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How much to ask for a Memorial day gig?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by smeet, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    So I've never done any booking, and I find myself in a cover band where we are all sharing booking duties. So we have been asked by a venue (kind of a biker bar kinda place) how much we charge to play about 3 hours on Memorial Day. We play classic rock and some soul from the 60's through the 90's, 4 people in the band. The stage is going to be outside I believe.

    We are a new band, we've played a few gigs at one small bar but nowhere else yet. We sound good and tight, have good vocal harmonies (we all sing to some extent) and get people up and dancing. We don't have much of a following yet, but it doesn't matter, as the bar is a bit out of our area (about a 1-1.5 hour drive).

    They will provide a drink and a meal for each of us. So, assuming they provide the PA, how much should we ask for the gig? We don't want to scare them off as I don't know if they have had a lot of live music there yet, and it seems like a cool place. Good paying bar gigs don't grow on trees out here, this ain't the Midwest. But we don't want to get taken either.
  2. How much do bands cost in your area? Pretend you’re throwing a party and call the best band in town then charge about the same as them.

    Don’t go in too low, its easier to “cut them a deal” if you’ve got some room to come down, but also have a floor price and be ready to say “Sorry, you’ll have to get a DJ for that price”
    RBrownBass, Oddly and smeet like this.
  3. "assuming they provide pa?"
    "the stage is going to be outside I believe."
    "they're going to provide a drink and a meal"

    My friend, these statements lead to a lot more questions.

    Are you really going to drive 1.5 miles to find out if you have a pa?

    If it is provided, who will Set it up?
    Who will run it?
    Is it adequate?
    Do YOU have a pa?

    If it is outside, where is your electricity coming from?
    Are they providing 2000 ft of Walmart extension cords to run from a kitchen? Do they have a kitchen?
    What is the original source of power?
    Will they run the cords for you?
    What if it rains? Will you then move inside? Is there room inside? If you cant play inside will you still get paid?

    What kind of meal? A bottle of water and a hotdog?

    I'm not trying to be a downer here but these are legitimate questions.
    3 hrs is a lot of time and 1.5 hours aint that bad but its not down the street.
    At the very least, call them back and get definite answers for all of the q's.
    If you have the time, GO THERE and check out everything.

    You might make some great friends out of this or you might find yourself in a labor intense, nerve wracking, impossible experience.

    No less than $500.00.
    Good luck.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
    getrhythm, kartiste, AndyLES and 15 others like this.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    3 hr. total drive for a 3 hr. gig? Double whatever price you decide on.
  5. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Memorial Day has never been any different price wise for us. I'd be aiming for $100 /player minimum for a startup.

    We don't even bother doing a gig that weekend anymore. Most folks stay in and have a party at their house rather than go out. Most of the bars around here are kinda dead...
    MrLenny1, Slough Feg Bass and climber like this.
  6. oldrocker


    Feb 13, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    Seems kind of far away, how did you find this bar? I mean why would they need an unknown band with no following from that far away to play their bar?

    But to answer your original question, for a show this far away we would probably ask 1.5 times our regular rate.
  7. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    The big biker bar here pays bands $300 flat...period...take it or leave it. ANd 10% of that goes to the old lady who books the bands. SO the bands net $270. They have 2 or 3 bands every Sat & Sun. Holidays pay the same rate there. Personally I hate playing that place-we played it once and said "never again"....too many Harleys revving, too many drunk bikers, it's outside, and the owner is an intolerable twit. Most of the bands that play it are 3 or 4 pc blues bands...they all sound the same. :)
  8. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Nope. No way I'm playing for $300. We charge a premium for holiday gigs. How good is your band? I say...ask for $800 and if they go down to $600....take it.
  9. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    Since you say you're relatively new, it's gonna be difficult to make too many demands. If PA is provided with legit sound dude, minimum 100 bucks per person after travel costs.
    JMacBass65 and Chains like this.
  10. Grumry


    Jul 6, 2016
    Over 9000.
    DavetheDude, Indexed, Felken and 5 others like this.
  11. Chains


    Jan 22, 2014
    So many questions at this point and great points by the other members who have posted. With all of this uncertainty, I would ask for a contract, detailing every aspect. Of course, you don't want to turn them off by asking for a contract.

    I would not want you to get stiffed because "you didn't bring a crowd" or "the bar was slow" or any other reason a bar manager might think of.
    bobunit, cableguy and Stumbo like this.
  12. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    That's a good round number!
  13. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Not a big night for extra money, and they are providing the pa. Charge standard rate, do well, and get more gigs there.
    JMacBass65 and PortlandBass77 like this.
  14. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    3 hours of music with breaks? So like 45 songs? At least $500. Unless you just love to play. Like me. Then no charge :)
    JMacBass65 likes this.
  15. snarebear


    Apr 19, 2012
    I d do it for $100 per person and $25 each for gas
    JMacBass65 and climber like this.
  16. $100 per person + gas.
    JMacBass65 and climber like this.
  17. JW_Manhattan

    JW_Manhattan Banned

    Feb 8, 2017
    Wasn't that the rate in 1975?
  18. rocu


    Jan 28, 2015
    Missoula, MT
    It's a big summer weekend. Any band I'm in would charge $200 per person plus another 200 if we do sound plus meals and probably accommodations.

    Summer weekends are scarce in Montana and don't come cheap.
    Session1969 likes this.
  19. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Thanks for the replies, guys.

    OK, to fill in some of the gaps:

    Yes, we intend to call them back and learn some of the particulars before committing to anything. This all started when the guitarist had a casual chat with the bartender today, and unexpectedly they sent an email asking us to play just a few hours later. That was a lot faster than most bars around here (understatement). So we were caught unprepared.

    What you guys are saying falls in line with what we were thinking - $400 at a minimum, $800 probably the most we can ask for. We're thinking of asking for $600 (if we use their PA) and seeing how it goes. But we'll wait until some of the questions are answered.

    We are in LA, so a 1.5 hour drive can mean 10 miles (no joke). In this case though, it's 50 miles away. If traffic is good, it could be quick to get there, but LA...

    I don't think they are expecting us to bring a crowd, I think they want us to entertain and keep their crowd of bikers there, which I think we can do. We have a 45-minute version of Born to be Wild so that should take care of set 1. :D

    Sadly, live music in LA doesn't have the same value as it does in the heartland. At all. This bar is a bit up in the mountains, so hopefully that's different.

    The guitarist just emailed them and asked for $600, so we'll see what happens.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
    CB3UK, tbz, johnson79 and 5 others like this.
  20. I have no idea. I'd be lucky to get that much though seeing how little most bands are paid.
    Spidey2112 likes this.