A performer asks,
“I am playing an opener set soon for a smallish long-established house concert series. We have been told the host “prefers” not to do any comped admission. I will be traveling with my partner, and I ain’t about to ask her to stand outside while I play. Nor do I find it appropriate to fork over a twenty out of my minimal fee so she can have a chair. ”
How do other hosts handle the occasional “guest of the performer” or comp requests; ie. what is reasonable to expect?”
House concerts with opening acts tend to be the exception rather than the rule. The general feeling I have (and many agree) is that it usually creates a 3rd set and a second intermission, and stretches the night too long, even if it’s just 3-4 songs. If the main act is only playing one set, then openers makes more sense, but we find that to be unusual too.
Well established hosts are often deeply committed to maximizing revenue for the main act (that’s why they are so in demand). They also might be stretching themselves with a guarantee they might not fully cover with donations… in those cases, it would make sense to have a “no freebie” policy, since any unpaid guest might come out of their own pocket – especially if there’s an agent counting heads.
If the show will be completely full, then a freebie admission is either costing the main artist or the host. If there are plenty of open seats, then it comes down to principles.
- If you feel honored to open this show, you have the opportunity to be gracious and pay (or offer to pay) for your spouse/guest.
- If you don’t feel honored enough, you can always ask to “confirm if your spouse or +1” can attend as your free guest.
- The third option is to buy her a shirt that says “crew,” “roadie,” or “guitar technician” and teach him/her how to tune guitars!
Gratitude seems to be a great way to approach things, especially if the relationship with the host is one you want to keep or improve.