Should I Use Contracts
I’ve been doing live dates for decades now and have a wonderful rapport with very many presenters. And the ones that keep inviting me back have become friends, so the idea of contracts almost doesn’t come up. We have an understanding, but I was recently reminded of the old phrase, “good contracts make good friends”. You need to have contracts so that everyone’s responsibility is laid out for all concerned to see. So I’m telling you this, create contracts for all your gigs. This also makes it easy for you to see where you ‘ve been and what you’ve done, if you ever have to demonstrate that, say to the IRS.
Now contracts don’t have to be volumes. They only need spell out the particulars which include the:
Address of the venue
Phone number of the venue
Contact Sound Person
Load In Time
Sound Check Time
Date of Concert
Duration of Concert
Amount of guarantee and/or percentage
Number in your group
Sound requirements of your group (how many mics, boom stands, monitors, direct boxes, ac outlets, etc)
Accomodation information if accomdations are supplied.
Needs of the group such as, dressing room, coffee, tea, deli tray, etc
(For myself, I know that having some sandwich makings ease the whole thing, as I don’t have to load in, sound check, go find a restaurant, eat something light and race back to the venue. A small tray will allow you to do what you have to do without leaving the building and leave more time for warming up…something that I require.) Now the riders of certain rock and roll groups are legendary. What I try to do is make mine what I actually require. Don’t make them a burden on the promoter, just make reasonable requests for what you need to do the best job you can.
Finally, there are usually some caveats such as you being unable to perform for a specific period on either side of the gig within a certain distance (usually 100 miles, but sometimes more if you are getting the big dollars). Acts of God, such as a hurricane or earthquake that would let you and the promoter off the hook. It’s good to put in a clause there that requires a make up date within six months. And a cancellation clause that states that they must cancel at least thirty and I always go for forty five days prior to the date. If they cancel after that they must pay the guarantee anyway. And it’s good to get a deposit up front. That insures that the promoter is involved. Deposits are more and more difficult to get, but a reputable promoter will have no problem with it.
I also make a request for the promoter or venue’s media list. And I make certain that they are all contacted with my press, cd, photos and contact people info.
The whole process just get’s easier if you do this. And what you can do is to draw up a contract and then leave the venue, date, concert duration and guarantee/percentage blank. Then make a hundred copies and just fill in the blanks as you get the dates. And I suggest three copies. One for the promoter, one for the artist to have with him and one for the office back home.
And don't forget that even with a contract, if they blow you off, even a law suit is only to establish your right to collect, not the collection of the money itself. Work with reliable reputable people. Network and ask around. Folk Alliance is a great place to find out about acoustic venues and promoters. Rock is more edgy and more gamey. That's why they call it Rock and Roll.
If there is anything I forgot, please post me and I’ll include it in the follow up. And I will put up a concert contract template page that you can just download and print out. I’ll try to get to it before the weekend. Got some gigs coming up and I need the rehearsal.