Monday, 3 December 2012

Danny Garrod / Bastions

Name: Danny Garrod

Band: Bastions (
facebook.com/bstns)


Where: Somewhere in the UK.


ED: I put Bastions on in Southsea with Our Time Down Here and Kerouac around 2010 time; 15 people showed up. Me and my co promoter Adam lost a few buck. Still, it was the first time I saw BSTNS and it's been a love affair ever since. I'd like to hope Danny would class us more like the first promoters he refers to in the following rant...


No one ever begrudges a bad promoter with enthusiasm. In fact, those are the ones we always let off the hook and usually end up giving a second chance. You know the sort; the sort that are really hyper, plug the gig loads on Facebook but precious little else. The sort that look heartbroken when all the promises of attendance inevitably fall through and the gig is a standard midweek mildly attended bust. You can never fault good intentions and enthusiasm. Those are the people who will probably be first in the line buying your merch, both online and at the show. We like these people.

You can, however, fault any promoter that doesn't even come to the show.

It was during a particularly diabolically promoted tour earlier this year, that we pulled up in to this venue in the UK (Yeah I'm being that vague. Suck it.) Straight away we were informed by the venue that the promoter would not be attending the show and that they had only been made aware of the show during the previous week. I should have known then what was coming, but I recall shrugging it off. After all, the venue wanted the show to go on and had reassured me that all was well. We were part of a tour party of 3 bands, the fee was reasonable and there was to be food and drink at every show. Not that it was surprising, but there was no rider. Cutting a long story short, the show was reasonably well attended and despite my getting so pissed off at my kit breaking during the set I just wrecked it half way through the last track, we enjoyed the show.

Then it came to being paid. We were handed £50. To share.

Taking some deep calm breaths, I explained to the venue that the fee was actually a good 6 times more than that. That the three bands couldn't even afford to get to the next venue with such a paltry sum. I was informed "tough, not my problem ... it's the promoter's issue, take it up with him". This led onto some very heated arguments where the venue called, unjustly, police on 4 members of the bands and I had to play straight man to the venue in order to sooth egos and sort out the very real issue of not being paid a substantial amount of money.

If it seems like I'm digressing here, I'm just trying to paint the situation that many bands have been in. You're at a venue and you're not getting paid. What exactly can you do? You can't really threaten them. You can explain the situation until you're blue in the face, but unless they are literally just refusing to pay you because they can, nothing is going to change. So for the first time, I tried a directly business approach, and I really would recommend doing this; I asked for an address, the manager's full name, and then I informed them that I would be invoicing them for services rendered. I don't think I've ever seen someone go whiter in my life ...

It worked. Nearly seven weeks later, we were all paid.

SEVEN WEEKS.

Never before have I heard such a myriad of name dropping and excuses as to why there was no payment left for the bands. Every justification under the sun as to why he felt it acceptable to leave nearly 20 people in financial worry that night was thrown to me. Through all this, I had to be 'understanding', because at the end of the day he WAS paying us. However, it was a horrible pill to swallow because all I wanted to do was tell him what a joke he was. That if you can't attend the gig, don't book the band.

This attitude is growing increasingly prevalent in a distressing amount of start up and more established promoters. Let's make something very clear: I don't, and no one else will, give a fuck if you're Warner Brothers' latest intern or that you have a clothing company with some 'siq flash bro' on it or that you once put a gig on for 'chuggy chuggy mosh mosh from the States' band.


If you book the band, and you agree to pay them, then you pay them!

Who gives a damn what 'Dick Atlantic Emo Haircut Tattoo Sleeve dude' says about your last show?

Concentrate on THIS show.

And I've fucking digressed again. This guy sucked and none of the bands, who told a whole fuck load of people about this dude, will use him again.

...

We can all spot the bad promoters a mile off, but we all have to use them because the good ones are so rare we have to treat them like gold dust. The problem is
that the good ones burn out fast because they do they right things. They always pay the bands, no matter the turn of profit. We can all help the good guys by attending their shows. Those guys can in turn help themselves by being picky with shows. A good promoter doesn't need to put on 10 shows a month. A good promoter needs to put on 1 good show. Then see what comes along, and maybe put one on if he/she thinks it works. Then after that see what happens... and so on.

...digressed again.

What I'm trying to say is if you turn up to a show and are told the promoter isn't going to be there, unless you see some serious back up plan, or maybe even the venue guarantees you the fee; pack up your stuff and go to your mate's house. It'll disappoint people, but it's the only way these people learn. You have to get tough, or you'll get shafted. Every. Single. Time.

But we won't leave and make a point and stand, because we need the gig. Bad promoter endures.

4 comments:

  1. Awesome read. As a promoter myself I fully agree with the paragraph on burning it. It really is great to see that bands understand that.

    Hopefully no one will have to deal with the people who lead to this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As the promoter of this event in question, I would like to say hands down that I fully accept all criticism thrown my way regarding this show... HOWEVER - this is not the full story, when the show was taken on the agency responsible were made aware that I as the promoter was unable to be there that night, and that someone would run the show for me. Unfortunately, due to- local bands failing to give the venue their ticket money for sales made, £50 was all the funds they had available. I have never ever failed to pay a band, do your research - I've not fucked any band over out of their fee before and made sure I paid you what was owed (granted it was a few weeks later).

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm the booker for The Fleece in Bristol, and we promote shows city wide. Last year we promoted 250+ shows inhouse (the venue was open for 320+ days). To say that if a promoter doesn't show up then the show would be shit is a fallacy. I simply cant be at every show, it's just not possible but I have a team of staff that can spread the workload of running shows. A proper rep should be appointed who is as knowledgable as the promoter themselves about the show in question, one who has all advancing details, float to cover the show even if ZERO people show up and the agreed catering/buyout etc. Leaving this to a venue, failing to provide the rider, and leaving the venue with no money to pay the bands in the event of it underselling makes you a bit of a cowboy. If you cant afford to float a show you really shouldnt take it on.

    ReplyDelete