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Spouse/Girlfriends and Cover Charges

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Mackluth, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. Mackluth


    Jun 9, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    Back when I was gigging with my last band a few years ago, we played a local venue. My (girlfriend at the time) partner likes to go to as many of my shows as she can, and normally it is no problem for the venue to let her in with the band. However, at this venue (which doesn't pay bands mind you) We finished loading in, and someone came up and told my partner that she has to go outside and pay to get in since she isn't the band. I was a bit miffed by this and protested, she felt awkward but I told her she didn't have to leave. The venue conceded saying "this time, but next time..."

    As I'm going to start gigging again soon with my new band, I want to see if I was wrong for dealing with the situation this way. In talking with my new band members they didn't see it as a big deal. However she is my partner, we have the same bank account and 90% of our income comes from me. If she has to pay to get into the venue, especially if we are not getting paid, then I am essentially paying to play, and that doesn't seem cool to me. I don't expect them to comp her drinks or anything special like that, but I feel that it shouldn't be an issue for her to get in for free, especially if she is coming with the band and helping load in gear, etc. Perhaps I'm out of line. I'm perfectly happy to be told that I am. I'm just curious how everyone else would deal with this.

    Sorry about the text wall by the way.
  2. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    You did the right thing. The venue is already taking advantage of you by not paying you, no way should you have to pay for your girl to get in.
  3. Mackluth


    Jun 9, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks for the response lowfreq33! That venue went out of business by the way (the second time). The previous owner required a Barnes and Nobles gift card with your press kit if you wanted to get booked there. Then the bands didn't get paid. Not sure what's going on there now...A lot of people loved it though. I have to admit to seeing some good shows there haha.
  4. No wonder they are out of business :)

    I understand about how running a bar is just another business, but with that kind of attitude they will never form any "bond" with the bands. It's not like that you ask them for free drinks or food, but given the situation that you are playing for free they should trade you some benefits

    I had a similar situation, but not with a partner, it was with 2 of my best mates. They're a good friend of the band members as well, helping everyone with the loading and stuff. When my band played on stage, the 2 of them were buying drinks from the bar. They didn't ask for a free drink, they BOUGHT it. If the bar management fail to see this kind of business opportunity, well...
  5. you're playing a venue that charges a cover and doesn't pay bands? I'd say your girlfriend getting in free is the least of your issues. Is there only one venue in your town?
  6. Mackluth


    Jun 9, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    There are plenty of venues. This particular venue was one of the few that you can play as an original band though, without being one of the top bands in the area. Unless you're one of that select group, original bands rarely get paid in Grand Rapids, MI. Unfortunately it's just a given around here. When I was in highschool, that was the place to play (besides the big club venue at which national acts play). It takes a while to figure out how lame the situation is (for me it took until after that show).
  7. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Holy crap.
  8. I'd say the bands oughta get together and stop playing at this joint. of course, there's always somebody else who will take the gig because they want the "exposure". Vicious cycle, everyone loses. except the bar owner.
  9. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    Check things out in the Capitol City then, it's much better, IME.

    The next time that happens, give your girl a tambourine and she's part of the band. Granted, you only use it on one song, but still...
  10. bassfran


    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    Pretty ridonkulous.

    My g/f is very shy and quiet and I'm trying to show her the ropes in the rock world. Meaning she gets comped admission to the gig. ALWAYS, without exception.

    I played a venue here a few years ago and the drummer was escorting his elderly Mother, (yes, his MOTHER), into the club and the doorman made her pay a $3 cover charge. I watched it happen-

    I will never book any of my bands in that place ever again.
  11. Rickengeezer


    Feb 25, 2005
    Central Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Steve Clayton Accessories
    You have venue owners that can READ?
  12. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I'm sure he used the gift cards to buy espresso and Penthouse.
  13. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    My gf/wife never paid to get into a gig. I dont think Ive ever had anyone ask her too.
    I did get asked "is she with you?" a few times, to which I said yes and the replied with "cool".
  14. Sounds like a scam too me. You did the right thing Mackluth
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    If the band is getting 100% of the door, then the only people getting hurt by comping guests are the band. If a band wants to let half the crowd in for free cause they're friends and family -- and the band is OK with giving up however much that would cost them -- it's none of the bar owner's business. Of course you (the band) would want to have your own person at the door collecting (which is always a good idea regardless), to ensure only eligible people get the comp.

    It's when the house is getting 100% (as in the OP's case) -- or you're doing a split with the bar -- that things get a lot trickier in that respect. Generally you'd like to see a "guest list" provision where a limited number of family/friends of the band (within reason) could be comp'd admission or at worst, get in at a reduced price.

    As with so many other things, putting some sort of clause regarding a guest list in your contract can help (though it doesn't always).

    In our band the drummer's GF is the only "significant other" who ever comes out to our gigs and that's only when we're playing in the town where he lives... and they don't charge a cover... so we haven't really had to deal with this.
  16. Stewie26

    Stewie26 Supporting Member

    Over the years, I have been in many bands that played for the door and also received a percentage of the bar revenue.
    We would always supply the doorman with a comp list for persons who we wanted to get in free. Maybe it is different here in So Cal.
  17. Wives, girlfriends, and family members should always get in free. This is the kind of thing that irks me to no end. I've had trouble at festivals making sure my wife gets comped, and even then they can be really stingy with the full access passes. I am totally ok with the venue limiting the guest list, even to just one person per band member plus another one or two, but significant other should not have to pay. They'll pay for their drinks and food.
  18. Betrayer_Bass

    Betrayer_Bass Profanity Fish.

    Sep 24, 2011
    Oslo, Norway
    Endorsing: Spector basses, Winspear Picks, Spector Formula 603 strings
    Totally agree, sig others in for free. At least.
  19. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    If you don't negotiate this up front iit is no one's fault but yours.
  20. No, it's the same pretty much everywhere I've ever played. While I can't say that I've played a ton all over the map, I have played out of town or out of state far, far too many times to count, and I've never seen anything too different.

    The "lame" situation is everywhere, and not That makes sense that it was an original club. They have a tendency to be very cheap. Unfortunately 95% of the original bands out there that play at places like that are terrible and have no following. No good (usually) = no following (usually) = no money. The club owner's overhead expenses do not go away when the club is empty, and the club is very rarely a charity or a community owned establishment.

    There are always situations that are exceptions to the rule, but a situation where the significant other needs pay a cover is almost non-existent and should be held up as an example of how not to run a club. If they charge a cover, you should almost always paid in some way.

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