“Our manager was told to apologise to the promoter or risk losing the gig”

A couple of weeks ago, my band was invited to play a support gig for a former chart-topping act from the 1980s. The act in question is still going strong (though with inevitable line-up changes) and it was clearly a good opportunity to raise our profile. The venue has a capacity of 800, including a seated balcony. Since the standing area was rammed full, we estimate that there were at least 500 punters in. At £15 per head this would net a gross profit of £7,500.

The headline act were paid £2,000 – £3,000 (depending on whom you believe) and the venue was paid a flat fee of £1,000, plus they kept the bar-takings. All of which seems perfectly equitable. What does not seem in any way fair, however, is that we – as the support act – were offered £50! When our manager queried this, he was told to apologise to the promoter or risk losing the gig.

Having ordered drinks at the sound-check – believing these to be covered – we were presented with a bar-bill later in the evening, which all but wiped out our ‘fee’. As I have children and my wife had a prior engagement that night, I also had to pay for a babysitter. So I personally ended the night out of pocket. It was a great gig and many said we held our own on an equal footing with the ‘big boys’ but the whole thing was rather soured by our being under-valued.