The importance of advancing a show

Indie girl singerOR

This one-way system is doing my head in and I can’t find the carpark!

Part 2 of 3

And so it’s, Friday, the day of the show, The Band hired a van and got all their gear packed, they picked everyone up. They live in Bristol and the show is in Camden, London. The designated driver has worked out it should take around two and a half hours to get from door to door. Doors open at 8pm and The Band assume they need to be there by 6pm to leave plenty of time for soundcheck. So they allow 3 hours to get there which should be fine. They leave Bristol at 3pm.

All is going well, but they hit slow traffic in the approaches to London. The time it takes to get the destination on their mobile phones seems to be getting longer not shorter. So they decide to ring the promoter’s show representative to let them know their status. That’s when they realise they don’t have the reps number. So they check the emails from their agent and find the number of the promoter which they ring. The promoter is on holiday. They manage to get hold of him eventually, and he supplies them with a name and number of the show rep. They are in central London, it’s around 6pm when they finally make contact.


The rep is fed up, he was expecting The Band at 4pm, the supports are there and have been waiting to sound-check. The supports are supposed to be sharing The Bands drum kit, but luckily one of the support acts has a kit and agrees to share it with all bands so they can get on and sound-check. The Band arrive at the venue in Camden around 7pm. Apologies all round. They manage a quick sound check – which dicks with the sound guys levels for first support – but he’s a pro and can deal with it. The Band retire to the dressing room.

The Rider

There are some beers in the fridge and some waters on a table and that is it. The Band wonder where the other items on their rider are? Didn’t our agent send the promoter our rider, they wonder? The show rep comes in and gives everyone a tenner, they thought they were getting a meal, but take the money anyway and head off to Nandos. They get back at 8:30pm, the guy on the door gives them wristbands and lets them in, they watch a bit of the supports then head to dressing room. At 10pm the show rep tells The Band it’s time to go on stage. They jump up and do the show, it goes well. Afterwards they get the merch out and sell to punters front of house.

The Payment

They go looking for the show rep, but the barman tells them she’s left and the door man has left as well. They wonder how they will get paid. They pack up say cheerio to the sound guy and drive back to Bristol wondering what the hell their agent has done booking them a show with this micky mouse outfit.

The agent told The Band, when and where the show was, the contact of the promoter and the fee. They issued a contract, duly signed by the promoter. The fee, you may remember was £200 versus 80% after costs. The agency also kept The Band updated with ticket sales on a weekly basis for the last six of months as well. For all this work, you may also recall, they earned £30.

Here’s what went wrong.

The Band didn’t realise they had to advance the show themselves. They didn’t realise the agent was never going to do this and they couldn’t afford a tour manager to do the job. They had the contact of the promoter, they should have contacted him to get the show rep’s contact a couple of weeks in advance of the show. If they had…

  • They would have known where to park…
  • They would have known to load in at 4pm…
  • They would have known they were getting a buy-out and not their full rider…
  • They would have known the agent was collecting the fee…
  • They would have known the show rep had to leave early but she would see them on stage…

If you think about, why would the agent do this? If they did, the show rep would have told the agent, who would have told The Band. That’s just a waste of time when the show rep can just tell The Band directly, with less chance for mistakes to occur in translation.

Advancing a show is really important – but it’s not the agent’s job, it’s The Band’s job and if they don’t want to do it themselves, then they will need to pay someone else to do it, preferably someone who is travelling with them.

As ever let me know what you think in the comments below…

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