BonBons Get the Spirit
I read a really heartening story this morning that BonBons Coffee shop in Penwortham had donated the money from Penwortham Live 2018 to Marie Curie Cancer Care. It amounted to £300 that they could have chosen to take as profit from the weekend. Matt and I dropped in for a coffee and some cake on Saturday, shortly followed by The Lewinskies. The staff were really nice and the vibe for my son’s evening gig was already in the air. Duncan loved playing there to a receptive and attentive audience and their fabulous hosts. BonBons is a quality establishment and deserves your patronage.
Meanwhile, after Matt had taken a well-earned nap in the back of the bus we drove Kristen and Matthew to the first of two Church gigs, where the welcome was also warm and food and drink was laid on. They were also fabulous buildings with stunning interiors and a history of serving their respective communities. It is tough on the voice to do five gigs in three weekend days, especially at the end of a mini tour. It’s tough on the fingers for us musicians too. So when we roll up after a long drive ready to play, it means a lot that people would lay on even a simple spread. Sadly, not all venues take the same care of the musicians whose performances help to bring in more food and drinks revenue. Some are good enough to put us on their menu!
Musicians pay out thousands for their instruments, promotions, recording, insurance, producing hard copy CDs or vinyl, and then accommodation and travel costs to play live for you. They will most likely have spent hours/days rehearsing, and on gig days will have packed and lugged around their equipment into cars and vans. Yet even when an audience is rapturous in their applause they still seem to expect to access music for free. So next time you go into a pub or restaurant, try asking for free beer and food and see what they say!
Our growing band of quality musicians will play for free for the right reasons: we opened Oxjam Calderdale last October; we have done two fund raising gigs for the upkeep of Todmorden Unitarian Church; we do free music workshops. It is not unreasonable for musicians to expect a plate of sandwiches and some beverages or cold drinks even where no fee is involved. It’s called courtesy. The organisers at Norley Village Hall took the time and trouble to check our dietary requirements before we played there on 12thMay, and were happy to pay our fee. They made good money on the night, and many of the audience will return for more concerts of that quality. Everyone won.
So as our amazing collaborative tour comes to a close, with the Lewinskies now on their way home to their children in Nova Scotia and the rest of us back in some kind of work today, we are looking forward to a similar tour in 2019. We know the kind of places we want to play, and “have P.A., will travel”. We have learned a great deal, and the one thing that we will expect from future tours is a fair evening’s pay for a fair evening’s performance. If recorded or live music remains free it will eventually die. #SupportIndependentMusicians
With thanks to BonBon’s for their wonderful hospitality and kindness! We would be happy to perform for you for free whenever you want to raise money for your good cause.