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How much do pub gigs pay around the country?


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#1 rungles

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 10:03 PM

So I've been playing on the Isle of Wight since I was 15 (that's 30 years, man and boy - OK mostly boy). It's a standing joke down here that pubs have ALWAYS paid £120 per night on average but sadly it is actually the case. My uncle plays in a few bands in and around Southend and can't believe how little we get paid as they are getting around £250-£300 a night.

I was just curious how much this varies from town to town around the country.
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#2 warwickhunt

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 10:11 PM

NE England - I get offered as low as £120 per pub gig (which I politely decline) but generally get £200; some gigs are £250 (all of my gigs this year have been £200-£250 across 6 bands I have played with) but no more than that. However... I was getting 'exactly' the same fee 20-25 years ago from the same venues. :(
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#3 zbd1960

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 10:17 PM

I don't yet play with a band, but a sound engineer friend of mine does a lot fo 'fixing' of bands. Locally (north mids) it depends on the type of pub. Some go for fewer events but pay more (£300+). Others prefer to have 2 or even 3 bands on one night and pay sod all - and get rubbish as a result
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#4 PaulGibsonBass

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 10:22 PM

We (modern rock covers from north Oxfordshire) can get around 250 for a 2 1 hour pub set.
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Posted 30 May 2016 - 10:44 PM

Rural and small town Derbyshire, 200 - 250 for what usually amounts to 2 hours of music.
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Posted 30 May 2016 - 10:50 PM

The pub chains that ask for an invoice and pay from their head office, pay much better up here in Edinburgh (around £300 per band).

The pubs that pay cash in hand usually pay much less (around £150). My theory is that the bar manager is given a budget and if he/she can pay the bands less than the budget, then he/she can keep the rest for themselves.

There's less chance to fiddle, when the bands are being paid straight from head office.

Edited by gjones, 30 May 2016 - 10:50 PM.

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#7 Woodinblack

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 11:16 PM

In somerset £220- 250 for a normal saturday
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Posted 30 May 2016 - 11:25 PM

Here in Norfolk (and Suffolk when we play there) we get 300 as a starting point for 2x 1hr sets in pubs. We are however one of the longest established bands in the area and can't speak for other bands round here.
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#9 blue

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 12:35 AM

As you guys know for gigging cover bands in the US it's a 4 hour proposition.

$500.00 is the top of the scale. We won't do business unless every member walks out with at least $100.00 in their wallet.

We able to off set that scale with the higher paying festival and fair gigs in the Sumner,


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Edited by blue, 31 May 2016 - 12:38 AM.


#10 bonzodog

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 07:26 AM

Midlands area is around 200-250 for a couple of hours. I think that's a fair price but would not go any lower. We are only a 3 piece though so less people to share it with :)

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 07:31 AM

London and Home Counties seems to be around the £250 mark, give or take.
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Posted 31 May 2016 - 07:37 AM

We ask for a minimum of £250. If we're playing in a pub for the first time we'll accept £220 on the basis that it's £250 for subsequent gigs. We've found that if we hold out for this amount we'll get it so I'm sure lots of bands are getting that amount. This is in Oxfordshire.
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#13 FuNkShUi

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 07:51 AM

£200 - £250 is the standard pub gig rate down South Wales area.
Some places will try to pay less. Usually those gigs go to acoustic duos.
We are lucky to be able to charge a little more as we are a 6 piece and don't often play pubs (maybe 10 a year), but £300 is pretty much tops.
Standard set will be 2 X 1 hours

#14 Marc S

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 08:00 AM

View PostFuNkShUi, on 31 May 2016 - 07:51 AM, said:

£200 - £250 is the standard pub gig rate down South Wales area.
Some places will try to pay less. Usually those gigs go to acoustic duos.
We are lucky to be able to charge a little more as we are a 6 piece and don't often play pubs (maybe 10 a year), but £300 is pretty much tops.
Standard set will be 2 X 1 hours

Another bassist from south Wales here, echoing what FuNkShUi has said.
Although lately in Cardiff, pubs are now edging toward the trend of NOT paying in cash
Instead, they want you to submit an invoice. This usually means one band member who has his own business submitting the invoice,
and he ends up paying tax on it. Of course, we all should be paying tax -but that rather reduces the £200 fee between 4 or 5 band members..

And, given certain politicians' history on paying tax - one feels that £200, which was the going rate around 15 years ago seems rather paltry
Especially as Cardiff city centre gigs usually mean you have to pay to park too

Oddly enough, we seem to get paid more in the Valleys of South Wales, where you also get paid cash, often get a free drink or 2.
And I have to say it, but they seem to prefer their live music

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 08:45 AM

View Postezbass, on 31 May 2016 - 07:31 AM, said:

London and Home Counties seems to be around the £250 mark, give or take.

True. Unless its a first (audition) gig then its usually only £200. If they like and re book you, then it usually goes up.
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Posted 31 May 2016 - 08:56 AM

In Leicestershire 250-300. There are cheaper paying gigs to be had, but we won't do them :)
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#17 PaulWarning

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 09:03 AM

usually about £250 is the going rate, but it does depend how many punters you can draw, a couple of bands I know that draw good crowds go out for £500 and £650, if you can more or less guarantee filling the pubs they'll pay because they make a profit, if you only get a handful in the pub, they'll be unhappy about paying anything, the university of the bleedin obvious really

#18 TimR

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 09:25 AM

View PostMarc S, on 31 May 2016 - 08:00 AM, said:



Another bassist from south Wales here, echoing what FuNkShUi has said.
Although lately in Cardiff, pubs are now edging toward the trend of NOT paying in cash
Instead, they want you to submit an invoice. This usually means one band member who has his own business submitting the invoice,
and he ends up paying tax on it. Of course, we all should be paying tax -but that rather reduces the 200 fee between 4 or 5 band members..

And, given certain politicians' history on paying tax - one feels that 200, which was the going rate around 15 years ago seems rather paltry
Especially as Cardiff city centre gigs usually mean you have to pay to park too

Oddly enough, we seem to get paid more in the Valleys of South Wales, where you also get paid cash, often get a free drink or 2.
And I have to say it, but they seem to prefer their live music

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#19 dood

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 09:45 AM

What's shocking is that these regional rates have pretty much stayed the same even since I first started playing. Even 'Minimum Wage' has managed to increase in comparison lol..

#20 bassjim

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 10:13 AM

£250.00-£350.00 south east. there are venues that give it all this we only pay £180.00 ect. we just refuse to play there if thats the case.

are the pubs practically empty on the IOW? is that the reason they wont pay more?

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 10:20 AM

250 is what we ask for in and around Manchester pubs.


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#22 rungles

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 12:31 PM

Thanks all - so bands on the IOW are getting properly stiffed by the looks of it! I wouldn't mind so much if we got £120 'off-season' (the IOW is very tourist-based) and the money went up in the summer but it's the same all year.

Not that I'd ever stop gigging but it's interesting to know what you guys get paid in other parts of the country.
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#23 Mykesbass

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 12:33 PM

View Postrungles, on 31 May 2016 - 12:31 PM, said:

Thanks all - so bands on the IOW are getting properly stiffed by the looks of it! I wouldn't mind so much if we got 120 'off-season' (the IOW is very tourist-based) and the money went up in the summer but it's the same all year.

Not that I'd ever stop gigging but it's interesting to know what you guys get paid in other parts of the country.

Is it just down to supply and demand? More bands than venues in a geographically restricted area?
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Posted 31 May 2016 - 12:36 PM

Do you get more opportunities to play in the tourist season though (ie midweeks as well as weekends) or is it just fri/sat still? If a venue was putting on 3 or 4 acts a week in the season with a limited budget they would probably have to offer low rates.
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Posted 31 May 2016 - 12:46 PM

On the plus side it's only the other bands on the island you will have to compete with, can't see many looking to ferry it across from mainland for £120!
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#26 ead

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 12:47 PM

Here in the northwest where men are men and sheep are worried (or is that Wales, I forget) we typically get £200 to £300 depending on venue and haggling etc.
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#27 JTUK

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 01:00 PM

Most pubs around here in the south will accept they need to pay £250 for starters.

If you need to 'prove' yourself to the Landlord then he'll tell you what he is willing to offer
you for a chance to play but with not a lot of hassle, you'll get £250.

This is because that is what he has budgeted for week in, week out as the minimum pay-out.

Better bands can ask for £300 and a few will get £350 plus...but you will need to justify that.
Sometimes, the hassle you have to go to to get that money ...and the small stress of being worth it.
means you'll sometimes take the easy option and just take the money and turn-up.

If you go in heavy at £350... the LL is very nervous and wary about hitting that mark and for a pub gig, no one really needs it
if the difference is £20 per head on a 5 piece.

Since so many people now do this for a 'living' they'll be want £70/80 per man ( or skull/head :lol:) but I don't think that really works
to do pubs for a living, tbh.

The final arbitor is how much alcohol you sell... not how good the band is.. altho some LL are more music fans and will indulge
themselves to get the very best bands week-in, week-out, but it needs to be economically viable over the course of a business year.

The other side of the coin is that guys that do it for a living may well take a cheap gig at £50's IF the gig is fun and they are free.
Other times, you wont get them for love nor money.

The better music pubs will also do 'special's whereby a touring band is passing and wants help with running costs as they are passing through
so they will figure on Tuesday nights, for example and still take the bar money. The LL will generally say, I'll pay you what the bar can stand and the benefits are
you can get a really tasty band that generally you could NEVER afford, the pub gets turnover as ALL the beer is real, plus they get kudos for the standard of music
they put on...
The band gets funding for an off/travelling non earning day. They still have van and accom costs etc.

Once or twice a year, certain muso pubs will put of a ticket affair and will then be able to pay £600-1000 for a ex name act.

Pub covers = upto £500..and the biggest draw is actually a DJ...
If the pub is packed and taking money, good LL's will pass that on. IME.

Edited by JTUK, 31 May 2016 - 01:04 PM.


#28 Bassmonkey

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 01:43 PM

View Postblue, on 31 May 2016 - 12:35 AM, said:

As you guys know for gigging cover bands in the US it's a 4 hour proposition.

$500.00 is the top of the scale. We won't do business unless every member walks out with at least $100.00 in their wallet.

We able to off set that scale with the higher paying festival and fair gigs in the Sumner,


Some of you in the UK will say how can you play for 4 hours. My response, " it's easy, it's fun."


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In response to OP - Leeds - £300. Blue - just got back from Nashville and Memphis. Watched bands do 4 sets. All had the bucket at the front for tips. I suspect many were earning next to nothing except the kudos of playing such iconic places. Some bars had 2 and 3 bands at the same time on different floors. Have to say the levels go musicianship, especially in Memphis was AMAZING! You guise earn your money!
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#29 JTUK

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 03:27 PM

I would add the price of a pint in Music pubs is about £3.60-3.80 on Music night for regular bitter.
Doombar, Master Brew etc.

And an awful lot of the pubs are Shepheard Neame who support the local music scene massively, or Free Houses.

Free houses can buy in barrels from £45 upwards whereas as tied/managed/tenanted might be paying £120 per barrel, but then also get
a brewery allowance, typically.

Most of the pubs we do, we know the LL's well so they will say when they can't do a price on a certain session.
And you need to listen to them when they say this as nobody benefits when a good music pub stops the music.

Speaking to other bands..who you are mates with, you get to know who can stand what.

As an aside...a friends band said to stock up on wine as they were bring a drinking crowd.
The pub ran out of wine as they sold 70 bottles...!!!!!! The band were not impressed as they did warn them. (I think they were on a bonus for alcohol consumed :lol:)

Edited by JTUK, 31 May 2016 - 03:33 PM.


#30 crez5150

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 04:43 PM

Depends on the band....

On average around these parts (Essex) the average pub band can take between £250-£350..... those that have a good pull for the bar can look at £5-600.
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