Just Around The Corner-A Prophesy Fulfilled

During the month of January dozens of acts will perform in multiple venues in and around the Asbury Park area.

This is the annual Light Of Day event, for a great cause. Newspapers will report on what a great event it is- people will come from all over to attend.

Acts are chomping at the bit to perform at great rooms like the Stone Pony, Wonder Bar, McCloone’s.

I have a question though.

Whom out of all of these involved in this event gets paid and makes money?

– Security/extra police
– The venue owners
– The venue staff
– The liquor distributors
– The food distributors
– The periodicals that run ads
– Sound men and other stage staff
– The electricians and construction workers who built and maintain the venues
– The city of Asbury Park, through parking fees and taxes
– Utilities such as gas, electric
– Local hotels and motels
– Taxis and Uber drivers

The answer of course is all of them. In most, if not all, cases, full price.

Now who doesn’t get paid (for the most part, excluding any stipends to headliners or national acts)?

– The musicians

“When redevelopment comes, you musicians better be prepared. The powers that be certainly will be. They will be out to take all they can get, and that means from YOU.

If we don’t organize now, and have some way of fighting back, its all going to be about the takers, and all of you will be the taken. These people know how to make money and they’ll do it any way they can, so you better be ready to make sure you are properly compensated.”

– Margaret Potter, President- Society Of Associated Performers 1992

1 Comment

  1. From Suzi-

    Least valued artists on the planet – musicians. Everyone wants the music, no one wants to pay. Only way to change it is to stop – and that will never happen. Unions – well, the clubs will just switch to canned music. Refuse to play – won’t work – there are always bands willing to play for the mythical “exposure”. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, and while SOAP tried, it did no good. Not really a prophesy, but an inevitability. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In early days of the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Festival, for instance, events were held at a variety of venues. I worked at several. None of us got paid. The money went to where it was supposed to go, the bars got exposure to different crowds who might not otherwise have thought of going to those clubs, Musicians were exposed to different crowds, and everyone had a great time. One thing I always tried to do when we were putting on the Native American Rights and Homeless Coalition benefits (old Tradewinds, Playpen, Pony, Deck House, etc.) was to feed the musicians and treat them like rock stars, give them lots of publicity (including radio interviews & live on air play), vary the types of music so different types of crowds were exposed to different types of music, and make sure we were not charged for anything. We got free raffle donations, and made sure every last cent raised went to the cause it was supposed to go to. The sound company donated equipment, stage equipment was donated, sound men, lights, roadies, stage crews, benefit crews, etc. worked for free. And everyone had a good time. So the only ones making money were the bartenders, who usually worked their butts off for tips only. Of course, liquor sales were great for the clubs, but we had to pay for nothing, including cleaning crews, etc. UNFORTUNATELY, not every benefit or event is the same. I suggest that if musicians have to play for free they should at least be compensated in some way. We fed them. Clearwater gave a token gas money check. Every little gesture helps. Musicians for sure ain’t rich. Not most, anyway. And if you’re making money for someone, or some cause, for sure you should be compensated in some way, no matter how small. Food, gas money, or even a T-shirt. Something. God knows, musicians give and give and give, and at some point it sure is nice to get something in return besides a quick “Thanks, could you get your stuff off stage quickly so the next band can go on?”


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