My revenge on promoter who thought paying me was optional...
In the music industry, certainly the ‘production’ side of things, we’ve all done shitty gigs. The sort of gig s that you know from the moment you get booked that it’s not going to be fun.
Being female in this industry this sometimes works in my favour, sometimes not.
So i get a call from a promoter who wants to put on a show locally and i got recommended to supply all the sound (i run a small PA rental company).
I ask him the usual questions, “What’s the load in/out time?” “What’s the technical spec of the band?” “What’s your budget?” etc etc.
We agree a fee after 30minutes of telephone negotiating. We are both happy with this fee, It was £1,500 GBP, which is very reasonable for the personnel and equipment being provided.
The only thing i always insist on when I’m working for somebody i don’t know / have never worked with before is that i require 'cleared funds upon arrival at event location’, A phrase that i rattle off many times a year and i never have any issues.
Me or my crew will bring £50k worth of gear, to your event, we will sometimes even start setting it up. But as soon as possible, you need to pay us.
So this promoter showed us where to load in to this theatre/concert hall type venue. While my guys were walking around the venue checking the usual things like Mains outlets, PA flying points etc i took the promoter to one side and produced my printed invoice and said my usual spiel…
Me: “I know you are real busy, we need to start setting up so if you can sort payment now then i don’t need to bother you again.”
He did the whole 'looking guilty at his shoes routine’,
Promoter: “Umm i don’t have all of you money right now, Im waiting for my business partner he has your money. He has it all. Can you wait for him to arrive?”
Me: “Ok, its not a problem, What time is he due to arrive?”
Promoter: “Around an hour or two before the doors open, he has to set up the bar, so he won’t be later than this.”
Me: “Look I’ve not worked with you but in the spirit of future business relations i will take payment in full anytime before the start of the show.”
Promoter: “Thanks, He has the money it won’t be a problem.”
Me: “lol i know, if i don’t have the money before the start of the show then I’m not turning the PA on.” Said jokingly, but with a stern face.
So my guys setup everything, we work efficiently for the next few hours, The band arrive and we all get on well together.
They are friends of the promoter and don’t seem as bothered about the money as we do. I mentioned that this was the first show with this promoter and the drummer, who was the informal leader of the band, said the promoter has a different sound co. every time they gig.
This gives me and the two crew guys cause to look at each other uneasily.
We finish soundcheck and as the band head to their dressing room we sit around stageleft watching the audience spilling in.
Showtime is T-minus 1hour…
I see the promoter hanging around stageright so i pop over to see him.
Me: “Hey promoter, Everything ok so far? Happy with everything?”
Promoter: “Yes very happy, everything’s perfect, band say soundcheck went well, looking forward to the show…”
Me: “Thats good, Lets get payment out the way and i can leave you alone to enjoy the show.”
Promoter: “errr Listen, ticketsales have been slow for this show, Can i pay you afterwards?”
Me: “I thought you had sold 1200? At £20 a head minimum, That makes at least £24000 you should have more than enough to pay?” I’m being kind, but very firm.
“Im sorry but you need to sort out payment before the show, We’ve trucked £50k worth of this gear here, We’ve even set it all up and so far you’ve had all this for free… Sorry but i can’t do the show without payment upfront. Once we’ve done a few shows together and we’ve built up a trust then i can help you out, but this is our first show and i have rules, Sorry.”
Promoter: “Ok let me see what i can do…”
T-minus 10mins to showtime…
My team is ready to go, but we are anxious by now about the 'dodgy promoter’.
The band are with us stageleft and ready to go onstage. They know the situation. They know we’ve not been paid yet but they don’t seem that bothered. They are friends with the promoter and seem to side with him.
I’m almost thinking about starting the show and getting the money afterwards but i stop myself. 'Don’t break your rule’ i tell myself.
Showtime T-minus 1 minute…
The promoter comes over to stage left and tells the band to go onstage, he will intro them on. My team are all in position behind the mixing desks etc ready to go on my say so.
I tug the promoters shirt by his elbow and look quizzical at him, “Where’s payment?” i ask.
Promoter: “Yeah yeah [smiling] lets get the band onstage and i nip and get it for you while they are on.
Me: "but… [as promoter walks onto stage] Woaahh!” i call after him, almost shouting.
I am furious, I know that it is impossible to kill the audio mid-show and that riot may well break out if i did this. Much easier to not put myself in the position to start with…
I glance over at the front of house engineer who is looking at me for guidance… I did the classic 'flat hand draw across the throat’ signal for 'kill it!’
Both my audio guys hit the global mutes on their desks and the promoter walks over to the centre of the stage and speaks into a microphone… but nothing and i mean NOTHING comes out… Utter f*cking silence….
The crowd boos, they cheer, then they boo again… the promoter looks over at me angrily sidestage, I gesture to him, Rubbing my fingers together in the other internationally recognised gesture of 'PAY ME MY F*CKING MONEY!’
Things are about to get heated so i grab a mic we have setup sidestage but out of sight of the audience (we call them 'Voice of God’ mics, or Emergency mics.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Sorry but due to a foreseeable hitch this show will be delayed by 5minutes”
Cue audience chanting and lots of tension building up… A lot of sweat dripping from the promoter instantly for fear of his reputation.
No word of a lie, i had full payment, in cash, in my hand within 3minutes.
The show went ahead and i went on to do several other shows with this promoter, He never tried to screw me again.
Loneliness is addicting. It’s dangerous. At first you think you enjoy being alone. You have a dark side. But in time you get used to it. You don’t want to deal with anyone. With life. You want to be alone all the time. You are not only lonely but you also enjoy it. And before you know it, you want to be by yourself forever.