I had a really surprising phone call this week from a musician and it got me thinking about events and entertainers. They shouldn't be expected to play for free, and as such we are setting up an artist's policy for all Dotted Fox events going forward where we promise to pay all entertainers....every event has a budget and we may not be able to afford you but we will never ask you to play for free. . . . #musicians #artists #pay #entertainers #eseex#eventmanagement #eventplanner #colchester #music #livemusic #talent #passion #money #fair
If you follow my Instagram you'll be aware of my plans to introduce an entertainment policy for all musicians, entertainers, and artists who perform at our events. We decided to do this because the tendency that events have for asking people to play for "exposure" or for free- something I discussed with my partner who is a musician and was highlighted by an unusual phone call from a fantastic singer I had last week. This is something I totally disagree with, although when I first started out in events I will admit I got a couple of freebies from entertainers- this is not something I am proud of and not something I would do again- I can only say I was starting out in events and naively thought this was okay.
Payment either in cash or an exchange of similarly valuable services (I have built websites in exchange for gig performers for example) agreed in advance is by far the most respectful way to go. Having said that we do have a budget for our entertainment events, and negotiation is sometimes required- if I can't afford a musician and we can't agree on a price, I am honest and have to walk away...although it is more likely that the next time I have a larger ents budget I will go back and book them.
As a side note- some purely charitable events don't pay musicians who then choose to volunteer to donate their time and talent, and that may be different- although there are arguments for and against this, it is not such a black and white topic as you would imagine. One suggestion is that musicians can be paid but if they would be happy to perform for free for a charity event then they can then donate a proportion of that fee back to the charity directly. This values the band and other musicians in the industry but it also means that they can still support the charity if they choose to.
In this post, therefore, I am asking for artists, entertainers or musicians to let me know what other important factors should be considered for our artist's policy? Are there any pressing items which events organisers simply do not address at the time of booking? Let me know in the comments below.