I started playing music for the masses in 1998, not too long ago. That was late in life compared to most of my peers, but it does give me a birds-eye perspective on the business. I was already married with children. This was not a dream, it was a part-time job, and I worked hard at it. Some months, I was booked every weekend, plus the occasional Thursday night, or Sunday afternoon. On average, we got paid about $100/person, and the gigs were almost always four hours long, with plenty of travel involved. For reference, gasoline cost just over a dollar a gallon, and a pint of beer was considerably less than it is now. And yet, 18 years later, we still get paid about $100 person. Every cost associated with this industry has skyrocketed, and we get paid the same!

jkb trio anticipation
Jackknife Betty in front of Asbury Park Convention Hall – New Jersey PRIDE 2004

Here we are in 2016, and every community event from farmers markets to minor league baseball games includes live music in its marketing plan. We love live music. The problem is, somebody keeps forgetting to increase the budget amount. But, hey, we all expect music to be free, right?

Friends, listen up!
You will very likely be attending many free community concerts this summer. These are hard-working bands, sometimes working day jobs as well. You should know that the musicians, techs, and crew don’t get paid much money for these events. But they’re gonna make you smile, and you might even dance. So I suggest that we all show just a little bit of appreciation for this free gift that improves our quality of life. If every person in attendance puts one dollar on the stage, that band (or duo or solo artist) will be paid a fair wage. Let’s start this thing, right here in the Lehigh Valley! Come on!

Spread the word, and use the hashtag #tiptheband in your tweets, posts, and insta-tags.

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