Rain Stops Play, No Play Means No Pay

photo of flooding by Elliott Brown, used under a creative commons license.

You: “Steve, how was your Saturday?”

Me: nice of you to ask! Not so great, to be honest – we drove a 13 hour round trip to play at a festival. Only because of the flooding we (and pretty much everyone else) didn’t even make it to the festival site. It was cancelled around lunch time… Our route home was marred by multiple road-blocks thanks to flooding and mudslides, and involved hours of fairly torturous winding down backroads.

You: “wow, shitty deal!”

Me: Yeah! Though, it’s nothing compared to what the organisers have had to deal withthis isn’t a big commercial festival, it’s a labour of love organised as a lil’ community thing on a farm, centred around the artists who used to play at The Big Secret night at the Ginglik in Shepherd’s Bush – one of London’s best ever singer/songwriter nights.

It’s put together as a profit share with the artists, there’s no business behind it, and no insurance either. We certainly weren’t the only artists who ended up out of pocket after trying to get there.

You: “Damn, that’s even shittier than I thought. How much has this cost you?”

Me: Dude, I really appreciate the concern! We’re out about £120 in the cost of car rental and fuel to get there, plus £23 in entirely disappointing food in motorway cafes to assuage our hunger while driving through floods. Money we can’t really afford to lose. But my guess is that the organisers are out a heck of a lot more than that. PA rental, generators, marquees, staging, catering…

You: “Right, that’s a really bum deal for everyone concerned, what can WE do to help?”

Me: That’s VERY nice of you to ask – this is where you come in, if you so wish – this week, any downloads/CDs/USB Stick sales that we make on bandcamp will be split 50/50 with the organisers of the festival. Our half will help us cover the cost of car rental, food and the lost potential for a few sales at the festival (we may not have sold anything – if we fail to connect with a crowd, that’s our responsibility alone, but to not even get the chance is a real shame).

It may well be that the festival organisers choose to pass the money on to other artists who’ve lost money on the gig, or even save it to spend on putting the event on next year. That’s entirely up to them. But we’d love to be able to help them out in whatever way we can.

  • As is always the way with such things, we might make ten quid, we might make five hundred.
  • But if you’ve been waiting for a while to buy some of our music, now’s a good time to do it and see just how important buying music can be the wider music economy.
  • If you’ve previously downloaded the music for free, now’s a great chance to put some kind of figure on the sense of value you get from it.

You: “OK, so I just head over to your bandcamp page and buy stuff, and all the money goes to help you and the other people deal with the cost of the festival being canceled?”

Me: Yup, you’ve been listening. Well done. And thanks, seriously. It means a whole lot to us.

One Reply to “Rain Stops Play, No Play Means No Pay”

  1. A lot of festivals have been wiped out by the floods. But why did they not let you know it was cancelled?

    More serious has been the big clampdown in recent years of free or almost free festivals.

    The thought that anyone may wish to do something for free, sets a very bad example in today’s greed-driven world.

    The Ambient Green Picnic in Guildford was once a fantastic free festival, well worth attending. And attend they did, down from London, up from Brighton. Then the last few years has seen a sorry decline, entrance fee for what was a free festival, security fencing, over-the-top heavy-handed security, smelly burger vans, local brewery beer tent, too commercialised. Last year was an unmitigated disaster, a small fenced-off corner of Shalford Park. It lacked atmosphere. The festival had lost its way, if not its soul, necessitating a complete rethink.


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