I write this hoping it will make me feel a little better. Maybe that is why most people write. Anyways, I played a gig tonight at a little festival that will remain anonymous and I didn't get paid. Well, sure; I will get some money in the end as it was pay what you can but it won't be much.
I have become somewhat used to the idea of playing for the door as this is what is happening with the big cities in North America. People of all levels of talent and stature play little venues in their home towns for no compensation from the establishment, just money from the people kind enough to put money in the tip jar. (the good bars that I am willing to play will give a percentage of sales too)
This is happening for a number of reasons that I wont go into detail about but they include the following; too few venues, too much overhead for bars, too many artists, too little interest in live performance....etc.
However, it is with strong conviction I feel that this should not happen at a festival. If you want to have a festival, you need to pay the artists and pay them well. This was the reason festivals were first invented; places for artists once a year in each town that would have them to play a concert that paid well. (to kind of make up for the lousy gigs they do the rest of the year)
I won't go into details about why I agreed to do this gig and it is beside the point that I had fun. (I can't pay my mortgage with fun!)
I guess the part that bugged me the most and made me almost wish I didn't do the gig (I try to live with few regrets) is that no one could or did get it together to give the artists even on free beer. There was a beer sponsor, there were people walking around in fancy clothes making speeches about how important art was and how happy they were that we performed at their venue (for free) but when it came time to have any kind of basic artist hospitality...nada.
Had I been working for a wage as most people do when they go to work I could have lived without the hospitality (taken it as a slight oversight) but when I got nothing from them, it hurts.
SOOOOOO...all you big fancy arteau-crats, when you decide to run a festival, make sure you take care of your artists. Simple things; nice little snack tray backstage (beer and juice) and some drink tickets (even two each would be nice) for the band.
There, I do feel a little better.
p.s. I am doing a really cool and fun gig tommorrow Friday night at the Trane on Bathurst street. Bluegrass, storytelling and cool visual art. Here is the Facebok link: