Update: The organisers have told The Journal that the initiative has been cancelled “due to the ongoing negative reaction as a result of incorrect reporting.”
The organisers have taken issue with myself and others using the words “pay to play” saying that “bands were being asked to do a little bit of work to earn their slot and if they were performing at their own gig they would have to do the same.” Being booked for a gig on merit and an ability to bring in fans is one thing but expecting a band to raise money through direct ticket sales or they won’t get to play is in my opinion and many others, “pay to play.” regardless of the fee a band will receive. It sets a dangerous precedent by which a band is expected to be a performer, a promoter and a ticket agent. More than anything, it shows a lack of respect for emerging Irish bands.
The organisers of the Killarney Festival of Music & Food, formerly the Westport Festival Of Music And Performing Arts, has raised more than a few eyebrows this week in their plan for a stage at the festival in June which involves a “pay to play” system in which bands are expected to do ALL the promoter’s work for them.
The festival, which has already announced names like Father John Misty, Jools Holland, Damien Dempsey, The Undertones, Marc Almond, Gemma Hayes and Kormac’s Big Band among others outlayed their plans to bands who contacted the festival about playing.
The festival is asking bands who want to play one of the smaller stages – called The Actbacker, and billed as an emerging talent stage, to sell a minimum of 50 day tickets (at €76 plus booking fee each) in order to qualify to play the stage. The more they sell, the higher up on the bill they appear. “The acts selling the most will headline,” an email sent to the bands, forwarded to Nialler9, said.
The festival says that the band are required to set up a Fundit page to track sales (Fundit have addressed this on Jim Carroll’s blog today ) and that all sales will be split 70/30% in the festival’s favour.
So a band has to badger “friends, family and fans” to raise €3,800 in sales to play. €1,140 of that will go to the band (before deduction of Ticketmaster commission and VAT it says) for doing all the sales, promotion and essentially, stage curation and €2,660 goes to the festival for doing very little. The band then get to play at a small stage at the festival. Hmm.
Overall, the festival says there are nine acts on the stage per day so 18 in total. So that’s €47,880 in festival revenue if 18 bands sold 50 tickets each. “The 70% retained by the Festival will cover the costs for the stage to include staging, sound, lights, insurance etc,” says the mail.
It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway: BANDS DO NOT DO THIS.