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I've been asked to quote FOH for an outdoor music festival. From haul in to haul out will be over 12 hours - 6 or 7 small acts over 8 hours of show time. I'll be providing all the equipment (no rental). I've worked with most of the artists before and they all like what I do - in fact they requested me for the show, and it's a 200 mile drive one-way (which I will charge some extra for).

My standard rate for audio work says I should charge $500 for the day - they've already said they would cover meals, lodging, etc -

I don't know the FOH market - is $500 for an event like this reasonable? too low? too high? I've done this sort of thing before, so I know what I'm getting into - just not sure what I should charge.


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Spase Wed, 03/21/2007 - 16:13

That does sound pretty cheap. I get $100 to walk into a club, I bring no equipment at all - at best a few CDs or an MP3 player, and mic/soundcheck/run 3 sets and put the mics/cords away. Really, the hard part is the setting up of the PA - which I have avoided for more than a few years now. I'd say you could get more than that, though I know that no one likes to actually pay what a good PA rental is really worth. I would say get at least a K if not more if you can. Are you providing lights as well? Add some more for that.

I'd want $300 just to run the sound on that one - let alone set up and rent them the PA and/or lights.

zemlin Wed, 03/21/2007 - 17:17

It's a fund raiser type of event - I'm OK doing the job for what I quoted, in fact I WANT to do the show - a collection of great talent and I'll have a good ol' time there. I'm more concerned that someone might low-ball my bid, but it sounds like that's not likely - at least by anyone who's any good.


anonymous Wed, 03/21/2007 - 19:59

I don't know how big of a system you need for this - but for them to simply rent a system for an outdoor gig would start at $300 I'd assume. Not to mention you're adding 4 hours to your day in travel, gas $$, multiple changeovers, setting up/tearing down the system, running it; plus you're the man in demand.

$1000 would be a good deal for them, but I can relate to not wanting to overshoot their expectations, especially for a fund raiser and for a gig that you will enjoy.

$750 is still a great deal. I don't know, it's up to you man.

Thomas W. Bethel Fri, 03/23/2007 - 05:20

Only you know what you want to do and how much you can charge. If the bands are asking for you it does not seem like the management would go elsewhere unless someone really low balls the price. I will side with others and say that $1,000.00 is more than fair for this type of event.

I am always amazed when I find out what other people are charging for services. We do a couple of not for profit groups. They pay us a very small fee for recording and duplication and we love to do the events. A couple of months ago I found out quite by accident how much some of their other costs are for the event and was shocked. Their printing cost are very high (IMHO) and some of their other cost are staggering. I guess we are the ONLY ones who try and help out not for profit groups by keeping our rates low. Everyone else is charging them the going rate for services just as if they were a money making operation.

I guess if you are really interested in finding out what others would charge for such an event I would call around, layout what you want without telling them what it is for and see what they would charge for the same event.

moonbaby Fri, 03/23/2007 - 06:35

You're providing ALL the gear, too? Are you schlepping everything yourself, or will you have an assistant? Who's managing the stage and making sure someone doesn't walk off (accidentally, I'll assume because you know them, but still...) with anything? How big a rig?
For a gig 200 miles away, I figure an additional 8 hours travel time (50 mph, each way). For just me in a truck, that adds $200.00 ($25.00/hr to sit on my butt), plus gasp, err, gas, which will cost me 20 gals (20mpg, hwy) @ $2.75/gal, that's $55.00. The 12 hours of labor to run between the FOH and stage, sweat like a stuck pig, deal with countless egoes, bandmates and their wives/girlfriends, managers, and charity folks :$50.00/hr. Each bands' onstage set: $50.00/set.
So, to provide and haul around a FOH rig in my '03 Frontier crewcab pick-up (no van rental), here's what I come up with:
Travel: $255.00
Labor, 12 hours:$600.00
8 sets: $400.00
Charity with great music: priceless
$1255.00, plus meals and lodging. If I have to hire an assistant, I pay him $300.00 flat-rate for the trip + labor.

zemlin Fri, 03/23/2007 - 08:45

Well, they accepted my offer (no surpise based on the comments here). My setup isn't anything major - an A&H Mixwizard 16:2DX, a couple of ART EQs, a Presonus ACP88, and I'll probably take my Sebatron 4 channel preamp for the vocal mics plus cables, snake, mics, mic stands, and everything else it takes to setup and an iPod for music when the stage is empty. Everything fits in my car (an old BMW 525 wagon). Main speakers and monitors will be provided by someone else.

It will just be me - no assistant unless you count my Rock-N-Roller cart. The acts are solo/duo mostly accoustic - not setting up for drum kits or anything like that. Might need to mic a couple of guitar amps. I'm sure there will be some improptu jamming going on so I'll need to be ready for extra bodies on stage, but no big setups.

Cucco Fri, 03/23/2007 - 09:03

What about amps?

I wouldn't take the seb...outdoors...expensive pre - not worth it! The A&H pres are quite nice as is the mixer in general, I would just stick with that. If you need a few extra pres to run into line-ins, I would get a cheap piece of cra B***inger mixer. Losing that kind of gear simply ain't worth it!



zemlin Fri, 03/23/2007 - 09:07

The speakers I'm planning to use are JBL EONs - powered. If they choose to source their speakers themselves, they'll need to provide the amps too. My main interest is recording - while it would be fun to have some decent speakers/wedges for live work, I don't have the storage space nor do I make enough doing live work that I could justify the cost of anything I'd be happy with.

I'll have plenty of inputs - the only reason to take the seb is because I like to play. There's a good chance I'll talk myself out of taking it.

BobRogers Fri, 03/23/2007 - 09:57

Karl- If it makes you feel any better, I've been doing the sound and running the stage at the "Children's Universe" (yes, it is run by hippies) at Floydfest for the past three years - for free. My daughter's band has been playing there for the last five years and I got tired of the way they had been running it and volunteered. My family spends the weekend at the festival and we make a working vacation of it. I've enjoyed it. Interestingly enough, I run almost exactly the same setup as you: A&H, JBLs.

zemlin Fri, 03/23/2007 - 10:16

I do sound locally for 2 small concert series (which includes providing all the gear, setup, etc). One I do for free, and the other pays me $60/show - if I'm lucky I get a CD from the artist too. I have a great time doing it - there have been some shows that were so good I felt guilty taking the $60.

I pick up an FOH gig once or twice a year that will pay - after this little discussion, I might up my rate by 50% next time someone asks me to quote a job. The only problem is that I usually WANT to do the shows that contact me - I end up quoting low because I want to make sure I get it.


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