Two weeks ago, when the Saratoga Performing Arts Center initially announced the rules for the upcoming SPAC Battle of the Bands, all applicants had to agree to purchase 25 tickets at $15 each (that’s an outlay of $375) if they were selected as one of the 10 finalists to perform in the Spa Little Theatre on Friday, May 21.
Wisely, the folks at SPAC have now backpedaled off of that proposal, thereby avoiding any appearance of pay-to-play.
Here’s the lowdown from today’s press release:
“Saratoga Performing Arts Center announced today that it will no longer require the 10 finalists competing in the May 21 Battle of the Bands competition to purchase tickets to participate in the event. Due to the overwhelming public interest, the 10 finalist bands selected to compete will not be obligated to pay any entry fee or purchase tickets, as previously announced.”
The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, April 14.
Perhaps the sponsors were concerned that one or two of the final 10 bands would buy up a large amount of tickets and seed the May concert finals to their favor. Therefore, to level the playing field – so to speak – requiring the purchase of tickets by all finalist bands. Besides, 250 warm bodies filling the seats in a moderate sized house, and $3,750 automatically in the till, probably looked good on paper.
I imagine that allowing each of the finalists a block of, say, 10 tickets per band, perhaps at a reduced cost, to do with what they wanted, would have been acceptable.
“Pay-to-play” seems to be a norm among bar owners and promoters/booking agents (the definition gets fuzzy between the two) looking to get live music into their spaces.
What would be a real travesty is if the majorty of the finalists are cover bands…
Good point, Andy. I hadn’t considered the over-loading of fans of one particular band – especially in a 500-seat house. But then again, that’s what the judges are there for. I’m pretty much chalking it up to SPAC’s battle of the bands inexperience, which brings up another point.
Tickets for the final 10-band battle are $25 (before the service charges). Are there really enough people out there willing to pay $25 a seat to watch 10 bands play for 15 minutes each?Seems to me that the ticket price should be considerably lower… UPDATE: In fact, the ticket price for the battle of the bands is now $15. Much better…
I think it was obviously an attempt to rake in the dough from some of these bands hungry to get noticed by forcing them to buy 25 tickets each..NOT an attempt to “level the playing field” – to have a bigger venue would’ve made sense with moderately priced tickets…these bands anxious to compete in a real battle of the bands would’ve gotten lots of friends to come see them… this whole small venue/$25 per ticket nonsense appears to be greed and taking advantage of young bands to me… and what’s with 9 of 10 finalists chosen from their 5 minute youtube video…this should be called “battle of the rockband players” cause its gonna be more about their look and how they jump around in their video than how talented they are…. by the way, why is it a “travesty” if finalists are coverbands? every band plays covers… this isn’t “battle of the songwriters” – obviously from the panel of judges, a coverband wouldn’t have a chance anyway – I’d better go work on my hairstyle and practice spinning my guitar around my body to get ready for my youtube video…oh and maybe learn to play my instrument too!
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