It seems this is becoming the essential business scheme of choice for some businesses, entertainment fairs, festivals, and carnivals of late. Especially to a whole location like Orlando Florida. The local Orlando music scene, i.e., bars, clubs, fairs, festivals, and if you haven’t guessed it, carnivals too, are mounting false fronts in an attempt to scalp non-local music acts of their hard-earned cash. Orlando Florida appears to be riddled with professional deceivers.
A recent young band comprised of a couple of teenagers and two adults traveled over 70 miles to Orlando from Tampa Florida. They had been planning this trip for over a month, and with high expectations too because they were going to perform for free, in front of a Christian community, at a Christian church holding their 3rd Annual Festival. Their excitement went up in smoke when the soundperson in charge asked them for $250. The manager of the venue cited zero cost for the performing bands. However, the day of the show, the soundperson and the manager of the venue deposed of some facts they had not disclosed before. These two persons had ample time to disclose any supposedly unforeseen difficulties, but they instead had chosen not to contact the bands. The aspiring band was faced with a choice: pay to play or drive the long distance back home without performing. Could it have been merely a miscommunication before the big day? Maybe, but probably not. The fact remains and the actions speak louder than words - scheme, deceive, advertise, deceive some more by not disclosing other details, etc., the laundry load is too large for the basket.
These deceiving venues seem to think that if they put a price on performing at their venue, without fully disclosing this price to the non-local music act, they will have a sure way of making money. These are deception sharks. They pray on the desperation of the act that’s travelled hundreds, if not thousands of miles to perform at their venue, only to find out that someone, did not fully disclose their scheming potential to make some cash.
Why do these venues do this? The answer is simple, for profit. An unsuspecting candidate, especially the one depending on hope, is an easy target. Preying on someone’s hopes, especially when the hopes have been attacked and successfully damaged, is easy. They can propose any deal and it is easy, just watch them move their lips. Besides, they have not traveled anywhere except to their own business locale, a trip they take every day anyway. When seen from afar, these venues do not have anything to lose and a lot to gain.
How can performers protect themselves from such schemes? Always administer a contract. Always ask questions in written form, hand them over, and require an answer in writing via email, etc. Focus on questions merited to getting a response regarding their integrity. Their answers should tell you if they are deceivers or schemers. For instance, ask them this question, is the venue propped with sound support? Is the venue using an independent sound support provider or running their own equipment? Question, question, question the integrity of the venue, always, always, always. These people won’t have any qualms at attempting to deceive you, so you should not have any qualms at attempting to see through them. The ultimate question you should ask is, “Will our band have to put out money to play at this venue?” It may save you money, time, and aggravation - not to mention dashed hopes.