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show guarantee while on tour...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by spunj13, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. spunj13


    May 14, 2007
    niles, mi
    my band has been booking its six week tour for the last few months... making sure that we've got all our ducks in a row... what-not.

    we're going out with two other bands (one bigger, one smaller) for this stint and we are all unsigned.

    we've arranged a $300 tour package which covers 125 to the biggest band, 100 to us and then 75 to the smaller band.

    sporadically, in our quest to fill up the few empty dates that we have left, we've gotten rather snarky comments about how $300 is an exorbitant amount to be asking for three relatively unknown bands. however, according to our budgeting, based on food and gas mainly, this doesn't seem unreasonable at all...

    have you run into this problem before?

    do you think maybe we're asking too much money?

    also ... should probably add this info.
    $300 is mostly a jumping off point and with the exception of weekends we are trying to be flexible (work with door percentages, smaller guarantees, etc.) we just feel that we need to meet our guarantee at least two/three times a week out of seven.

    in the 45 days that we'll be out we'll be covering from michigan to illinois, over to new england, south to florida, over to texas and then north towards home again via iowa and nebraska and then back into michigan... lots of miles... lots of shows (only three definite days off of the 45) which will mean a lot of driving . as we are doing this all DIY... we've probably got a few less bills to cover, but still... we're trying our best to make ends meet... anyways... despite my unusually long post (for me anyways)...

    what are your thoughts?

  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Truthfully, I wouldn't bother to go to a show unless I got near that individually. 300 bucks for 3 bands is extraordinarily cheap. I'm working with a group now (albeit a larger group) that asks at least $1200+ a show... Less than that has to be pretty good circumstances...
  3. gkbass13

    gkbass13 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    New York
    300 is a pretty small amount of money i would say...are you all sharing a bus that gets 60 mpg? or are you expecting to take a loss on the tour?
  4. spunj13


    May 14, 2007
    niles, mi
    we've got a van and a trailer...
    the other two bands (not sure why, as these particular methods are rather gas-guzzling) are bringing RV's and one of them is pulling a trailer as well...

    we've planned the route so that we will be doing less than 6 hours of driving a day if at all possible (sometimes it's not... but that's the goal anyways)

    not great mileage, but it'll cover, i think.

    at this point in the game, as much as we want this to be our livelyhood... it's just supporting itself and not so much us. we can't afford to be getting paid ourselves yet...
    it's harder that way, but ... you have to start somewhere.

  5. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    $300 is nothing for three bands. However, the venues might be nervous that you won't be know and won't bring a crowd.

    You have to post back here when it is over and let us know how it went!
  6. spunj13


    May 14, 2007
    niles, mi
    will do...
    tomorrow night is kick-off... though we're close enough to the next venue (home venue for the other two bands) that we are staying home thursday night before we leave for good on friday.

  7. gkbass13

    gkbass13 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    New York
    have fun and best of luck.
  8. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Maybe they are hoping to save money on hotels by sleeping in the RVs?
  9. spunj13


    May 14, 2007
    niles, mi
    they are going to be doing that...
    we'll be crashing on floors and camping where we can...
    no hotels for us.

    our last tour was a demonstration of people's willingness to help and if we asked if anyone had a place to stay ... almost every time there was at least someone who would let us come home with them.

  10. Saetia


    Mar 27, 2003
    It can be hard being out on a tour, I've done a few one month jaunts but mostly just two weeks here and there. We would always try to hook up with bands in the areas we were playing that we've played with before in our home territory. That way you can talk to them and get a feel for what the shows will be like out there. If some shows don't have a guarantee at least you'll know what to expect from the door percentage.

    I guess the only other suggestion is bring tons of merch to sell because that's what seems to end up funding the tour when you take the wrong exit and go 200 miles out of your way when your sleepy, or a date gets cancelled, or something unexpected happens to the van or equipment. I mean always bring back ups but sometimes bad things just keep happening.

    Hope you have fun, and rock it!


  11. Hi, spunj13.

    That sounds great, allthough your asking price is IMO quite low.

    OTOH I will play with the band I'm with, for considerably less than a PA-gig with the same equipment (mine), so go figure ;) .

    Good luck and yeah, let us know how it goes.

  12. make absolutely sure you've got somewhere safe to keep the money in and it can't be walked off with. Get one of those portable electronic safes (with override key) and attach it into your vehicle with good bolts.

    Make sure it's out of sight when looking in through the windows. make sure no-one sees you putting money into it, and bank the cash asap the next day. ONLY keep enough on hand for immediate necessity and to make change with when selling merchandise... you HAVE got merchandise organised now haven't you?

    secondly have fun... I used to "tour" like that back in the seventies, just crashing for the night wherever someone could put us up or in the back of the van.
  13. That's extraordinarily cheap. Small clubs? I usually won't take a gig for less than $100 a man, let alone go on a tour. Then again, I'm married w/ a child and have a mortgage and car payments and ...

    Good luck and have fun! Bring backups of everything!
  14. wdinc01


    Nov 19, 2005
    Jacksonville, FL
    Yeah, I even think that's cheap. But I've never done a show, so I wouldn't exactly know.

    Where in Florida do you plan on going?
  15. spunj13


    May 14, 2007
    niles, mi
    let's see...

    tampa, tallahassee and miami... i think that's it... wait.
    no... st. augustine as well....
    somehow we ended up with four florida dates. (makes up for not having anything in Louisiana, Alabama or Mississippi... which we couldn't find anything in... so... just driving to texas.. from florida.. ugh)

    actually... merch happens to be my job personally... and yes. we do have merch organized... about as much as we possibly could afford to make... with backup plans for ordering more on the road and having it shipped ahead of us if need be.

  16. wdinc01


    Nov 19, 2005
    Jacksonville, FL
    Dang. If you came to Jacksonville, I mighta tried to get out there to support you. But I'm not going to St. Augustine. Sorry, man.

    Good luck with your tour, though!
  17. knarleybass

    knarleybass Commercial User

    Apr 6, 2005
    Tustin, CA
    Owner of Ulyate Instruments
    I think it's great, you are going to have a great time... I must say I miss touring.
  18. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    It is not a matter of whether or not your price is exorbitant or cheap. It is a matter of whether or not the venue can afford it or if they are simply negotiating with you to increase their profit.

    Here is how it breaks down: You are running a business. It doesn't matter that it is a band or a machine shop. It is still a business. You have expenses, overhead, wages and should be looking to turn a profit. Unless you have an overriding, logical reason for cutting your price do not do it. Remember that you are setting your minimum price for the venue. It will be very difficult to get an increase the next time you want to play there. Don't let someone talk you into bankruptcy.

    Now, considering the prices you are charging it is obvious that you will not have much, if any, money left over at the end of the tour. Don't let someone talk you into taking less than your minimum. Generally speaking you will not be happy if you do. And the club owner will have no respect for you, either.
  19. K2000


    Nov 16, 2005
    Well I'm surprised that there are so many bassists here in bands who can command a guarantee for their bands. Tons of clubs will only do a door deal, especially with unknown bands. Can you be sure that your package deal will draw 50 paying customers to a show? I'm going to guess the answer is no, since 4 nights a week are considered work-days and bad nights for many clubs.

    What's the names of these bands who command 100 dollars per musician on tour, or 1200 dollars a show? Just curious what the names of these bands are. You can ask for 1200 dollars a show, but that doesn't mean you'll get it.

    The general atmosphere for live music is poor right now. People do not go out to see concerts like they used to and every year it seems to be worse. There may be some exceptions (college town?) but in general it;s a tough time.

    Your band's expenses have absolutely zip, zero, zilch to do with what kind of guarantee you can ask for.

    300 dollars means 50 people have to pay six dollars to see your show just to pay the bands. It doesn't factor in the cost of the sound man, security and door man, and other expenses (probably another 300 dollars or more) just to operate the club. And clubs are not in the business of booking bands so they can break even. I'm just talking about what it takes for the club to not lose a bunch of money on your tour package. The club will probably need 100 people to pay 6 bucks, in order to cover their expenses.

    I'm curious what the name of your band is, and:

    -what label you're on,
    -whether you are getting any kind of radio play,
    - getting lots of positive reviews online or in print,
    -maybe even a huge network of fans on Myspace
    -How many times have you played in these towns before?
    -Are these town known for having an active live music scene, even on weekdays?

    A real guarantee means that the promoter pays you whether you draw anybody or not. That's a big risk for the club. I don't know you or your band. So with all due respect, what is the rationale that makes you think you can realistically command a 300 dollar guarantee?
  20. K2000


    Nov 16, 2005
    Also, a six week tour is an eternity. Any nights you don't have a show you're losing money. Where are you going that you need to spend a month and a half on tour? That's a nationwide tour. And it's a sure thing that you're planning on playing some terrible music towns on a weekday.
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