1. Hi Guest: Welcome to TRIBE, Toronto's largest and longest running online community. If you'd like to post here, or reply to existing posts on TRIBE, you first have to register on the forum. You can register with your facebook ID or with an email address. Join us!

Promoter Responsibility

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by R4V4G3D_SKU11S, Mar 23, 2002.

  1. R4V4G3D_SKU11S

    R4V4G3D_SKU11S TRIBE Member

    Now before I say anything, this is not a thread to discuss Wintergalactic specifically. The situation mentioned below has happened on many occasions in Toronto. This is not meant to attack Sonic State nor any other company in particular

    It's meant for general discussion, and should make for an enlightening dialogue between promoters and the people who support them, the party-goer. I know there are alot of people who fall onto each side of the argument.

    Basically in a situation where a party has changed drastically from what was originally advetised, what do you personally think a promoter is responsible for? Should the promoter take the brunt of the blame and offer full refunds to those who are not interested in the modified product? Or is it OK for the promoter to try to make amends by throwing the modified party along with offering only the (often not exactly comparable) option of another free party, free CD's, tickets to their next event, etc. to compensate for the changes

    I myself have always beleived that if you decide to throw a party, you have to be prepared to suffer the consequences 100%. I think that at the end of the day, the promoter should take full responsibility for any major changes (Venue loss, no-show DJ's,etc) and the resulting fallout. I totally understand that yeah, it's best for us to stick it out and support a company because we are a self perpetuating community. And it totally is not always the direct fault of the promoter. But as I mentioned before, when they made the decision to throw the party, they also acknowledged the risks they were taking.

    In order for me to feel the need to give support to a company, I need to feel respect from them. And if a promoter truly respects the people who in the end make or break the party, the ticket buyer, the option of a full refund should be given. I think anything seems shady and shows that the promoters heart is more on the bottom line than the partiers themselves.

    I know some people who say that we need to support companies because they are taking big risks to move the scene into a new direction. But often these risks (or "new directions") are bad ideas from the start. They do not actually reflect the direction the scene is moving in. Alot of them involve events which would have been hard to pull off even in the heydays of the scene. You can't just throw this monster mega jam and expect that it is going to be packed nowadays. And the reason is that because that was our scene 3 years ago. It is not our scene now, and it's not going to be anytime in the near future. I'd rather support a company who is intelligent and in in touch where the scene is actually going. They would more likely focus their energy on a few smaller jams. In the end these big flops make things look even worse than they really are, and how is that good for the scene? Why should I lend my undying support to these companies who are obviously not in touch with where things are really going?

    What do you think?
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2002
  2. D-Monic

    D-Monic TRIBE Member

    Something I've always believed was that if you're not 100% prepared to lose 100% of your investment, don't throw the party.

    This belief also explains my thoughts towards promoters who stiff their DJ's... you know, promise them a set amount of then short them because 'they didn't make any money'... but that's for another thread.

    Many companies have lost thousands and thousands and have never public whined or complained. i.e.: Lifeforce. They lost hundreds of thousands on their Y2K party, but they took their loss and continued. I admire them for that.

    The responsibility of the promoter is to deliver what they promised. If they can't, then they should compensate via refunds or added compensatory attractions.

  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I mostly agree that promoters should be held responsible for anything that goes wrong in the planning of the party. You have no business organizing one if you don't take all the risks into consideration beforehand. But lets face it, most people are in it to make a quick buck, however the fact it that nowadays unless you've got some major sponsorship happening, there isn't much money to be made if any at all. More often than not you're going to take a loss.
    But ya, the promoter should be held accountable for most things that go wrong but there are exceptions.

    Basic you said that the promoter should be held responsible for no show dj's.... and so they should if they failed to secure their services 100%, however sometimes DJ's get sick and sometimes they miss their flights and there isn't exactly anything the promoter can do about that. If you've ever read a proper DJ contract you would also notice that if the dj fails to show, there is nothing the promoter can do about it. Basically the DJ still gets paid, and the promoter is out the money despite the fact that they didn't perform. Sometimes it's only the deposit that they'll lose, sometimes it's the full fee.... it varies...

    anyway, with proper planning there isn't much that should go wrong with any event.... And despite the fact that the promoters heart is in the right place, it takes more than that. You have to know what the fuck you're doing and not be just jumping into things blind.
    and you need to have the money before hand. There is no way you ahould be relying on pre-sales to pay for everything. If you do this you're an idiot. Pre-sales could go either way. I once organized a party where pre-sales were anything but good. I knew before hand that I was most likely going to take a big hit, but the thing is I actually had the money to back it all up before hand. In the end, the party went alright, I still took a big hit financially, but every DJ got paid in full, and I honoured all of my financial comitments.
  4. R4V4G3D_SKU11S

    R4V4G3D_SKU11S TRIBE Member

    Do you think though that a promoter can say that they aren't giving money refunds, but they'll throw another party for free (or something to make up for it) is enough? I don't. I think that if the event is alot different from the one you've paid for, although it's nice of them to offer something else, you should always also have the option of saying thanks but no thanks, I just want all my money back.
  5. AshG

    AshG Member

    From a promoter's point of view, I can see practical difficulities of offering a free jam as compensation.

    1. Who's going to finance it if the first one went bust?
    2. Who's going to come, if the first one sucked?
    3. What if there are also problems with the free show(lack of djs, etc) - that just makes the promoters look pathetic.

    On the other hand, throwing such a party is false advertising. Whether or not its the promoter's fault is not relevant; the advertisement information does not match the product/service. Canadian consumer law is notoriously feeble, in terms of protecting consumer rights. Having lived in other parts of the world, I can't believe what business can get away with here, without financial penalty.

    Should promoters be held responsible? Of course.
    Can they be? Of course not.
    Will they be? Unlikely(for the reasons mentioned above).
  6. rejenerate

    rejenerate TRIBE Member

    In the Wintergalactic thread, there are quotes like "I still respect them for trying to pull it off" and "It's great that they have ideas, trying to push things further" etc. etc.

    But to me, if you can't actually do it in the end, don't even try! Because you build up expectations in your patrons, and if you end up downsizing or cancelling altogether, it's your name and reputation at risk.

    Anyone can come up with ideas...hey, my idea is to have a new Lollapalooza-type tour...a day of music featuring The Cure, Garbage and Slipknot! But if I can't actually pull it off after I announce this fact, then I look undependable. My idea means very little if I can't actually get it off the ground. If I end up throwing a 2-hour concert in a parking lot with Kim Mitchell headlining instead, well, then I expect people to be disappointed...and pissed off...and expect a refund (unless they happen to LIKE Kim Mitchell).

    Like others have said, I fully expect the promoter to offer full and/or partial refunds (if the person decides to still attend) and offer freebies, discounts to their next party, whatever. And everything SHOULD be paid for and secured in advance, on paper, with already-obtained money etc. so that things can't all of a sudden change. According to the Wintergalactic people, the price of the hotel suddenly went way up. Well, where is the original agreement? I understand people are wary about "raves" but still...what about legally-binding contracts and such?

    I think I still have a bad taste re: WEMF 2001 in my mouth...I never saw any attempt at amends.

  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    It really depends on the situation.
    But in most cases I'd agree that they should refund the cash, but only if the person didn't attend the party(if it still happened). If they did attend then they still got some of their moneys worth.... I mean you don't go to a movie and then ask for a refund afterwards because you didn't like it. I also think if a certain headlining DJ is unable to perform the promoters should post a sign at the entrance to inform the partiers before they pay to get in. That way they still have the option to change their mind before paying out their hard earned cash.

    but as I already said, they should have all of the money to pay for everything upfront, so refunding ticket money shouldn't be an issue. If they won't do it, then they're shady.
  8. Littlest Hobo

    Littlest Hobo TRIBE Member

    No way. The party I want to go to has the talent I want to see; the next event may just have some bum I could care less about, or their may be no next event. The whole "next party" scheme is just a way the promoter can keep some money and keep the cash flow down.

    Business is all about the risk-reward principle. Throwing a party is risky, but the rewards are there. Otherwise, no one would throw parties (not that money is the only thing).

    As far as Wintergalactic goes, I wanted to go b/c of Astral Projection, but betwen the venue, the whole 2-day long party theme and the cost/number of headliners, I knew something would happen. Oh well, off to see IM...
  9. gasper

    gasper TRIBE Member

    I too am speaking from experience as a promoter. It's a business. If you advertise a product, you deliver it - its that simple. If you can't deliver it, you make every effort to inform the customers and compensate. In the 12 events that I was involved in delivering, only once did a pair of performers not show, and we replaced them with acts of simliar calibre and added a special guest that was even better. We also made it clear on our infoline and at the door that the slated performances had changed. The night went off great.

    Our final event was very expensive and was competing directly against another high-quality event. We knew the week leading up to it that ticket sales were lower than low and that in all likelihood the event was going to bomb. We were going to lose most of the money invested in the event, and when we found out that advance tickets accounted for 4% of our costs, we did what we had to do. The night went on, we managed to get about 40% of the required break-even attendance, and everyone got paid in full. We lost all of what we earned in previous events, and learned a valuble lesson.

    It makes me angry to see unethical business practices in this scene. Hiking water prices, upping at-the-door admissions, cutting back on sound, lighting, and hacking performers from the line-up are all unacceptable in my opinion. At this point in time it should be no different than other services or products.

    If you pay $100 to see Micheal Jackson, and Mcauley Culkin shows in his place, the paying customers deserve the option of a full refund, or a night out with Mcauley Culkin. Same goes for a rave party or a club night.
  10. mingster

    mingster TRIBE Member

    It seems to me that now, and for as long as I can remember, buying tickets for a party was always a gamble....

    In the old days, you didn't know about the venue, you never knew if the party would get busted, and you basically just didn't know if it would be a good party.

    These days, the venues are announced, but there are so many issues between promoters and legalities, that things tend to go wrong alot more.

    I know the issue here isn't about quality guarantees, but I''ve always just thought, that I take my chances. I buy a ticket, if something goes wrong, then I lose. Don't get me wrong, I've been plenty pissed off at situations like this. I've been on rampages, trying to get my money back from promoters at parties....trying to demand respect....to no avail.

    I'm not sure that I can answer the question at hand. I definitely think there is a lack of respect afforded to the party-goers. But I also know that promoters take chances too. As far as being reimbursed, it would be nice, but I don't think it's realistic.

    Maybe it's the nature of the scene. Maybe that's just the way things are. All in all, I've been dissapointed before, but mostly, I've been satisfied. I've had my faith renewed numerous times.

    It sucks and I wish it were different, but losing some money here and there, to me, is just a price I have to pay to enjoy some of the better times. It's the gamble I ride, in search of a good time.

  11. beaker

    beaker TRIBE Member

  12. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member

    My feeling is if the event is cancelled before it happens ticket buyers deserve to get their money refunded with no hassles.

    That is just common sense and good business.

    "Make up parties" are not an alternative.
  13. noahmintz

    noahmintz TRIBE Member

    Will he be playing Patio Lanters and Go For A Soda?
    If so ... I would be happy

  14. JEMZ

    JEMZ TRIBE Member

    I agree with both Kevin and Dan on this one so I am not going to beat it to death with my own jargon... it has already been said better than I could say it. Just a quick analogy though: If Metallica was booked for the ACC and 3 days before the concert the promoter had to move it to the Horseshoe would all those extra people get their money back?? Yes, of course they would. People should not throw events without working capital. Hoping ticket sales will pay your bills is fraud, plain and simple.
    Jamie :)
  15. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I don't know about it being fraud, but it definately is poor judgment, and shows a real lack of common sense on their part.


    With respect to us, in point form this is our position on this topic:

    1. If there is no event, we would even pay the service charge back to the stores if they don't agree to pay it back to the customer. Nobody should be out money, not even 2 - 3 dollars.

    2. A change to us doesn't mean the quality will be less, and we would never swap a wicked headliner with a nobody and expect people to be happy. We would more than make up for the confusions.

    3. Buying tickets in advance helps the financial situation. People that don't buy advance tickets kill the scene..plain and simple. If you were an investor or a sponsor and you put 100K into an event, and then saw that tickets weren't selling..what would you do? This hurts the promoter in the end and causes severe issues...hence Mekka.

    4. Sometimes promoters only get a partial investment and then decide to take the risk and go with it. This is very risky and not good practice, but unfortunately people do make mistakes. Dj's may not get paid the full amount, other people suffer as well, and the promoter might be in an awkward position. I've been there once in the past and vowed then and there never to do that again. The risk far outweighs the potential gain, it's just not worth it.

    5. Sometimes your great idea is an actuality, however life is as well. You might not wake up tomorrow, or you might cross the street and get hit by a car. Every day is different and things can drastically change from one day to the next. Nobody is above Murphy..NOBODY!

    Anyhow, that's my two cents.

  17. I-Drop

    I-Drop TRIBE Member

    D-Monic perspective is clearly that of a DJ who likes to get paid at the agreed rate..

    unfortunately alot of djs have inflated visions of their own value, and draw capability..

    they think because they have been paid X amount of dollars in the past, that they are actually worth that much...

    more often.. dj salaries have more to do with promoters doing their job well (or luckily) enough to book given talent..

    than that talent drawing enough people to the door to justify their rate...

    i think dj should be willing to dock their own pay if the djs (as a group) were not able to but enough asses throught the door to make their own paycheck..

    that is.. if one dj has a contract thats more than he's worth (on that night) then all of them probally did...
  18. D-Monic

    D-Monic TRIBE Member

    But why should the 'talent' be shorted due to the promoters failure?

    Example I usually use in this arguement:

    My drains are clogged. I call a plumber. We agree on a fee and he comes and clears my drains. When it comes time to pay him, I give him half and tell him that I'm sorry but I didn't make enough money this week. Should the Plumber be cool with that?

    True, some DJ's do what they do as a hobby where the money is not THAT much of an issue, but some of us do this as a job. When the agreement is struck that said DJ will play for a certain ammount, that DJ has decided it's worth his time to come out and play (and play well) for that agreed upon ammount of money. When the promoters then come to them with the 'song and dance' that some of us DJ's have heard WAY too many times, we get angry... and rightfully so. Sure, you lost money and that's too bad, but you've lied to us by promising us a set amount, then you let us go ahead and play under the assumption that we will get the said ammount at the end of the set. And then you short us.

    So, in the end, you got what you wanted at the financial expense of DJ. Unacceptable.

    (Note: this rant is not directed at any one person or production company... just shady promoters in general)
  19. CC

    CC TRIBE Member

    i think dan is pretty on the mark. especially if you're doing something very large. my sympathy in these sorts of situations usually depends on why the promoters are doing the event. some promoters just throw events for their friends or so they will have somewhere to go. others have either ego or financial goals.

    so i do have some sympathy for some promoters, but not for others. it's such a situational thing.

    BUT the promoters should always offer some sort of compensation for changing the nature of the event.

  20. I-Drop

    I-Drop TRIBE Member

    the funniest thing is that this is still a buyers market for promoters..

    gigs for most djs are getting farther and fewer between..

    and 'prime' gigs are virtually gone..

    until djs start recognizing the market.. and working for less they are going to be flip flopping between no-gigs and gigs where they dont get paid..
  21. beaker

    beaker TRIBE Member

    And even when everything works out, Toronto gigs, on average, pay fuck-all compared to most other places in North America.
  22. Fir3start3r

    Fir3start3r TRIBE Member

    Since promotion is a business, then it should act like a business.
    If a customer is not happy then there should be a no-questions-asked policy on a refund.
    OR like any other conventional business, a counter offer for the customer to choose from.
    I think the biggest issue is the actual size of the event. Bigger events are slower to move because of the all the logistics involved.
    Having helped with the our Suhana parties, we've always kept our parties managable by not throwing over-sized parties.
    Unless there's a contingency plan for your party, don't throw it.

    I like SS, they do throw good parties.
    But I think there were some large oversights with their latest venture (understatement...), and lack of disaster planning.
    A party this size HAS to have disaster planning no questions about it.
    I know they're doing their best (I am rooting for them) to cope, and there's no way they could have predicted what happened to them, but that's my point RE: contingency plans.

    You want big money? Be business about it; plan big and cover all aspects of your game plan. Even the ones you don't see.
    Promoting IS business, so treat it as such.
    Big promotion = big business, think like a big business.
  23. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    It's a DJ's job to promote themselves
    It's a promoters job to promote the party.

    That being said, the only people to blame, and take financial responsability are the promoters themselves.

    It's not a DJ's job to make the party work, it's their job to make their set work. When a set amount is agreed upon prior to the party and the DJ is booked upon agreement of that amount, then that's what should be paid.

    It's ass-headed to believe that if the party flops the DJ's should take the financial brunt because the promoter didn't do his job properly. Also, when the DJ reserved themselves that night for that party, they possibly had to refuse other conflicting bookings for it.

    It's a weird thing sometimes. Sometimes you accept a booking over another not based on money but based on promoters integrity. The more shitty promoters you deal with the less your tolerance becomes for them. It's from this ever thickening skin that after a while you begin to realize dealing with shady promoters is just not worth your time.

    Try hiring a carpenter, and after he's done his job you tell him that the raise you were expecting didn't come through, so you'll have to cut the payment for his labor in half. Dude would jigsaw you a new asshole.
  24. CC

    CC TRIBE Member

    keep in mind that to some promoters, this is not a business; it's a hobby.

    i just don't want people to make "promoter" generallizations

  25. I-Drop

    I-Drop TRIBE Member

    true, promotion is a business...

    but it is an underground business, and the gradual death of our scene is as much a result of tight djs, as it is that of shady or incompetent promoters..

    all i know, is that promoting is hard thankless work, rarely profitable, and involving alot of work done mainly by people who trully love and support the scene..

    djs as often as not are bitchy glory hounds who are far more interested in their own status than the general good..

    but, there are also alot of djs who will say right up front that if the party bombs, they will take a pay cut..

    and there are those who wont...

    which one are you? and what does that say about your attitude?

Share This Page