At what point do you pull the plug on a gig?

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FarleyUKFarleyUK Frets: 747
Hi all,

We've been booked in to a newly re-opened pub that's fairly local to all of us in the band; it's been booked for the end of May, and has been in our diaries for about a month now.

I've recently found out however that the pub is run by - and all the regulars are members of - the Gypsy community. That in itself wouldn't necessarily be an issue, but I've also heard that there have been several 'incidents' over the last few weeks where the police have had to attend en masse (knives being pulled, people being dragged outside for a severe kicking etc.).

Now, if it were up to me, I'd tell them to shove the gig, but I realise that's not exactly 'professional' - and the drummer thinks we'll be fine. So, people of the Fretboard, at what point would you walk away and cancel a gig? Is the above enough to justify it?
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  • JAYJOJAYJO Frets: 1039
    Well it wouldn't be knife point.
     Seriously with everything you have mentioned i would pull the plug. 
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  • not_the_djnot_the_dj Frets: 6308
    I gig for fun, so if I was me I'd pull out.
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  • JayGeeJayGee Frets: 566
    On exactly one occasion I’ve felt that there was a real, immediate danger of violence at a venue (but it didn’t), and on exactly one (totally unexpected) occasion it’s actually happened. In both cases it was deeply unpleasant, it’s totally unnecessary, and it’s complete unacceptable 

    There’s nothing you can do about the unexpected, but under no circumstances will I ever again play at any venue which has a reputation for, or a recent unaddressed history of being unable to deal with any trouble which breaks out. It’s not worth the risk to myself, and I simply don’t want to be associated with, or in any way supportive of any enterprise which accepts it. Fortunately my band mates took a similar view, as a result we cancelled some bookings and turned down others, but if they hadn’t seen it the same way I’d have walked without a second glance or a moments regret
    Don't ask me, I just play the damned thing...
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  • Jimbro66Jimbro66 Frets: 1276
    Will you be the first band to play there since it reopened? If not maybe see if you can speak to other bands that have played, particularly if your own band mates are keen to gig there. Would the other bands go back??

    It doesn't sound good to me frankly.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 8144
    Perhaps have a better look to see if what you've heard has any basis in truth or just people bad mouthing the new owners. 
    Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2618
    Do you have any evidence of violent behaviour, or is it just rumour? It’s not unheard of for landlords to tell stories about their competitors, or people to invent things about other social groups. Have you been to the pub to see what it’s like? 
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  • FarleyUKFarleyUK Frets: 747
    It's all based on facts; my nephew was working in the kitchen (he's now walked away from it after the last incident), and I know someone else who worked there as waiting staff. Both confirmed the two incidents happened.

    Also heard from a couple of other people as well that were there when things kicked-off, so it's not just rumour.

    We'll be the first band to play there as well; asking other bands about their experience had crossed my mind, but it's not possible in this case.

    Just chatting to the band and the drummer still wants to do it (he's a punchy Scot, mind), but myself and the bassist/singer have both mentioned bailing. So hopefully we'll can it; just not worth the potential risk and aggro IMO.
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  • sw67sw67 Frets: 101
    We sometimes have to give people a shove or a talking to when they lose their spacial awareness and fall into the band. Its usually good natured and we get an apology. If I had advance warning there could be trouble at a gig it would be binned without question. We gig for fun so its not worth taking the chance
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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 4492
    Just take a Telecaster, you'll be fine !
    Learn the riff, but learn from the riff.
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  • Jimbro66Jimbro66 Frets: 1276
    edited April 29
    sw67 said:
    We sometimes have to give people a shove or a talking to when they lose their spacial awareness and fall into the band. Its usually good natured and we get an apology. If I had advance warning there could be trouble at a gig it would be binned without question. We gig for fun so its not worth taking the chance
    The issue with a lot of pub gigs is that the band is set up in a corner of the bar area, often not even on a raised podium and rarely on a stage. So any brawls that break out can easily see idiots crashing into the band's equipment. Even if not that, those are the sort of places where some popular drunk wants to grab the mic and if you steer him away his mates then turn on the band. Seen it all   Not worth it.
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 10892
    I'd cancel. And I'd do it quick so the venue has time to find someone else if they want to.

    If your booking is for a event and they can't get someone else, they might get upset with you or demand that you arrange the replacement etc - depending on whether you have proper contracts or not etc.


    Hello darkness my old friend.


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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 14190
    I've only ever cancelled one gig, and that was in a nasty little pub in London during the 2011 riots. I had other reasons - my wife recovering from major spinal surgery chief among them - and the riots were the last straw.

    Music's great and all, but it's not worth risking your health for.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • PhilW1PhilW1 Frets: 225
    you could buy some lucky heather off them
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 4382
    edited April 29
    Cancel it if you don't want to do it.

    This sounds overly simplistic but it's really not.

    For example, if you don't want to do the gig, but you don't want to let someone down or damage your reputation more than you don't want to do the gig, then on balance you do want to do the gig.

    If you really want to do the gig, but it would be shit for everyone because you're in hospital with two broken arms and you don't want to stand there useless in front of a bunch of drunks, then on balance you don't want to do the gig.
    Captain Horizon (my old band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 3343
    For me, if its stabbings and kickings, then cancel.

    It isn't worth getting badly hurt, and its also not worth having to cheese it to avoid same, and leave your gear to its fate.
    Warning: this post may contain overtly affectionate references to the irreplaceable Mary Spender, and if you are reading this, Hi Mary!
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  • Mark1960Mark1960 Frets: 212
    Tricky one this as other have alluded above. if it was me I think I'd go down with the band just for a look a few weeks before on the same night as you have been asked to play and sus it out for yourselves. That way you are making the decision either way on your own first hand experience.
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  • GrunfeldGrunfeld Frets: 2888
    ...and its also not worth having to cheese it to avoid same, and leave your gear to its fate.
    I've not heard that expression for a while! 
    But for the gig:  no way. 
    In fact we used to play a pub which was popular with that clientele when certain boxing matches were on.  The landlady said there was nearly always some kind of shenanigans before the night was out and she cancelled us when she saw our gig clashed with the boxing.  Just wasn't worth the grief to anyone.
    (She also put us on in another of her pubs that night which was decent enough other than the landlord tried to short change us £100 at the end!)  Always check your money!

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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 8996
    With a previous band I had to tell some bloke to do one as he was hassling a band members wife then ended up getting threatened by all his mates in the car park Infront of my heavily pregnant wife.

    Singer wanted to do the venue again when offered!
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 38963
    FarleyUK said:

    the drummer still wants to do it (he's a punchy Scot, mind)
    That's a dangerous thing to be if there are people with knives around.

    I would walk away.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson
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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 3343
    With a previous band I had to tell some bloke to do one as he was hassling a band members wife then ended up getting threatened by all his mates in the car park Infront of my heavily pregnant wife.

    Singer wanted to do the venue again when offered!
    That's singers for you.
    Warning: this post may contain overtly affectionate references to the irreplaceable Mary Spender, and if you are reading this, Hi Mary!
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  • hotpickupshotpickups Frets: 1109
    edited April 30
    Don’t do it would be my decision. But check it out first on another band night before hand as mentioned above. My kit and band members safety are too important to risk it. Unless it is worthwhile taking the risk. Promoters being there or paying you shed loads etc then maybe I’d think about it 

    Probably nothing to do with being a gypsy community it’s just the pub is run by arseholes which can attract similar clientele etc    
    Link to my trading feedback:  http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/59452/
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  • ToneControlToneControl Frets: 5494
    throw a sickie, or claim some other unavoidable commitment, but make sure you can't be contradicted later
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 11924
    edited April 30
    The problem for me is not that I'm in a rough pub, it's that I have thousands of pounds worth of not very portable equipment on the stage behind me. 

    We've stopped doing any pub gigs during Royal Welsh Show week now, for the same reason. 

    I'm sick of trying to load gear in and out of what's basically a riot situation, then having to start swinging punches or Telecasters at punters who won't leave our singer alone.

    Last year we had to have two security guys stood on the stage with her, but after the gig when I went to get my car there were four guys sat on it. I just got in and drove off, but I've had enough of it now, I'll end up in jail sooner or later just for trying to do my job. 

    Life's too short. 
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  • hotpickupshotpickups Frets: 1109
    p90fool said:
    The problem for me is not that I'm in a rough pub, it's that I have thousands of pounds worth of not very portable equipment on the stage behind me. 

    We've stopped doing any pub gigs during Royal Welsh Show week now, for the same reason. 

    I'm sick of trying to load gear in and out of what's basically a riot situation, then having to start swinging punches or Telecasters at punters who won't leave our singer alone.

    Last year we had to have two security guys stood on the stage with her, but after the gig when I went to get my car there were four guys sat on it. I just got in and drove off, but I've had enough of it now, I'll end up in jail sooner or later just for trying to do my job. 

    Life's too short. 
    Exactly this. If they don't respect you for what you do and sometimes give up to do then quite frankly they can jog on. Life is really too short to accommodate arseholes like this. I wouldn't wade in either as that will make you as low as them. Just don't do it. 
    Link to my trading feedback:  http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/59452/
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  • LebarqueLebarque Frets: 1210
    Alnico said:
    Just take a Telecaster, you'll be fine !
    Any excuse to post this again...


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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 8996
    p90fool said:
    The problem for me is not that I'm in a rough pub, it's that I have thousands of pounds worth of not very portable equipment on the stage behind me. 

    We've stopped doing any pub gigs during Royal Welsh Show week now, for the same reason. 

    I'm sick of trying to load gear in and out of what's basically a riot situation, then having to start swinging punches or Telecasters at punters who won't leave our singer alone.

    Last year we had to have two security guys stood on the stage with her, but after the gig when I went to get my car there were four guys sat on it. I just got in and drove off, but I've had enough of it now, I'll end up in jail sooner or later just for trying to do my job. 

    Life's too short. 

    Agree totally

    It's one of the reasons I don't gig any more.

    I played a gig where a pissed up punter climbed in the boot of my bandmates car while we were packing up and refused to get out. You just get tired of it after a while.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • guitarmanglerguitarmangler Frets: 132
    Professional? How many pubs/clubs/gigs have been cancelled on you without paying? Does the pub have a written contract with you ? Tell them you’ve doubled booked with somewhere else, but they pay twice as much money, and then let them negotiate.
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