Traveling for gigs in winter weather: what's your commitment level?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by RGerhart, Nov 29, 2022.

  1. RGerhart

    RGerhart Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2021
    Portland, OR
    I have a gig on Friday in central Oregon, and I'll be traveling from the Portland area. It's normally a 3- to 3.5-hour trip in good weather conditions, however, there is snow over the pass, so I'm expecting probably 5 hours travel time.

    The place we're playing at is a Veterans of Foreign Wars post, where the local social club puts on dances. To say that it pays a lot is a stretch. :(

    I'm of the mindset that gigs can be good or bad, pay little or pay a lot, and you take it as you can. I've enjoyed playing low-paying gigs in bad conditions, and I've had very little enjoyment for some high-paying, great conditions, so I know there isn't always a correlation.

    So, question is: what is your commitment level? Do you always do the gig, no matter the weather conditions? Or at what point do you say, "no thank you?"
  2. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Hope it pays well and is worth the drive. I, personally, would not commit to a gig that distant unless it really paid well and offered overnight accommodations.
    JRA, MrLenny1, ToddB1963 and 27 others like this.
  3. RGerhart

    RGerhart Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2021
    Portland, OR
    We have hotel accommodations, fortunately, so it's not too bad.
    DWBass, MrLenny1, JettBlaq and 8 others like this.
  4. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I have never in my life let weather conditions impact my commitment level to a gig; if the gig is worth doing, it's worth doing, period.

    ...of course, that's easy for me to say, as I've never had a gig that coincided with a blizzard or a hurricane or a tornado or a "bomb cyclone" etc.
    But the more typical meteorological events -- y'know, rain, snow, sleet, hail, heat wave, wind gusts >25mph, yadda-yadda-yadda, sure, if I signed on to do the gig I'm there. Comes with the territory. As the old saying goes, "there's no such thing as 'Bad Weather' only inappropriate attire."
    JRA, Bpb, Das Jugghead and 1 other person like this.
  5. I doubt my commitment equals the OP's just based on what sounds like meager pay for at best a 3 hr drive one way.

    But to each his own. Being in WI I've driven in some pretty lousy conditions for a gig and do my best to honor the commitment as it was made.
  6. Is this how you and your bandmates make you living? That changes everything.

    In 12 years of playing for a living I only cancelled one gig when I was literally too sick to stand up. I never even thought about canceling due to weather or other issues, and we traveled quite a lot. If we cancelled, we lost income, and not just one night's income, but the ability to work that gig in the future was also impacted.

    Today, however, my commitment level is greatly diminished. No one is (usually) depending on my participation for their livelihood, although in one band we do have members who are full-time musicians, so I take that one a little more seriously than the others. In general, though, no show is worth putting my life or health in jeopardy for nowadays and they certainly don't pay enough to warrant that sort of consideration.

    Really, it depends on those sorts of factors.
    smogg, WRM, kesslari and 2 others like this.
  7. jimmydean


    Mar 14, 2009
    When I was younger , I would travel in any type of weather except if there was ice or more than three inches of snow . These days it's still ice and two inches of snow .
    StyleOverShow likes this.
  8. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    If I've already committed to the gig and overnight accommodations were provided, I gotta do the gig. Best to discuss w/ the VFW to hash out the best solution.
    JRA likes this.
  9. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
  10. Stewie


    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    I’ve driven for a couple hours on packed powder snow, watching as others slid around. Once we all arrived at the gig we played for the bartender
    JRA, StyleOverShow, DaDo625 and 12 others like this.
  11. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Being a man of my word, I'm pretty committed. However, I think I'd cancel that one. It's a safety thing.
  12. I am a bit ashamed of my commitment level. Five years ago my mom fell and broke her hip. I met her at the hospital and surgery was going to take a few hours. My gig was about 20 minutes away. I gigged while she was in surgery and I got back just after she came out. She never missed me, but she passed five days later. It makes wonder if I'd make the same decision, but there was nothing to do but wait while she was in surgery. Playing kept me occupied.

    I have played outside while it is snowing and indoors while it's snowing harder knowing I'd have a slick ride home. No pay for those gigs. Simply playing with my friends and doing something I really enjoy. I think that's the measure: what does your gut/heart steer you to do? If your gut tells you to stay put, stay home. If your gut pulls you to play, so be it.
    kesslari likes this.
  13. Stewie


    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    I starved my self for a day and a half for a colonoscopy, only to have them call me and cancel because it was snowing. “Do you want to reschedule?”
    Thanks, I’ll go somewhere else :(
    Dr. Gonzo82 and ajkula66 like this.
  14. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    For me, unless the weather affects the actual gig (out doors and too hot/cold/wet), I honor the commitment. The time to consider value is when accepting the gig, not when the weather threatens to make it a PITA to get there.

    For the record, I would not book a 10 hour round trip gig unless the pay was awesome and room and board was in the mix. Regardless of weather.
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  15. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    If safety is an issue, I’ve arranged for passage by safer / more reliable means.

    Doesn’t seem to be about the pay or the miles to begin with, so adding a couple hours for a weekend away… have fun and enjoy band snowball fights before, after, and on set breaks. Ask for meals and another night’s accommodation to wait the weather out. Play a 2nd night if you can.

    Godspeed and have fun!
  16. bikeplate


    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    3.5 hour drive? Would have to pay a nice payday and a room to pass out overnight
  17. AceOfBassFace


    Jun 23, 2019
    I'd do the trip in your situation. I'd give myself extra time too - I'd rather arrive an hour or so early than be stressed about making it on time. Don't forget to bring some emergency winter stuff if you're driving through snow or more weather. Chains, blankets candles, water, flashlight, shovel, first aid kit etc.
    WRM and RGerhart like this.
  18. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    I I take a gig, I play the gig (or get a sub) unless there is a true emergency. No different attitude than my job.

    But I would not travel more than an hour to gig unless the money eas very good, or it had overnight accommodations I would like to partake of.
    LBS-bass likes this.
  19. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx!

    Oct 31, 2006
    Western Hemisphere
    5 hours drive in crappy weather? The pay better be OUTSTANDING and include food and rooms
  20. Yeah, I set a limit for most gigs of about 45 minutes to an hour. If it's an important show and/or an important band, I'm willing to do a bit more. But I rarely see those kinds of shows anymore.