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Pay To Play? Not ok, says Garvey

Catherine May at In the City, Guy Garvey gives charging bands the Elbow

Published on October 13th 2010.

Pay To Play? Not ok, says Garvey

Promoters who charge new bands to play gigs are “preying on the hopes and dreams of young people”, according to Elbow frontman Guy Garvey.

The Mercury Prize winner kicked off this year's In The City music seminar with a panel on 'Pay to Play'. This focussed on the issue of bands being charged by venues to put on a show.

Garvey said Elbow were often forced to pay in order to play a gig when the band was starting out, something which he still 'regrets'. “I feel quite bitter about it... it's so out of order,” he said.

The session was chaired by the Musician's Union's assistant general secretary Horace Trubidge. Garvey was accompanied by Guardian journalist Helienne Lindvall, Jay Taylor, owner of The Ruby Lounge in Manchester and the BBC's Chris Long.

Garvey credited the Manchester music scene for making young bands 'feel part of a community', citing local champions such as Piccadilly Records, but he said bands were often misled by promoters and forced to stump up £50 for the right to play. "It should be the norm that you don't get ripped off," he said. “But it’s generally on a venue basis.”

Artists are often expected to bring enough fans, friends, family to give the venue more business and get a refund. But Garvey said the promises were often empty.

He told delegates about a gig he once played where he knew that he'd attracted the desired 50 fans to the gig, yet the promoter claimed he'd only managed to get 38 people and showed him the tickets as evidence. It was only when he spotted a bin full of other tickets that he knew he had been scammed.

Taylor said dealing with bands was 'all about being a bit more creative rather than having those weird rigid deals'. "I'm averse to taking money off bands in advance," he said.

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Nicky nooOctober 14th 2010.

I say vote for Garvey he is a wonderful down to earth lovely man ,and his musical talents are superior I love elbow and love Guy Garvey

radiojaneyOctober 14th 2010.

Guy Gravy for Mayor of Manchester

Graham LambOctober 15th 2010.

God Bless Guy Garvey - a diamond of a man !

Mrs Garvey (I wish)October 15th 2010.

Friends of mine have had the same thing happen to them, it only gives these venues a bad reputation amongst bands.

I second Guy for Mayor. I may commit voting fraud to help in this!

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