Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Fat Freddys cancel Coachella appearance reports that Fat Freddys Drop have cancelled their Coachella appearance...

From Musicfeeds: "Fat Freddys Drop have just announced on their facebook page the band will not be able to play at Coachella this year. Due to the band being an independent and funding their own tours, the $60 thousand needed to get the FFD over to California to play was an amount too large for the band to sustain. "

Fat Freddys FB page currently  reads " We're very sad to announce that Freddy's will not be making the trip to Coachella.As an independent band that operates entirely within the confines of their own bank account, Fat Freddy's are unable to sustain the financial loss required to make this trip happen.... we're so sorry. We tried really hard.... We'll find a way to make it up to you. The disappointment is bitter for all of us." (The bold is from the FB page.)

I left a comment on Musicfeeds asking where the 60k figure came from - their response - "When the note first went up there was a figure quoting $60k, it has since been changed." [see above quote]

The Music Industry Commission provided Fat Freddys with some assistance via its Outward Sound programme, with a Stage Two grant, which is worth up to $30,000, according to their site. Keep in mind we're talking about 9 people on tour, with airfares, accomodation, food, transport... It still amazes me that Fat Freddys go to Europe each summer and don't end up broke.

I've emailed the Music Commission for more information on this, and if the grant has to be paid back if the proposed tour is cancelled. Will update.

UPDATE Wed 9th, 10.10am The Music Industry Commission's website says " Grants are funded on a dollar for dollar matched basis. Expenditure must be paid for in advance of reclaim. A portion of the grant will be with held until final reports have been submitted."

So the grant isn't paid out in advance. The band/artist has to front the money in full, then get the grant paid out on proof of expenses. More details here.

UPDATE Thurs 10th: Heard back from Alan Holt at Music Industry Commission...  He says "The way Outward Sound works is that grants are paid out after the specific costs of the activity have been paid by the successful grant applicant. We do not give the artist/label a lump sum before the activity takes place. Grants are made for specific costs and activities - if those costs are not incurred or the activities do not happen then the money remains with us."

One of the big hurdles facing Fat Freddys is building up an audience in the US so they can get bigger gigs and earn a better fee. They've been touring Europe for eight years now, and have built up a solid reputation as a live draw, which means they get decent fees, so they don't come home empty-handed. Starting from scratch in the US is a daunting prospect financially, I imagine.

Another big hurdle is getting work visas for the band and crew. Last year Fat Freddys made two visits to the US, on a one year visa. Now they have to apply for each tour, as the work visas have changed. This means each member of the touring party has to fly up to Auckland for an individual interview at the US Consulate. This new rule must be making it way more difficult for NZ bands to seriously consider breaking the US.

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