Will you play at our charity event?

Musicians' Union Work Not Play

This can be a touchy subject, and I certainly do not intend to offend anyone.

In the ceilidhs and band events I play for we offer a professional service with expensive musical instruments and equipment. To be able to play events we have had many years of experience in performing and many thousands of hours of practice.

In my view, booking an experienced dance musician is akin to engaging a plumber or electrician to work in your home.

If you wish me to play for free at your event, then the answer is probably no. I will do a small number of free benefit events, but these are really of my choosing. If I, or bands I play with, responded positively to every request to play for free then we would probably end up doing nothing else and be seriously impoverished!

If you have a money raising event then please consider paying for musicians in the same way that you pay for the venue, bar staff, electricity, drinks, food and publicity etc. Too often there are events where ticket prices and numbers are low and the “fund raising” effectively amounts to nothing more than the band’s fee being given to charity.

Of course, the other side of this is organisers who fear that they will end up personally liable for any losses at an event. This is understandable and people may not be able to afford to run this risk.

Get in touch, I’m (and bands I play with) happy to talk over ideas and ways of organising the financing of events. However, this needs to be a serious proposition, not an excuse for badly advertising an event or putting on events that are unlikely to attract a large enough audience.

Sadly, I speak from experience.

Well, that all sounds very serious! However, as mentioned above, please get in touch. I do try to be helpful.

Andrew Wigglesworth
Melodeon and whistle player

Slightly obsessed with playing traditional music.