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Protocol/ethis for hiring/un-hiring a band...

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    Marilynn Knight Oct. 9, 2001, 4:13 p.m. (Message 27818)

    How common is it to book a band and then bump them for another with the
    reason given that original band doesn't have enough name recognition?  Do we
    as committees have an ethics standard to uphold?  What kind of oversight is
    there?  How does preferred band deal if/when the action is known?
     
    I'm sure there may be a separate group online that know/discuss such
    matters, but, as dancers/groups scheduling, I feel we need to treat our
    musicians with utmost respect and encouragement.  Ignorance of musicians'
    feelings/schedules can be very damaging all around.  To treat a local group
    of musicians badly, one that is loyal, extremely competent, in favor of
    another with name recognition can be very counter-productive.  How many
    dancers would boycott such a dance week end if they knew of the
    insensitivity?
     
    The analogy might be to form a demo group of local dancers, but, then, bump
    them for others from away.  How much good will does that create?
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    Fyreladdie Oct. 9, 2001, 4:32 p.m. (Message 27820, in reply to message 27818)

    Marilyn,
        Interesting subject! I think a lot would have to do with the timing of 
    the hiring. If a local band was preparing for a dance for weeks, it would be 
    unkind and disgraceful to un-hire them. It's somewhat a kin to breaking a 
    date with a person in favor of a more appealing lass or lad. Musicians do 
    need more respect than that. They generally don't get paid much and spend 
    many hours preparing for their job. Our branch is well aware of the 
    importance of our musicians. They never end a set without a round of sincere 
    applause.
        I don't think I would boycott a dance but surely, the parties that be, 
    would hear  displeasure at their lack of ethics. We are fortunate in the San 
    Francisco Branch to have many top rated musicians. I believe that this 
    problem would never arise. Happy dancing all.
    
    Bob Mc Murtry
    Felton, Calif
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    Alan Paterson Oct. 9, 2001, 4:58 p.m. (Message 27822, in reply to message 27818)

    Marilynn Knight wrote:
    > 
    > How common is it to book a band and then bump them for another with the
    > reason given that original band doesn't have enough name recognition?
    
    Good grief!
    
    As if we would ever have this possibilty! There is only one band which will come
    to Switzerland - so we have to make to do with that.
    
    Alan
    
    P.S. They happen also to be one of the best bands I have ever experienced, so
    they wouldn't get bumped anyway  <vbg>
    
    P.P.S. If you're interested, initials are SC
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    Strathspey Oct. 9, 2001, 5:14 p.m. (Message 27823, in reply to message 27818)

    I think that it should be looked at as two questions. Firstly if a specific
    event/date has been booked and secondly if a band has always played at a
    given annual function.
    
    In the first instance, the situation looks clear. A contract, be it verbal
    or written, has been entered into by the organiser who has booked the band.
    In the event of cancelling that booking some compensation should be
    offered - or more properly the band should be approached to determine what
    recompense the band would consider accepting to break the contract - a
    cancellation fee in fact. Speaking for my band that would depend upon a
    number of factors, what the reason is, how long in advance the booking was
    cancelled and whether any alternative bookings had to be turned down because
    of the original commitment. In the circumstances as described below I would
    take the view that this was unreasonable and to request the full fee unless
    a replacement booking could be obtained. I would almost certainly not
    consider taking further bookings from that society.
    
    The second instance is more a question of individual ethics and politeness.
    No band has the right to expect the same booking year after year but if we
    had done the same function for a number of years it would be nice if the
    society would inform us in advance if they intended to book someone else for
    a future year. There is a reverse responsibility on the band as well - to
    look at which functions have been regular over the last few years and not
    accept a different booking without checking that we were not required by our
    regular patrons first.
    
    Finally we would not consider taking any booking at the expense of a band
    that were already booked for that specific function. This would, in our
    opinion, be highly unethical.
    
    Having said all that I cannot think of a single incident where this has had
    to be considered. There have been a number of cancellations over the years
    and probably the majority have not had to pay a cancellation fee as
    functions tend to be cancelled only in VERY serious circumstances.
    
    Graham Hamilton
    The Craigellachie Band
    (Southern England)
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    SMiskoe Oct. 10, 2001, 12:42 a.m. (Message 27826, in reply to message 27818)

    I don't know how often this practice occurs but I consider it the height of 
    rudeness.  If it becomes known that the band hired was bumped in favor of 
    another, the group runs the risk of being boycotted by musicians in general.  
    "don't take that job, you might have it pulled".  It would make subsequent 
    bands ask for a hefty deposit the next time you try to hire them.  If it was 
    a local band that was bumped, you will lose all loyalty they might have 
    towards your group.  
    Remember that any time something goes poorly, there will be many folks who 
    are vocal about it while when something goes well, the will be less 
    widespread praise.  Just don't do it.
    Cheers,
    Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA
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    Nancy Lorimer Oct. 9, 2001, 6:40 p.m. (Message 27830, in reply to message 27818)

    I usually lurk on this list, but I feel very strongly about this.
    
    A band can be booked tentatively for an occasion with an agreement on both 
    sides to confirm or withdraw by a certain date. In such a case, it would be 
    okay to unbook them in favor of another group as long as it is by that 
    date. Otherwise, unhiring a band in favor of one with greater name 
    recognition  seems to me to be demeaning and unethical. Legal 
    considerations aside (a booking is a contract), such an action is unlikely 
    to benefit a dance group in the long run. The unhired group will likely 
    think twice about booking with the organization again after being treated 
    in such a manner. It is also quite possible that the chosen group, on 
    learning they have been put in the awkward position of putting other 
    musicians out of a job, will also be more cautious in future. To place it 
    all in another perspective--if a dance group booked a band for a weekend 
    workshop and the band then cancelled in favor of a gig that was 
    better-paying, would the group book them again?
    
    I admit all my own experience playing as a freelance musician was not in 
    this country and in classical music, where a group carrying out such a 
    change would still have to pay me the full fee. But a colleague with 
    freelance experience here immediately said that if such a thing happened to 
    him, he would not work with that group again if he had understood the 
    booking to be a confirmed one. SCD musicians may work more informally, and 
    may be quite accommodating in schedule changes, etc., but there is still 
    the matter of basic respect for your musicians (and fellow SCD enthusiasts) 
    who are an important part of the SCD community.
    
    Nancy Lorimer
    Mountain View, CA

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