[Callers] Caller Fees

Richard Mckeever macmck at ymail.com
Mon Jun 20 03:19:30 PDT 2011

The reason I didn't provide any details is there are so many 
different groups are structured and how they use their resources.  I did a survey of contra groups almost 20 years ago and published the results in CDSS newsletter.  That made it obvious how difficult comparisons can be.

Some of the issues

Attendance levels
Who runs the dance (separate organization, non-for-profit, individual, band, etc)
What is the financial goal of the program - break even, subsidize dance 
weekend or the dance weekend might provide support for the weekly 
How much do you charge for admission
Does the dance have funding in addition to the admission fees.

Given that - here is what we do for our regular contra program in St Louis (we have other programs that I will not address here)

We are a non-for-profit organization and this program receives some 
support from our local arts commission - so we can stand to be a little 
short at the end of the year.
Our dances are every Sunday except the 3rd.  It is on Saturday that weekend.

We charge $5 on Sunday and $7 on Saturday (Saturday attendance is smaller - but not because of the price - just more alternative events that night)

Attendance varies by time of year, weather, conflicting out of town weekends (we 
have a lot of regulars who travel to dances on some weekends).  We find 
this has more effect on attendance than the band or caller (with some 
exceptions - the Carolina Chocolate Drops packed the place and we paid them accordingly).

Over a year we average about 80 dancers on Sundays and 70 on Saturdays.

We use the same pay scale without any adjustment for attendance:

Saturday - Band splits $250 - any members from out of town get a little more for travel costs
                 Caller gets $75 - a little more for traveling

Sunday - Band splits $200 - plus travel like above
               Caller gets $60   - plus travel

The reason we pay more on Saturdays is we hoped it would attract out of 
town bands who find it easier to travel on Saturdays. It hasn't really worked out that way.  We also find bands are a little 
hesitant to make commitments on Saturdays because there are more 
opportunities for better paying gigs. 

Sound tech gets $25 - we have our own equipment stored at the hall
Sound techs all all also dancers.  Each works about every 3rd dance.  They 
get in free when they are not working (but also usually end up helping 
each other.  They are free to dance the nights they work.

All the this depends on the generosity of the bands, callers and sound techs - which we greatly appreciate and let them know it.

Other costs include rent, insurance, publicity and supplies.

We have access to a lot of bands - so we might only see on a couple times a year.  We stretch the fees a little if we have an out of town band or 
caller that requires a little more.  Sunday night dances sometimes give us access to bands  or callers returning from 
being featured at dance weekends.  Surprisingly, having these bands does not seem to have much impact on attendance.

Hope that helps a little.

Mac McKeever

From: Rich Goss <richgoss at comcast.net>
To: Caller's discussion list <callers at sharedweight.net>
Sent: Sunday, June 19, 2011 7:17 PM
Subject: Re: [Callers] Caller Fees

Portland,Oregon guarantees bands and callers $70, with shares above breakeven evenly distributed between band members, caller and a share to PCDC.  Bands above four members split the amount that would be paid to four.  For fifth Saturdays (open band/mic) only the two lead musicians and the lead caller are paid, same formula.

Sound person is paid $125.

Rich Goss

Sent from my iPad

On Jun 19, 2011, at 5:46 AM, Delia Clark <deliaclark8 at gmail.com> wrote:

> I would urge folks not to reply off list, as I think this is of interest to all!
> On Jun 18, 2011, at 10:32 PM, Sue Robishaw wrote:
>> Hi,
>>   I know that "it varies" and probably quite widely, but I'm trying to get an idea of what is typically charged for one-time or semi-regular dance calling (not the high end festivals and balls and camps) or how receipts are divided between caller, band, and house. My interest is as caller, band, and dance organizer so all input would be appreciated. You can reply off-list to sue at manytracks.com.
>>   Thanks,
>>   Sue Robishaw, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
>> -- 
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