All performers require a certain environment and conditions that will be conducive to performing their shows to the best of their abilities. No performer can entertain an audience if there are distractions that degrade the experience, or that the fees offered for the performance are grossly inadequate, so here is an explanation of what venues should provide for any entertainer that they book. I have decided that after all his years as a professional entertainer performing in many cases under far less conducive environments than were required, that I will explain why I have set certain conditions that should be met by bookers if they require my services.
Obviously every venue has to provide electric power and lighting and production such as a PA system, unless the performer prefers to use his own PA system. There should be adequate room for entertainers such as one-man-bands, duos and bigger bands to set up their equipment and feel comfortable. Any distractions that can can degrade a performance, such as TV screens or loud noises, have to be stopped. What's the point of somebody trying to perform in a lounge if a number of TV screens are displaying the football with loudly blaring commentary? No performer should work under such conditions because it is degrading and rude.
The average time to drive to a venue in Sydney from my residence is less than one hour. This time, plus the fuel and wear and tear to my car is factored into my performance fee. However, many distant venues expect me to spend hours driving to their premises, using up a lot of fuel and wearing out my car, but expect to pay me the same fee that I would charge for going to do a performance 20 minutes away. With the cost of fuel going up all the time, plus the time it takes to drive to venues, I have decided that I need to be compensated for this.
For instance, here are the parameters of a solo booking for me at Baulkham Hills or similar venue in Sydney that is around 10km from my house.
But if I get a booking in Bowral, which is around 120km from my house, it takes me two hours to drive there. So here is a breakdown of what it takes for me to perform at Bowral or any venue that far.
So the stark reality is that it is unfair to expect me to spend an extra 3½ hours driving to and from Bowral and pay 10 times the amount for fuel and to accept the same fee as the gig in Baulkham Hills. But this is what many bookers and venues expect. So I have decided that I have to impose a surcharge calculated from the distance over 60km from my house to the venue, that will take into account the extra distance and the time it takes to drive there and back and how much fuel will be used.
Meals are to be provided at appropriate meal times at venues distant from my house. Soft drinks are to be provided when required. Entertainers cannot eat at home if they spend hours driving to and from distant venues. Entertainers need to drink during their performances, especially if they sing. Soft drinks are not a luxury, but a necessity.
If the performance is at a distant venue in the evening or runs into the evening, motel accommodation (4 star or similar) overnight including full breakfast is to be provided. It is not pleasant having to drive home for two hours late at night after driving a couple of hours to the venue, getting there one hour before the start of the performance to set up equipment, performing for four hours, another 30 minutes packing up the equipment and loading it into the car and then having to drive home for two hours when extremely tired - and it is dangerous too.
It is easy to see why performers need to take the above matters into account. We work hard at our craft but our generosity is often exploited. However, we need to be paid properly, not just for our performances, but for the added expenses and time that we spend to provide those performances. All tradesmen factor in their travel time and other expenses when going to do their jobs, however entertainers, who are often far more qualified in their line of work than the average tradesman, need to be compensated for those additional costs and additional times over and above local performances.
One of my favourite lines that I use when dealing with a prospective booker who complains about my quoted fee is, "I'll do a deal with you. Phone up a plumber and get him to quote you for a 4 hour repair job at your house on a Saturday night and show me the quote. I will do the performance for HALF his quoted fee." So far, nobody has taken me up on the challenge and most bookers suddenly realise that we entertainers are worth what we charge.