Concert fees

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by cherrybassett, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. cherrybassett

    cherrybassett Member

    Should there be a minimum charge for bands doing concerts. I find it so frustrating that bands undercut other bands jobs and are doing them for as little as 70 quid, what they gain out of it i dont know.

    There should be a minimum charge that bands do concerts for. This would make it equal for all.

    We have a minium wage for our day job so why shouldnt we have a minimum wage for band concerts.

    What do you think?
  2. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Is it really the case that bands undercut others? We get offered loads of jobs throughout the year and we charge considerably more than 70 quid. From my (albeit limited) committee experience there are more jobs out there than bands, most bands aren't interested in doing lots of concerts it seems. I suggest that if you are trying to compete with a cheaper band you look elsewhere for jobs, I'm sure you'll find them.

    TIMBONE Active Member

    Parr Band was offered some Saturday afternoon dates for December, playing in a city centre shopping precinct, the fee offered was £500 a time. These were accepted. A few days later, the secretary was informed that we were not needed, as another band had offered to do it for nothing, as long as they were allowed to collect.
  4. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Wow. I can honestly say I've never heard of bands "gazumping" each other...:shock: Perhaps we're just lucky in the Midlands that a booking is honoured by both parties.

    As for a minimum charge I don't think it's really viable - I know that we ourselves don't have a fixed fee - the fee we ask for depends on things like expected audience, whether or not the job is a fund raiser, is it for a charity etc etc - in fact probably an infinite number of things. We leave our secretary to negotiate a fee which is agreable to both parties, and it works well.

    Bands have different levels of expendature too - eg conductors fees - so there seems to be little point in booking a job for, say, 70 quid if your conductor is charging you 80 quid to do it!!!
  5. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Another factor to consider is whether a band feels it will benefit from the exposure any sort of public performance will bring. If you've got a band that has not done many appearances, or not many in that particular area,they may feel it is worth accepting a lower fee if they think they may get future engagements from it.

    I do agree, however, that bands should not set out to undercut one another - the lesson seems to be to get things tied down in writing asap.
  6. stephen2001

    stephen2001 Member

    It depends on the quality and reputation of band in their local area.
    If someone offers £x when the normal charge for a concert is £y, then take it, if not, negotiate. Concert organisers know, or at least should know the more they are pay for a band, the better band they will get.
    Although 99.9% are soley voluntary, they still need an income to run successfully and the finances still have to be run like any other buisness.
  7. stopher

    stopher Member

    We always try to be reasonable when we charge for concerts, marches etc. Occasionally do stuff for free if we are allowed to collect or have a stall, that sort of thing.

    What made me laugh like mad was earlier this year, the local eisteddfod have a proclomation march which we march in every year and we were asked if we were available and how much we would charge (usually around £100). Asked around the band to see who was available - almost a full band for once - and so said we would do it.

    Heard no more until 2 weeks before the gig when the sec phoned up the organiser to find out the details. The organiser had obviously playing bands off against each other with the fee (entirely understandable I suppose) and the local sea cadets band said they would do it for half our price. Slightly cheesed off as he hadn't got back to us to say no.

    That was until 6 days before when the cadets band pulled out and they were more than willing to pay whatever we wanted to do the march. I couldn't stop smiling hearing the organiser grovel

    And yes, I was a sadistic git and made him wait for 2 days before saying no!!!!

    ANyway, personally, while the idea sounds great, I don't think it would work - would you pay the same for a Merc as you would for a Lada? And lets face it, how many people know the difference - I was caroling last night outside Tescos with a 10 piece made up of people from a 3rd section band plus a few junior members and the shop staff said they sounded better than the band there the previous evening - a 35 strong mix of a championship and 3rd section B section band. The staff said the night before gave them a headache because of the volume!!!
  8. cherrybassett

    cherrybassett Member

    In reply to the earlier message get things down in writing, we do. I would never take a job without first having written confirmation signed and sealed by the person or persons that have booked us.

    My gripe is that when you are asked for a price for a job (which in our case would be 250quid depending on type of job) then you are then told oh it doesnt matter now we have got another band to do it and they are only charging us 70quid, I really cant see how they do it.

    We only do a certain amount of concerts throughout the year because of the fee that we charge. We find that we can generate enough money for us to run the band that way and still be able to have weekends free for socialising. If you start turning out for 70pound each time then that band is going to be out at least twice a week for several months in the year.

    I have no axe to grind and it is not sour grapes I just think it would make more sense for bands where there are a few in the same locality to all more a less charge the same sort of fee.
  9. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Well if you get enough concerts a year then why worry what others charge? Forcing bands into an oligopoly might just stop people from hiring a brass band at all.
  10. postie

    postie Member

    From having a little more experience than scrapping we do get offered far more jobs than we ever do. Problem I was always think is that organisers do not understand quite what they are getting for their money. To put a full band out for a job often costs more than it looks. When you take into account possibly borrowed players, a van for the job for the percussion and all other things it does bite into the fee. But going to the main point if a band can get out for £70.00 good luck to the them. I now we wouldn't be able to manage that!
  11. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Musician's unions have a payment scale, which basically lists miminum payments for certain kinds of jobs. Perhaps an association of bands could do the same thing, where all accept no less than the scale price for a job.
  12. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I don't somehow think an arrangement like that would work as, depending on what sort of job it was, you could still get someone like the Boys Brigade (or the SA? :shock: ) stepping in to do it. This could even end up with a sub-standard performance that may put the organisers off from trying to book bands in the future.
  13. postie

    postie Member

    No that definately wouldn't work, bands should be able to charge what they like no minimum fees at all. After all said and done its up to them what they charge.
  14. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    I certainly think you have to vary your fee depending on the job. We charge an average of £250 a job but we try not to forget we are the local village band for example this saturday we're playing for an outdoor carol service in the village. We aren't charging them a penny. These are the people who pay to see us at least twice a year. They're the people who put money in the bucket if we're carrolling around the streets and support whatever we do. It's the least we can do to give something back to them. You have to match the fee to the job. If local charities ask us for a concert I usually ask them for a donation. I find if you tell them what you have to pay for they're usually willing to give something and often will have a collection on the night for you as well. The advantage of these charity jobs is that when you apply for grants ect it looks very good on your application. Giving something back to your community often goes in your favour
  15. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Band Fees

    Adding a financial view on the issue of band fees and just looking at some basic costing, excluding any monetary charge for the players it is possible to work out a minimum charge for your band.

    Lets assume we do 20 jobs a year and that we only want to recover cost.

    Conductor say £1,000 pa /20 jobs - per job £ 50.00
    Music 15 pieces at £30.00 used say average 20 times from new - per job £ 22.50
    Insurance PL etc £700 pa/ 20 jobs - per job £ 35.00
    Instruments etc £50,000 20 year replacement - per job £125.00
    Deps and travel expenses (provision) - per job £ 17.50

    Total COST only £250.00

    OK so now you've got a cost but what are you worth? If your band undertakes it's own concerts, sells the tickets, pays for the hall etc how much can you earn - we usually make about £500 for these jobs but assuming you include these concerts in the 20 total for the year the band needs to offset the £250 cost against this; result we are worth £250.00. (£500-£250)

    Having just worked this out we'll have to re-think our charges for next year.:rolleyes:
  16. slidez

    slidez New Member

    Engagement fees

    Having heard some of the noises that £80 - £100 will buy, i'm sure that councils, churches and other hirers of brass bands will gladly pay more money. Some bands should be ashamed of the racket they produce and give the money back. As the old saying goes " you get what you pay for"
  17. Calculating the cost is ok to obtain a selling price......... but will the buyer pay the asking price?

    We do not control the buyers.............
  18. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    OK I appreciate this is an old thread but my post relates to the title - I was contacted this week to see if the band was available to play at an event taking over the next Bank Holiday weekend. We are available, so indicated that we could play on the Saturday/Sunday (we try not to take bookings on Bank Holidays as people can be away and it's harder to get deps in).

    We then come to the issue of a fee, I suggest £200 for 2 hours (2 spots 45 mins playing) - sharp intake of breath on other end of phone - oh no that's too much - OK what's your budget? £100 - sorry no way can I ask the band to turn out over a Bank Holiday weekend for that. I'm then told that they've already booked another band for the same weekend for a £100.00.

    I think this band are looking for players and they'll probably end up getting deps in to do the job or use training band players but why on earth would you accept a fee of £100.00? No wonder the organisers were ringing round to find more bands if they think other bands will turn up for that kind of money. By the way this event was not a charity type job but one being run by people who get paid to do this job.
  19. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    .... I wonder if this is the trend now for most bands? Meaning that fees for public engagements are now controlled by the organisers (with their above quoted line of argument) and seen merely as a donation or contribution to band funds without consideration to actual costs? Cost-cutting is in vogue for pretty much all organisations and my fear is that the impact will hit brass bands more than ever before!
  20. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    This is clearly happening and I suppose another problem is that very few of the people booking bands for events have any idea what the true costs can be. Unless bands agree to charge a reasonable fee then there's always band X down the road that will do it cheaper.

    We've had a regular booking at a major tourist attraction in Derbyshire for many years and they have lots of local bands playing there - the fee is £135.00. Last time we went they wanted the band playing for 2 1/4 hours. We tried to get the fee put up this year but they wouldn't move; won't be going again. It's a nice venue but the band are out for nearly 5 hours plus travelling 50 miles. Easier to put band subs up a £5.00 a year to get back same amount of money.