This is a blog I am sending out after some careful consideration and re-wording. If I had sent it 60 minutes earlier it would have been a totally different story. I’ve calmed down now and am taking a positive approach to a negative situation.
I thought the days of getting a gig cancelled 4 days before it was meant to take place were long gone for myself.
A few months ago I took a booking for a gig from promoters I had never worked for before. Bad experiences from recent years with a couple of supposed-large agencies taught me to never accept a booking again without getting some kind of deposit upfront. However, a mutual friend who had effectively got me the gig said the promoters were good guys so I allowed the reservation of a flight to be a gesture of good intent and agreed to take no further deposit until today, 4 days before the gig. I am purposely holding back from turning this into a witch hunt against the promoters because I’m not the kind of person to do that, but I do want to share this experience so others might not have to have it happen to them.
To cut a long story short, as you must have concluded, today the gig was pulled leaving me with no booking and no fee whatsoever (at the moment.. we’re working it out).
There are many reasons why this cancellation sucks and it has affected more people than you’d think but this isn’t about me.. it’s something I wanted to get off my chest.
The bottom line is that, in this day and age, it seems that contracts aren’t worth the screen they are read on ! There have been several instances where this blog almost got sent in recent months… well here it is.
Even when I was with one particular ‘large’ agency, towards the back-end of my time there, I was getting more cancellations than I was actual bookings. I would take a gig in good faith months in advance, then the week of the gig I would chase up an itinerary for my flights and hotel, only to be told there might be an issue with the booking. More often than not, after ME chasing THEM.. the agency would come back saying.. “oh sorry, the promoter has had his sponsor pull out, the gig isn’t happening”. In the meantime, I turned down two or three other gigs for the same date, which hurt a lot, especially as I was getting paid a lot of money for my gigs across Europe. There was no deposit taken from the agency, or maybe there was and they just kept it.. either way I was the prick with a night off and a big hole in his pocket. I have never been big enough a DJ to not let a cancellation hurt me financially. Let’s face it, who doesn’t spend money before they get it, whether physically or mentally ? So to be out-of-pocket, whatever your financial situation, hurts !
I decided to never let that happen to me again, which is one of the reasons why I stopped touring and working with said agency… as well as the fact that I refused to play shit music.. but again I’m conscious of this being about me.
I could go on and on but the long and short of it is this… If you are just starting out on your journey for world domination, make sure all your shit is water-tight. Remember that contracts are apparently meaningless nowadays unless you are talking about multi-million pound deals. Do not let your kind nature allow you to get walked on. If someone wants to book you and they are not prepared to pay you a deposit to show good faith in the booking and their promotion skills, then it is probably not a good enough night for you to be playing at.
The longer people out there allow this economic climate to make victims out of honest guys trying to make a living from something they love, the longer it will happen.
I know 100% these words will ring true with some of the world’s biggest names, it happens way too often. I really am trying to not sound like a victim here.. I hope just one person learns something from my words, as always.
P.S – I just had a giggle to myself as I stopped and thought hard before hitting “Publish” as to how many DJs I might have cancelled in my time !
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