On the 15th of June 2012 I met in Soho with the Musicians Union and a representative from tour operator Outgoing; one of four companies Lounge on the Farm currently hire to run the festival. During this meeting we discussed the following:
- Competition procedure
- Decision-making criteria
- Engaging with artists
- Health and Safety
- Unpaid fees
- Artist treatment and hospitality
- Clarity in relation to unpaid gig slots
- Repairing the relationship with the local music community
- A statement which can be issued to musicians who raised concerns about the festival
In response to the issues raised, The Musicians Union and Lounge on the Farm have agreed to the following statement.
“Following concerns raised by Emily Peasgood in relation to the Lounge on the Farm festival, a meeting was arranged between Emily, The MU and a festival representative. Various issues were discussed at the meeting on 15th June 2012 including:
· Terms of artist engagement and remuneration;
· Performance slots for local, national and international artists;
· The overall structure of the festival and its staffing, and the current state of play, given the tough economic times.
Whilst it was clear that there have been a number of minor operational problems and issues with the payment of some fees and expenses in past years, the festival team have clearly made changes to address these concerns and to improve both the opportunities available to artists, and the treatment of artists when onsite. The festival will look into any disputes about outstanding fees immediately.
It was agreed that festival staff need to be clear about the deals that they are offering when negotiating with artists, in order that artists can make informed decisions as to whether a slot at the festival is both relevant and beneficial to them. However, it was suggested that artists should also take the opportunity to discuss their own requirements when approached by festival staff, in order that mutually beneficial deals can be met where possible.
The MU and Emily Peasgood are satisfied with the verbal agreement made by the festival, in terms of their approach to artist engagement and hospitality at the event.
This year’s festival runs from 6-8 July and MU representatives will be in attendance at the festival on Sunday 8th, where they will be available to talk to artists in relation to the festival, wider musical issues and MU membership.”
So, what does this mean?
If you are approached by this festival remember that they are approaching you because they acknowledge your value. They want you. So discuss your requirements. What do you want? A small fee? Expenses? Ask for them. If they flat out deny, you have to decide if this is a good opportunity for you and whether or not you are happy to work for free.
It also means that the festival agree to take better care of you onsite and should provide you with basic refreshments, a place to park and assistance with loading equipment.
If you are owed money by the festival, they should be in touch. Failing that, get in touch with them. There are various email address on their website.
If all else fails, you can contact me or the Musicians Union.