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Old 10-03-2017, 03:27 PM   #1
Big John
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Default 3 gigs, 3 bands, 2 days

Had 3 gigs with three different bands over a span of 43 hours this weekend.

1. Got hired for a solo slot playing acoustic guitar and singing 80s/90s cover songs...basically REM, Hootie, Petty, etc. This was at a bar in Bethesda. It seems to be a swanky part of town....e.g this bar was called a "brasserie". Of course they still had hamburgers and chicken wings like every other place. That one kicked off Friday 10 PM, payed $150 (plus $50 bar tab) and I wrangled $50 in the tip jar. This was my first time playing there. It went well. I hadn't had my flat top Martin out on a gig since I can't remember when. Owner showed up late and asked for my available dates through the end of the year.

2. Saturday night I was at a VFW in West Virginia with a vintage/classic country outfit...Cash, Haggard, Hank, etc. This was 3rd or 4th time out there in a year. The audience there loves us, dances on every song, and has endless requests. We each got paid $150 cash from the house. We have never gotten one single dollar in the tip jar there. They have slot machines, constant gun raffles, pull-tabs, etc., so any spare dollar (or ten or twenty) goes to those it seems. I spent $1.25 on a draft beer...it was good and cold. I bought a $5 ticket for the gun raffle...didn't win.

3. Sunday afternoon I was with a classic rock (Skynyrd, Stones, etc.) cover band at an employee picnic for a small PR firm in Washington DC...55 employees and families. We've played this for four years now. It was kind of hodgepodge of things. There was a magician there and some sort of circus/acrobat performers too. The husband/wife who own the firm are from Texas, and they cook all the food. Their barbecue is some of the best I've ever eaten! Everybody got $150 for that gig, and I was home by 6 PM.

So that's a wrap for now! I'm back at it again next weekend with a couple festival gigs and a private party on a farm.
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:06 PM   #2
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Sounds like fun was had all around.

Crowds that don't tip annoy me.
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:20 PM   #3
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Wow, you are quite the busy musician...sounds awesome!!

My duo partner is big on the tip jar and we usually do pretty well...usually at least $40 or $50 in there. Seems weird to me when we are getting paid...a free gig is a whole other story.

My band doesn't put out a jar...and I'm Ok with that as long as we get paid.
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:43 PM   #4
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One of the bands I run sound for doesn't put out a tip jar. I can't really understand it. Venues pay musicians shit around here; at least pass the plate for any that have enjoyed and want to express it.

Another one of the bands accepts tips but doesn't make a big deal out of it. They just do sort of generic covers and a few obscure tunes nobody knows, and doesn't do very well tip-wise. Don't get me wrong, they put on a good show, but they don't draw the crowd; they just happen to be the band that's there that night.

The last band I run sound for puts on an absolute monster of a show and draws their own crowd, and they do well in tips, sometimes a two or three hundred bucks in tips alone. Often they have one particular guy drop a hundred all by himself. But they put on an incredible show and they earn every cent.
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Old 10-04-2017, 08:34 PM   #5
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Sounds like you were busy!
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Old 10-04-2017, 10:33 PM   #6
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I always felt like if you were getting paid you shouldn't put out a tip jar & if you are not getting paid, by all means put out a tip jar. Some venues here will pay less because they figure you are getting tips so they can cheap out. The whole pay thing is just crazy, it's really never enough.
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Old 10-04-2017, 11:08 PM   #7
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If there is any doubt, I just simply ask the bar whether or not I can put out a tip jar. I don't ever remember being told not to. Some musicians can be very shy/passive when it comes to tips, but I always announce the tip jar! But, yeah, at wedding/funeral/private/corporate gigs I typically don't put out a tip jar.
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Old 10-05-2017, 02:50 AM   #8
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Even at paid gigs people still want to tip the band. So we put out a drinking glass or tumbler with no sign on it. That way we still get tips but we are not obvious about it.
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Old 10-05-2017, 02:58 PM   #9
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I don't have a sign on mine either. My "tip jar" is technically not even a jar but rather a rusted milk pail, or (for fancy gigs) an old leather covered thrift store suitcase propped open.
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