NWB - Community Blog


A minimum gig price (wage) for bands featured on NWB?

Filed Under : Rants

Posted By : mr.nwb | Comments : 135

... nothing like a bit of controversy ...

Not been gigging for long long while, so unaware on what the "going rate" for a gig is these days.

Back in the day, it was bands that named the price.. the ole "We don't get outta bed for less than £250".

But I've noticed that the tables have been turned in the venues favour (Credit Crunch etc), with them advertising what budget they have, and seeing which bands will "bite".

Should NWB bands unite, and set a "min price" for gigs? - Personally, £200 seems a fair price for a 5pc band, that brings their own PA, Lights, Equipment, and can play 2x45mins, with a few encores chucked in etc.



# Posted by Stataz Quo - 15/08/2012, 19:37 (GMT)

No Paul 250 ish is more realistic mate

# Posted by Duke Bocks - 15/08/2012, 19:38 (GMT)

I'll do it for 50 quid...now.. that WILL !! put the cat amongst the pigeons..lol

# Posted by novocaine - 15/08/2012, 19:40 (GMT)

i can't believe you posted this,

nuclear holocaust,

or world war 3,???

# Posted by mr.nwb - 15/08/2012, 19:41 (GMT)

I'm thinking more of a "minimum wage" scenario.

Do you really think most bands can realistically ask for atleast £250? - If "yes", then, cool!

# Posted by mr.nwb - 15/08/2012, 19:42 (GMT)

@Duke do "it", for £50. I talking about playing a gig,.. not your other "side job" ;-)

# Posted by a band - 15/08/2012, 19:42 (GMT)

i agree with dakota £250 is more realistic for a 5 piece

# Posted by NIGHT TRAIN - 15/08/2012, 19:49 (GMT)

I went to get a gig at a venue a couple of months ago and the landlord showed me the diary and I saw how much some bands on here were charging....some as little as £90!
If bands are so bad that the only way they can get gigs is to go out for the lowest price imaginable (and even worse...for free!) well...
The minimum should be £200 (very minimum!) and £250 may be £300 is a realistic figure...£200 may be ok at pubs where you can get a pint for £2 but a lot of pubs are now charging nearer £3 (or more!)

# Posted by Stataz Quo - 15/08/2012, 19:54 (GMT)

Average band wage in 1983 when on the Cab dircuit was 400 - 500 a gig , pubs even then had a better than now tally between 250 - 300 ,

i think that the average amount paid now is actually a big step back , and bands have been more than fare over the last few cash strapped years ,

after all , its not a bands job to fill pubs ! true thay can help to do so , but it aint the answer , but God knows what is ?

# Posted by The West Coast Approach - 15/08/2012, 19:55 (GMT)

Depends what circuit your on and how big/popular the band is, i joined the UK Commitments brass section making it a ten piece band and it does'nt go out for less than 2k.
I've also played in pubs for £200, so if you want dough get on the corporate circuit, if your happy to pay to play then stick to the boozers, i know which one i'm happier with ;o)

# Posted by Human Condition - 15/08/2012, 19:56 (GMT)

We're a two-piece, and our bottom end price for a pub gig is £150; private hire, gigs in clubs that charge membership, or anything that's slightly out of the ordinary (requires an overnight stay, is miles away, is at unsociable hours, etc.) costs more.

(We may only be a two-piece, but we've got a lot of gear and make a lot of noise...)

# Posted by The Cheating Hearts - 15/08/2012, 20:02 (GMT)

Fuck me, not this again!

# Posted by Stataz Quo - 15/08/2012, 20:05 (GMT)

Ha Ha ! me thinks Pauls after a Gold blog thingy !

# Posted by Fanny Oakley - 15/08/2012, 20:14 (GMT)

ooh its a difficult one - we're only a 3 piece but lump as much PA, lights and instruments as any 4 or 5 piece out there. I think its darn near impossible to justify paying an amount per member. A popular venue approached us a while back, loved our setlist and couldnt wait to book us - then informed me they pay £50 a head which i declined.

Now some of you will say £150 for a 3 piece band is a fair price but the conditions of start/finish times were just not suitable for us and to be honest, i would even have questioned a fee double what they were offering for the times they wanted us to play - BUT thats just us.

Im in no way implying that other bands are wrong to play there for those fees, we all make our own decisions with regard to what is good for our individual bands.

£250 seems like the going rate these days and at the mo that suits us so we're happy :-)

# Posted by Rumble Fat Band - 15/08/2012, 20:19 (GMT)

This does seem to crop up regularly, so here goes.
When the original RFB was together from 1968, we used to go out for £17-10s a Gig. ( Most of us are still in touch and our manager of the time showed us his "ledger".)
Now £17-10s in 1968 equates to £250.43 now. At £200 a gig we are on 20% less than in the 60's. OK it was an 8 piece band then so a 4/5 or even 6 piece is on more per head than 40 odd years ago.
Agree with Funkpoparoll, if you want the money it isn't in Pubs.

If all NWBands insisted on a minimum fee, venues would probably go look elsewhere. This is probably the best resource for bands in the North, but there are alternatives venues could use.

# Posted by mr.nwb - 15/08/2012, 20:26 (GMT)

@dakota haha!! Comm Gold here I come!

This blog isn't really about what you think your band is worth But, to help bands set a precedence on what venues should be expecting to pay at the very minimum.

I'm surprised (in a good way) that some of you guys think the min wage should be £250. Although, how many times have you done a sub £250 gig?

Be interesting to get some feedback from venues.

Would also be interesting if we could set up some "sign up gentlemans agreement", for venues, so if they book a band through/listed on NWB, they should at least expect pay x-amount.

# Posted by HYDRA - 15/08/2012, 20:45 (GMT)

cripes, worms, cans and a big f-off opener springs to mind!

£180-200 does seem to be the norm these days, and if some bands can stick out for £250 fair play. We're a 4 piece, and after fuel, beers, after gig kebab and replacing broken sticks etc, there ain't much left, trust me. But like most on here, we are NOT in it for the money, and lets be honest most venues know that. We do it cos we love it, simples!

I'm all for a "gentlemans agreement on" fees, but how the hell would you police it??!!

As is usually the case with this type of blog, there is precious little response from the venues......lets light the blue touch paper and stand well back.........

# Posted by Fanny Oakley - 15/08/2012, 20:48 (GMT)

i think Paul a lot of the venues are restricted by entertainment budgets from the breweries who as we all know are tight arsed selfish fekkers that dont give two hoots about a bands/venues relationships/reputation so long as the money's coming over the bar

Ive been involved with a few venues that have had to fight to keep this money coming in from the brewery and convince them that this budget is worth paying even when some weekends they hit nowhere near the 'proposed' revenue that is expected - but on other weekends rake in more than average.

You never hear of the breweries telling managers - " looking at the figures - band X consistently attracts a crowd and therefore creates more profits whenever they play here - by all means pay them an extra £50"

# Posted by WAGONTOWN - 15/08/2012, 21:04 (GMT)

Great Blog , but if i'd put it on they'd be calling me a Troll even though they can see my Band name. What's the name of your 'new' band mr NWB ?........Tel

# Posted by GEORGIA BROWNS - 15/08/2012, 21:14 (GMT)

Ring Ring


Hello Mr area manager its Gary at GBs I was just wondering if you would increase my Saturday night entertainment budget by oooh say £50 to £100

Ok lets have a look Gary how much did you take on Friday


How much did you take on Saturday when the live band was on.

£50 pound less

That's all I need to know Gary - You know that Karaoke chappie that plays from 7pm till 2pm on Friday for £100.

Yes Mr area Manager

Book him for Saturdays as well.


Keep music live


# Posted by WAGONTOWN - 15/08/2012, 21:19 (GMT)

@ Georgia's
I don't necessarily disagree with some of your comments but most managers know what their customers want and will stick with a tried and tested formula i.e if it aint broke don't fix it.



Better get yer spanners out mate............Tel

# Posted by GEORGIA BROWNS - 15/08/2012, 21:27 (GMT)

@ Tel

I was'nt giving you my slant on the conversation rather more that would be the sort of reaction that I would expect from the hierarchy. As I have pointed out many times on here we keep live music on at GBs because we want to. Hence the closing comment KEEP MUSIC LIVE. And let's hope I don't need the spanners mate I'm a shit mechanic..... lol


# Posted by WAGONTOWN - 15/08/2012, 21:38 (GMT)

Yes Gary , i know only too well what you Managers have to put up with, no offence meant.
Its just that some of your comments about knowing what your punters want seem to clash with your comments about making nowt.
By the way NBWers , weve been on £150 since we started 2 years ago, apart from the odd £250 gig and i cant see that changing in the near future.
Like Georgia Gary says, there's loads of £ 60 Karaoke merchants out there.......Tel

# Posted by Mick (ex Bad Horsie) - 15/08/2012, 21:47 (GMT)

In both the bands I'm in we agree a fee with the venue. What it is has nothing to do with anyone else.

# Posted by Guilty Pleasures - 15/08/2012, 21:58 (GMT)

I agree, £200 should be the minimum for a full live band (3+ members), doing 2 full sets and having to use their own lights and PA. If part of that £200 comes from a bucket collection or whatever then that's fine, likewise if the pub want to pay us £180 and give us free soft drinks and snacks then that's fine also.
We've done a handful of gigs for £180 this year and unless the gig is on our doorstep then it's not covering our expenses. We've also been paid a lot more for some of the seaside gigs we do down the East coast - but it costs us a lot to drive there and back. I'm sure most bands want to give good value and not overcharge venues either, as that benefits no-one in the long run.


# Posted by Tubthumper - 15/08/2012, 22:03 (GMT)

Ring Ring

Hi, is that the Office of Fair Trading?

"Indeed it is"

I'm a pub landlord and several of the bands I'm trying to book have formed an unofficial cartel and set a minimum fee for their gigs. They say it's just a bit of a gentleman's agreement and nothing set in stone but they won't gig for less than £250 now. The missus is livid as she loves er bit of Teenage Kicks on a Saturday night so she does, and the only bands we can get now are those non conformist punks who refuse to play it. It's not fair.

"Indeed it isn't"

Thing is, they say they're not technically a business and cos they only do it for a bit of fun they can please themselves. Say it ain't so.

"It ain't so"

So what can we do about it?

"Well you can sue all the members of the bands concerned for breaching anti competition laws (or just pick on the one member of the band that drives the nicest car and seems to be the one most worth suing, after all you don't want to waste money suing a poor person. But frankly I wouldn't waste your time as we here at the OFT live to investigate matters such as these as there's pretty much no situation in UK law where any attempt to fix a price for the supply of goods and services is legal. And the bit about it being a hobby? Never fear. We have all sorts of loopholes to catch that out. The law covers any natural or legal person engaged in economic activity, regardless of its legal status and the way in which it is financed, we can even get them if they're not playing for any money as we'll say it's promotion for paying gigs and catch them that way. Not only is it unlawful in civil law.....and this is the really good bit....it's a criminal offence so we can dish out massive fines and seek prison sentences in respect of the ring leaders. Where did you say all this started?

Oh just this little website called north west bands.

"Righto, we'll start there then. Thanks ever so much for your referral. We also give out financial rewards to encourage members of the public to grass up behaviour such as this so the cheque will be in the post."



# Posted by WAGONTOWN - 15/08/2012, 22:22 (GMT)

I think everyone agrees with BH Mick, its just Mr NWB havin a laugh, c'mon lets get the poor bloke in the Commmutinyty err Gold thingy......Tel

# Posted by Dillinger - 15/08/2012, 22:47 (GMT)

ballance your fee with three criteria

1 number of members in the band
2 distance willing to travel before asking for more
3 how good is your band realy ?. now thats a fair question that needs a fair answer.

an awesome five piece band can and does take less fees than a medioca
three peice band and gets multipul bookings in the same venue per year
when the five piece band may only have one or two bookings per year in the same venue.

this does happen and is that fair on the venue and the five peice.

worms again pete.

# Posted by mr.nwb - 15/08/2012, 23:22 (GMT)

@tubthump - surprised you signed up to nwb. Did you not see the 'mr.nwb now owns ya ass' in the t&c's when creating an account? :) #RookieError

Point of my blog, is to possibly provide some guidance for bands/venues who are unsure on what they should be charging or paying.

Some interesting comments! Keep them coming

# Posted by Howard - Sound and Light Produ... - 15/08/2012, 23:24 (GMT)

there isn't one answer to this question.
i see bands on here biting at venues offering £150.
bands i work with are generally at the £300 mark
some bands i know work the bigger bar venues for £500 plus.
i know of bands playing certain venues for 50 to 100 less than bands i work the sound desk for at the same venue.
i know of bands playing some bigger venues for 250 less than other bands playing the same venue.
i see the same bands on NWB posting that they can't get more than 200 at the most and yet bands i am working with are going into the same venues and taking 300.
i see the same faces on NWB repeatedly declaring it's just a hobby and that no one makes money out of it while i know several treat this as their major source of income - playing the same or similar venues

conclusion - some bands are professional in approach and execution, some are not.
some have a higher market worth than others
some venues are happy to get second division for 2nd division wages, some venues want 1st division or better and will pay to get it.
i see some bands that literally can't organise a rehearsal.
i see some bands run their gigs like a swiss watch.
there is chalk and there is cheese. the only thing some people on NWB have in common with others is that they like and play music of some sort.

# Posted by zz-none - 15/08/2012, 23:29 (GMT)

we at the hindley arms are on a set budget and a bit like gary from georgie browns if we ask for more money it would more than likely we have to take our sunday bands of to give to the saturday bands or stop them all together and then ul have to look for other venues that want you on the cheap again

# Posted by Tubthumper - 15/08/2012, 23:32 (GMT)

@ mr nwb - you'll have to pardon my ASD ignorance as to the point of your comment directed to me. I haven't a clue what you're surprised about.

Nor do I give a witches' tit how you try to dress up what the point of this blog is.

Comments such as "Should NWB bands unite, and set a "min price" for gigs?" and "Would also be interesting if we could set up some "sign up gentlemans agreement", for venues, so if they book a band through/listed on NWB, they should at least expect pay x-amount" have the potential to present you with a world of shit.

I'm all in favour of bands setting themselves a minimum fee and sticking to it. I seek only to caution people against any debate/suggestions which may be interpreted as public collusion in what is a highly illegal and enthusiastically prosecuted activity.

# Posted by mr.nwb - 15/08/2012, 23:38 (GMT)


Feel free to get off when you like :-)

# Posted by WAGONTOWN - 15/08/2012, 23:47 (GMT)

I dont think there's many NWB venues that fall for that 'We charge £300- £500 so we must be good bollocks'. Theres only one NW Band that gets that sort of money that i know of and they dont do the venues on here , and that's the Kasuals. If im wrong lets see Hindleys and Georgias booking em....Tel

# Posted by Tubthumper - 16/08/2012, 00:09 (GMT)

Sorry, didn't realise you were running a "feel free to express an opinion so long as it accords with mine" dictatorship. I don't do sycophancy. Nor do I do sanctimony. I was offering advice. Feel free to be a prick about it. It's your playground.

# Posted by Howard - Sound and Light Produ... - 16/08/2012, 00:26 (GMT)

I'm not pointing to individual venues and bands but wagontown you are just plain wrong. a band i go out with is playing some of the SAME venues you play and takes 300 - this is exactly what i'm talking about. apart from yr post being offensive it's upside down - the bands i work with get paid 300 cos they ARE worth it, not the other way around.
when i engineer with that band we all take an equal split so that's five pieces plus myself. can't remember the last time i took home less than 40 notes. - like i say some bands are getting much more than others for same or similar venues. some venues on the other hand ONLY pay 2nd division prices.
some friends of mine were playing a blackpool venue (public bar no cover charge) last weekend. they pay their engineer 150 with 350 plus left over for themselves.
still think the engineer just takes up drinking space?
what i find most worrying about wagontown's post though is that you know only one band picking up 300 a night. amongst my personal friends there must be a half dozen bands at least that go out for that for bar work.
i don't mind that other bands go out for less or play to a more niche audience (whether heavy metal or bluegrass) we all have different passions within the musical community. i do mind (and it's starting to irritate) that some people assume that their life experiences are as big as the world gets. the circuit for bands taking 250 to 300 is considerable.
the circuit for the best/hottest bar bands in the north is itself niche but there are enough venues to keep those bands busy at 500 a night.
i really don't know why i let myself get drawn into these debates.

# Posted by Howard - Sound and Light Produ... - 16/08/2012, 00:39 (GMT)

@45 - agreed have done a few of those 200 gigs and upped the fee for the second gig to 300 - that can work well with good venues - when they see the tills rolling good venues are usually happy to pay more.

# Posted by La Bam - 16/08/2012, 00:41 (GMT)

I wish it were as simple as saying you could demand £x because youre part of a website!

Unfortunately the only way to get bigger fees is to justify it in what you do and how you go about it.

There will always be bands who will under cut the market and they keep AVERAGE prices down. The AVERAGE price doesnt affect all bands. When i see a venue say the have a fixed fee of £xxx for any band it bewilders me (even if its their managers decision) as theyre classing all bands and all potential earnings and reputation gained from the band as the same. Which is completely wrong.

There will always be bands who dont know their worth. There will always be those who do.

People constantly moan about the credit crunch, and get it wrong. EVERYTHING has gone up in price. The only reason bands fees havent is because of bands themselves. So they make themselves an easy target. Where everyone else put their fees up and costs up, bands as a whole rolled over and didnt. The venues then go for the cheaper ones, and everyone has to fall back to that price level if they want to gig.

Everyone and everything to do with the industry from bar staff, window cleaners, cleaners, managers, postmen, salesmen, door men, food and drink etc etc has gone up in price.

Theres only so much money a venue can distribute to the whole pie. A lot of bands just let all the others participants take a big piece of their money.

In principle "discussing" minimum fees that bands could be expected to get is a good idea, but other bands will read it or hear of it, know what you charge and the venues you play and undercut you straight away and youre back to square one.

The only way to get bigger fees is to not worry about anyone else. Do what you do, be confident and get into the right places.

# Posted by ..... - 16/08/2012, 01:02 (GMT)

oh dear the rot has started...

Many valid points mentioned above by others...such as sound&light and LaBam

The fact is nwb blogs mixes amateur, semi, and pro (attitudes and abilities) bands into one forum.

And any such subject becomes a free-for-all expression forum, without any thought on the impact on either band or venue.

nwb is a unique forum compared to other subject/forums. In that, it directly relates to physical venues and bands within a local area. Meaning commenting on a flower arranging site and slagging abusing or expressing opinions at other members ..has no real impact on anyone or anything.

But like so many times ...the blogs will have a negative impact...

Anyway I dont care I'm off soon...

# Posted by Mr Cottonhouse - 16/08/2012, 01:28 (GMT)

Who decides whether your band is worth £250+ ???

# Posted by Stataz Quo - 16/08/2012, 01:42 (GMT)

And who decides it isnt ?

# Posted by La Bam - 16/08/2012, 01:46 (GMT)

A bands value comes from the band itself, not from anywhere else.

I know some are probably thinking 'venues' decide, but they dont. Venues only decide whether they want to book you at your quoted price. Theres a big difference. If you let venues dictate your worth youll never get past whatever they feel like charging.

# Posted by UkePunk - 16/08/2012, 01:59 (GMT)

I'll just cut through all the hot air and shite very simply shall I?!

Ask for what you think you are worth. If your worth it you will get paid it.
If you dont like what your offered, dont take it and try elsewhere.


# Posted by WAGONTOWN - 16/08/2012, 07:07 (GMT)

@ Howard. you find my post offensive because your narrow minded. You obviously think your gods gift to live music and everyone else is a knob.

I said the Kasuals are the only NW members I KNOW who get £300- £500 per gig. Now Rick has pointed out and named Mama, thats two.
I find it very irritating when your posts bang on about these GREAT bands that you work with, yet we never seem to find out who they are.
There's quite a few bands on here would give an arm and a leg to take home £50 apiece from a gig, it doesnt mean their shite and not worthy of your company.

Ive also seen big Rock bands with Sound engineers empty pubs in minutes, so stop coming on here like a frustrated Phil Spector because some of us really dont give a toss.........Tel

# Posted by Daz (scopyons) - 16/08/2012, 07:12 (GMT)

A lot of bands aren't worth anywhere near 200 quid yet still try and charge it there are a few bands and individuals on here that think they are far better than they are mostly because they haven't seen the wider picture each band has its own idea of what they want but the facts are that your only worth what venues are willing to pay I'm constantly amazed at some of the band's that get rebooked over and over by the same venues that are playing it safe with the same half dozen bands Week in week out despite there being better bands. I O can see a fairly bleak future for pub bands the way things are going this is a stark contrast to the thriving tribute circuit as far as undercutting other bands goes if it gets you the gig then why not. Business is business happens all the time on the wedding circuit

# Posted by WAGONTOWN - 16/08/2012, 07:36 (GMT)

I agree Groove, some bands practice 20 odd shite songs for a few months and think the world owes them a living.
@ Rick , i was wondering where all your gigs went when you packed it in for a while, i didnt like asking...lol. Talk about Dog eat Dog, well im glad your back anyway ......Tel

# Posted by Mark C Marauder + Whitefake - 16/08/2012, 07:41 (GMT)

the thing that gets my goat is the bands that will undercut other bands just to get the gig. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Wankers, it's their fault totally that the scene is in the state it is in. Usually fuckin awful bands that think they are good just because they get a few gigs by stealing them basically. Of course a venue will, of course, book something cheaper if they can and these fucking aresholes have jumped on this. It is they that have caused the argument in the first place, crap bands who will gig for fuck all, driving punters away due to being shite at what they do. So....all the bands who will contact a pub and use the old 'we get loads of gigs because we're cheaper than X, Y or Z' line......I hope you're next turd is a pineapple

# Posted by a band - 16/08/2012, 09:31 (GMT)

Anthem that is a great line " I hope your next turd is a pineapple"

# Posted by Alyerpal - 16/08/2012, 09:38 (GMT)

I play because I enjoy it.

The money's a nice bonus, but I still work in the day.

Where's the problem?


# Posted by Maine - 16/08/2012, 09:54 (GMT)

There is no answer to this debate - and its been an undercurrent on NWB for as long as i can remember being on here.
Unless you are a niche player / tribute band or have a massive following, treatment will be the same wherever you go. The venues on here have a budget they need to stick to no matter how wonderful or shite you are, so unless you empty the pub (in which case you dont get a rebooking - but hey - there are plenty of other venues right) or you are amazing and people turn up cos they know you are on again at the same venue (in which case you might get £50 more) you will get the going rate for that venue in my experience between £180 - £250.
What does this really boil down to in the end? - You know (or believe!) that the band you are in is better than everyone else - hell, all the comments and testimonials on your website say so. Why then are you getting the same money as the four piece who started out last week, have a 60 minute set and sound like Liam Gallagher fronting the Tweenies? But who is making that call - you? or your peers? Measuring the quality of bands / music is going to be subjective in the main unless you are at one end of the spectrum.
That isnt going to change anytime soon unless the venues do their research - and honestly - they havent the time.
Lets face it - an extra £50 might make you feel better - but you wont be quitting your day job anytime soon.
Dont forget to enjoy yourselves now ........

# Posted by LAST GANG IN TOWN - 16/08/2012, 11:00 (GMT)

Money is the root of all evil,
Why should a 5 piece band get more than a 3 piece ???
Do an 8 piece band deserve double what a 4 piece band gets ???
Why do you get paid at all if you are not a professional band ???

Set yourself a challenge before you go demanding 'more' from struggling venues in a dying trade...

Set up your own gig for a night...
Book a hall for a night...advertise your own gig....sell tickets and /or take entrance money at the door.
Supply you own bar facilities...etc etc etc.....
If you want £300 a gig that's getting 60 people to pay £5 to watch your 'pub' band...
Good luck with that folks...

Let's see how much money you make???/ go on try it !!!!

Then go back to the 'paying' pub venues and be reasonable !!!

YES...some bands are better than others...
YES...some of these 'others' have a good following.
So do you pay More to the better band OR the band that brings more, bigger spending punters to the venue...you do the maths...

LGIT put a lot of time,effort and expense into our band...but any venue will tell you we are reasonable and never argue about money...for us it's more about the gigs and the people...keeping our genre of music alive, and enjoying our passion for Live music.

# Posted by Black Thursday - 16/08/2012, 12:19 (GMT)

Yawn yawn..........again we have this debate

Its whatever its worth to the venue and the band even if thats £0 or £2000!!!.........if its agreed between the two parties then its all well and good.

# Posted by Jez - 16/08/2012, 12:48 (GMT)

Great idea to post this blog Mr NWB.

It can now be pinned as used as reference every time it comes up again in the (probably very near) future!


# Posted by John Wilkinson: - 16/08/2012, 13:24 (GMT)

@ Howard

"there isn't one answer to this question.
i see bands on here biting at venues offering £150.
bands i work with are generally at the £300 mark
some bands i know work the bigger bar venues for £500 plus.
i know of bands playing certain venues for 50 to 100 less than bands i work the sound desk for at the same venue.
i know of bands playing some bigger venues for 250 less than other bands playing the same venue.
i see the same bands on NWB posting that they can't get more than 200 at the most and yet bands i am working with are going into the same venues and taking 300.
i see the same faces on NWB repeatedly declaring it's just a hobby and that no one makes money out of it while i know several treat this as their major source of income - playing the same or similar venues

conclusion - some bands are professional in approach and execution, some are not.
some have a higher market worth than others
some venues are happy to get second division for 2nd division wages, some venues want 1st division or better and will pay to get it.
i see some bands that literally can't organise a rehearsal.
i see some bands run their gigs like a swiss watch.
there is chalk and there is cheese. the only thing some people on NWB have in common with others is that they like and play music of some sort. "

Well said that man :-)

Whatever bands want to charge is between them and the venue as long as it is agreed before the gig and stuck to at the end, that is fine.Anthem is correct when he says the issue comes with bands undercutting other bands.

@ Rick: Mama is a none profit organisation who have spent FAR more on equipment than they could ever hope to recoup in fee's and even if we did play theatres and large music venues (Such as Albert Halls, Skipton Town Hall, Tribfest 2012, O2 Academy Sheffeild etc etc etc) would never be in a position to say we make money ;-)

Best wishes


# Posted by Neil Aspinall - 16/08/2012, 14:14 (GMT)

When I've been asked by venues "what do you charge" I always say;

"The most we've been paid is £x, the least we've been paid is £x, if you can fall anywhere in between then get the diary out".

The concept of agreeing a NWB band consortium minimum fee is in principle a good idea but as is anything in this world when you dig into the details it becomes impractical, subjective and unquanifiable.

It's economics at it's finest and one any wouldbe economist doing a degree theosis would have a field day exploring.


# Posted by mr.nwb - 16/08/2012, 14:19 (GMT)

@Jez - Yeah! Good thinking. Must admit, this debate does crop up a lot.

# Posted by Ian - Rocking Horse - 16/08/2012, 15:51 (GMT)

we have recently introduced our minimum fee. After careful thought we decided what we needed to clear to make it worthwhile and that is our minimum. If we can get more we will.

If certain venues can't afford our minimum then it's" thank you for your time but we can't do it I'm afraid" and we move on to the next one. It's not rocket science. The venue will move on to another band that is cheaper. I am not saying we are better than them but we all have our own sense of worth in bands.

I know venues are struggling but so are bands, I play one venue that I have just managed to squeeze an extra £20 from and they charge nearly £4 a pint. Even the soft drinks are ridiculously expensive.

# Posted by NIGHT TRAIN - 16/08/2012, 16:02 (GMT)

I think there should be a space on a band's profile where they put a minimum and maximum price...if you go to agents' sites they put artists' fees next to their blurb...we put everything else, repertoire/genre/location etc....would help venues too

Incidentally further to my last post on here about a band going out for £90 at a certain venue....I also heard of one who told the landlord they went out doing pubs for normally £800 but would do his place 'as a favour' for £150!...oh yeah??? Hahaha!

# Posted by rebelfrontman - 16/08/2012, 16:42 (GMT)

The part I struggle to get my head round is.When a venue says,they are only given a set amount for entertainment,therefore cannot pay a tad more.They dont take a set amount of money over the bar.So if a band pulls in a good crowd and people are spending.Which is usually the case when a good band is on.Then certain bands are worth that bit more.Maybe the venues that just dont get a decent turnout,should post the amount they can pay.Then bands that are happy to gig at that price,maybe coz its a local one or whatever reason,can take it.After all! I dont think the barstaff have to take a cut in their rate of pay.Do they?

# Posted by Bill - 16/08/2012, 17:13 (GMT)

no wonder i dont contribute to blogs anymore,, read some of the stuff above, from one musician to another,,, is it really that bad between you all , you're like children

# Posted by Roj (Black Rose) - 16/08/2012, 17:21 (GMT)

You get what the venues pay, simples, if you don't like then don't feckin play the venue.

# Posted by The Late Walter Johnson's Payb... - 16/08/2012, 17:48 (GMT)

What happens when the venues create a cartel and tell you to stick yer minimum price where the monkey puts his nuts ??

# Posted by NIGHT TRAIN - 16/08/2012, 17:57 (GMT)

I still think venues should stick maybe 50p on a pint or a short after 8pm...say 80 people drink 8 drinks each...(conservative estimate) thats £300 or so....and people dont mind (or notice)

# Posted by Mr Cottonhouse - 16/08/2012, 18:37 (GMT)

@LGIT - Set up your own gig for a night...
Book a hall for a night...advertise your own gig....sell tickets and /or take entrance money at the door.
Supply you own bar facilities...etc etc etc.....
If you want £300 a gig that's getting 60 people to pay £5 to watch your 'pub' band...
Good luck with that folks...

Brilliant.... comment of the month!!!! It doesn't answer any questions or deal with the issue but I like it anyway..........welcome back Gary! haha

# Posted by Mr Cottonhouse - 16/08/2012, 18:41 (GMT)

As for bands going out for 300-500, yes there are a few (and a few that go out for a lot more) but as I've said to Howard in the past, I don't know any that play in pubs. I know one or two that will play a pub on a Sunday-Thursday for less but not weekend nights.

# Posted by The Marmosets - 16/08/2012, 21:45 (GMT)

good posts Maine and Last gang,,,,imho,before anyone starts lol

# Posted by rebelfrontman - 16/08/2012, 23:53 (GMT)

Fuckin interesting.Someone puts a blog on here.Stating that the rate of a
bands pay has actually lowered over the years and should be pulled back in line.Which is a good point,and other musicians on here are slating it.£250 should be a minimum.£180/£200 is absolute peanuts.Single artists get that.Surely you know your worth that much!

# Posted by THE STORIES ,The very best! of... - 17/08/2012, 00:55 (GMT)

Was driver /roadie for my uncles "working mens club " band "famail "in the 80"s for many years on average £400 a gig ,those days are well & truly GONE! ,we have to face up to reality & yeah its a fight for gigs & a major recession /smoking ban etc et bloody c ,pubs venues & the old die hard working mens who would sooner have a solo artist on with the bingo (theres still a few about ) ,but we still have to just think about the venues think about the bands that are still with us & just get on with it .
We "the stories don"t give a f..k what £ any other band is getting its their business and just the same as ,we dont get jealous at all & if other bands can get a bit extra jam on their toast fair plays ,we play for our audience 1st & then ourselves for the music & the sheer adrenaline of being in a band ,its not a competition for us ,it never has been & any band on NWBs who knows us already knows that anyway as we champion lots of other bands & £ & competition with other bands does to be honest on the way to gigs & on the way back never ever comes into the conversation usually music ,fuel ,the sat nav , women ,gear ,venues ,beer & what time after 3:am we are gonna be getting back home .

# Posted by Black Rose, Thin Lizzy Tribute... - 17/08/2012, 08:22 (GMT)

In my opinion band and venue are a team,working together to get people in and sell as much ale as poss,it baffles me the bands that dont register this basic fact,while its good to know your worth,dont bite the hand that feeds you,first thing when speaking to the ll at the end of the gig is thanks for having us,i know some landlords very well,and times are still tough,i think we all know the ones who are genuine and the ones who try and use it to pay you less,just be realistic,and put as much into your performance as you can,thats one thing people take from a good night and what gets them back in

We are helping the pubs increase their nights take,and get peoples arses off the sofa,a basic but fundamental fact

(my own opinion) Rob

# Posted by John Wilkinson: - 17/08/2012, 10:37 (GMT)

@LGIT - Set up your own gig for a night...
Book a hall for a night...advertise your own gig....sell tickets and /or take entrance money at the door.
Supply you own bar facilities...etc etc etc.....
If you want £300 a gig that's getting 60 people to pay £5 to watch your 'pub' band...
Good luck with that folks...

erm....that is the route we go down ;-)

Best wishes


# Posted by [mark] Into The Void - 17/08/2012, 10:58 (GMT)

Aww jeysus h christos on a pedallo...... To be quite blunt and sweary about things ...... If, say HOTD, get £300.00 for a venue, and LA80 only get £200.00 for the same venue...thems the breaks.... HOTD's business is none of my concern and LA80's business is none of theirs.

I/We (LA80/DOA) have a real sense of our own worth and can make the decision regarding what we are prepared to do a gig for ..... Any feedback info from other bands is more than welcome regarding what is normally paid there but ultimately means absolutely fuckall in the great scheme of things.

We aint all sheep and we aint all providing comparable products, we all have our own criterias that must be met. If you are doing this for shit n giggles then you aint gonna be as hard and fast about your fee, if you need this money for your monthly bills etc then you are gonna be.....simple...

A cartel will have one clear conclusion (if everybody bought into it!) and that would be a number of bookings on here would disappear to A.N.Other who wasnt constrained by the cartel minimum price rule.

Its always a lively debate but I will always answer the same way, and it is selfish i agree - but i like gigging more than i like the feel of the money at the end of the night, nice though it always is.

Keep your noses out of my bands financial agreements, I keep mine out of yours!

# Posted by WAGONTOWN - 17/08/2012, 11:23 (GMT)

Well put LA80. Nowt wrong with blunt and sweary. While were on this subject, Who gives a flying fuck what LA80 or HOTD get paid or anyone else for that matter. I hope you take that in the light hearted way it was meant. In other words i hope you dont dont chuck yer toys out of the pram and jack NWB in.
Moses came down from the mountain and his Triumph sounded throughout the land, see, there were motorbikes in the the bible as well as pedaloes.

This is the view of Tel Not Wagontown, im one of the few that signs every blog/comment. so if anyone wants to have a go, I repeat....ITS TEL.............Tel

# Posted by Mr Cottonhouse - 17/08/2012, 11:47 (GMT)

@John Wilkinson - Me too but I don't think that LGITs comments were aimed at us ;-)

# Posted by Asa - 17/08/2012, 12:16 (GMT)

Well, I've kept my head down until now and I shall make my point swiftly.

The only direct question in the original blog was "Should NWB bands unite, and set a "min price" for gigs?"

My answer is this.......take a look at the reams of potential toilet paper above. You lot can't even agree on the time of day, let alone what value the minimum price should be. How on earth can everyone be trusted to stick to the arrangement? And why should they be.....it's a free market. THAT'S what sets your price.

I am convinced now more than ever that this is no more a community than it is a cock measuring contest......and there's been a few cocks on show here.


# Posted by LAST GANG IN TOWN - 17/08/2012, 12:42 (GMT)

Cottonhouse/Gary...Correct mate...There are a lot of 'average' bands on the circuit who are diluting the quality whilst forcing the price down because they'll play for less...they'll get gigs cos they're cheap...but the pubs will be empty cos the punters won't pay for pub price drinks to watch 'average' bands...
These bands cannot put on their own gigs so rely on the 'easy' option and the safety of the 'everything on tap' pub gigs.
I'm friends with a few 'real' tribute bands who work the National circuit who are all on downward spirals...Real TOP bands with great musicians who have gone from feast to famine in a few short years...and the reasons are common to all (enough material for a new blog I think)
I say it's the venues responsibility to do more research and book quality bands and the quality bands responsibility to be reasonable...cream floats to the top...
Just my opinion of course....don't be getting upset...

# Posted by THE WIGANER - 17/08/2012, 13:08 (GMT)

Sorry, you are all completely clueless. Black Thursday have made the only sensible comment!

You have no idea and no basis or experience whatsoever to make sensible comments about the price elastcity of alcohol in our local markets - which is principally driven by supermarkets, about customer responsiveness to different entertainment media and the quality/style of the offering, you don't understand the difference between local regulars pubs (the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of venues) and specialist big town/city centre music and student venues that have transient customers, you know nothing of the economics of our business where you get heavily taxed even if you make a net loss, you don't understand how much our gross cash margin has fallen over time due to taxation policy even though headline prices have increased, a lot of you think it is possible to get blood out of a stone, etc, etc, etc. I have had to cut staff pay and hours, I just kicked out Sky TV. I have required other suppliers to cut prices and/or increase promotional support. When I start booking for next year I will be looking to make meaningful savings overall, because I need to. If any of you don't like it, it's tough, you won't be playing for me. Wake up and smell the coffee!


# Posted by Maine - 17/08/2012, 13:50 (GMT)

wooohooo - there ya go - cant argue with that.
Good post Iain.

Now - about that gig ...........

# Posted by Jez - 17/08/2012, 13:57 (GMT)

democratic approach if nothing else!

# Posted by La Bam - 17/08/2012, 14:00 (GMT)

I really hope for musics sake that the majority of the bands in the country dont think the same way as a lot on here. Its bewildering sometimes...

My summary:

You can set the minimum wage easy - £0

The maximum wage wont be far off it in a year or two either - £0

The pub circuit is fast becoming solely a place to gig with your band, rather than a mutual benefit to both pub and band, and no one seems to want to stop the slide.

# Posted by egbert - 17/08/2012, 14:30 (GMT)

I've been following this thread since it started. Aside from about 5 posts (from memory AYP, BH Mick, LGIT, ST and TCS) what an irrelevant waste of my time and what a way to advertise NWB, the friendly cosy community for bands, venues and fans to interact and share the joy of music! Asa - you have it spot on there mate and I wonder how many venues you have all lost this time - following in the footsteps of every other venue who has some here, said we have x on offer, and then get so much stick they don't come back again! And for what? Because some folk can't face up to reality!

Your circuit is going the same way ours went 20-25 years ago - too many bands, too few venues, a decreasing audience and the continuing growth of on demand free entertainment. Unless you are one of the few who makes a living from this will you really give up doing what you love for the sake of a couple of pints each here and there (though of course by driving to a gig and back you are probably saving yourselves the cost of 5 or 6 pints every gig so in essence you're still up by the time you get home;-))? That;s the choice you're going to face sooner or later.

Bored of it now!

# Posted by Jez - 17/08/2012, 15:05 (GMT)

@guy - trouble seems to be that people can't have opinions. What is the point of a forum if everyone has to agree?

The fact that it descends into name calling, abuse, call it what you will is where it goes tits up.

there is a wide scope of artists on here (as previously mentioned; hobbyists through to pros), then there is the venues stance and again, there is a wide spectrum of venues; they are bound to see things from a different angle.

There is no right and wrong, just different opinions. Agree to disagree (not you, just in general! )

# Posted by La Bam - 17/08/2012, 15:32 (GMT)

completely agree Jez.

One of this sites MAJOR failings is that things dont get discussed properly. Or with any respect. Opinions arent put across properly and people arent open to ideas or advice. People just dont respect people opinions or point of view.

I know just off my own back that there are bands in this thread who play pubs for more than £300, and their opinions and advice have been shunned or dismissed. Why? These people are (or were) willing to help others over a valid point.

Im afraid this forum isnt a good resource for much anymore. It just continuously shoots itself in the foot, solves nothing and no one benefits.

# Posted by JCartysRoadie - 17/08/2012, 16:56 (GMT)

Looking at agents websites, such as 'stagehouse' who post on here, gives an idea of what some venues must be paying for bands.

# Posted by a band - 17/08/2012, 18:04 (GMT)

I have a squire showmaster HSS cobalt blue floyd rose style locking system excellent condition £150 or would swap for a bass guitar

# Posted by Steve McCartney - 17/08/2012, 18:16 (GMT)

For what its worth my take is this:

1. Fees paid to bands are nobody's business but the band and the venue's. While I agree that the fees some bands go out for are ridiculously low its still not my problem. I can't get angry at other bands going for less than we do any more than I can get angry at bands getting more than us. I feel the vitriol that some of you feel (in particular Anthem) toward these 'undercutting' bands is unfounded and you don't have the right to have a go at them for it. At any point. In any way, shape or form. And I think some of the comments directed at these bands are way out of line.

2. We have a minimum fee that we are prepared to play for. We give the venue a number, or the venue gives us a number, and the conversation begins until we either compromise or respectfully decline. If we put (as Night Train suggested) a min and max fee on our profile page we'd only ever get offered the minimum fee because its there in black and white and I don't see many venues volunteering more. If you saw a guitar in a shop ticketed at £200 you wouldn't offer them £300 at the counter would you?

3. Fees depend largely on alot of factors such as distance, gear required and simply if its a good venue to play. We'll make more of a concession on a favourite venue that's an amazing gig over your average saturday night boozer.

And what we charge is nobody's business but ours. What venues pay is nobody's business but theirs. End of.

Now can everyone just shut the fuck up, mind their own and be fucking nice to eachother? ;)


# Posted by Roberto, fretboard polisher - 17/08/2012, 18:16 (GMT)

Im sure I can hear daleks..

# Posted by WAGONTOWN - 17/08/2012, 19:05 (GMT)

Its so easy to come on here at the end of a contentious but great blog spouting so-called common sense after reading everyones point of view, and coming out with the usual arse kissing bullshit, such as, Tom Dick & fkn Harry made the best points. Get a fkn life, get in at the beginning and get it said. ...................Tel

# Posted by Mark C Marauder + Whitefake - 17/08/2012, 19:51 (GMT)

So if a venue cancels you at a minutes notice and states someone else have offered to do the gig substantially less than you. . . . Fair play? Fuckin right

# Posted by Duke Bocks - 17/08/2012, 21:07 (GMT)

Reet..lets put a swerve ball in here...
We all love to play and entertain right?
who would play for free ??????
now.. dont give me all that we spend thousands on gear malarky, we would buy the best gear we could afford if we only played in the garage right? And let's not have the cost of transport argument... how many pay good money to travel to gigs..and pay the entrance fee?..why ???...cos we love it!!
So..go on... who would do it if there was no recompense??
I have played with some of the finest brass bands in the country, played in some of the most prestigious venues in the world to audiences of thousands...and did i get paid ???
Why ??..cos I loved what I was doing and it gave me an opprtunity to go places and do things I never dreamed I would.
Come on..cards on the table and never mind the Judas syndrome ....how many ???

Kev. (Now hiding behind the couch)

# Posted by egbert - 17/08/2012, 21:34 (GMT)

I do!

he said joining Kev behind the couch :-)

# Posted by Duke Bocks - 17/08/2012, 21:53 (GMT)

It only takes 2 to start a revolution Guy...lol

# Posted by ..... - 17/08/2012, 23:42 (GMT)

@ Duke Bocks .....make that 3 !!

You nwb guys (generally speaking) who only work the pub game, are going to be working for £200 or less full stop and even lower as younger guys startup......the day is coming !!

Bottom line - "The fact is nwb blogs mixes amateur, semi, and pro (attitudes and abilities) bands into one forum" so its never going to gell.

Hobby "boy's & girls" have day jobs and do it for fun. Just like the local Big Band Brass guys the Duke Bocks indicated. So one day that will be the same for most of you's.

Pro's on the other hand dont have day jobs and their a bit more advanced than otherwise they do't work.

So Top 13 NWB chart looks like ~

1 Sex On Fire Kings Of Leon 181 Buy Now
2 Dakota Stereophonics 164 Buy Now
3 Teenage Kicks The Undertones 160 Buy Now
4 Wishing Well Free 135 Buy Now
5 Valerie Mark Ronson/ Amy Winehouse 131 Buy Now
6 Hard to Handle Black Crowes 123 Buy Now
7 Paranoid Black Sabbath 121 Buy Now
8 You Really Got Me Van Halen 116 Buy Now
9 I Predict a Riot Kaiser Chiefs 104 Buy Now
11 Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd 100 Buy Now
13 Superstition Stevie Wonder 94 Buy Now

How many "years" does it take you to learn these ?

Can you play other styles at detail level ?

If not, you wont be able to compete with cruse's, corporate's, top hotel, theatre or such like guys ...who will from time to time do the lower venues and blow you guys away.

Sure you don't want to do those venues...that leaves you with pubs only..

I genuinely believe there is a market for the originals to move into the pub game, who would be glad to earn £100 ..but you original guys need to be able to write great songs ...so fuck that indie shit off...no groove !!! Get the youngests dancing...I mean SEX...even the jitterbug had SEX...


# Posted by Duke Bocks - 17/08/2012, 23:57 (GMT)

Sex ??..isn't that wot the Germans carry coal in ??

# Posted by Willow (of somebig™Fish) (Reti... - 18/08/2012, 23:49 (GMT)

It always amazes me that someone can actually get offended by anything written on here! "that's offensive...." .....really? No, really?? Ha ha, so funny!
p.s. hope this doesn't offend anybody.
P.p.s. I'm no breadhead, but retired partly due to the money on offer certainly.

# Posted by FREEWAY - 19/08/2012, 12:32 (GMT)

WELL, WELL......
money raises its head again.
we usually get £200.00 - £250.00 for local gigs, some pubs offer £150.00 for your fist gig then if they like you, rebook you at a higher rate. i don`t like it but we have done it.
At the end of the day you have a choice, we do it for fun & a little pocket money
one of my local pubs has just been taken over, they addvertised for local bands to help out (cheap gigs) now i don`t have a problem helping a new venue, so we made an offer, not good enough for him, as it turned out the venue wanted you to play for free.
so of i pop for a pint, walk in the pub & say "im a struggling musician, can i have 4 free pints please???????? guess wat the answer was???? it ended in OFF...
enough said.
hope this doesn`t offend anyone.......

# Posted by NIGHT TRAIN - 19/08/2012, 13:05 (GMT)

@ MrNobody...I've done a song about sex (and dancing)

# Posted by nicki sycamore - 19/08/2012, 15:44 (GMT)

I believe money talk is between band and venue and I'm sorry but a minimum fee of 200 there are some bands on here not worth that but some I'd pay 300 for, I think its private and as for how many people in a band irrelevant!

# Posted by The Voodoo Hogs - 19/08/2012, 18:22 (GMT)

Minimum gig price (wage) don’t make me laugh, it’s never going to happen. Simple economics, someone will always undercut or agree a gig at a lesser than expected fee compared to other bands and why not? Should supermarkets sell the same items at the same price? Should the same make of car be sold at the same price at every dealership? Don’t we all love a bargain? Of course we do, venues are only doing the same, looking for a deal so if you want the gig then go out there and compete!

# Posted by Smitten Kitten - 21/08/2012, 00:06 (GMT)

£250 is nothing for a band. It would cost someone more than £250 just to hire the gear out that we take for the night.

We worked out that the average gig we are earning less than the bar staff when you consider that we're working from about 6 o clock, packing up the car, driving to the gig, setting up, playing, packing up and driving home. All in all we're doing about 8hours average every night we're out and that's being split 5 ways. If I worked behind the bar for 8 hours I would earn more and then you start having to put expenses like petrol, strings, drinks and all that into the equation.

# Posted by mr.nwb - 21/08/2012, 17:23 (GMT)

Just noticed on http://nwb.co/thefleece

They actively publish there band/gig prices. Maybe more venues should be more upfront/transparent on their pricing/budget policy. I quite like the honesty of what Yvonne is doing.

(Pricing based on members too!!)


Any fee agreed with Yvonne will stand for all bands currently booked.
Going forward with any new bands booked the fee will be:

future gigs will be:

£180 for a three piece band,
£200 for more than three members.

# Posted by SOMETHING ELSE - 25/08/2012, 18:05 (GMT)

Got to agree with stonecycle on this one! Fair comments really

# Posted by Steve - 26/08/2012, 02:10 (GMT)

Market forces rule chaps...................

'nuff said

# Posted by Martin - 26/08/2012, 15:13 (GMT)

A set minimum fee is little more than an ideal, which due to human nature can never work.

Considering that gigging IS work, of which you have spent much time and financial investment, it is only FAIR to ask for a worthy fee. However, I am aware there are a number of venues that dispute this on the grounds that they can't afford to pay fair fees in such hard times.

As an ex-pro muso and business man, I would say this... Bands are a business and if you think otherwise, you are a fool. Business' of any kind will negotiate, but will always have a bottom figure that they will not go below. If you don't value yourself then no-one else will and in my opinion you are a disgrace to the profession.

As for the hard up venues... If you want bands to do your gig cheaper, why not invest in and install a good house PA, with mics and stands, a few good backline instrument amps & cabs, a drum kit etc. This way you could ask bands to take a lesser fee with the insentive that they need only turn up with their guitars and personal FX. I am pretty sure you'd get a number of takers if they knew that they didn't have to load up, lug everything in and out of a place and then same again when they get home. You have to bear in mind that not every band would bite for this and you would have to keep your gear in good working order. Does it sound a good idea? Then try it. If not, pay fair fees!

# Posted by Martin - 27/08/2012, 18:07 (GMT)

As an extra... Mentioning no names or places. I've just been round to a friend of mine who was out last night in St Helens watching a duo in a bar. The duo was asked to do extra couple of sets and did early till late performances. They asked for extra as it was just like doing two gigs and the guy who runs the place was pulling his face at this. He was then overheard by my friend (whom I've never known to lie) talking to a guy at the bar...
"It makes me fucking sick. They get more money for twiddling a fucking guitar than I pay bar staff."
This typifies the attitude of some establishment owners. Don't you think SOMEBODY should set the bar for minimum gig rates? even if you do get some arseholes who will undercut it. After hearing this incident, I give NWB my vote. YES!

# Posted by Breezico. - 11/09/2012, 15:45 (GMT)

I had a venue two years ago that phoned me two days before my solo booking asking if I'd drop the fee for the gig to £20... ;o(

# Posted by The Albion - 17/09/2012, 15:02 (GMT)

Just thought i would add my two-penneth in as a landlord

I have been putting on live music for years. It is true that way back the normal fee was 400-500 pounds, however times have changed...less customers, more overheads, less GP% etc etc bleet bleet bleet

Nowadays i tend to pay the bands anything between £150-£250 per gig....does not matter what size band they are...its all down to economics. the band starts at 9-9:30 and finishes at around 11:30...basically 2 hours more or less.

I have to take over the bar 3 times a bands fee to break even during those 2 hours. So you are looking at say £750...doesn't seem a lot but that is a fair few pints.

Remember we have not made a penny yet and thats what we are in the game for at the end of the day......bleet, early mornings, late nights, customers tut...end of bleet.

Realistaically if you put on bands every week then some weeks you win, some you lose and some you break even on....Myself i'm not bothered about just breaking even over a period as long as im not losing week in and week out. I Just love music and breaking even is better than watching the X factor on the big screen.

it also depends on the location of the venue, the band local following, the genre of music and hell if there is a locals wedding on that day the pub could be near enough empty anyway but you cant always plan on such things e.g. over a recent 5 week period we were very busy on the first 2, dead on the third, ok on the fourth and dead on the fifth. Cant blame the bands etc as they were all good pub bands, in fact some of the better bands (in my opinion) played on the dead nights. there are always factors that can make it a dead night...weddings, birthdays, party's, Bloody X Factor and even football as they have been out all day and as a landlord i never try and justify the busy nights only the dead ones....funny that ££££

Down with the X Factor and Up Live music

# Posted by The Drunk Monkeys - 20/09/2012, 11:47 (GMT)

Bring in the Musician's Union...all join...make the venues adhere...fix fee's...if the venues won't pay then they get no band !

Sounds good....but who wants to take that on...fuck that !

# Posted by Drum Bloke™ - that bloke that... - 28/09/2012, 02:46 (GMT)

No true answer is there ?
Been said here before but it's true:

Chicken and egg. No band no punters. No punters no band.

Corporate scene = Money but contrived music (in the 'main' before you bite my head off)
No money= Originality / new music.

I have always found the best combination wins.

Both sides need to be flexible on what is a considerable wage:
I don't think you can compare to days of yore either: The number of willing bands has probably doubled in the last 20 years.

But yeah Cowell should be trialled before a court for Human rights infringement for continual manipulation. Done absolutlety nothing for the music scene. 'Musicola'.

# Posted by The Bent Brook Urmston - 07/10/2012, 23:47 (GMT)

just seen this blog and would like to add my opinion...
I pay the bands a setISH fee but I also pay extra if they can bring me in extra money....
Eg: set fee of £200 if I take £3500 that night....a usual sat night take......
but if they brought a crowd in and increased my take (promoting both my venue and themselves)
then I increase the fee.....

Golly gosh I hear you all say... a venue that increases the Fee......
I used to gig and I know what it takes to do this week in and week out....lugging gear everywhere....
in the other case tho I don't decrease the amount set if its a bad take night....
I just dont book them again......

just thought i would add to this forum...

and yes DEATH TO X FACTOR .....

# Posted by One Tom Band - 20/10/2012, 16:51 (GMT)

Just came across this blog and I'm no further along after reading it. I play a One Piece covers/self made backing tracks set. I used to do gigs in Ireland where I could charge 200 Euros for a pub gig (or up to double for a function) but I now live in Cumbria and want to get started again. I've played a couple of gigs in Egremont for 100 pounds. I was thinking I should be getting around 150 quid for a gig but maybe I'm going about it wrong. I certainly don't want to undercut the other acts and I also don't want pubs taking advantage. O the converse, I don't want to price myself out of a job. So I still have no idea what I SHOULD be charging in pubs in, say, Cockermouth. Ho hum...

# Posted by djpimp - 20/10/2012, 16:52 (GMT)

well... been watching this blog for a while...

finally think its worth commenting lol

as you guys probably know im the sound guy @ the flying shuttle in bury....

some very fair points from 'Old England'....

we run this live music venue because we are all mucisicans... love music, love performing, always get up on jam nights... its all about the music...

there is a plus point... we also sell beer !

we have a set fee (not disclosing it, as its our business, however bands on here that have gigged will know what that is)

we pay every band on a saturday this set fee... (unless there is a support band aswell, then we work out a fee that both bands are happy with)

but some of these comments make me laugh.... yes, its nice if we have a busy night, and sometimes if its a really busy night, and a great all-rounder, yeah we might chuck an extra £50 in the band pot, because we know that all serious bands work very hard to perform the way they do... rehersal time... top notch equipment, fuel costs....

we try and make it easier as we have a full in house p.a. with monitors, lights, smoke, sound guy (me lol)

its generally an easy night... set backline up, have a pint... sing some songs lol

yes theres a little more to it than that, but we want it to be as easy for you as possible...

saying that, we have also had very reputable bands, that have said they dont go out for less than £x ....

sometimes yeah, we have said, ok its a little more than the set fee, but yeah your booked....

and paid them what they asked....

its all about mutual respect.... we respect the fact that the bands work very hard to acheive the performance levels that we get on our stage, but they also respect the fact that we have a business to run, and dont ask for £800 for a 2 hour set !!!!

my point is... all bands are willing to go out at different fees, but also, different venues will have different minimum fees....

its all about give and take....

enjoy the music, keep it live and have lots of fun, singin freebird at the end of tonights gig !

# Posted by The Lol Goodman Band - 07/11/2012, 15:29 (GMT)

I've been reading all your blogs about "fair" prices for gigs with interest. As a mere drummer who's been playing since the 1960s I can appreciate Rumble Fat Band's comments and I agree with them. We, TD Backus and The Powerhouse, were a seven piece soul band who as semi pros used to go out for £15.00 a night in 1964/5. When we turned pro in late 1965 we thought we'd won the lottery. Our prices were anything between £50 and £150 per night. Reality kicked in when we realised how much travelling we had to do which came with staying in digs, eating out all the time, fuel cost, repairs to knackered van, etc.
Nowadays with a three piece blues/rock band we try to aim for (and have got) £200 - £250 a night. BUt, we've also played our local for £100. We've got a gig coming up through an agent which is a charity fund raiser for which we're getting £150 each. I can't work that one out.
In my humble opinion you should realise that if it's a pub you're working, the pub scene is on it's backside. Surely everyone must have noticed the number of pubs shutting down. Having said that, some pubs are doing quite nicely thank you and often it's because of the live music they feature. So you have to price accordingley.
I would be happy as the proverbial pig in s..t if we could work every Saturday night within a 30 mile radius for £250 per night. But life aint like that.

# Posted by Exit 7 - 07/12/2012, 19:04 (GMT)

"I play because I enjoy it.

The money's a nice bonus, but I still work in the day.

Where's the problem?"

Exactly how I feel about this. Also one should never judge how good or bad a band is by how much or how little they charge. I play in an originals band and just want to get our music 'out there' so if we get paid anything its a bonus :)

# Posted by Soul'd Out - 04/02/2013, 15:39 (GMT)

It's absolutely impractical for us to go out for less than £200 as there are 8 of us in the group and would normally ask £250, but its becoming ever increasingly difficult to find those venues that will pay £250. We have to then start looking at how far it is for everyone before taking on the gig... and i know there are venues that will only pay £150 - £175 as I've called them, and some of them are very large, well know live music venues.

It's not about the money for me as i've played for 26 years in an ensemble where any money went to "the band" paying for new music, conductors fee's, room hire etc and not to the musicians, hell we even had to pay a monthly sub to be in the group! But once you add up mileage, cost of a weekly rehearsal room (as venues want good performances), gear etc and divide it up between your group then it's completely impractical to go out for anything less.

# Posted by Jeepster Gaz ( RailerMania ) - 05/02/2013, 12:20 (GMT)

I dont agree with all this 3 piece, 4 piece, 5 piece etc etc. A band is a band and it doesnt matter how many members are in it. They are there to put on a show and entertain a crowd.

If a band is happy with £100 well that is down to the band if they are not happy with £100 dont do it !

If you are a band that wants massive money you need to approach massive money venue's.

We have also got to take into consideration that we are in very difficult financial times and there is not a lot of money about.
The most tragic thing about being in a band these days is that, venue's are closing down left right and centre and its not because they are cash rich !
We have got to consider our Landlords and Landlady's.........

I personally look at the money side of it as payment for humping gear in and out....The show is the enjoyable bit ......

If venues put a small door charge on maybe 50p or £1 it would make all the difference. It wouldnt put most punters off to pay £1 to watch a band....

If a band is charging £200 and the landlord charges £1 entry and gets say, 100 people come in, our lovely landlords only have to find another £100.........
That makes a happy band and a happy landlord..... Punters pay megga money to go and see big name bands and end up not being able to see the band because they are stood so far back.
They end up watching them on a big screen thats looks the size of a portable tv because they are miles away. Might as well just buy the DVD.

£1, is not a lot to pay to keep a band in pocket, a landlord / landlady happy and most of all, KEEP THE VENUE THRIVING !

Jeepster Gaz \m/

# Posted by THE STANCE - 21/02/2013, 20:39 (GMT)

We wouldn't do it if we didn't love it would we?
Even so, we shouldn't sell ourselves out. We work bloody hard. We load up, unload. Play our hearts out and sweat them out too. We pack up and go home to unload. I usually get home about 7 hours after I leave. That's nearly a full days work.
We're not just getting paid for hard graft either, we're selling our talent.
If you're starting out or playing your own music then you play for whatever you can get. If you're providing entertainment and a service then £50 each isn't silly money.

# Posted by Jeepster Gaz ( RailerMania ) - 21/02/2013, 22:15 (GMT)

I think £200 is a fair minimum earner. I also think that we need to help the venues as well !

# Posted by Jeepster Gaz ( RailerMania ) - 21/02/2013, 22:15 (GMT)

I think £200 is a fair minimum earner. I also think that we need to help the venues as well !

# Posted by THE EXIT - 19/04/2013, 14:03 (GMT)

Just looking back through this blog - I think Jeepster Gaz sums it up - as most of us do it mainly for the fun of it, we need to help out the venues, especially the pubs, which are closing down in great numbers - if we can get £200 or £250, that's fine, but even as a 5 piece band, we do play for £150 if necessary, if we think that will help to ensure that the venue is still going to be there for us and other bands this time next year. Functions are a different matter and a higher fee for those helps us bite the bullet on smaller, pub gigs.

# Posted by PR2 - 04/05/2013, 19:48 (GMT)

It may have already been said on here (aint got time to look at all the comments) but I feel that the increasing number of bands willing to play for free these days is killng the business. I appreciate that usually new/young bands want to get their music heard but venues have latched onto this in a big way. After all why should they pay for a band when so many will do it for free????

# Posted by Invane - 10/05/2013, 09:20 (GMT)

I normally at least cover my expenses (I've played in a death metal band for 4 years now - signed to Infinite Regress Records *Shameless self promotion there for other band*) purely for the enjoyment of playing. I appreciate that alot of venues will latch on to the freebie bands, but if people are after a good all rounded set with a decent sound, I want at least the thing to be relatively stress free and cover the cost of our mini van between the rest of the band

# Posted by 12Adam - 10/05/2013, 12:00 (GMT)

Minimum fee - something your band considers to be the sum total of all your costs to play the venue, taking into account travel, breakages (strings, sticks, etc), drinks money, and your time.

If your minimum fee is more than a specific venue will pay, then you won't do the gig surely....?

# Posted by 12Adam - 10/05/2013, 12:02 (GMT)

And I mean no offence to the landlords, I have heard from a couple that their budgets can be set by the brewery. I do sympathise, and understand that business is hard during the recession. I just hope we can all pull together and dig the country out of the mess we've been left in....

# Posted by Carillon Video - 27/05/2013, 14:32 (GMT)

Seems to me, what the bands want is someone else to take all the risk and do all the work. They just want to play gigs. Nothing wrong with that of course. A business is a business and a musician is a musician. What I find very hard to understand is why musicians don't stop and think:

Hey wait a minute! I can't get these high paying gigs. I can't do this, that and the other, so why don't I find someone who CAN?

At the end of the day, this entire debate is about the first principle of economics. Supply and demand. Crap bands will not be able to charge much. Average bands will pull some people in and be able to charge more. Good bands will command good fees. Brilliant bands will just do what they like and get paid what they want. Stupid venues will book bands with closed minds and little research. Good venues will do their homework and their sums and book bands that make them money.

None of this truly works properly unless you find the balance. Everyone has to get a reasonable share out of whatever it is you're trying to accomplish. What's more, everyone has to also pull their weight. I've seen blog after blog on NWB detailing the same thing:

- I don't have time to plaster the high street with posters.

Yeah, your use of global metaphors instills a deep desire within me to not book you. Fact is, what you just said is, "I don't care enough to do it." If you cared enough, you would do it. Global metaphors are everywhere. Sooner you realise it, the better off you will be.

- I don't have to promote my band. That's the venues job.

I'm absolutely fine with that. Did you say you want paying? Why would I pay you when I can book at band that DOES promote themselves and fill my pub?

- I'm not getting out of bed for less than two grand.

Good for you. I cannot afford you. I'm sure your band is great. Have fun.

- I want a minimum wage.

What do you consider to be the minimum workload? Playing for two hours with an encore and heaven forbid, lugging those speakers and amps around? Poor you.

- It's not a business. It's a hobby.

In that case, you can have a Tuesday night and play for free. Why would you want paying anyway?

- My band is amazing.

I'm sure I'll be able to tell, just by watching the video on your website. Where is it?

- My band is niche and we cannot play in most venues.

Go find a niche venue (or more appropriately, a niche gig in a venue).

- It's not fair because the tribute bands get paid lots of money to play one artiste and I get paid peanuts to play them all.

That's because they're better at what they do than you are at what you do. Get over it or get good at it.

- The market isn't what it used to be.

Of course it's not. It's called progress. Move with it, or you're against it.

- The smoking ban has killed live music.

Want a sideline selling eCigs? Everyone is at it. Why don't you?

- The economy is ruined and everyone lost their jobs. Nobody can afford to go out anymore.

Really? I don't know anyone who lost their job because the economy is ruined. I know a few people who lost their jobs because they were pretty useless at their jobs or because the company they worked for were useless at getting enough work to pay their staff.

On and on it goes. I'll re-iterate:

1. If you are crap, get good.
2. If you don't know how to do something, get someone who does.
3. Position your band above all the others.
4. Make your band worth more.
5. If you're all out of ideas on how to make this band thing work, find new ideas (meaning find people with new ideas).

At the end of the day:

6. If it's not working, change it.

And most importantly:

7. Have fun.

Kind regards, A.

# Posted by Henighans Bottom Bull Venue - ... - 22/06/2013, 10:13 (GMT)

Hi Andrew,

I think you hit the nail on the head (post 27.05.13)..... although you missed

8. Spread your wings play further afield rather than hammer the same town week after week and dilute your audience. Venues need fresh gigs/bands that were not playing down the road the week before. Why will people come to watch you if they saw you last week....... Very few Pubs have lots of locals packed in night after night nowadays and the ones who do for profitability reasons would not go to the expense of paying a band.

9. Great Bands need Great followings and then they can command the fee they charge.

I'm happy to pay whatever amount to a band, if an audience will show up!!!!


# Posted by R.E.M. UK - 08/08/2013, 00:18 (GMT)

In my eye's a 5 piece band should never be paid less than £250 (£50 each) otherwise it just isnt practical!

# Posted by chrispenguin - 12/08/2013, 21:54 (GMT)

Wow what a thread!!!!

I'm looking from the fans point of view.
I've watched many a band and really enjoyed some of them. But the range of talent is huge. Some i've travelled to watch again and some i would not watch in my garden!!!!! The quality bands are normally asked to revisit a venue or word of mouth leads to other bookings. Maybe then you can ask for more money. Fans and landlords do speak to each other. The average wage in the northwest is about a tenner an hour. If a night (1hr travel, 2hr set, 1hr set up ,1hr drinking) x 1.5 for sat overtime rate doing what for most bands is a hobby then you should be happy to accept the £75 each.
And don't get me started on the so called wedding bands wanting £895 for two 45min sets.

# Posted by chrispenguin - 12/08/2013, 21:54 (GMT)

Wow what a thread!!!!

I'm looking from the fans point of view.
I've watched many a band and really enjoyed some of them. But the range of talent is huge. Some i've travelled to watch again and some i would not watch in my garden!!!!! The quality bands are normally asked to revisit a venue or word of mouth leads to other bookings. Maybe then you can ask for more money. Fans and landlords do speak to each other. The average wage in the northwest is about a tenner an hour. If a night (1hr travel, 2hr set, 1hr set up ,1hr drinking) x 1.5 for sat overtime rate doing what for most bands is a hobby then you should be happy to accept the £75 each.
And don't get me started on the so called wedding bands wanting £895 for two 45min sets.

# Posted by Jeepster Gaz ( RailerMania ) - 12/08/2013, 22:21 (GMT)

id be very happy with £75 a gig every gig, each.

If a band has a minimum fee and a venue wont pay that fee, don't do the gig !
If you get what you ask for, HAPPY DAYS !

# Posted by By Appointment only band - 30/12/2013, 15:35 (GMT)

hi all does anyone know how much solo singers go out for in pubs ?????? cheers guys and happy new year

# Posted by The Imposters - 05/01/2014, 01:21 (GMT)

Some good points raised in this debate .... so thought I would add a little of my thoughts to this ..

Yes, we may all think that we are good enough to command top rates, afterall we spend years learning our various Instruments and skills and putting it all together as a band .. but .. in this tough economic climate do we really want to bite the hand that feeds us by asking for amounts that make the Pubs already unsteady financial security even more untenable ? afterall, if Pubs keep closing at the current rate there will be no venues left to play, is that what we all want by "demanding" top money ?

Lets look at it another way shall we ? youre in a band, going out to gig, a night of enjoyment for yourself and your band mates .. even if you all pull £35 each for the night, its £35 you didnt have at the start of the evening AND you are actually being PAID to enjoy yourself :) if youre a Punter going for a night out, you have to PAY to get your enjoyment ! see the difference ? I do :)

I am not advocating that we should all sell ourselves short, but that we should take stock of what is actually going on in the world of Pubs keeping themselves in Business.

Yes, I've spent over 40 years "honing" my skills, like many of you on here and continually humping gear in and out of venues, year in year out, coming home sattered after having a good time, but maybe, just maybe if we all want to continue doing this in future years we have to be realistic ....

I find this very frustrating as certain Band members will not go out for under £200 and I know damm well that if the were to accept £180 I could fill the Gig Diary very quickly !!

Another thought here ... IF we were to accept a little less on a night .. COULD/WOULD that lead to a resurgence in Pubs wanting to take Bands on ? ..... it may even lead to more Pubs finding that they can afford a Band and the Circuit might even start to have something of a revival ??

My comments above are based soley on Bands and NOT on lone artists with backing tracks as I have my opinion that this is what has helped wreck the Live music scene for many Bands :)


# Posted by The Railway Inn, Chorley - 10/05/2014, 17:54 (GMT)

I hope you don't mind me adding my view to the list? I've been booking in bands at The Railway for 18 months or so now.

We are not looking to get the cheapest band to play, we are looking for the best band to play! However I always have to negotiate on price (I book you in but I've got to get the OK from the boss)

When I book in I look for certain qualities, such as:
1 - How far the band are coming to play (You have to pay petrol/transport costs)
2 - How many people are in the band
3 - I also check out how much advertising the band does for their gigs (the more advertising the band does with their own fans the more 'word of mouth' opportunities there are.
4 - In the case of re-booking I see how quickly they get their posters to us. I like to get them up 4 weeks before they get optimum advertising (If you send them the week before you're only getting one weeks advertising in house)
5 - I listen to them, whether I go out and see them or look them up on YouTube etc.
6 - For NWBs bands (And FB bands) I look at your profile, the comments that you get, how many gigs you have booked in, where you have played in the past, how many tunes are in your set list, what tunes are in your set list.

Then I have to think of the time of the month, in a place like Chorley there are only so many people with so much money so I try to get the more expensive bands to play when I know people have been paid!

But I also have to think of other things like staffing. For example on a Saturday we have 2 staff on which can cost us £76.00 so if a band charges £300 we're paying out £376 before the band has even set up. Then VAT & tax for the band & staff so add another £7.52.

I understand that your gear costs a lot of money to buy, but we pay for the electric for you to play. So in a small pub like ours for a £300 band to pay I have to think before they play that it's actually costing £383.52 before I think about other bills (Rent/Rates/VAT/Electric/Water/etc, etc, etc) So we have to take over £1400 on the bar on the night alone just to meet the overheads.

We have our own lights to save you lugging your own lights as well as the rest of the gear, we also used to have our own PA but it got wrecked and we can't afford to replace it.

I hope you don't think I'm being awkward or picky about what I have wrote and hope that it doesn't cause more arguments, I just thought that maybe you could see it from a venue's perspective. Our top end budget is £250 and if a band is more than that and won't haggle down, then I can't book them no matter how much I like them. But we are only a small venue, bigger venues can get more people in, more chance of using a ticket system as there is more chance of selling the tickets to meet the overheads.

However can I just say if you love the music that you play (And I love to listen to) money is no issue as long as you have a good night :D

Keep up the hard work guys, you all do a fab job :D

# Posted by Clash Of The Titans - 11/05/2014, 10:19 (GMT)

Been looking at this blog for ages now. It's such a complex situation, and there have been some really interesting points, but here's my personal take on it.
When Fretsaw first started out, we couldn't even find an affordable practice room for months. Eventually we ended getting a very convenient place (location wise), and are paying £130 a month for it, with unlimited usage.
Due to family responsibilities, and complicated work shifts within the band we can only realistically gig once a month. (Sometimes we can squeeze the odd additional gig in per month).
Petrol costs are a nightmare. We usually fork out about £60 in total per gig, so you can see already that we would need to charge £190 just to break even every month.
By now I am hearing off some of you saying "Well don't f*****g do it then."
All fine and well, a comment like that, but the point is we love playing live, and a buzzing crowd is the best feeling in the world, so we carry on. Also we get to belt out the songs we love, from some of our favorite bands.
So to get back to the point - £200 per gig would just about break us even. I'm sure £200 to regularly gigging bands should be an acceptable figure, considering the state of the economic climate, and with pubs shutting left right and center. Even dropping the price below this figure occasionally to help a struggling pub out is not gonna bankrupt a band, as long as this doesn't become a regular thing.

# Posted by NIGHT TRAIN - 11/05/2014, 13:54 (GMT)

if a pub is 'struggling', chances are its gonna be a bad gig for a variety of reasons...nobody in, dickheads ,crap ale,crap jukebox blasting out crap songs when you're setting up..etc...having a band on once a week isnt really gonna change things...new management needed.

In fact, its probably the other way round...if its a struggling pub, charge more to compensate for whats likely to be a really duff night...if pub is absolutely a buzzing 'must play' I'd play for less....but if it is buzzing then you you'll find most landlords pay a 'fair' amount....and I say 'most'

Dont sell yourself cheap (however much you feel like a gig)

Just putting an alternative view...to be controversial :)

# Posted by B jack bainbridge - 18/01/2015, 20:46 (GMT)

Just do the maths
If a pub can pay £250 they will
Stay happy

# Posted by Diesel Brothers - 12/09/2015, 04:02 (GMT)

Please, Please, lets get serious on here people, I like bacon butties, who's with me?

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