The worst gig instructions ever.


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Tomaz24
07-02-2007, 05:33 PM
I have just had the most hilarious letter regarding a gig/performance I think I’ll ever read. I cannot believe its instructions one bit. Surely this is a joke. So I’m going to share it with you…

For those of you who don’t know - “Music for Youth is an educational charity with a worldwide reputation for its work in music education. It provides free access to educational and performance opportunities for all kinds of groups of young musicians and audiences through a nationwide series of festivals and concerts.” I’d say they’re one the most well known British musical organization. (Official Website (http://www.mfy.org.uk/))

Anyway, my band entered the regional version of the Music for Youth festival which if you win, sees you go through to play in the National Concert. Which we did. But these are the instructions we’ve been passed on through our school teacher and it makes me wonder if they’ve EVER dealt with bands before (they focus on a wide array of styles but I get the impression from our regional feedback that bands are relatively new to them), because this is ridiculous.

To quote the weirdest parts;

“You are not permitted to use your own drum kit in the CBSO but must use the 5 piece drum kit + cymbals /stool provided. It is essential that you bring your own drum sticks however.”

“You are not allowed to bring your own Amps. These will be provided but bring your own jack to jack leads and of course guitars.”

‘Any electrical equipment that you bring must have a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) certificate.’

So first of all. The drummer uses a very strange tuning and with “44” other bands performing (all with similar needs) he’s not going to be able to change a thing with the 12 minutes we have to get on stage, plug in and play our three tunes.

Then we have the guitarist’s and bass’s problem - we have NO CONTROL over our tone if we’re going into their sound system which is going to seriously affect our overall presentation. We’re not a rock group, balance is critical for us and it’s going to sound terrible. I can tell already. What’s more we have to take our guitars and basses as well as any pedals we’re going to use to get a flipping PAT on them! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? We’re not allowed to play unless we can “present” our certificates warranting our instruments safe? They’re not bloody machine guns for Christ’s sake.

And will we get a sound test being instructed to arrive an hour before being scheduled to play? Will we f*ck - with 44 other bands around. Without amps we can’t even do it elsewhere.

I wonder if they even intend on leveling our amped up instruments so we can actually hear the brass we’ll be using, which won't be hooked up in any way.

I’m seriously considering pulling us out of this thing, we're going to end up spending loads on it and it's not paid. Not to blow our own trumpet but we've just won a ensemble competition involving the whole of our country and we're planning to record a professionally album very soon. Time could be better spent then on this.

Before I suggest it to the rest of the band - let me ask this very vital question. Is this festival organized terribly or will we always be treated like this?

What do we do? We're playing in the Welsh Proms two days later and it just seems so stressful! I mean, I want to go and see their day which seems so precisely timed crumble to pieces, but at the same time, it's four hours away too.

:cry: - This is the best emotion I could find to convey my feelings. It doesn't quite do justice, but it's near enough.

Anarion614
07-02-2007, 05:40 PM
I say don't do it if you'll be thrown that off balance. Sure it sounds like a nice show to do, but yeah, you could probably spend your time better.

scarfacesuit
07-02-2007, 05:42 PM
don't do it man. if you let one place control you, then you'll just end up taking it from everyone. try and see if you can play the show your way, but if not, then don't do it.

monkey_dancer
07-02-2007, 05:43 PM
I'm playing in the national festival with a jazz band. I'm the bassist.

Edit: everything seems to be alright for us....

Tomaz24
07-02-2007, 05:47 PM
I'm playing in the national festival with a jazz band. I'm the bassist.

Edit: everything seems to be alright for us....

Really? - is this your first time or have you played in it before? And have you received that same letter?

Please don't tell me your cool with this! ;)

Edit; assuming you're in the Jazz category I doubt you have the same problems as our band (we're in small ensemble) as I believe you're in a different building location to us w/ different arrangements. Good luck with your group dude! :)

sleepinthefire
07-02-2007, 05:48 PM
How long do you have until the concert? Is there anyway you can contact them and explain to them how ridiculous it is to do what they're instructing you to do? Even if you do decide to pull out of this thing it would probably be a good idea to contact them and make sure your problems are heard.

Metal_Rich
07-02-2007, 06:02 PM
I say don't do it, sounds like a lot of hassle and they don't have a clue what they're doing.

Tomaz24
07-02-2007, 06:02 PM
How long do you have until the concert? Is there anyway you can contact them and explain to them how ridiculous it is to do what they're instructing you to do? Even if you do decide to pull out of this thing it would probably be a good idea to contact them and make sure your problems are heard.

It's on the 12th. So yeah I think I'll have a go at that!

monkey_dancer
07-02-2007, 06:17 PM
Really? - is this your first time or have you played in it before? And have you received that same letter?

Please don't tell me your cool with this! ;)

Edit; assuming you're in the Jazz category I doubt you have the same problems as our band (we're in small ensemble) as I believe you're in a different building location to us w/ different arrangements. Good luck with your group dude! :)

It is a slightly different setup. Where and when are you playing? Thanks about the luck thing, good luck to you too.

warlockking
07-02-2007, 06:22 PM
yeah no way, sounds like you'd be better off to spend the day rehearsing for your other gig than that.

HuskerDu
07-02-2007, 07:35 PM
Have you EVER played any kind of professional gig before?

Demanding PAT tests is standard, any building is required to to do so for insurance purposes. The only thing this would even effect is effects pedals and if you're using them just use a battery instead of an adaptor - problem sorted. If they're saying that you need a PAT for your guitar/bass then phone them up and question them about it - PATs are only relevant for equipment that you plug into the mains, which you aren't doing with a guitar.

Saying that everybody should use the same drums and amps is standard practice. There's 44 bands playing ffs - how the hell is a gig supposed to run smoothly with 44 seperate drumkits and over a hundred amps? If your drummer has a problem using another kit then tell him he needs to get a grip, I'm sure it won't hurt him to do it for a few songs.

If you're worried about your guitar tone (which I think is the one thing that you have a legitimate complaint over) then take along a couple of stompboxes and you should be able to get a tone to your liking. And if not? Too bad, it's only a few songs anyway.

jthm_guitarist
07-03-2007, 12:54 AM
I think the experience couldn't hurt. You won't always have the luxury of having everything set up perfectly. NOT to say that it shouldn't be, but this is good experience. As for your tone, find a distortion box and/or EQ pedal you can get a good sound from, then run the house amp on it's clean channel.

yatta
07-03-2007, 10:32 AM
You'll get this at a lot of gigs. At least, that's the case around here. Having the same drumkit and amps for every band is standard for speedy switchover between bands.

The PAT thing i haven't really heard, but i doubt it's that big of a deal. If you have standard pedals, they'll probably be okay.

Just suck it up and play it, I think. If you want to be picky, then be picky and don't take the show. Any show is up to you. Remember though, every experience is worthwhile for one reason or another.

Tomaz24
07-03-2007, 05:12 PM
Have you EVER played any kind of professional gig before?

Demanding PAT tests is standard, any building is required to to do so for insurance purposes. The only thing this would even effect is effects pedals and if you're using them just use a battery instead of an adaptor - problem sorted. If they're saying that you need a PAT for your guitar/bass then phone them up and question them about it - PATs are only relevant for equipment that you plug into the mains, which you aren't doing with a guitar.

Looks like I'm going to have to phone them, yeah. But my point on that one is that for a festival focusing on young students of music, many perhaps most of whom have never done a "professional gig", having to carry out these things that only professionals do is quite absurd.

I've mislead you on the 44 bands by the way, there are 44 small "ensembles" ranging from woodwind, strings, brass and lots of other styles. So even though granted, it would still be difficult for everyone who would be using them to have their own amps and kits - it wouldn't be impossible and you'd expect them to at least allow us some leverage. It's not going to be a case of instant on/off with so many different performers there anyway.

The kit thing doesn't bother me too much and maybe the drummer doesn't have so much of a problem with it. But the amp thing, I find really strange when we're not getting any sort of sound check.

It is a slightly different setup. Where and when are you playing?

July 12th, 2.47, Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Centre. :)

basketcase23
07-05-2007, 02:56 PM
I've entered stuff like this, and pulled out of both because of control things. The first one, we pulled out because they wanted us to sell merchandise for them down the road, and we get nothing, and no cut of ticket sales. The second time was we didn't get a cut of ticket sales, and they told us we didn't sell enough a few days before(basically we didn't make them enough money, so they wouldn't let us play until we made them more), so I told them we're not playing and to give me my money back from the tickets my family bought.

I didn't mind see the amp thing being too bad. I'd planned to just write down my settings, so I can walk out, turn some knobs and play.
For you, the drums seem like it'll be a problem because of the tuning issue. Also, the pedal safety certificate thing is ridiculous.

I'd say if you're losing money on this, and it's significant, pull out.