02010-10-21 | Uncategorized | 4 comments

I posted a simple note to the Diary, which will also be included in the next list mailing. The nicest thing I can say about the CFF woman in charge of the concert, is that she may be inexperienced. The concert could have brought twenty or thirty grand to CFF, but she messed up. We will not work with folks like her again, that is, amateur promoters who don’t seem to have a clue. I will prefer to make a monetary donation to a cause, rather than be made to look like a fool by an idiot calling me a star and blaming me for a cancellation. Here is my statement:

My apologies to those who were looking forward to seeing our performance at Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque last month. When my manager found out that the promoter and beneficiary of the benefit concert, CFF, had not even informed the media of the concert two weeks before it was supposed to happen, had not bought any advertising, basically had done none of the things that they had promised and agreed to… she cancelled the show. The only people who had purchased tickets up to that point were people who had found out about the concert through our mailing list or from this Diary.

We are not a cancel-happy group. In over twenty years of touring we have cancelled only three shows.


  1. Adam Solomon

    Naïve question – does the artist get a flat rate, or do you make less if fewer people show up?

  2. ottmar

    Both. Usually there is a guarantee, and half of that amount is paid in advance. That advance can go towards salaries, bus rental and fuel, hotel and other expenses. The other half is paid during the show. Then it can get complicated and depending on how many people have bought tickets there will be certain points where the artists “goes into percentage”, i.e. receives additional amounts of money. I say it get complicated because that’s where a promoter might try something like this scenario: Let’s say the artist sells out the place and is due a percentage, but the promoter first claims his cost, the hall-rental, local crew, sound or light rentals, catering and all advertising. Then the manager asks to see tear sheets of the advertising and discovers that the promoter claimed the cost of a half page ad, when the ad in fact featured four or ten different performers… You can imagine that it adds up, if you claim the full cost of a half page ad from everyone of those artists. So then the manager says to the promoter that s/he only accepts a quarter of the cost of the add as legitimate expense, and not the full amount, because four acts were featured… And so on, and so on. Luckily the band is on stage when all this shit goes on, and blissfully ignorant of the haggling going on in some office backstage.

    So yes, there is a guarantee and then there is the possibility of making a little more if the show sells well.

    I remember reading about King Crimson’s tour manager having to haggle with their Italian promoter in the Seventies or Eighties, when it was still quite common for them to judge a crowd by eye – instead of counting ticket stubs. The promoter said that the crowd looked like 1,500, the tour manager replied that there were at least 5,000 and so on, ad nauseum.

    I also remember hearing stores about artists in the middle of the last century, who would literally count the people in attendance while they are performing, so that the promoter couldn’t pull the wool over their eyes.

  3. lindaw

    I suspected that there was going to be a problem when I saw zero advertising being done to promote the CFF show. It seemed strange, as I remember all the press and radio interview things before the Lensic show last year. Also ticket sales were months in advance of the show, which made sense to me

    The only way I learned about the CFF performance was via communication with the artist. Tickets went on-sale 4 weeks before show date and still no promoting at all , sans things said by Ottmar on this diary and in the newsletter.

    Thanks for the insight into what goes on behind the curtain, Ottmar. I am glad I didn’t choose the path of a tour manager as my career, and have an new appreciation for all that have this job.

  4. Jackie

    Thank you for letting us know what goes on behind the scene of what we (as spectators) sometimes take for granted. When we are looking forward to hearing and supporting our favorite artist(s) it is difficult to understand and realize how much goes into the setup, promotion of and the performance at a concert. It certainly sounded like poor planning on CFF; I only heard announcements on the radio a week or two before the concert…and I actually heard a promo commercial after the concert was suppose to be held (radio stations – have to love them too)…and I don’t remember seeing anything in print in ABQ.
    I’m looking forward to the next opportunity I get to listen to you in person. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long, but definitely worth the wait…and I certainly have more appreciation for all the hard work that it takes behind the scene to make a concert possible for me to enjoy.


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