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Fees (concert admission prices)

Tim Leaning 26 Oct 10 - 02:48 PM
autoharpbob 26 Oct 10 - 03:07 PM
evansakes 26 Oct 10 - 03:25 PM
Tim Leaning 26 Oct 10 - 03:36 PM
Will Fly 26 Oct 10 - 03:56 PM
Joe Offer 26 Oct 10 - 03:57 PM
Will Fly 26 Oct 10 - 04:03 PM
Tim Leaning 26 Oct 10 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 26 Oct 10 - 04:20 PM
Will Fly 26 Oct 10 - 04:28 PM
Tim Leaning 26 Oct 10 - 04:52 PM
Tim Leaning 26 Oct 10 - 04:55 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 26 Oct 10 - 05:43 PM
Will Fly 26 Oct 10 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 26 Oct 10 - 06:24 PM
Betsy 26 Oct 10 - 07:59 PM
C-flat 27 Oct 10 - 03:31 AM
George Papavgeris 27 Oct 10 - 04:28 AM
Wolfhound person 27 Oct 10 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 27 Oct 10 - 05:39 AM
Joe Offer 27 Oct 10 - 05:55 AM
autoharpbob 27 Oct 10 - 06:30 AM
Will Fly 27 Oct 10 - 06:43 AM
Joe Offer 27 Oct 10 - 06:47 AM
The Sandman 27 Oct 10 - 06:52 AM
Vic Smith 27 Oct 10 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,Desi C 27 Oct 10 - 07:35 AM
The Sandman 27 Oct 10 - 07:53 AM
Vic Smith 27 Oct 10 - 08:59 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 27 Oct 10 - 09:04 AM
Dave MacKenzie 27 Oct 10 - 05:56 PM
Joe Offer 27 Oct 10 - 08:45 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 28 Oct 10 - 12:49 AM
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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 02:48 PM

All I can think of is forward planning...
If you were able to predict a full house when you played.
If you set the amount each person in that full house would be paying
Then you could work out how many days you have to work to pay the mortgage?
Also what George said and Mr Itus .


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: autoharpbob
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 03:07 PM

Tom, thanks for pointing to the Folkwise stuff - invaluable advice that I was not aware of.

Shall I raise the elephant in the room? Is not some of this desire for high cost tickets just one-up-manship on the part of the artists? The desire to show that they are actually better than some other acts they could mention, without giving away how much they actually get paid? Very few people know how much these artists actually get paid. They only way they have to enforce their perceived status is to set a high ticket price.

Probably totally cynical, certainly a totally unsupported punt in the dark, and definitely not aimed at anyone on this list. And I do know of some top-notch artists who will perform anywhere for absolutely minimal fees because they are friends with the people running the clubs or because they just love what they are doing.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: evansakes
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 03:25 PM

When an artist is negotiating a gig at a venue both parties are to one extent or another balancing 'risk' against 'reward' and trying to reach a compromise that will be mutually agreeable and beneficial. There are many possible variables in the equation. Basic guarantee, percentage split, venue capacity, admission prices are the usual ones....but there are others.

No deal is the same. Most importantly though, the precise details of the agreed terms are nobody else's business and should never be publicly discussed.

ps I suspect it's still true that the ones who complain most loudly at folk clubs about high admission prices are always the ones who spend most money at the bar.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 03:36 PM

Hey that's reminded me ..what's that thing called, that is a list of what you want to be available for your use when you turn up at the gig,
as an artiste? You know? How many Blue smarties how many mics etc.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 03:56 PM

Backstage "riders" is the term I know.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 03:57 PM

I will agree that the price to hear some performers is unrealistically high, but £10 is hardly what I would call an inflated price - when £25 or more is the going price for brand-name performers here in the US.
When you're talking about the big-money popular performers, the prices are indeed ridiculously high - but £10 is certainly not unreasonable.

£10? That price might allow a performer to have a middle-class income, but it's certainly not a way to get rich.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 04:03 PM

Joe - what size venue in terms of seating capacity would be charging, say, $25-30 in the US?


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 04:06 PM

That's it Riders. Cheers was driving me nuts ...
Jo Offer.
Yes I think it gets confusing over here re the class of performer,and therefore venue types,hype publicity etc.
You can pay 10 or twenty times that for a rock band in a medium to large venue easily.
I think we are spoiled re some of the performers we can see fairly locally at human sized venues where you do not actually get fleeced on the way in.
Mind you some of them you wish you had worn a fleece after a short while.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 04:20 PM

Sarah is right - the more people pay - assuming the promise is delivered - the more they enjoy it - and the more CDs they buy and this has nothing to do with the demographic - it's about anticipation and delivery. Period.

Autoharpbob is also right to point out the existence of what I choose to call artflation - but this only affects what artists ask for not what they get. So it's a short term influence only.

Gerry (Twickfolk) is bang on the nail: Loads of different systems exist, and we should be very wary of judging one by the criteria of another (which is what I fear has been happening above).

George is also spot on: The massive diversity of deals on offer (as evinced by Gerry), compounded by the disparity between large and small venues within any given geo-financial territory (sorry) compounded by the requirement to avoid cannibalising your own market, means that it makes sense to settle on one 'offer' and just let promoters say yeah or nay to it. Nothing whatsoever wrong with that.

By then C-flat says "Why, after fees are agreed/guaranteed and an artist booked, would the artist want to control what the minimum ticket price should be?"

This confuses me. The answers is of course that they wouldn't, and I've never hear of anyone doing so, certainly not the artist s/he named in the first post - because, as as been explained, he and others like him do not work for a flat fee. And although there is indeed a low guarantee, it is so low in comparison to the actual gate as to not apply. The question is, in this case, spurious.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 04:28 PM

the more people pay - assuming the promise is delivered - the more they enjoy it

Mmm... not convinced, personally.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 04:52 PM

I was told by a fairly well known performer that if he settled on expenses and the ticket money he would find that the club might choose to charge a very small amount for the tickets... I believe he too specifies the ticket price.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 04:55 PM

Sorry I should have added there are some performers who do care that small clubs may struggle to keep going and some will try to accommodate.
They maybe appreciate that the smaller venues are where they were allowed to make a start in their chosen trade.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 05:43 PM

That is also true, Tim, and there are lots of other good reasons why some artists may be happy to accept a lower fee, or a smaller percentage, or a cheaper door/reduced gate or whatever other deal. None of that negates the fact that a good artist is worth good money, and that s/he has every right not to compromise on this if he doesn't wish to, or need to - for any of those other reasons.

Will, my statement is well-proven in all areas of commerce. It is not universal, and probably applies less in the informed, multi-layered folk 'market,' but it does apply and I've a mass of personal experience of it. 'Reassuringly expensive" remember? Though the 'product' does, of course, always have to be worth it. (And £10 for 90 minutes of transportation by a great artist like him above, certainly is).

Tom


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 06:15 PM

"Reassuringly expensive". Yes, I remember that well! I always thought it was a clever attempt to sell a rather crappy product. There's an interesting comment on this in Wikipedia (not always a reliable source, mind you):

During 2007, the "reassuringly expensive" slogan was dropped, and the word "Stella" has been avoided in the advertisements. This has been seen as a reaction to the lager's perceived connection with aggression and binge-drinking in the United Kingdom, where it is nicknamed "wife beater".

The snob appeal of highly-priced and often very average quality commodities is, as you say, a well-known fact of commercial life. You also say that it probably applies less in the informed, multi-layered folk 'market'. I do hope that this is the case! :-)

Much of the band work that I've been involved in over the years has been to do with functional, rather than concert, work. And, of course, in the world of playing for functions, there's no such thing as a percentage - you get a fee which has either been negotiated by you, or on you behalf by an agent. If you don't like the proposed fee, you don't do the gig.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 06:24 PM

Just so. And in a percentage deal, if you don't like the door price, (assuming you're confident of the gate)you don't do the gig.

Same difference.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Betsy
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 07:59 PM

Try this :-
A Pub / Bar owner has a large place which can take 150 people easily.
Wednesday is a flat night to he tries to fill it by having a "Folk Night" of which he knows very little.
Let's say he books Mr.A and advertises him as "the Famous Mr A" and agrees to pay him £ 300 reckoning that he will make plenty of money on drinks sales.
So far ,so good .
The Bar owner reckons he can fill it at a sensible £ 2 a ticket which he does. I would explain to our US friends that you can't buy a beer in the UK for that price !!!
Come the big night the "the Famous Mr A" gets on stage to a group of people - some of who are interested, but the majority losing interest very quickly as they did not expect this sort of music, but as all their friends/mates are there - let's have a good booze up.
Landlord makes his money - over the bar, and enough on the door to pay Mr.A his full fee.
That the fee has been paid, is not not the artist's prime concern, more importantly he has had a shit night - (not the location) but with a situation where an "audience" who hadn't come to listen / join in.
Now, in negotiations if Mr.A had in agreeing on £300, he may also    insist that the Pub / Bar charge £ 5 minumum entrance fee.
In that way, Mr.A only needs 60 INTERESTED people to turn up, because you're not normally going to pay £5 to see someone you have never heard of.
Anymore than the optimum 60 people, is a bonus to performer and Bar Owner but THAT equation is another matter.
By putting on this minumum charge in relation to the fee the Performer(s)introduces risk management - i.e.
1) Avoid the risk of being asked to perform in front of a non-interested audience and consequently leave the establishment let's say downhearted after a shit night.
2) Avoiding the risk that the performance is only a money-making device for the Bar Owner.
When the Bar owner hears the proposition which might limit the numbers " Our lot will pay £ 2 but not £ 5 " then that flushes out the dodgy Gigs and the Professional will not commit to such Gigs.
Never forget we're talking about Professional performers ,who perform for a LIVING.
It may well be that many in the semi professional Folk performers might say £xxx for a night?? - great !!!! - I'll go through the motions and I'll take the money.
Professionals, don't get sell-outs and full houses by some sort of accident. In general they are tried and tested over a long period of time and which is required to build up good reputation, very good level of performance, and deliver it time-after-time .
The minumum Door Charge is requested by a professional to try to avoid the possiblity of performing in front of an audience (or part thereof) who have absolutely no interest or empathy for the genre of music which is being performed.
Professionals use this mechanism - because they have found out over a long time period ,that, it actually works.
It's called Professional experience !!!
Another example ,if I was in a strange town and Bar advertised Jazz tonight - I might have a look in, but ,if they wanted a Door charge I wouldn't go in as I'm just not committed to that music genre to pay an entrance fee.
The minumum door charge is to try to ensure that only who those are genuinely interested in the venue/Performer/type of music, or, put into absolutely base language - to keep arseholes away from the Gig , which, as we all know, is not always possible.
Well done Tom ,George and Kitty amongst others who have been far more eloquent than I in explaining this matter, and I repeat an earlier remark I made abhor and deplore the use of the name of the well respected-performer made in this thread.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: C-flat
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 03:31 AM

I totally agree Betsy,
In fact I said exactly that at the beginning of this thread, that the artist wants to ensure his audience has paid enough to want to come and listen, not just a token entry-fee which could attract passers-by.
This was what interested me, not what an artist earns, but the thinking behind some ticket pricing.
It was never an attack or even a criticism, as some people seemed to assume.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 04:28 AM

Yes but...

this discussion is too congenial, we can't have us all agreeing with each other, this is the Mudcat guys, we have a reputation to uphold. Have we gone all fRooty all of a sudden? Go on, I dare you - who will slug me first, so I can give him a piece of my mind and inform him about his provenance and lineage?

Oh, and Vic, you can double and triple the fee and I still won't you-know-what :-)

Have a nice day now, all!


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 05:01 AM

All right, George. I don't think we've ever met, nor have I attended one of your gigs.

Here's your controversial starter for 10:

the term "professional traditional musician" is an oxymoron.

I'll get me coat (as they say round here)

Paws


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 05:39 AM

"professional traditional musician" is not so much an oxymoron as an abreviation.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 05:55 AM

Will Fly asks:
    Joe - what size venue in terms of seating capacity would be charging, say, $25-30 in the US?

Well, here in Northern California, the folk clubs I know are the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley; and the Palms Playhouse in Winters. I'd guess these venues hold 150-200 people. Most shows are right around $20, with a few performers going for $30 or so - the performers I prefer are in the $20 bracket, and the higher-priced performers are usually too commercial for me.

My son's band used to do punk, but I guess what you call his current music is something like "techno-dance music." He did a concert at a bar/concert venue in Sacramento last month, and drew an audience of about 200, at $20 a head. Not a whole lot for a band with five members that travelled from New York to California. I think they usually do larger venues, but this was a hometown thing. They went for 22 Euros in Madrid in August, and about 18 Euros in Berlin and 195 Krone ($36 US) in Copenhagen in November. I think they often play for an audience of about 1,500, but that varies widely. I think they generally do much better financially when they're performing outside the US. They travel to some interesting places - maybe I should volunteer to be their roadie.

House concerts in this area are $10 to $15, occasionally $20. In most cases, the performer gets 100% of admission fees at house concerts. A friend of mine charges $20 for all the concerts she hosts, because she thinks $10 to $15 isn't enough - and she gets 40-50 people at every concert.

There's an old theater in Sacramento that I like - I'd say it has 500 seats. I see they're charging $50 for a benefit performance by comedian Robin Williams, and I think they charge $35 when Arlo Guthrie comes to town. I wanted to see Doc Watson there without an advance ticket, and he was sold out (and the people going in looked like they were in their 20s and 30s, which pleased me to see such a young audience). One thing I like about this theater is that they sell their own tickets, and don't charge me a 20 percent surcharge for the privilege of buying a ticket - for many of the larger venues, you have to buy tickets through a ticket agency and pay a surcharge. I passed up a chance to see Doc Watson last year because it would have cost me $60, with the surcharge....but I'm still kicking myself because I've never had the chance to see him. And I've never seen Pete Seeger, either, because he was always too far away and too expensive.

But I'm spoiled by house concerts. I can hear wonderful performances in an audience of 50 people (where I know half the audience or more). I feel $20 is a fair price for a house concert - but if the performance is really good, I'll sometimes spend $50 on CDs.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: autoharpbob
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 06:30 AM

Betsy, thanks a lot for an explanation I actually understand and can agree with. I guess the difference between professional and amateur is critical. I recently attended an event where a well known performer was running a workshop, and he agreed to let me video some of the performances of songs he was trying to teach us. He then very carefully vetted those videos before letting me publish them to the web, and would not let me put up what I felt were perfectly acceptable performances in a teaching situation. His take was they were not professional enough and he would not have them shown.

And George is well worth £10 a ticket of anyones money! As long as he keeps his pants on of course.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 06:43 AM

Very interesting, Joe - thanks for the info. My guess - and I'm happy to be corrected by UK 'Catters here - is that the average folk club in this country is around the size of your US house concert. Perhaps bigger in certain areas. I've never been to a house concert myself - I'm curious as to whether others have been to any in the UK.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 06:47 AM

Come visit, Will. Our house concerts are delightful.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 06:52 AM

BETSY, in many ways you are right, but....no performer is obliged to do any gig he does not want to do, I only do gigs in folk clubs and festivals, I dont do pub gigs any more that is my choice.,that way I know I will have an audience that is interested.
THE PUB... definition public house, it should be open to all members of the public, if a publican decides to charge ten pounds for everyone coming into the pub, he will eventually become unpopular with his regular trade, unless he has 2 rooms, one for the people who want to drink and one for those who have come for a concert, that situation is in effect no different from a folk club.
members of the public are then free to make their own decision and have a choice,there is nothing wrong with that.
but if their is not a choice and everyone is charged a tenner, my guess is that the landlord wont last very long, the locals will become resentful of the landlord and possibly folk music.
isnt this music supposed to be about folk /communities?


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Vic Smith
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 07:24 AM

Autoharp Bob wrote:-
And I do know of some top-notch artists who will perform anywhere for absolutely minimal fees because they are friends with the people running the clubs or because they just love what they are doing.


I know that many people here would be aghast with horror if they knew the low figure as a guarantee that some top artists put in their contracts to us for an appearance at our club - even when they are booked through agents as many are. Why do they do this? Well, I hope that it is because I have been booking these people regularly throughout their careers - on some cases for over 40 years - and they know that I will pay them every penny that I can afford without taking anything out for ourselves for admin, publicity, accommodation at our house etc.etc. Recently, I paid a solo singer a figure that was more than 3 times the guarantee that was on his contract and that guarantee figure to us has not gone up in 25 years. We also make sure that there is a prominent dedicated space for the artists to sell their own merchandise each week as we know how important this has become to the artists' income - and as compere I always make sure that I give a good plug to their books, DVDs, CDs etc. I hope that for these people, it is a matter of trust and friendship on both sides; on mine that they will give a performance to the best of their ability and to them that I will advertise the event in every way possible. (Tomorrow night come and see the superb LONG HILL RAMBLERS).

Our on-line policy statement at http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~tinvic/aboutus.htm includes the following:-
Guest artists are booked to appear virtually every week; we do have a very few 'Open Nights' during the year. Within our limited financial resources, we try to present artists from a range of musical backgrounds and experiences who are talented and display a love of their chosen music or styles. When we have guest artists, there is a cover charge on the door that reflects the status and fees of the artists. However, we do run our non-guest nights on a "Free Admission" basis. All the money that we take is used to book the best variety of guest artists that we can afford. We are not subsidised in any way by commercial sponsorship, arts organisation or local council grant The organisers bear the running costs of the venture themselves in the belief that they get more out of it than they put in.

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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 07:35 AM

Just a rider to my pevious rantings on this subject. I notice in the West Midlands Folk Mag (excellent mag see tradartsteam.co.uk) that Vin Garbut is appearing at a club in the area and tickets are indeed £10, against an average of about £5 for other gigs in the same club by quite well known guests. Is this because Vin rates himelf twice as good as them? or is he just trying to make a living?

As a club with a good following we will be taging bookings next year at our new venue, and initially we'll be looking for performers who may be willing to accept lower fees than usual in order to help a fairly new club secceed, as was very much the custom 20-30 years ago, when many top artists (inc' Martin Carthey, Ewan McColl) would even do free or expenses only appearances. but overall I think the vast majority of artists and clubs have very reasonable ticket prices and deserve full support

Desi C
The Circle Folk Club
Near Wolverhampton
info- crc778@aol.com


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 07:53 AM

Vic, I would like to thank you and all the other folkclub organisers for all your hard work over the years.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Vic Smith
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 08:59 AM

Will Fly wrote:-
"I've never been to a house concert myself - I'm curious as to whether others have been to any in the UK. "


Well, Mike, there is a very strong tradition and organisation of them in our area! I discovered this when I was organising tours for my Gambian kora-playing friend Jali Sherrifo Konteh. In fact the very first concert that Sherrifo gave in the UK was in a house concert in a packed huge flat on Brighton Seafront. I have been to a small number of this organisation's other events subsequently, mainly excellent African artists, though some of the English songwriters that I have seen did very little for me. However, whatever my view of the artists, the standard of organisation and the friendly attitude of those attending could scarcely be bettered. At Sherrifo's concert the sales of his CDs and the sales of the Gambian Batiks that we sell to support the maker and his family (see http://www.compoundsounds.com/batiks/index.html ) were amazing,

I am talking about Healthy Concerts - http://www.healthyconcerts.com/


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 09:04 AM

We've run a couple of house concerts when the Village Hall was doubled booked......

Very nice they are as well but only really work for solo artists ..... can only get 25 - 30 audience in the dining room even then.

Very intimate and relaxed though.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 05:56 PM

"The Bar owner reckons he can fill it at a sensible £ 2 a ticket which he does. I would explain to our US friends that you can't buy a beer in the UK for that price !!!"

I can, and frequently do - cheapest pub is £1.80, and supermarkets normally sell bottled beer from £1.59 for 500cc.


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 08:45 PM

I hate to say what I was paying for beer in Paris a couple of years ago. Seemed like the going price was 9 Euros or something, Could it have been THAT much?

It's often $4.50 for a pint of "craft" beer in the U.S. now, sometimes higher. And if you want to order Chimay, don't ask the price...

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Fees (concert admission prices)
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 12:49 AM

I am probably the world's cheapest MFB.

If there is a 10K race ... I move into the cash-paying-group....run 9.95K and pull out before the finish....(what do I need another $20 T-Shirt or a finish time?)

In a life-time of 1,000 concerts ... perhaps, I have paid for 40.

There has always been a hand to lend, or a handshake to bend, or flowers to send (pick up a box from the backstage dumpster...and say you "have a delivery.) There is much to be said of the advantages granted to the ruling class of "the bell-curve...." 80's verse 110's...the 120's will play sectional lead.

Seldom have I payed stadium price (if any) for peanuts, hot-dogs, or a beer.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Now...a cocoa filled legume ... with a brass finish .... umh .... yeah I might go the extra mile on an extrange traded index.


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