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Who's responsible? Trashed gear at gig...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bass349, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. To cut a (very) long story short, i was playing my sunday residency with my covers group over the long weekend - It was NUTS, venue was 250 people over capacity, nowhere near enough security, small stage with no barriers - you get the idea.

    During first set an idiot jumps on stage, i push him off. Give a look to security.

    He jumps up again, someone else pushes him off. He jumped up one more time, ran around for a bit, then jumped off. Idiot. Security still doesn't do anything.. don't blame him really, he's trying to keep an eye on 500 other idiots.

    Set break comes, the same drunken idiot jumps onstage again, trips into keyboards, knocks keyboard stack over, into the drum Kit. Keyboards trashed.. (Motiv 7, and a yamaha one, can't remember the name) i'm talking 10-15 keys literally smashed, action badly damaged etc.

    Bouncer throws guy out, he gets in taxi and leaves. We managed to get his phone number off somebody there who knew him.

    I gave him a call the next day, and he tried to dodge the call for the first few minutes, wouldn't admit who he was etc. I eventually talked him round, and he admitted to doing it, and eventually got him to admit responsibility for his actions. I told him i'd be in touch about how much it was gonna cost.

    Got the quote today for around the $500 mark (which was a really good price in my opinion, considering damage). With a month wait on parts - keyboards are unusable..

    I got in touch with the guy today and he informed me (rudely) that there was no way he was going to pay it, it was the bands gear and the bands responsibility for insurance against this type of thing... etc etc.

    I believe we're going to have to (at least threaten to) take him to court over it.

    I'd love to hear some opinions on who is legally responsible in this situation, and if he would actually have a case if it did go to court...

    Many thanks in advance for any help here!!! all advice / opinions totally appreciated!



    Ps. I live in Australia, so would particularly love to hear some legal advice from an aussie!
  2. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    sue the guy for doing it, and the venue for not providing proper security. Also, if you have his number, you can get his address. I think it my be time for a not so friendly visit.
  3. D Rokk

    D Rokk Banned

    Feb 19, 2009
    Delta Quadrant
    he admitted to you he did it..

    open and shut..

    drunken fool.. destroying someone elses property..

    venue needs to do something too... over capacity.. no no imo.. lack of security.. why? if they can cram 250 over capacity in there then they can afford more security..

    i mean lets do teh math on those 250 people.. 5 dollar cover .. 1250 bucks for just that.. that should cover an extra security guy or 3.. lets say they all had 3 beers at 3 bucks each.. 9 bucks each times 250 is 2250.00 in beer sales i know not everyone was necessarily drinking but also how many people do u think stopped at only 3 beers?

    imo the idiot who broke it and the venue both need to step up on this one
  4. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    This is why you have a contract with the venue. Bands have been taken to task for personal injury crap like "it was the bands fault I was so worked up and did something stupid and hurt myself" kind of thing.

    We have one that covers:
    date/time/length of show
    pay amount/paid before we play - so you don't have to hunt someone down after
    Sound Engineer
    Cancelation, penalties, Act of God, etc.
    Stage plot
    Input list
    Gear specifics/preferences
    other "rider" type stuff

    Contracts, Riders, Stage Plots and Input Lists are not just for big time acts. Everyone should have these items and make life easier for all parties. We don't do a lot of big shows, but the SR/FOH people love when we have a stage plot and input list for them.
  5. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Good luck collecting anything from him. Police should have been called when it happened. Sorry for your loss.

    I don't know how small claims court works there, but here in the US, getting a judgment is one thing and collecting is quite another. Is it too late to pursue it from a criminal standpoint?
  6. lawsonman


    Dec 19, 2005
    NW IL
    You'll be lucky to get anything.That's why it's a must to have your stuff insured.
  7. choo5


    Apr 15, 2004
    sydney, australia
    get the cops involved and take him to small claims court; depending on what state your in it will only cost ~$20
  8. Hey guys thanks for your replies so far..

    Choo5 - I'm in WA. Small claims court is something that i'll be looking into today. The thing is.. our keys player is out of action for a month, so effectively we could also sue for the hire of another keyboard for a month ($400 a week).. At least, worth threatening. When you say get the cops involved, what do you mean there? Do i just need to inform them of / report the incident?

    DRokk - i agree that the venue is somewhat responsible here as well... however we just secured the residency there, and basically it's not worth getting the venue pissed off (and easily canceling our contract with them) for the sake of $500. The way i see it, if you smash someone else gear (car, laptop etc), even if it was an "accident" - you are still liable to fix the damage.

    SteveC - Good call - for the corporate shows we do, we definitely have contracts, stage plots etc.. However, don't know what it's like where you're from, but IME most pub / club venues simply wouldn't sign something that admits liability, and will grab the next band on the list. However.. i like the idea, and will possibly give it a crack for future bookings. It should be noted that 90 % of my gigs are booked through an agent, and they deal with all the contracts etc - this gig was booked privately..

    Keep em coming guys..

  9. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    We don't ALWAYS do a contract. It depends on the venue, but we have been screwed by a venue where until that gig we had a good "handshake" agreement. We now try to have a contract for all gigs.
  10. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Would the venue maybe be willing to throw a benefit event for you to recoup your losses? Maybe get another band or two involved (if we won't support each other, who will?). It could work to everyone's, er, benefit if the venue could keep all proceeds above your loss coverage and it turned out to be a lucrative proposition.
  11. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Legally, You'll spend a lot more in fees than it would be to fix the Keyboard.
  12. Well.. i looked into it today - possibly a bit different over in my neck of the woods.. looks like we can sue in the Civil Proceedings magistrate court for damages, represent ourselves (you can only really represent yourself), and pay 71.50 for the court costs (possibly another $40 for the "claimant fee" whatever that is)..

    I didn't end up calling him today, gonna have to wait for tomorrow.. but i got the my keyboard player to head to the cops today and make a statement.

    Any other ideas, keep em coming.. but at this stage i'm going to call tomorrow and at least threaten to sue for damages and the cost of equipment hire in the down time (a month, $400/week = an extra $1600). Hopefully that will be enough to at least scare him into paying, as i reeeeally don't want to go to court over this.

  13. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    $400/week sounds high for renting a keyboard. The price here should reflect the cost of equipment rental.
  14. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    I am kind of split on this one. At a larger venue like a club, theatre or arena someone is responsible (owner/promoter). At a smaller venue, then it is up to you to protect yourself and gear from harm. If a party looks like it is getting out of control then you set up your own security or leave. Sometimes the threat of "we may have to leave if..." will bring social pressure from the crowd (i.e. they throw the bum out on his bum) and you can continue.

    My bottom line is insurance, not too expensive and designed for 'casual' losses just like this.
  15. Take the idiot to small claims court. NOW.
  16. thumpbass1


    Jul 4, 2004
  17. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Due to people already getting thrown off stage during your performance, the equipment should have been guarded during the break by a couple of people at least.

    It's seems pretty easy to foresee a problem happening and the since the venue wasn't providing enough security, the band should have provided security for the equipment.

    That being said, IMO, the venue is responsible and should pay for the repairs (oversold/understaffed) and then they should sue to culprit.

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