What is your Criteria for not taking a Gig?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by 51PRI, Oct 1, 2022.

  1. 51PRI


    Aug 7, 2014
    We're playing a gig tonight that none of us really want to play.

    We accepted four bookings at a new place and tonight is the first. It's an hour and a half away, it's a college town/crowd, and the gig is from 10-2 a.m. Not exactly a great situation for an old blues band used to gigs from 7-11. After we took the gigs the guitar player started moaning about the drive and the hours so we decided to play the first booking (it was too soon to cancel) and see how it goes, and whether to cancel the rest of them. The club owner tells the BL that he's excited for us to play there.

    So, what is your criteria to turn down, or cancel, a booking?
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  2. pepj


    Mar 25, 2021
    Venues that arent suitable for bands, so space, playing time, fee, distance, load in and parking.
    A couple of local towns require load in from temp parking, then you need to park the car some distance away...or even pay for parking.
  3. getrhythm


    Nov 2, 2015
    New Jersey
    Same as yours...distance, hours, pay, suitability of repertoire for the particular crowd, band readiness.
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  4. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    I'd say what you're describing pushes the limits of what I'd be willing to do. Too long a drive, too late hours, audience likely not well aligned with your style (though to tell the truth, that may be wrong; there may well be a HUGE blues-rock scene at the college). I've done New Year's gigs like that, but they paid $1000 a man (in the late 90s). I've done bar gigs till 2, but 20 minutes from the house.

    I figure it this way: 1) I work for a living. 2) Stop playing at 2, this is a rock band so there's considerable teardown, so let's say by the time you have a beer, tear down, and pack it's 2:45, then you drive an hour and a half - it's 4:15 by the time you pull into the driveway. Then you unload the car - let's say 20 minutes, take a shower, you're not getting into bed till darn near 5 in the morning. For someone who gets up at 6:00 five days a week, that would make me exhausted for several days following. It's basically jet lag.

    If they're paying enough money to make it genuinely worth while, I'd consider it. But I don't even schedule travel like that for my job. Nope, if I have to get up at 2 in the morning to make the meeting in Cincinnati or Berlin or wherever, or if I am going to have to get in at 4 and go to work the next day at 8, I don't do it; I take an extra day for the travel, and I take the day on the company's dime. For a bar band to collect maybe $100 a man, I'm extremely doubtful that I'd agree to it.
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Given the conditions, how did you manage to accept 4 bookings? The driving doesn't bother me...heck, it takes that long to get to the other side of Hampton Road's "7 Cities". Let's see how much of a drain it creates.

  6. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    I wouldn’t play till 2am if the venue was in my living room.
  7. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    I don't do this for the money, but that gig would have to pay very, very well. Like three times our normal well.
  8. ItsmeSantiago

    ItsmeSantiago Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2015
    When I gigged all the time, I had to like two of these three: the music, the people or the pay.

    Now, I have to like the music and the people, pay is irrelevant and I have no interest being out into the wee hours. I have a toddler and he's up at 6 AM no matter what so that greatly affects my decision to take a gig.
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  9. If there are orange M&M's in my dressing room, I'm gone! :laugh:
  10. Depends on many factors, mostly quality of the job (unknown until you play one), travel and load in hassles and last but not least the money. I was scheduled to play a one hour job in Fort Lauderdale yesterday. From my location that is over eight hours on the road. I agreed to do it because the money was very, very good and turnpike driving is not an issue for me. However I said a small prayer of thanks when it was cancelled due to Ian! In this specific instance, the drive wouldn't matter to me but that two AM quit time would make it impossible. Did that back in the bar job days. Never again.
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  11. Four hour gigs are a no go for me unless the pay is really good. I know guys doing four hour gigs for a hundred bucks, that's just bonkers to me.
  12. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    My first criteria looking at your gigs, is that I’d never accept a gig that starts around my typical bedtime
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  13. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Once you take a gig, you don't cancel unless it's a true emergency, and you assume you will never play there (or any nearby place) again.

    For me, generally hour max travel, and 1am cutoff, unless it is a great (and great paying) gig.
  14. ebo

    ebo Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2012
    Bay Area, Ca
    My band decides as a group prior to all bookings. There is usually one of us sane enough to turn down gigs like this. I wouldn’t book gig #2 until I saw how gig #1 went. We did play a bar/restaurant about 1 1/2 hours away that went pretty late. It was a fun night, we all went out to eat after and hung out. Sunday was a couch day. We lean towards earlier and more local. We’re busy enough to be picky.
  15. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx!

    Oct 31, 2006
    Western Hemisphere
    The general rule of thumb for ANY gig you do is to follow the "2 out of 3 rule". You must have TWO of the following:

    1. Good hang (get along well with the people you're playing with)
    2. Good music (like all the tunes; fun to play)
    3. Good money (several things may factor in here)

    That being said, a 10pm to 2am gig 90 minutes from home would have to pay very well, and maybe include meals and rooms.
  16. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    My criteria: the music, the people, the pay, the start/end time, and the travel involved. I did the bar scene for a decade in my 20s/30s and now cannot even FATHOM a gig starting at 10pm, so that automatically nixes quite a few things that I won't do these days for sure.
    getrhythm likes this.
  17. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    Apparently the thing in NYC is for jazz gigs to start at midnight or 1 am. Nuts! Then people wonder why jazz fans (who are almost always middle-aged) don't go out to hear live music. Gee, maybe because they don't want to be wasted for three days afterward?
  18. jdh3000


    May 16, 2016
    I've played 10 to 2 and 10 to 3 gigs many times. I wouldn't want to do it now. Also driven at least an hour and a half more than I care to remember. Money was always a factor as to whether or not it was worth it.

    Sometimes college towns can surprise you. They usually like to get drunk and are open to anything you play.

    As far as criteria for canceling, definitely not the day of the gig. Needless to say not booking at all or canceling as soon as the band talked it over would've been best. Just play one time and tell the club owner you're not a good fit.

    In the future I would have a pow wow with the group and write down as many tupes of gigs you won't collectively accept, agree on it and hand a copy to the one who does the bookings.

    Only the band members can decide what is acceptable. Some folks want to play so bad they'll take anything and others it's tough to get them to go across town to play, unfortunately they wind up in the same band sometimes.

    Trust me I feel your pain. I don't want or need those gigs anymore.
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  19. fishdude101101

    fishdude101101 Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2020
    I understand but as shows have gotten earlier in our area they've gotten more boring. Venue owners want early shows crowds around here have always been late. Nobody participated until 10 pm and it's boring. We used to have a venue that was 11-3. It was wild
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  20. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    That's not accurate, check the start times for pretty much every real jazz club in the city. There ARE plenty of after hours gigs, particularly the ones that turn into jam sessions after the first set, but that's NYC, the city that never sleeps, remember? And the crowds for those are musicians getting off other gigs, wait and bar staff from restaurants and other bars that have just gotten off work, etc.
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