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Coventry, Kenilworth, Leamington Spa, Rugby, Solihull, Warwick, Stratford and Warwickshire

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2017 band fees survey

Feature

Here are the results of the Hot Music Live musician fees survey for 2017. Massive thanks to the 37 acts who responded. That's around 8% of the 300 or so acts we know to be active and a decent enough sample to give us some confidence in the data.

Here are the headline numbers: the average fees per act for bars and pubs (figure 1) are similar at £227 and £234 while the fee for clubs is somewhat better at £263. Functions are typically much better paid (figure 2) with an average fee of £425. Average fees for individual musicians (figure 3) range from £57 for bar gigs to £101 for functions. People who play in larger acts tend to get paid less than those in more compact lineups.  

Covers gigs, especially functions, are somewhat better paid than acts who interpret older material such as jazz, blues and roots (figure 4). While this chart suggests that originals bands can earn good fees, the data is based on only 2 returns out of 4 originals acts and the comments below show that it can be a tough marketplace for songwriting bands.  Fully amplified bands (figure 5) typically earn more than acoustic acts and semi-acoustic acts, especially, again for functions.

Here's what people had to say about their expectations:

  • I feel I've been properly paid for a local bar or pub gig if I come away with £70-£80. As you can see that is the exception rather than the rule. Anything else - concerts, festivals etc. should be £100+ (Jazz, blues, rock act)
  • We will often play somewhere the first time for £250 but if they want us back it's at least £300 and we make this clear when talking money.  (Rock, pop act)
  • We get travel expenses. That's it. Smaller venues with DIY promoters generally, or support slots for comparatively minor bands, or charity fundraisers. The smaller DIY promoters are generally good about splitting any profit from the door between bands (it's rare they take anything for themselves) but that's only if they take any meaningful profits. (Originals act)
  • If debut gig at venue, we may lower the price on the promise of more gigs if the night is deemed to be a success. We sometimes suggest a slightly lower base price + a bonus (usually £100) linked to beer sales. (Popular pub rock act)
  • Usually minimum £50/Muso Local, More for festival, £100+ for private functions, and we're playing "non-function" Covers! (Classic rock, metal, blues and Americana act)
  • Averages based on experience Per head for duo work £ 150 average within 50 miles Per Head for trio work £ 100 average within 50 miles Per head full band (5-6 piece) £ 60 in bars / pubs/ social And £85-100 per head for weddings etc. (Pop and rock covers act)

... and about the scene in general:

  • Promoters are really reluctant to pay even expenses (Originals act)
  • We have been places where we have watched the manager pocket £50 from the envelope left for the band, and then tell us they can't pay anymore. (Rock, pop act)
  • Used to be much better fees 15 years ago, but the recession/austerity/Brexit situations seem to provide venues with the perfect excuse not to pay more, some which are justified, some not. (Classic rock act)
  • £750 for a local wedding, more for travel, even more if it's far enough away to warrant a hotel. £400-£500 for parties and functions. Pub gigs are for getting private gigs!  (Acoustic cover act)
  • Can vary from venue to venue, and lots of pubs expect to pay the same for a band as they would a solo artist (Rock covers act).

So, the best fees are associated with playing covers at weddings and functions in small amplified lineups. No staggering surprise of course but it's always interesting to see some data to support our instincts about the market place.  Let's do it again in 2018 and recruit some more acts to complete  the survey and get some more insight into our market.


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Bash Street Blues Band at the Somerville

Photo gallery

Frankly, it's a bit of a shock to stroll into the Somerville on a Thursday and see a line of Marshals and Fenders rather than the usual acoustic guitars, double bass and a saxophone or two. It turns out all this lovely rocky gear is owned by the rather excellent Bash Street Blues Band who put it to fine use on a range of traditional and contemporary blues-rock tunes from Rufus Thomas' Walking the dog through to Gary Moore's Midnight Blues. Credit to the guys for stylish rhythms, cosmic guitar work, elegant keys and laid-back bluesy vocals with more than a hint of Jack Bruce and Paul Jones.

 Bash Street Blues Band     Somerville Arms    

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The Peas at Willow and Tool's Music Parlour

Review

At first glance Willow and Tool's Music Parlour is a typical back of the pub Folk Club. However that is far from the case. Sunday 7th January is a case in point. Top of the bill were that energetic musical twosome, The Peas. They are Kelvin Leitch - guitar/ vocals/ kick drum, tambourine and Kelly Rashleigh/ double bass/ vocals they both add kazoos and "mouth trumpets" as and when required.

 

To say they only play covers is misleading. They take popular and well known songs and give them special treatment such that you may hardly recognise them at first. Everything is played at a cracking pace and will have cameo appearances from other pieces of music. For example one of their numbers tonight was (based on) The Prodigy's "Firestarter" but it included excerpts from amongst other tunes, Toussaint & Tyler's "Java" and The Entry Of The Gladiators! It is all done with humour, backchat,  tremendous skill and innovation.

 

Other well known stars get similar treatment, George Michael's "Faith" is taken at a fast canter. The Bangles, Depeche Mode, Ultravox, all have their music treated in a way that I am sure was never envisaged when it was written. "Kiss" had variations which depicted both Prince AND Tom Jones. Everything from "Pump Up The Jam" to "Spice Up Your Life" got the Peas interpretation. Some acts are a long time forgotten such as Tommy James and the Shondells but they're recording of "I Think We're Alone Now"... Well I think you get the idea now. Both the "Kells" have good voices that can handle solos as well as blending into harmonies. It remains a mystery how such a big sound can be produced by two people acoustically, no electronics were involved, although at larger gigs amplification is used. In fact Kelvin, on more than one occasion mistook his kazoo for a microphone. . This is an act you have to see live. Audience participation is mandatory and tremendous fun.

 

Supporting The Peas were Mesa, a Leamington based trio, Neil, who writes all the songs and plays guitar, Dave on percussion and Paul on Fender. Paul has a special dispensation to use amplification at Willow and Tool's Parlour, otherwise all the concerts are acoustic. Neil does the introductions and often reveals where he was when the songs were written, in the kitchen, walking the dog etc. Wherever it happens the quality of the writing is assured. Somewhat surprisingly the two guitars both blend and contrast beautifully. My favourite song of the set was "When Love Calls" which along with "Gonna Take You To My Heart" (also in the set) can be heard on the their website: http://www.mesamusic.co.uk/music.htm plus many other songs from their repertoire.  They are regularly to be seen at the Sommerville Arms in Leamington. If you are looking for a gig to attend on the 4th Friday of the month:- There you go.

 

Also on the bill were Father and Daughter, Chris and Hanna Tobin. They opened as a duo Chris on Mandolin, Hanna on Ukulele, and singing the Slim Chance/Ronnie Lane song, "How Come". They each later did solo spots encompassing the works of Culture Club, The Ink Spots and Laurel & Hardy. See what I mean about eclectic?  Hanna also performed a remarkable feat, the keyboard part of Del Shannon's "Runaway" but she played it on the Melodica! How she didn't run out of puff we'll never know.

 

Of course the hosts, The Willow and Tool Band opened and closed the show with their own brand of lively folk rock and singalong music, including that favourite of theirs, "Trouble" (you can't fool me) with Pete Willow leading the vocals with which of course the audience joined in. Keith Eardley covered Memphis Minnie's "What's The Matter With The Mill."  Laurel McIntosh sang and played her flute exquisitely through both of those songs as well and leading others. John McIntosh played double bass, but mostly told bad jokes.

 

It was a really good night, one to lift the spirits on a cold winter's evening. The Willow & Tool's Music Parlour is open on the first Sunday of every month at the Harvester Pub in Long Itchington. Near Southam. Warwickshire. Free entry, Jug collection.   

Catch The Peas at Warwick Racecourse on 2018-01-25  
 The Peas      Mesa      Chris and Hanna Tobin     The Harvester Inn    

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Dave Broadfield and Johnny Webber at Quigley's Rugby

Review

With no preamble, Dave and Johnny launch into their first number at Quigleys. I've always loved Dave's fluent musicality and sense of fun in the music. Johnny, brushing away merrily on his cut-down kit and harmonising with Dave, is the perfect foil to Dave's snappy acoustic guitar and growly vocals.
A happy mix of old fave pop songs, jazz standards, folk, and stuff I won't even try to pigeonhole - just no-nonsense fun music.

 Dave Broadfield and Johnny Webber    

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Gigs in the next week

Tomorrow (Sat 20th Jan)

Coventry

Robbie Williams tribute

20:30
22:00
 

f 
21:00
 
19:00
19:30
 
21:00
 
19:30

Henley-In-Arden

21:30

Kenilworth

21:00

Leamington Spa

21:00
 
20:30
 
21:30
 
21:00
 
20:30

Nuneaton

21:00
 
20:00
 
21:00
 
20:00
17:00
21:00

Rugby

21:00
 
21:00
 
21:30
 

Solihull

21:00

Southam

21:00
 

Stratford-Upon-Avon

21:00
20:30
 

Warwick

19:30
 
21:00
 
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20:30


Find more gigs in the full gig guide.

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