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Rain-Out and My Band's Response - What Would Yours Have Done?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by jaywa, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Last Saturday night, my band was booked to headline a small town outdoor festival in the town where I went to high school. Nice big stage, good P.A. and lighting all provided (which doesn't happen very often for us). We headlined this same event last year and they liked us so much they hired us back that night for this year.

    After weeks of 95 to 100 degree heat we get to show day and it's barely 70 with a chilly breeze and clouds all day. Turnout is almost nonexistent at $10 a head. The opening act goes on and it starts to sprinkle and they have to stop / cover up their gear about 3 or 4 times till rain stops, then they resume. Finally they pack it in and we have to decide with the promoter what to do cause it's still sprinkling and radar shows several more hours of the same. Promoter offers us to play a stripped down "acoustic" set in a nice (but tiny) clubhouse associated with the golf course the event is on. By "tiny" I mean a small bar (6 stools), about a dozen tables, a half dozen booths and a back party room that could maybe hold 30 more people.

    - BL/singer wants to make sure we get paid so says we need to play... but defers to band on whether to stay outside or go in.

    - Lead guitarist refuses to play outside, but doesn't really want to play inside either cause his way-too-big arena amp rig won't fit in the clubhouse so he would have to play acoustic guitar all night. Doesn't really seem to care if we get paid or not.

    - Rhythm guitarist just wants to pack up and go home especially after he finds out we'd get paid either way.

    - Drummer has no opinion.

    - And my opinion is, hell yeah let's play inside cause the place is packed and a lot of these people paid good money to hear us and we owe them a show even if it's a little more work for us and not the big production they're expecting. On top of which it's the only way the promoter (who provided all the production and hand-built the outdoor stage himself) even has a chance to break even. Yeah there was the extra factor of it being my hometown but I would have felt the same way anyplace else.

    Well thankfully, we did move inside and play and even though the place was small, it was packed out all night with a crowd who was totally into us. We got tons of compliments afterwards, gave out several business cards and I think (but am not sure) are already back on the bill for next year.

    So what would your band have done in this situation?
  2. BelleNoireBass


    Apr 18, 2012
    Bay Area
    Honestly it sounds like the best thing that could have happened in that given situation. Not enough people showed up to make the outdoor show that exciting, but pack everyone in a small bar and rock that ****!

    My band, we probably would have done what you did.
  3. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Yeah that's how I felt afterwards too.

    In fact a big portion of the crowd wound up being a party of about 20 people who had seen us at another show earlier this summer and drove 30 miles to see us. If we had bagged the gig they would have been SOL. And I'm pretty sure the clubhouse owner made his budget for the next couple of months just by those folks being there.
  4. You definitely did the right thing man.
    I would've done the same. Good job!
  5. Ric_thumb60659


    Oct 6, 2011
    The band I'm currently in has had several shows like this over the years (rain out, p.a. Guy doesn't show, arguments on pay etc. ) and every time I'm the first to say let play anyways!! And plus playing in a "bar" setting is always more fun then "festivals" well, to me at least.
  6. dmonroe


    Jun 16, 2010
    Augusta, GA
    Good Call!
  7. Marginal Tom

    Marginal Tom

    Apr 28, 2010
    O'Fallon, IL
    Somehow, I never get heatstroke, frozen fingers or wet clothes and equipment when I play indoors. I'll always play indoors if I have a choice.
  8. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    We did one in early June. Outdoors in Oregon can be iffy this time of year. It was cloudy and cool but the outdoor seating was full, I'm watching lightning and rain coming down the river towards us as the first set is happening. Deck is still full.

    When the rain kicked in we grabbed gear and scampered inside the pub. Folks in the crown helped out, and it pays to go light on the gear. twenty minutes later we were up and running inside.

    Play on, that's why we came.

    Now, when you get an owner who wants to book you depending on weather, and he's quick to cancel last minute if he thinks the weather won't support the drinking crowd, that's another story.

    Out here, outdoors gig organizers better have a plan for sheltering the gig.
  9. I like to play. Money is fine, but playing is great, so I would vote to play!
  10. The scariest part of this story is "hand-built the outdoor stage himself".

    I would probably have played inside anyway...

  11. TinIndian


    Jan 25, 2011
    Micco Florida
    Being in Florida, when you have a summertime outdoor gig you have to deal with rain all the time. We've had similiar circumstances before and we play. Just the way it is.
  12. the yeti

    the yeti

    Nov 6, 2007
    raleigh, nc
    within reason, whatever the client wanted. to be honest if knowing i was getting paid the same money either way would make not playing a lot easier.
  13. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Actually this hand-built stage was one of the sturdiest stages we have ever played on. The promoter/sound guy spent two days with his crew building it on site.

    Sure beats the flatbed trailers we often get at things like this.
  14. Good Call! Our band would have also gone in and played. It is not always about the money. We figure that good will and getting our name out there is just as important. You never know what kind of contact or fan you may make by doing something a little extra.
    A couple weeks ago we were booked at a outdoor gig. Thirty minutes before we went on, the clouds opened up, wind kicked in and kept it up for about an hour and a half. The promoter of the event asked us if we would wait around and play when it died down. We hung out, the stage was dry and once the lightning stopped and it became just a drizzle, we went on. The crowd in raincoats and umbrellas, stayed with us and we had a great time.
    Turns out there were people there from some other event we had hoped to play at one day. They liked our performance and the way we handled the rain and now we are booked at their event and got two other bookings from some club owners.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Great story! Good on ya for fulfilling your end of the deal and I'm glad you picked up some new business in the bargain.
  16. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    You did the rigght thing and it sucks your bandmates were not with you on it. If your booked and outside and things don't go as planned use plan B if possible and always play the gig if the venue can make it happen. In your case it worked out well but would of not of looked good to the promoter for if took off and were paid without playing.

    My band had an outside gig this past weekend with the same weather. The outside stage is great but inside is small. The owner wanted us inside although it was cool and never rained. We packed in and it was a great night where evewrybody could hear us inside and out thru an open door to the patio. Always try to make a gig work, it will make your band and yourselves look professional.
  17. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Playing, despite bad conditions or small crowds is called "being professional". I have read many interviews with huge stars who said that, when were either on their way up, at the top or on the way down, they played like the place was packed, even though the crowd was almost non-existent. It's in the band's best-interest to play to a small crowd like it's the most important gig they'll ever have because you never know if someone who can make a difference in their career is in the crowd. Also, almost nothing is worse than having a small crowd talking about how bad a band was, just because the crowd was small or unenthusiastic. This can go on for decades and can kill a career.

    I worked with someone who said he went to a Gentle Giant show at a good-sized venue and I think he said they only had about 30 people seated at showtime. Someone in th band came out, looked around and said they would be out in a few minutes but before they did, the crew went out and gave everyone a couple of bottles of Guiness, then they came out and played their butts off. I saw Allan Holdsworth play in a small club to about 40 people. The club that was supposed to hold the show had burned the night before and they had to scramble to find another place, yet they played their butts off, too. Then, when I could completely understand them going back to their rooms to get hammered because of the small crowd, they hung out and talked to anyone who stayed and asked if there was a place with good imported beer. We all went to a German-style bar and hung out until closing. I'm sure he was asked the same old questions for the millionth time, but he didn't cop any kind of bad attitude.
  18. João Bourgard

    João Bourgard

    Jan 21, 2010
    That can be one of those turn around moments for a band where you show that either you get paid or not you are professional enough to go play for the ppl who paid money to see you....

    then again could be on of those turn arounds were you still get paid and you turn your back to the ppl and next years there will be no more big stage gig...

    just my $0.02
  19. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    That was my thinking exactly. I mean, this promoter had put his faith in us for a 2nd year and for us to take his money and go home without playing would have been totally bush-league IMO and probably would have been the last time we ever played this event. Especially considering that by simply changing the "event admission" fee to a "cover charge" at the clubhouse (which they did), the promoter had a chance to recoup at least some of his financial outlay (and the clubhouse owner had a record sales night). As it turned out, I overheard my BL and the promoter talking at the end of the night and I'm pretty sure it had to do with having us back next year and I even heard a money amount mentioned which would have been a raise over what we got this year.

    Hopefully we'll go back next year, play on the big outdoor stage in decent weather and meanwhile word will have spread from this year and we'll have a bigger crowd than ever.
  20. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA

    Just found out the promoter we worked with on this gig will not be doing it again next year. Can't say as I blame him cause I know he lost his shirt the last couple of years but I was really hoping we'd get another shot at it. Well at least my conscience is clear that we did all we could under the circumstances.

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