should venue tell a band if they booked an opening act first?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by hgregs, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. hgregs


    Sep 25, 2008
    ct/ny border
    we found out by looking at their website that they booked an opening act. this is a little restaurant, and one of the reasons we like it is that we can set up early for a 9:30 gig start time. the opener is not a band we know (nor anybody knows), and they're scheduled to play until 9:30 (so how do we set up without showing up 3hrs early, or starting an hour late). we called them and expressed our dissapointment, and were met with a "we don't need your permission to double book... you can reshedule if you want, and we'll let them play the whole night." keep in mind that that last time we played this venue they told us they've never seen it so packed during their slow season. we're all very bummed, but it looks like we're never going to gig there again (the band's call).
  2. If you didn't set up a contract stating you decide if there is an opening act, they can do whatever they want.
  3. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Well it's the venue's call, not much you can do but adapt to it. As long as the openers are respectful of their timeslot and don't over run it, it shouldn't be that bad.
  4. BassyBill

    BassyBill Still here Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    This just sounds like poor communications, really. Live and learn. The venue can do what they like, but you could at least try to clarify this sort of thing at the time of booking the gig and get something in writing if you can about arrival and set up time, start and finish times for your sets and so on (not to mention the money).
  5. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Its a peeve of mine when a show is being booked and Im not provided with all the details.
    Yes, the venue can do what they want, but I can promote a show better if I know there are other bands booked and will include them in my promotions...
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Why is that an issue? Personally if an opener shows up I view it as a full nights pay for 1/2-2/3 of the effort. Win.
  7. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008

    I'll agree that it's the venues call, but they're ultimately screwing themselves over by doing that sort of thing. The fans of my group (while small in number) are pretty loyal to us, and we get a good showing at every gig we play. That said, they're also college kids with plenty of things to do on any given night. If we start even an hour later than when we say we're going to then a good number of them are going to leave and hit up another bar or social hotspot. That means less patrons in your bar, less drinks sold, and bad PR for you when we get on FB and tell our fans how you screwed us all over.

    But anyways, live and learn, and just know to work out these sorts of details beforehand.
  8. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Personally if an opener shows up I view it as a full nights pay for 1/2-2/3 of the effort. Win.

    Agreed, however, it was still pretty rude by the restaurant and their response to the OP's band was unprofessional to say the least. Did they expect the OP's band to show up at their usual time and then just sit around for however many hours while the openers did their thing?

    This is a great example of why I routinely "research" my band's upcoming gigs via the venue's Website, FB page or whatever. I want to see how much publicity they are (or aren't) giving us, if there are any "surprises" in store (such as the OP encountered), etc. If it's a place we've never played before I check out the pictures to see what the general layout and look of the room is, if there's a proper stage, etc. It cuts down on the surprise factor when you get to the venue. Plus, if the client tells you you didn't "draw" or whatever, you can come back and tell them they didn't do their part promotion-wise. You don't have to be antagonistic or paranoid about it, but you do want to cover your bases in advance. Trust but verify.
  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Yes, they should tell you. Now is the time to contact the venue and either arrange access early - or a one-hour break between the time they finish and you start.

    If there's no room for both setups, then you MUST have option #2. If you're the "name" band, the other one needs to move their time to accommodate your setup.
  10. mkmsound


    Mar 10, 2011
    Arnold MD
    Get details from venue. We have played places where the "opening act" is not a band but a duo or trio who plays on the floor with minimal setup and even separate PA.

    We have set up on stage while they are playing on the floor. We went on stage on time and with an additional audience that might not otherwise have heard of us.
  11. Wes Whitmore

    Wes Whitmore

    Mar 10, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    You should always know, when, where, start and end time, pay and beer tab, and if you need to provide sound or not, for every gig. That takes care of a lot of things. If you are playing for a cut of the door, an opening bands can really mess things up as far as pay is concerned. If they will pay you a same amount for half a show, that's a good thing! Everyone gets burned from time to time. Live and learn!
  12. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I thought the issue was one of notification (or lack thereof). That and professional courtesy... :eyebrow:

  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    From clubowners? Get real! Rule number one of clubowners: Never underestimate the depths to which they will sink.
  14. 3l3phantstomp

    3l3phantstomp Doesn't Welcome Our New Overlords

    Jun 6, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Its just one of them music thaaaaaaaaaaaaangs. Just booked a metal gig at a big theater, and it started out as three bands and we were headlining. Now its EIGHT bands and I have no idea if we are headlining. Also play with a blues band and the venue, like yours, said they never had that high of friday night sales and loved us. Next gig the drink tab dissappeared. Still great nights. But in situation 1 play time just went to poo (30 mins a band total, including setup/soundcheck, headliner gets a double slot), situation 2 just a bit more overhead.

    But when the lights come on and the finger hits the string...

    Just don't forget our word for work is "play." Its hard to limit the number of kids in the sandbox unless you reserve the park via contract, etc. And a bad day at a gig is better than a good day at _______ (insert day job, jury duty, etc). If they are paying both bands then you are still delivering your end of the deal, and they are too. But now you get added stress and variables.

    I'd take a break from the venue if its stresssing the band out, and keep an eye on who/# of bands they book and touch base in a month or so. Could be an AMAZING new manager with all these great ideas!
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    My band actually got "bookended" once at a corporate gig. Not only was there a throw-together band of the company's employees that played ahead of us (which we didn't know about till we got there), but after we had played one 90-minute set they told us we could tear down and they had a DJ in the house that would take over ther rest of the night (which we also hadn't known about).

    Normally that would have been a serious downer but given that the crowd was lame and we got a 4-hour show's worth of pay for only 90 minutes of music -- and got to go home early -- I saw it as pretty much a win all around.
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I will say that the more you can go with the flow when thrown a curve ball, the better off you will be. I wouldn't cancel a gig because of it. I'd just get set up as soon as I could and do it.
  17. soulman969

    soulman969 Inactive

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    Yeah Pilgrim pretty much nails it. This sounds like a more informal place and you have established a relationship with them so just get proactive.

    Let them know that you'll need to arrive an hour or two before the opening act to do your own setup. If there's no room let them know you'll need that hour between shows and let them decide whether the opening stops early or you start late.

    Be professional about it but be firm. Pros control their performance and their emotions. Anger and frustration with the club gets you nowhere. Work it out to everyone's satisfaction and do the gig......professionally.

    Afterward is the time to renegotiate your next gig so that it doesn't happen again. If they won't cooperate and you need to leave this gig behind then leave professionally. Don't damage your rep and don't burn bridges. You're pros, not a garage band playing it's first gig. :)
  18. +1. Take the high road and be pro about it. If this is the worse problem that you ever encounter when dealing with a club owner you will be getting off light. A lot of club owners view your band as just another business tool to bring in customers. No more, no less. They are not engaged in the passion of music that most of us are. I guess what I am trying to say is don't take what the club owner did personal, these kind of things will happen from time to time.
  19. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Two things:

    1) It seems to me that by breaking the terms of the original agreement (i.e. without any mention of an opening band), the club owner is the one who has pre-emptively dealt in bad faith;

    2) Since he's already done it now, he could very well do it again - regardless of any "agreement" you may "renegotiate".

    Professionalism is a two-way street.

    Yes, yes, yes, I get it! Club owners very often are scumbags, and one shouldn't get in the habit of expecting ethical business behavior from them. Check.

    All the more reason why it's necessary for the band to establish its own limits and parameters. I'm not necessarily saying that the OP shouldn't still take this gig - that's for him & his band to decide. Merely observing that playing the gig without protest, and then afterward asking for more fair treatment the next time around is a lot like saying: "Here's my leverage. You can have it. I wasn't using it anyway."

    I suppose by standing up for yourselves you could develop a "bad reputation" as a bunch of difficult guys whom no one will hire. You might also earn some respect as a band that functions with high professional standards - and expects only the same in return from those with whom it does business. Sure, you could lose some crap gigs - especially in the short-term. Longer term, you gain in both quantity and quality - with lots more of each: IF you see it through and don't chicken out.

    Once in awhile, a band might actually try to proactively chart its own course - instead of living in constant fear that the scumbags won't like them anymore.

    Think about it... :meh:

  20. sandmangeck


    Jul 2, 2007
    So you start an hour late. Big deal. They are the employer, not you.