal - never played in a group with a booking agent myself.
  20. The furthest I've ever driven was about an hour and a half, one way. In retrospect I should have told the band leader I wasn't doing it. I think I pocketed about 30 bucks from that gig when everything was said and done (yes, that band never went anywhere and soon broke up after that, as you could expect).

    Your agent should be tacking on a hefty travel surcharge if he's going to book you that far away. I mean, like a 100% surcharge at minimum.

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