In shift, Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon no longer asking bands to play for free

In a post a few weeks ago, I complained that the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was offering no payment for bands chosen to play on the course. The wording left open the door for compensation, but specifically said that those willing to donate their time would be first priority.

The pdf for bands was actually somewhat misleading — it prominently used the word “charity” even though the race is produced by a for-profit company. While money for various nonprofits is generated by the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon, the race itself is not a 501c3.

Now there is a second version of the pdf application for bands available through the Entertainment Solutions website. This new one eliminates the wording about playing for charity, but still emphasizes the exposure of playing for the event (which would largely seem to depend on the location of a band’s stage):

That’s a considerable shift from the previous version of the band application:

The new version of the application specifically asks bands about their normal compensation.

I don’t know the reasons for the shift in policy. Maybe not enough bands were applying. Maybe there was negative P.R. from posts like mine and the one on Wicked Messenger. [UPDATE, 8/23, 10:12 p.m.: Apparently the company that handles the booking felt pressure from Savannah musicians and from Jim Reed on his blog Wicked Messenger. The issue is explored at length in this interesting piece in Connect Savannah.]

In any case, I’m glad to see that the marathon organizers are stepping up and doing the right thing (assuming they actually are). Other professionals will not be donating their services for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon; the musicians responsible for the Rock ‘n’ Roll certainly should not be expected to do so.

1 comment for “In shift, Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon no longer asking bands to play for free

  1. bill dawers
    August 23, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    If you check out the Connect piece, be sure to read the comments below it (there are 2 at the moment).

    The first reflects the widespread confusion about the basic nature of the race. While there are elements of charitable fundraising, the event is produced by a FOR PROFIT company. To get a sense of the historical mix of nonprofit and for-profit in the marathon series, check out this great piece from 2009: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/feb/01/1m1elite23246-sd-marathon-runs-controversy/

    Also, there’s a post from Jim Reed regarding absolute parity in funding acts. It raises an interesting question about HOW to pay the bands. I tend to disagree that all bands should be paid the same (should a duo be paid the same as a six-piece? should a band that has never been paid at all for a gig get the same amount as one of the area’s most popular?) but it’s certainly an interesting argument.

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